Public Domain Super Heroes

Jack Frost

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Jack Frost

Real Name

Jack Frost

First Appearance


Created by



Jack Frost is a personification of frost and cold weather that is generally depicted as a mischievous imp-like creature, who uses his power over snow and ice to decorate winter landscapes. He can be friendly, but can also use his cold powers to kill. He is sometimes depicted as a friend of Santa Claus and sometimes depicted as his foil.

A number of public‐domain stories depict Jack Frost as being responsible for the change of leaf color in autumn. He dispatches fairies to transport a precious gift, but they waste time along the way, and so the gold and gems, which the fairies had left in the treetops, accidentally melt in the sun and change the colors of the leaves to browns, golds and reds. Jack likes the result so much he decides to do it annually.

Public Domain Literary Appearances

  • “The Frost,” Poems, by Hannah Flagg Gould, 1832. (Internet Archive)
  • “The Cultivator Thus Speaks of the Change of Color,” Student and Schoolmate, vol. 25, no. 2, Feb. 1870. Mentions the belief that Jack Frost changes leaf colors. (Internet Archive)
  • “The Frost Fairies,” Birdie and His Fairy Friends: A Book for Little Children, by Margaret T. Canby, 1873. Jack Frost is a king who, one autumn, dispatches his “frost fairies” to bring a gift of gold and gems to Santa Claus, but the fairies waste too much time playing along the way, and so the gold and gems, which had been left in the treetops, melt in the sun and change the colors of the leaves. Jack likes the result so much he decides to do it every year. (Reproduced online)
  • “Jack Frost,” by Celia Thaxter, St. Nicholas, vol. 1, no. 2, Dec. 1873. (Internet Archive) (Google Books)
  • “Little Jack Frost: A Rhyme for Flossie,” by Charles Sangster, The Aldine, vol. 7, no. 16, Apr. 1875. (HathiTrust)
  • “Goody Santa Claus on a Sleigh‐Ride,” by Katharine Lee Bates, Wide Awake, vol. 28, no. 1, Dec. 1888. (HathiTrust)
  • “The Frost King,” by Helen Keller, The Mentor, vol. 2, no. 1, Jan. 1892. In a retelling of Canby’s story (above), Jack is a king (“King Frost”) whose household fairies allow his gift of gems to accidentally melt in the sun and thus inspire him to change the color of leaves every autumn. (Internet Archive)
    • “Editorial Notes” (on the plagiarism controversy), The Mentor, vol. 2, no. 3, Mar. 1892. (Internet Archive)
  • “The Pretty Pictures,” The Prize Poetical Speaker …, 1901. (Internet Archive)
  • The Runaway Shadows (1901) by L. Frank Baum: Jack demonstrates the power to freeze shadows, separate them from their owners and give them life of their own. He is also revealed to be the son of the Frost King.
  • The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus (1902) by L. Frank Baum: Jack takes pleasure in nipping "scores of noses and ears and toes." Santa Claus considers Jack a "jolly rogue", but asks him to spare the children. Jack says he will, if he can resist the temptation.
  • “Another Santa Claus,” by Emma Bolenius, American Motherhood, vol. 35, no. 6, Dec. 1912. (Google Books)
  • Mrs. Santa Claus, Militant: A Christmas Comedy, by Bell Elliott Palmer, 1914. After Mrs. Santa Claus steals Mr. Santa Claus’ sleigh one Christmas Eve, he catches up to her by getting a ride in Jack Frost’s airplane! (Google Books)
  • “Jolly Jack Frost” (song), in Second Year Music, by Hollis Dann, Hollis Dann Music Course, 1915. (HathiTrust)
  • “Adding Insult to Injury” (rhyme), by L. J. Bridgman, St. Nicholas, vol. 43, no. 3, Jan. 1916. (Internet Archive)
  • Anita's Secret or Christmas in the Steerage (1917) by Walter Ben Hare: Jack helps Santa distribute gifts and claims to be his son.
  • The Luck of Santa Claus: A Play for Young People, by B. C. Porter, 1918. (Internet Archive)
  • Down the Chimney (1921) by Shepherd Knapp: Jack commands wind and snow fairies.
  • “There Was a Boy Who Lived on Pudding Lane: A True Account, if Only You Believe It, of the Life and Ways of Santa, Eldest Son of Mr. and Mrs. Claus,” by Sarah Addington, The Ladies’ Home Journal, vol. 38, no. 12, Dec. 1921. (HathiTrust)

Public Domain Film Appearances

Public Domain Comic Appearances

  • Wow Comics #14: Jack Frost meets Mary Marvel.
  • Santa Claus Funnies #2
  • March Of Comics #2 (How Santa Got His Red Suit): Jack steals Santa's sleigh.
  • Four Color #61
  • Li'l Pan #7
  • Little Jack Frost #1
  • The Land of the Lost Comics #3
  • Frisky Fables vol. 5 #1 [35]
  • Buster Bunny #2


L. Frank Baum portrays Jack Frost, the Frost King and Santa Claus as three clearly separate and distinct characters, and other writers similarly maintain distinctions at least between pairs of them, including having them interact with one another, but some writers conflate and combine them. For example, a number of public‐domain stories portray Jack Frost as a king with a palace and refer to him as King Frost. Also, Frost, or Morozko, is a Slavic god or demon who served as an antecedent to Ded Moroz, the Slavic Santa Claus, but is often portrayed as being much more like Jack Frost and, in at least one translation, is even called Jack Frost.

See Also

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