Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Christmas Stories, Part 3

Batman #33 included a wonderful Christmas story entitled The Search for Santa Claus. Batman and Robin are searching for three men to play Santa Claus to entertain some children. They come across three men who are pretty much expressing the "Bah, humbug" spirit. One has just gotten out of prison after 25 years for a murder he didn't commit. Another has escaped from a mental institution that his nephews had him locked up in so they could steal his money. And the third is an actor who's lost his youthful good looks and can't get any parts.

At first they resist when Batman tries to get them to play Santa Claus. But the guy who'd been in the mental home reacts when Batman says he could appear at the Children's Hospital, as he'd often donated to that institution when he was a wealthy businessman. The former prisoner agrees to perform at the orphanage, while the actor takes the role of Santa in a play.

Starts out like a heart-warming story, eh? But those nasty nephews aren't taking the news of their uncle's escape from the loony bin very well:

Since they haven't seen their uncle in years, they round up all three Santas, and threaten to kill them all if the one who's their uncle doesn't turn himself in. All of them claim to be the missing uncle, but the actor puts on a convincing imitation of a madman and so the nephews believe he is the one they must kill (so much for making it look like an accident).

But Batman and Robin arrive and defeat the three nephews. The rich man will get back control of his fortune, while the actor finds that the theater owner was so impressed by his madman performance that he vows to make him a star again. And the former convict gets a job helping out the rich man give away his money to worthy charities.