Monday, December 22, 2008

The Christmas Stories, Part 4

Batman #27 (Feb-Mar 1945) featured one of my all-time favorite Christmas stories in the comics, A Christmas Peril. While doing their Christmas shopping, Bruce and Dick are startled by the very high price for Christmas trees, $7.98 for trees they don't think are worth a dollar. They find a seller who's got better trees for $2.00, but some hoodlums have other ideas:

Batman and Robin break up the hoodlums and learn they are working for a mob boss, who's working for Scranton Loring, the richest boy in the world (Richie Rich before his time!). Loring has inherited the fortune of his uncle, Caleb, who's better known as "Old Scrooge". (Uncle Scrooge, you mean? This story was published two years before Christmas on Bear Mountain, which introduced Scrooge McDuck, one of the classic comic book characters). However, now that his guardian has passed away, Scranton discovers that his Uncle Timothy, a much more jolly fellow, is his new guardian.

Batman and Robin show up and decide to teach young Scrooge a lesson. They kidnap him and take him on a tour of the lives he's damaged. At first his reaction is to whip out the checkbook:

But later:

Eventually Scranton Loring realizes that his own greed and that of his hired flunkies caused incredible pain, and so he is willing to sacrifice himself:

And in the end: