When you read as many Christmas comics as I have --- and folks, I have read plenty --- you start to get the idea that you know what you're in for. There are a few basic plots that tend to be recycled over and over again when the holidays roll in, and when a story announces right up front that it's going to be making a pretty pointed reference to, say, A Christmas Carol, there are things you expect. There's a rich old man, four spirits, all that good stuff.
What you don't expect is that the story will instead involve zero spirits, a rich child, and a gang of thugs attempting to corner the Gotham City Christmas Tree market by setting a bunch of people on fire. And yet, here we are with 1945's "A Christmas Peril," where that is exactly what happens.
Many of comics’ most popular heroes have been around for decades, and in the case of the big names from the publisher now known as DC Comics, some have been around for a sizable chunk of a century. As these characters passed through the different historical eras known in comics as the Golden Age (the late 1930s through the early 1950s), the Silver Age (the mid 1950s through the late 1960s), the Bronze Age (the early 1970s through the mid 1980s) and on into modern times, they have experienced considerable changes in tone and portrayal that reflect the zeitgeist of the time.
With this feature we’ll help you navigate the very best stories of DC Comics’ most beloved characters decade by decade. This week, we’re taking a look at the best Green Arrow comics.
Over the past 70 years, Batman has been involved in a lot of Christmas stories, and with good reason. More than any other character, Batman fits right into the role of Santa Claus: He travels by night, he's dedicated to giving people nicer childhoods than he had, and he has the resources to offer people pretty much whatever they want for Christmas...
As much as I love Batman, and I think the record will show that I love Batman a whole heck of a lot, I haven't really been looking forward to sitting down and cracking open the new Batman: A Celebration of 75 Years hardcover. Last year's Superman anniversary hardcover was a disaster of revisionist history, 300 pages that would have you believe that one of the world's greatest superheroes did nothing for seven and a half decades but cry. With that in mind, I had no idea what DC Comics was going to do with Batman. If you'd asked me to bet on it, I would've put good money on a prediction that they'd craft a narrative that acknowledged Batman only as a scowling vigilante, consumed with vengeance and every bit as crazy as the villains he fought.
But it turns out I didn't have to worry. The Batman hardcover is exactly what it says it is -- a celebration of Batman across different eras, with a roster of stories that highlights one of the character's true strengths: How well he works across different kinds of stories.
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