12 Batman Christmas Stories


Bat Humbug? Batman is not known as a jolly fellow. Certainly not the kind you think would be very into Christmas. And who can blame him? His parents were murdered in front of him when he was just a child. Something like that can suck any potential Christmas joy right out of you permanently.

But as much of a Grinch as Batman may seem most of the time, even he gets into the holiday spirit every now and again. In fact, here’s a list of twelve Christmas stories involving the Caped Crusader from just about every medium he’s appeared in.

Next: #12:....Silent Night, Deadly Night

#12. Silent Night, Deadly Night

One of three stories contained in Batman #239, Silent Night, Deadly Night is a pretty simple story. A homeless man is robbing street corner Santas. What a Grinch! He has reasons and motivations beyond just ruining Christmas, but who cares. Batman should just punch his lights out, right?

Ah, but this is socially conscious Batman, who fights crime and helps his fellow man, regardless of the time of year. Seeing that the criminal isn’t actually a bad man and did the right thing when it counted, he actually is willing to help the man face his legal issues through assistance from the Wayne Foundation. It’s this kind of socially conscious Batman I feel has been missing more recently from the movies and even the comics recently and it’s nice to see a reminder that he wasn’t always the dour psycho loner he is now.

Next: #11:....Yes Tyrone, There Is A Santa Claus

This is a story out of the collection “DCU Infinite Holiday Special Vol 1.1. And granted, it’s slightly more of a Superman Christmas story, but Batman is still heavily involved. A child writes the Daily Planet (because you know, kids just love writing letters to newspapers), asking if Santa Claus is real. Choosing to “prove” to the child that Santa Claus is indeed real, Superman decides to dress up as Santa and deliver presents to the boy. Until Batman tells him it’s a stupid idea and Superman oddly enough agrees, deciding to return the Santa costume and return the presents as Superman.

But it turns out Batman was just being an asshole and wanted all the Santa glory to himself, as Superman returns to find the Caped Crusader literally dressed as “Bat-Santa”, and praising him, leading to one of the most awesome Christmas comic book panels of all time:

That’s right Superman punched “Bat-Santa’s” lights out! ON CHRISTMAS! IN FRONT OF CHILDREN! He probably shattered Batman’s jaw. I mean this is like if Ned Flanders finally punched Homer Simpson. And he is totally in the right, as this was Batman being just the biggest asshole ever, you just never expect Superman to lose his temper like that and lay out a dude, especially supposedly one of his friends.

Next: #10:....Arkham Origins

#10. Arkham Origins

Ah what better way to celebrate the holidays than going toe-to-toe with some of DC’s deadliest assassins on Christmas Eve? Granted. Arkham Origins takes us back to a slightly simpler time in Batman’s career, where Commissioner Gordon still wasn’t sure if the Dark Knight was friend or foe and he was just about to meet The Joker for the very first time, and it all takes place on one fateful Christmas Eve in Gotham.

Of course the Christmas Eve is really a mere backdrop and an easy excuse as to why the streets of Gotham are practically empty rather than teeming with innocent civilians, but it’s still a story that takes place during the holidays. Though apparently despite what Robin says in something mentioned later in this list, scum do not spend time with their families on Christmas because scummy thugs are one thing Arkham Origins does not lack. It may be considered the weakest of the Arkham Series, but it’s still a pretty solid game and not a bad choice if you are looking for something with a Christmas backdrop of some sort to play during the holidays.

Next: #9:....The Night The Mob Stole Xmas

#9 The Night The Mob Stole Xmas

In Brave & The Bold #148, Batman finds his friend Plastic Man with a case of the Holiday Blues, as Plastic Man can’t rally find work and is reduced to working as a street corner Santa. This is one where Batman is kind of an asshole in an uncharacteristic way because he could totally get Plastic Man a job with a snap of his fingers, but instead gives him some measly change and words of encouragement. I’m pretty sure Plastic Man would happily work in Wayne Enterprises mailroom rather than beg for change on a street corner, Batman!

Anyways, mobsters steal a fancy department store Christmas display. Also Plastic Man. For some reason. Plastic Man left a trail for Batman to follow, he finds them and together they beat up the mobsters. Somehow this gets Plastic Man into the holiday spirit, as he helps return the display and seems in a pretty jolly mood, despite his situation not changing one bit. MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Next: #8:....The Silent Night Of The Batman

#8 The Silent Night Of The Batman

Crime doesn’t take a break for holidays, but Batman, of all people deserves a night off on Christmas. And that’s what Silent Night Of The Batman is all about. Commissioner James Gordon uses the Bat-Signal, but it’s to have Batman over to the precinct to celebrate Christmas at the GCPD. Batman is of course worried that crime is going to go down, but Gordon convinces him to stick around and sing Christmas carols with. Hey, they are in Gotham Police Headquaters, if crime happens, they’ll be able to respond.

But crime doesn’t happen. It is indeed a silent night. And while you may interpret it as the spirit of the holiday, it’s really the spirit of Batman in Gotham, as mere imagery of him is enough to stop people from committing crimes or even harming themselves. Batman has given the city of Gotham a great gift and in return he gets a much needed night off to enjoy the best holiday of the year.

Next: #7:....Wanted: Santa Clause Dead Or Alive

#7. Wanted: Santa Clause Dead Or Alive

One of five stories in the DC Holiday Christmas Special, which came out in 1980. Wanted: Santa Clause Dead Or Alive actually makes virtually no sense as a title, as it’s not about wanting anybody dead or alive, especially Santa.

Rather it’s about small time hood Boomer Katz. Katz has gotten a job as a Santa at a department store. It’s actually a set up by his old cell mate mob boss to rob the store. Maybe it’s experiencing all the joy that can come with playing Santa, but Boomer has gotten into the Christmas spirit and doesn’t want to help knock off the store.

