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Batman Celebrates Christmas (circa 1968) in the ‘Cool, Cruel Christmas Caper’

No matter where you are this Christmas, we here at ComicsAlliance hope that you’re spending some time with the people you love most, because that’s what the holidays are really about. And for me, that means spending some time with Batman.

For Batman himself, however, that means doing what he loves, which is saving the people (and property) of Gotham City from nefarious ne’er-do-wells, even on Christmas day. Or at least, that’s the lesson that I learned from a six-minute episode of the 1968 Batman/Superman Hour cartoon series titled The Cool, Cruel Christmas Caper, in which Batman tries to stop Gotham’s holiday from being fully grinched by Mr. Freeze. For Batman, that’s pretty normal, but trust me: In practice, it’s actually pretty insane. Fortunately, in what can only be called an (admittedly minor) Christmas Miracle, modern technology means that you can watch the entire episode right here! Will Batman save Christmas? Find out –and learn a very special Christmas lesson — after the jump!

It’s worth noting that this episode was written by the legendary Bob Haney, co-creator of Metamorpho and writer of a huge number of Brave and the Bold Batman team-ups in the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, and while it might seem completely insane for Batman to base his entire plan on whether or not Mr. Freeze “likes gingerbread,” let alone the baseline craziness that would make anyone in Gotham City think it was a good idea to put a diamond star or a bell made of gold on display in public, that’s actually extremely restrained by Bob Haney’s usual standards.

This is, after all, the guy who wrote a story where Batman was electrocuted to death by criminals, so the Atom shrunk down and jumped around his brain to make him rise off a morgue slab and punch out crooks as “The Corpse That Wouldn’t Die” (Brave and the Bold #115), so Mr. Freeze stealing ornaments and bells to bilk Gotham out of a million bucks is basically just another Friday afternoon.

But best of all is the fact that this episode came out two years after the far more famous TV adaptation of How The Grinch Stole Christmas!, and manages to teach the exact opposite lesson. If Batman, Robin and Commissioner Gordon had subscribed to a more Seussian definition of the True Meaning of Christmas, they would’ve joined hands and sung songs and been happy to have each other, because their friendship is more important than material things.

Instead, Batman crashes a helicopter, throws a man with a debilitating medical condition into a cage where he’s mauled by a polar bear, and gets those material things back.

So wherever you are, whoever you with, from all of us to all of you, we hope you get exactly what you want this Christmas. It might not be the True Meaning of the Season, but it’s what Batman would want. And that’s good enough to me!

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