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The Top 5 Batman Comic Book Christmas Stories

The Top 5 Batman Comic Book Christmas Stories

Given that he’s so frequently portrayed as a grim avenger of the night, why are there so many great Christmas stories starring the Batman? Perhaps it’s because night is never so well defined as when it stands in sharp contrast against the brightness of day. And few holidays shine as brightly as the one we celebrate on December 25th. While new yuletide tales of the Caped Crusader arrive every year, here are five standouts from his long, rich history, each of which give ample evidence that when it comes to Christmas, Batman is as appropriate as old Saint Nick himself…

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“A Christmas Peril!” — from Batman #27

Though the first Batman Christmas story occurred way back in 1942’s Batman #9, the first truly great Batman Christmas story can be found in February 1945’s “A Christmas Peril!” (in Batman #27), illustrated by Joker and Robin co-creator Jerry Robinson. Like a lot of superhero-centric Christmas tales, it takes its cue from Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. But its story of a rich, orphaned “Young Scrooge” who’s manipulated by his advisers into partnering with the mob in a crooked Christmas tree sales racket only to learn about the spirit of giving from Batman and Robin serves as an appealing metaphor for an America that was then coming to the aid of other nations during World War II.

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“The Silent Night of the Batman” — from Batman #219

Definitive Batman artist Neal Adams crafts his definitive Batman story in this short tale of a Dark Knight reluctant to stand down on Christmas Eve and enjoy the holiday for a change. Fortunately, the good people of Gotham, whom he’s inspired as well as saved, have things under control, giving him a chance to sip some eggnog and sing a carol or two with the Gotham City Police Department.

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“Merry Christmas” — from Batman #247

On a frigid Christmas Eve, the Dark Knight runs afoul of a murderous hoodlum who’s prepared to rub out a snowbound family in order to cover his tracks. The well-worn “Christmas miracle” that saves the day actually works thanks to the staging of fabled Bat-scribe Denny O’Neil’s operating at the height of his powers in this short story from 1973.

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“The Night the Mob Stole X-Mas” — from Brave and the Bold #148

Brave and the Bold writer Bob Haney was known for his zany, outrageous stories that paired Batman with a plethora of DC’s other superheroes (the inspiration for the Batman: The Brave the Bold animated series). Few are as zany as this 1979 comic that sees the Dark Knight helping pliable sleuth Plastic Man out of his holiday blues by busting a band of cigarette smugglers.

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“Wanted: Santa Claus — Dead or Alive” — from DC’s Super-Star Holiday Special (a.k.a. DC Special Series #21)

Iconic Batman auteur Frank Miller cut his teeth on this Christmas story, his first Batman work, in which a criminal posing as a department store Santa has a change of heart. Fortunately, the Dark Knight and another of writer Denny O’Neil’s patented holiday miracles saves the day before the reformed crook can be killed by his former cohorts.

What’s your favorite Batman Christmas story? Let us know below!

Images: DC Comics

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