Batman 1939: A Very Special Batman Christmas

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Stewart M
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Batman 1939: A Very Special Batman Christmas

Postby Stewart M » 2016-12-17 01:03pm

Welcome to the latest tale in the Batman 1939 series. Unlike prior novel-length works, A Very Special Batman Christmas is a short story told in two parts. Part one is below. Part two will be posted on Christmas Day. If you're looking for the previous stories in the '39 World, you can find them here: The Dangers of Being Cold andSwimming in the Styx.

Enjoy.

---

Batman 1939: A Very Special Batman Christmas

Part 1 of 2​


December 24th, 1941.
Gotham City.

St. Jude's Cathedral was the largest church in the New World, its tallest building for twenty years, and it served more worshipers each week than all but six parishes on Earth. This surprised strangers. It even surprised the Vatican. Simply put, Gotham City wasn't known for its piety. But that reputation was undeserved. If Gotham did one thing well, it was produce bold personalities - artists and scientists and entrepreneurs, but that boldness was just as fierce in its missionaries and mystics and saints. St. Jude's wasn't the marble titan of Gotham's skyline because of a mandatory tithe or a club of wealthy patrons. It was built on the backs and the wallets of the city's teeming Catholic poor. A generation that had just bled to win the Civil War for the Union, a generation that had every reason to focus on their material needs and practice their faith quietly. Indeed, the Protestant establishment put up endless roadblocks; even decades later some liked to snipe that the effort would have been better spent on soup kitchens. In fairness, while the project's perseverance was heroic, perhaps its success was inevitable. If not for divine will, then because Gotham City loved nothing more than oversized buildings and Gothic architecture, and none surpassed St. Jude's.

That night, the Cathedral's heavy mahogany doors of swung outward with the slow pace of ceremony. Thirty-bell carillons tolled from its famous towers. St. Jude's massive pipe organ was only a muffled hum outside. Its joyous closing melody ushered a stream of parishioners through the doors and into the chill of the evening. They shuffled through the crisp air like figures in a silent film, shrugging into coats and tossing scarves over their shoulders. Priests shook hands and widows gossiped. Parents led restless children by the arm.

8:05 P.M.

(2 hr. 55 min. till the party)

A man and a woman eased through this crowded congregation and strolled down the sidewalk. The pair held hands, neither thinking much of it. They both wore heavy coats, the lady in a fur hat and the gentleman in a smart-looking fedora, their cheeks blushing in the cold. Most pedestrians hustled past, leaning into the wind, but the two weren't in a hurry. The lady, society darling Julie Madison, pressed closer to her beau and laid her head on his shoulder. She had a button nose and brown curly hair that was almost red tucked under her hat. The man, Bruce Wayne, scion of the illustrious Wayne clan, smiled and said nothing. Julie liked to think he had classically strong features, though his nose was a tad crooked, and she could tell he wore makeup some nights which was fussy for a man if she was being honest. Sure, he had a wrinkle or two or six, but he didn't look that old. She liked him anyway.

Julie was able to see him so clearly in the night due to the million glowing decorations festooning every eave and window. The sun had set hours ago, but the street was almost as bright as midday. Gotham City had a reputation as a dark, somber place where the only colors were neon signs and oil drum fires. Despite this, or perhaps because of it, Gotham celebrated its holidays with more pomp than a carnival, and no holiday put Gotham in the festive spirit like Christmas. The world bloomed red and green and gold.

Julie listened to Bruce whistle the organ's closing melody. She said, "I admit, I'm surprised you showed up."

"I'm surprised you asked."

"I'm surprised I bothered. You took forever accepting my invitation to the party later."

He smiled down at her. "It's my sneaky plan to spend more time with you." He wiggled his eyebrows. "Don't tell anyone."

"That's sweet. Really though, what's even more surprising is that you knew all the hymns, all the responses. I've never seen a guest follow the Mass so well."

"I actually mumbled and hoped no one would notice the difference."

"Bruce."

"I'm a very convincing mumbler."

"Bruce!"

"It's nothing, Julie."

"Why didn't you tell me you were Catholic?"

He sighed and looked towards the sky. "I'm not. Sort of. It's complicated."

She giggled. "You never struck me as the complicated sort."

"That's because I never told you about my secret double life. You wouldn't believe how intriguing I am."

"No changing the subject, mister. What's this complication of yours?"

"You have to understand, I don't tell this story very often. Or, to be candid, ever."

"My lips are sealed." She zipped her mouth and pretended to toss a key over her shoulder.

"You're lucky I can't say no to you."

"Aww."

Bruce paused to gather his thoughts. "The Kanes, my mother's family, were Catholic. Or still are, I suppose; I do still have a cousin on that side, but we don't talk."

"What about your dad? I heard the Waynes were super-duper Presbyterian."

He shrugged. "The Waynes were Scottish Calvinists, and, yes, joined the Presbyterian church when they came to America. I don't know about 'super-duper', but my family did produce a few ministers. One of them even built his own chapel in Blüdhaven about a century ago." Bruce chuckled. "He said he wanted to be a missionary in the wilderness."

"Ever visit the chapel?"

"These days it's a casino."

She rolled her eyes. "Blüdhaven."