Of course the mob boss forces him to do it anyways. Boomer tries to run, but is shot in the arm and held captive by one of the mob boss’ men. Batman and the police hear the gun shots and find and capture the mob boss, but they aren’t aware of Boomer or his captor. Suddenly a brilliant light pours through the hole where a stolen Star of Bethlehem had been in a Nativity display they are under, making it incredibly easier to spot both Boomer and the man holding him hostage, and Batman saves Boomer. Boomer looks up and the light is suddenly just gone. Pure coincidence or mysterious Christmas forces at play?

Next: #6:....Batman Returns

#6. Batman Returns

While it contains nothing in the way of messages about whether Santa Clause is real or the true meaning of Christmas, Batman Returns is very much a movie drenched in Christmas dressing, so it certainly qualifies.

I think we all know the story here. Assistant pushed out the window of a building, is somehow revived by cats and becomes Catwoman. Deformed freak sorta looks like a human Penguin, is shunned by society until he does an image rebrand and runs for mayor. And then tries to blow up Gotham with Penguins armed with rockets. Or something. Wait, how was this not the movie that ruined Batman for years to come well before Batman & Robin?

Anyways. while it’s hardly a Christmas story, it is wrapped in Christmas imagery, with the ceremonial lighting of Gotham’s Christmas tree, lots of present-themed gags, etc. If you want a Christmas movie that involves Batman or just a break from your usual holiday fare that still has Christmas in it somewhere, Batman Returns totally fits the bill.

Next: #5:....Cool Cruel Christmas Caper

#5. Adventures Of Batman: Cool Cruel Christmas Caper

This is arguably the simplest of the stories on this list. One half of an episode of the late 1960s Adventures of Batman animated show, Cool Cruel Christmas Caper is really just crime that happens to fall on Caper.

Mr. Freeze (and remember, this is before he had his origin redone in Batman The Animated Series, so at this point he’s just a goofball with a freeze gun) disguises himself as Santa and steals the Gotham star of the Christmas tree. Instead of taking the lessons of The Grinch Who Stole Christmas to heart and just sing because it’s Christmas, Batman pursues Freeze, causing lots of property damage and then leaves Freeze to fend for himself against polar bears. That’s the Christmas spirit! To be fair, I don’t think Freeze’s heart would grow three sizes, no matter how much singing you do…

Next: #4:....Invasion Of The Secret Santas

#4. Batman: The Brave And The Bold: Invasion Of The Secret Santas

What is the spirit of Christmas when you are a robot? That’s what Red Tornado tries to figure out while helping Batman stop Fun Haus (real villain, I swear) from ruining everyone’s Christmas. Seems almost everyone bought toys made by this villain (not knowingly of course), and it’s actually a trick as the toys steal valuables from the houses they are in.

Eventually Batman & Red Tornado face off against a giant toy solider robot and Red Tornado suddenly is filled with the Christmas spirit! Actually it’s overloading his circuitry by pushing himself too hard, but why ruin the moment? As Red Tornado’s disembodied head is carted off to S.T.A.R. labs for repairs, he says it felt wonderful.

Next: #3:....Holiday Knights

#3. Batman: The Animated Series-Holiday Knights

Actually the premiere episode of “The New Batman Adventures” (which really was just Batman: The Animated series with a new art style, all the established characters and continuity were carried over), and oddly debuting in the middle of September, “Holiday Knights” is three fun separate little Christmas stories rolled into one 22 minute animated episode.

Galpals Harley & Ivy kidnap Bruce Wayne and force him to take them on a shopping spree. Batgirl must put a hold on her Christmas shopping to stop Clayface, and the final story has Joker swearing he won’t kill anyone next year, so he’d better kill a lot of people before this year is over, and obviously Batman must find out how Joker intends on doing that and put a stop to it.

There’s not really any theme beyond “Christmas time” to the episodes, but like most episodes of the animated Batman series, it’s still just a really fun episode overall.

Next: #2:....Noel

#2. Batman: Noel

Is Batman a scrooge? I’m sure any criminal in Gotham would certainly think so. And “Noel” is basically “A Christmas Carol”, told by petty criminal Bob (Cratchit) to his son. In this tale, Batman is Ebenezer Scrooge, Jason Todd is Jacob Marley, Catwoman, Superman & The Joker are the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future respectively.

But in a twist, this isn’t just a story about Batman realizing he needs to change his ways, it’s also about Bob realizing he needs to change his for his son, as he is also in this story as well as being the narrator. It’s a nice interesting take on a tale that’s been told 1,000 times over the same way, so if you are looking for a little different Christmas classic, it’s worth a read.

Next: #1:....Christmas With The Joker

#1. Batman: The Animated Series-Christmas With The Joker

You can tell how early this episode is in Batman: The Animated series run. There’s no Harley Quinn, the inmates at Arkham Asylum are all generic instead of established Batman villains, etc. But it’s still one of my favorite episodes and I watch it pretty much every Christmas season.

The plot is simple enough. Joker escapes Arkham (on a Christmas tree rocket! Singing Jingle Bells, Batman smells!) and hold Gotham hostage with his very own warped Christmas special! He’s even got special hostages, er I mean guests!

It’s just a really fun episode with lots of great humor, even on Bruce Wayne’s part, like how he says he’s never seen “It’s A Wonderful Life” because he couldn’t get past the title. It’s also our first introduction to Mark Hamill’s defining performance as the Joker and he is great right from the start. This more than any other item on this list should be a Christmas tradition for any Bat-fan.

And that’s the list. See, even Batman can enjoy Christmas. Even if he is fighting crime while doing so. Got any favorite Batman Christmas stories you’d like to talk about? Be sure to mention them in the comments. And Happy Holidays from all of us at Caped Crusades!