A new book has hit the shelves this holiday season that celebrates Batman Returns as the Christmas movie that is (It is a Christmas movie, and I won’t hear otherwise). Written by Ivan Cohen and illustrated by JJ Harrison, Batman Returns: One Dark Christmas Eve is a storybook based on the Tim Burton film from 1992. Let’s dive into three unique things about this new book.
The story is written in a way that you can sing along. Cohen writes that the reader should read to the tune of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen. It is a unique idea by Cohen to tell the story of Batman Returns in that way. It is also a credit to him for hitting on all the major beats of the film and still having the song element make sense.
As I said, Cohen hits all the major moments of the film. From Penguin’s birth and subsequent exile by his parents and all the way to the final battle and death of Penguin, Max Schrek, and Catwoman.
My one nitpick, and this is someone who has seen Batman Returns at least once a year- Cohen has Batman attack the penguins with the rocket launchers with the Batwing instead of the Batboat. Again, it’s a nitpick.
The back of the book describes Harrison’s art as “whimsically deadpan illustrations,” and I can confirm that is true. The art seems almost like Tim Burton meets Mad Magazine. There is a fun moment during the Bruce and Selina date at Wayne Manor, showing Bruce with lipstick all over his face. It is goofy and silly, but it works. It’s fun and interesting, and I wouldn’t mind seeing more Batman stories in this art style.
It’s a Christmas story!
What this book finally does is confirm a long-standing Batman fandom argument, which is that Batman Returns is a Christmas movie. I am sure I am not the only Bat-Fan out there that turns on this holiday classic while wrapping gifts. Nothing says Christmas more than Oswald Cobblepot biting his campaign manager’s nose (not in the book, by the way).
Similar to the movie, there is not a lot of Batman in it. It is a quick read, but I think this book is a must for any Batman fan who loves Batman and Christmas. It is a good companion piece to the movie.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from everyone here at The Batman Universe!
Editor’s Note: Insight Editions provided TBU with a copy of Batman Returns: One Dark Christmas Eve for review purposes. You can find this book and help support TBU in the process by purchasing this book digitally on Amazon or a physical copy of the title on Amazon.