It’s that time of year again. The holiday season is here, and for many, that means spending time with loved ones, checking names off your shopping list and, when all is said and done, relaxing with some appropriately seasonal Christmas movies and TV specials. However, for comic book fans, there are more than enough holiday-themed stories to stuff your stockings with.
Here are our picks for the10 best comics to read for Christmas:
T’was the Fight Before Xmas (Spider-Man's Tangled Web #21)
Writer: Darwyn Cooke
Artists: J. Bone, Darwyn Cooke
What’s more irritating than going to a crowded mall on Christmas Eve to buy a last-minute gift? Doing it for your boss. In this story, Peter heads to the mall to pick up a gift for J. Jonah Jameson’s wife while Jameson and Betty Brant look after a group of stranded children at the Daily Bugle Christmas party. Furthermore, a brainwashed Medusa and Flash Thompson (dressed as Spidey) are wreaking havoc on the shopping center. As it turns out, the culprit is none other than Puppet Master, who’s disguised as the mall Santa. Once he’s exposed, though, Spider-Man’s name is cleared and the children have their hero back.Advertisement
Merry Christmas, Justice League – Now Die! (JLA #60)
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Cliff Rathburn
For Mark Waid’s final issue of JLA, he and Cliff Rathburn crafted a Christmas tale that sees Plastic Man telling Woozy’s nephew a story about how Santa Claus is a member of the Justice League. As the story goes, Neron had transformed the rest of the League into lumps of coal, but thankfully, Santa arrived to save the day by giving the villain the worst Christmas gift ever: socks and underwear. While the story fails to make an impression on the boy, his spirits change when he sees Santa fly by his window. (In reality, it’s Martian Manhunter, but still.)
Rhino Plastered (Incredible Hulk #378)
Writers: Peter David, Kurt Busiek
Artist: Bill Jaaska
When Rick Jones visits the children’s ward of the hospital, he tells the kids a story about one of the Hulk’s battles with the Rhino. Rhino, who was down on his luck, stole a Santa costume and tried to convince Bruce Banner and Rick to give him money. However, Rhino was later recruited as a mall Santa and brought to tears when he heard the kids chanting for him. Of course, Hulk soon discovered “Santa” was actually Rhino when the villain began to lose his temper with the kids, but after the pair fought for a bit, they decided to call a truce for the sake of giving the children a great Christmas. When Rick finishes telling the story, though, one of the kids tells him it was stupid and kicks him in the shin (Merry Christmas, Rick).
One Perfect Gift (Flash #73)
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Greg LaRocque
The holidays are all about spending time with loved ones. In this story, though, Wally West gets the ultimate gift when his long-dead loved one, Barry Allen, mysteriously shows up on his doorstep on Christmas Eve. Of course, it turns out the “Flash” Wally finds is actually Eobard Thawne in disguise. Nevertheless, the events of this issue set in motion “The Return of Barry Allen,” which – in addition to the rest of the holiday cheer – makes this issue a Christmas classic.
Yes, Virginia, There is a Santron (Marvel Holiday Special 2005)
Writer: Jeff Parker
Artist: Reilly Brown
There’s a reason you should never tell a child that Santa Claus isn’t real, and that reason is simple: They might end up building a Santa robot that turns out to be evil. At least that’s what happens in this story. Virgie Hanlon is shocked that her creation has its sights set on the Avengers, but that’s what happens when you unknowingly use an old Ultron to build your Santa robot. Eventually, after defeating Santron, the Avengers track down Virgie, but much to her surprise, instead of taking her to prison, they bring their Christmas party to her, complete with a touching speech about Santa from Captain America.
Silent Night, Deadly Night! (Batman #239)
Writer: Denny O’Neil
Artists: Irv Novick, Dick Giordano
When a criminal starts attacking men dressed up as a Santa Claus and collecting money for charity, Batman spends Christmas Eve trying to track the crook down. When he finally catches him, though, he discovers the culprit is a man who’d lost his job and has been robbing the Santas so he could give his niece a merry Christmas. Unfortunately, the man doesn’t learn his lesson after being apprehended; instead, he attacks Batman and then turns his attention to his former employer. However, he finds his boss – an elderly man – has just suffered a heart attack. He and Batman then bring the man to the hospital, and Batman lets the would-be murderer off the hook in light of the Christmas miracle… A little un-Batman-y, but hey, it’s Christmas.
Superman’s Christmas Adventure (Vol. 1)
Writer: Jerry Siegel
Artist: Jack Burnley
While doing some Christmas shopping, Lois and Clark meet a poor boy named Billy, inspiring them to suggest the Daily Planet sponsor a toy drive to help the needy. Clark also meets a rich and spoiled boy named James, who he (as Superman) takes on a tour of the poor side of Metropolis to show him that there are those less fortunate than he is. Meanwhile, two men at the North Pole, Doctor Grouch and Mister Meany, sabotage Santa’s reindeer, so Superman takes it upon himself to fly Santa’s sleigh. Eventually, Grouch and Meany have a change of heart and embrace the Christmas spirit, and on his way home, Superman spots James delivering toys to Metropolis’ underprivileged children.
The Silent Night of the Batman (Batman #219)
Writer: Mike Friedrich
Artist: Neal Adams
Batman isn’t necessarily one to take a night off. Not even for Christmas. However, in this story, the Dark Knight decides to indulge in a little Christmas caroling with Commissioner Gordon and the GCPD. Meanwhile, despite many false alarms, crime in Gotham decides to take a night off, as well, courtesy of Batman’s mere presence. It’s a short, sweet Christmas story that, in spite of the notion of Batman signing, still holds the test of time.
Yes, Tyrone, There Is a Santa Claus (DCU Infinite Holiday Special #1)
Writer: Kelley Puckett
Artist: Pete Woods
When the Daily Planet receives a letter from a child wanting to know if Santa Claus is real, Superman takes it upon himself to dress up as Jolly Old Saint Nick and deliver presents to the boy. However, on his way, he encounters Batman, who convinces the Man of Steel that his gesture is laughable. As such, Superman decides to deliver the presents in his regular costume, but when he arrives at the boy’s house, he’s shocked to find none other than Batman dressed up as Santa Claus. It’s a heartwarming tale and one that ends with Batman winking at Superman and Superman decking Batman in the jaw.
Writer/Artist: Lee Bermejo
This decidedly Batman take on the Charles Dickens classic A Christmas Carol features the Caped Crusader, who’s fallen ill, keeping watch on one of The Joker’s henchmen who botched a job. His plan is to wait until The Joker arrives to kill the man (because that’s exactly what The Joker would do) and then take him down. However, the illness causes Batman to hallucinate, and he’s visited by three “spirits” in the form of Catwoman, Superman and The Joker. The Superman spirit convinces Batman not to use the henchman as bait to catch The Joker, and the Dark Knight sees the error of his ways and has a Scrooge-like epiphany.