It’s the holiday season, and there is no better way to spend those cold winter nights than curled up with a good book or watching a TV show. A Batman TV show. For today’s Five Things, I thought I’d share some Batman holiday classics that are perfect for this time of the year. Pour that hot chocolate into your Batman mug, grab a plate of holiday cookies, and let’s get to it!
#1) “Holiday Knights” (Batman: The Animated Series, S4E1)
Not a surprise that this is on the list, but it remains one of the best episodes of Batman: The Animated Series. Adapted from a Batman Adventures Holiday Special comic, we were introduced to the redesign of Batman: The Animated Series. The characters became sleeker and cooler but carry notes of the designs we all fell in love with from the previous style.
In this episode, we get three small holiday stories. We see Harley and Ivy kidnap Bruce and take him shopping, we see Batgirl take on Clayface with the help of Harvey Bullock and Renee Montoya, and then Batman and Robin foil a New Years Eve plot by the Joker. The episode is full of laughs (especially with Bullock as Santa) and great action.
The final scene with Batman and Commissioner Gordon sharing a cup of coffee at midnight on New Years is probably the definitive Batman/Gordon scene at least in my eyes.
#2) “Slayride” (Detective Comics #826)
We’re jumping into the world of comics for my number two pick! Detective Comics #826, written by Paul Dini with pencils by Don Kramer, sees Tim Drake go on a ride with Joker that is anything but merry. Joker kidnaps Robin and takes him on a ride filled with murder and laughs. It’s a great Tim Drake story as he uses his wits and his smarts to escape. Dini always wrote a great Joker and always struck a great balance between the psycho side of Joker and the comedian side. That is the case here.
#3) Batman Returns (1992)
Come on, you know Batman Returns was going to be on the list! I don’t have to spend too much time explaining why. Christmas in Gotham, the tree lighting ceremony, the Ice Princess, Alfred Pennyworth decorating that giant tree in Wayne Manor while Bruce just sits there. This movie has all of the holiday trimmings. We all know the movie has its goofy moments, but it’s a Batman movie set at Christmas. I watch it every year while I attempt (keyword) to wrap Christmas presents.
#4) “Comfort and Joy” (Justice League, S2E23)
Back to the animated world. This Justice League episode has no Batman in it but we see how the other members of the DC Universe spend the holidays. Green Lantern and Hawkgirl spend it by partying and enjoying some alien adult beverages. Flash channels his inner Santa and tries to deliver gifts to all the good little boys and girls. The highlight for me is seeing Martian Manhunter discover the true meaning of Christmas while spending the holiday in Smallville at the Kent Farm with Superman, Ma, and Pa. A great episode where the stakes are low but we get to know these characters better.
#5) Batman: Noel
The granddaddy of all Christmas stories, A Christmas Carol, gets looked at through the lens of Batman’s world in Batman: Noel, which is written and drawn beautifully by superstar Lee Bermejo. Bermejo portrays Batman as Scrooge and shows us Catwoman, Superman, and Joker and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future. This story is a must read around the holiday season.
I’m sure everyone has their Batman Christmas traditions whether it involves movies, shows, comics, or even gift giving. Christmas and Batman just go together like marshmallows and hot chocolate. Happy Holidays from TBU! If you want to hear us talk more about our favorite holiday Batman stories, you can listen to our Batman Universe podcast episode.