Hey everyone, it’s Christmas Eve! I’ve been reading a bunch of Christmas-themed comic books lately and have come away from it with one major discovery: Most Christmas comic books are nutty as fuck! When the superheroes aren’t teaming up with Santa Claus to fight robot yetis, they’re learning about hope and redemption from homeless people and poor children. Once December comes around, everything insane and awesome about comic books grows three sizes! In the spirit of the season, here are some of the Christmassy superhero moments that stood out to me.
BATMAN GOES A-CAROLING
(Christmas with the Super-Heroes, 1989)
On Christmas Eve, Batman responds to the Bat Signal, but it turns out Commissioner Gordon just summoned him so he could wish him a merry Christmas! Batman is uncharacteristically unpissed at this gesture, and even lets the other police officers convince him to join them in some Christmas carolling! What follows are some of my favorite panels of all time:
I don’t know why images of Batman singing crack me up so much, but oh my god do they crack me up. Just look at him!! Anyway, the point of the story is that while Batman and the boys of the GCPD choir are still singin’ Galway Bay, not a single crime is committed that requires their attention. The spirit of Christmas has inspired everyone in Gotham to behave themselves, so as to not interrupt all the singing! It’s a Christmas miracle!
I’VE HEARD OF JEWISH FAST DAYS, BUT THIS IS RIDICULOUS!
(Christmas with the Super-Heroes, 1989)
The Flash and Green Lantern, suffering from a lack of Christmas cheer, decide to visit some little Norman Rockwelly town on Christmas Eve, to soak up a little bit of that Smalltown America holiday spirit. In order to prove to a suicidal millionaire they meet that life isn’t a joyless joke, they decide to play Santa Claus, delivering gifts to all the town’s children. It’s all pretty boring and retarded, and the only reason I’m including this is the shocking revelation that’s casually slipped into the story’s final panel:
Barry Allen is Jewish??? That’s news to me! And to be honest, it’s pretty goddamn weird, because this entire story is about these two dudes doing Christmassy shit and talking about Christmas and searching for the spirit of Christmas and Christmas Christmas Christmas. This reeks of some editor deciding at the last minute to politically correct the story up by making Santa-hat-clad Barry a Hanukkah-celebrator. But whatever, I’m totally into it, and I’m accepting this story as canon. Barry Allen is Jewish, everybody! Yay!
MERRY CHRISTMAS, BILLY BATSON, YOU’RE FUCKING CRAZY
(Billy Batson’s Christmas, 1947)
This story is old as fuck, and the way it handles the Billy Batson/Captain Marvel relationship is pretty different from any of the more recent Shazam stuff I’ve read (which, admittedly, isn’t a whole lot). Billy has a big Christmas party planned, and he goes out to do a little bit of last-minute shopping:
Yeesh! I guess multiple personality disorder makes the holiday season twice as fun! Imagine if you were that grotesque street corner Santa and you happened to overhear the conversation this kid was having out loud to nobody in particular? What would you think? It’s a pretty wackadoo monologue to begin with but once it devolves into a rant filled with delirious laughter and random declarations of “That’s good!” I think I’d grab my fake chimney and move quickly to a different corner. And it gets even creepier:
Shudder. Anyway, while Billy is busy getting a boner over himself, the department store’s Santa Claus hilariously catches on fire.
Oh man, I think I’m going to print out that image and put it on my Christmas cards next year. Hahaha, look at him! Billy shazams himself and puts out the fire, but it turns out that Santa is in big trouble for almost dying! We are meant to feel sorry for him, since we know it wasn’t his fault, but check out what his boss says as he’s canning him:
Not the first time?? Well yeah, okay, fire his ass then. If a department store Santa can’t go two days without setting the building ablaze, then the fact that it’s accidental is probably pretty irrelevant.
Anyway, whatever, Captain Marvel gets the guy his job back, and then rushes to the Christmas party, where he exchanges gifts with himself.
Ugh. I am glad Captain Marvel found the courage to admit to the world that in spite of his big strongness, he still enjoys playing tiddlywinks. This whole thing gives me the creeps, and I wish Billy Batson had burned to death in that fire.
BATMAN IS A CHRISTMAS PRICK
(Yes, Tyrone, There is a Santa Claus, 2007)
I’ve saved the best for last, as this story is fucking hilarious. When the Daily Planet receives a letter from a little boy named Tyrone, who doubts the existence of Santa Claus, Superman decides to take matters into his own hands. He dressed up in a ridiculous Supersanta costume, loads a sleigh up with presents, and heads to Tyrone’s house to prove, I dunno, something or other. Along the way, however, he is confronted by a suspiciously asshole-ish Batman:
Grinchy-ass Batman manages to shame Superman into agreeing that he looks like a dipshit and that this whole endeavor is a waste of a superhero’s precious time. Having successfully killed Superman’s spirit, he flies away on his little jetpack.
After changing out of his Santa suit, Supes decides that he still ought to at least drop the presents off at Tyrone’s house. He arrives there, and opens the door to see…
Adorable! Now if this comic book wasn’t completely insane, it probably would have ended with that little wink. “Haha, it turns out Batman just wanted to be Santa, kids! What a hilarious twist! Happy Holidays from all your pals at DC Comics!” But instead, we turn the page to see…
…Superman beating the holy living shit out of Batman for stealing his Santa idea! Right in front of the terrified children!
Seasons greetings, everybody!