He nodded and continued. "My father was Presbyterian too, but he didn't really discuss it with me. I usually went to my mother's church."

"May I ask why?"

"I'm not sure, but I do have a suspicion. My uncle Philip once said that my father made a compromise with the Kanes when he asked for their blessing to marry my mother."

"A compromise. How romantic."

"Apparently, grandfather Kane didn't like the Waynes very much. He and my father haggled, and my uncle believes part of the deal was that my mother could keep the children Catholic."

"So you were raised Catholic."

"I was baptized Catholic." Bruce corrected. "It was a month before my first Holy Communion when ... life became complicated."

"Oh!" Julie covered her mouth. "Bruce dear, I'm sorry. That was thoughtless of me to bring up."

He smiled. "It's fine, Julie. It was twenty years ago. Water under the bridge."

"I can't imagine-"

"And I hope you never do. But look, I have food on the table and a roof over my head, and tonight I'm chatting with a pretty lady. I'd say things turned out alright for me."

"You always keep your spirits up, Bruce Wayne. It's a miracle."

"I'm told it's the season for those."

"What happened then, if it's not too much to ask?"

"Hey, look at the time! I better go change my suit."

"Bruce, the party isn't for three hours. Don't play dumb with me."

"Fine. I lived with my uncle for at time. He had his pious moments, but he was uncomfortable pushing me toward religion one way or the other. He liked to travel, though, and I suppose I lost touch with my old parish."

"I thought the Waynes always stayed in Gotham."

"Not always."

"Didn't you have other relatives or friends around who went to church?"

"I had always attended the Presbyterian church if Wayne relatives were visiting. Come to think of it, I'm not sure they knew I was Catholic. After my parents passed away, my surviving grandparents on both sides were in too much grief to broach the subject. My father did have close friends from his congregation who knew me: solid Presbyterians, leaders of the community. You can imagine the type. And I knew a few of their kids from school. But I sensed an awkwardness there."

Julie frowned. "Did they look down on you?"

Bruce hesitated. "My father was too respected to be openly scandalized for marrying a Catholic, but I've always had the impression his friends saw me as the 'lost Wayne', the poor kid caught by those papists. I guess it would have been rude to try converting me after the fact."

"That seems petty."

"A few made an effort to stay in touch, but most didn't pay much attention to me until I started inheriting things." He gave a wry grin.

"And your mother's friends?"

"We never had guests over from my mother's church."

"That's strange."

Bruce sighed. "Sadly, I don't think it is."

They continued in silence for a minute. She looked across at him. "I hope you're not sour for me bringing up the topic."

"Don't worry about it. The service was ... a chance to reminisce."

"I figured the party isn't until eleven. Not even you work on Christmas Eve, and there's no point in avoiding each other all evening till beforehand."

Bruce smiled and winked. "I'm sure I could have thought of something else for us to do."

Julie signaled for a taxi. "I'm sure you could have. You won't be my Christmas Cinderella now, will you?"

"I don't know what you mean."

"Come on, silly. Cinderella? Has a hot date at the ball. Shows up and says hi, but halfway through the night she turns into a pumpkin."

"I don't think that's how the story goes, Julie."

"What?"

"I don't think she turns into a pumpkin."

"But you see the cut of my jib, right?"

"I wasn't aware you had a jib."

"I mean you know I'll be disappointed if you miss out on the party, right? You won't duck out like some flim-flam man."

"Don't worry, I'll be there."

"Because you have a reputation."

"What? Says who? What reputation?"

"Surely you've noticed, Bruce. You can't be that unobservant."

"What if I am?"

"Don't get steamed over it, I'm just sharing what I've heard. People say you tend to disappear on them. We're having such a nice time, I'd hate for it to stop halfway through."

"If you're worried, You could keep an eye on me at your place."

She grinned and slapped him lightly on the chin. "Easy there, Flynn. I have to get changed. You can entertain yourself for a few hours. Just make sure you're there, okay?"

"No problem, I know this one dame who'll take me to see her synagogue."

"Cheeky." A taxi rolled to a stop in front of her. Bruce held the door open, and she stepped into it. She blew him a kiss. "Don't be late."

He stuck his hands in his pockets. "Wouldn't miss it for the world."

The taxi pulled into traffic. As soon as it turned a corner, Bruce Wayne's posture changed. He stood taller and pulled his shoulders back. There was an alley nearby, one so narrow he could stick his arms out and touch both walls. Bruce coolly observed his surroundings and stepped into it, looking over his shoulder until he reached its center. He waited a moment to let his eyes adjust to the dark. Before long, he began to perceive every major feature of the walls up the four stories of the buildings. He had next to no light, but the faint changes in a shadow's texture were as clear to him as a road map. In moments, he discerned a route and started to ascend. First, wall-kicking to a second-story windowsill, then straddle-hopping to the opposite wall to grab the bracket of a drainpipe. He climbed up the drainpipe, reached out to a partly-collapsed fire escape, hopped atop its railing, then jumped and caught the edge of the roof.

Bruce peered over the edge. The rooftop was empty, and he couldn't see anyone watching from neighboring windows. He moved to the other roof and then continued to the next one and on further. Bruce moved briskly, not quite at a run, pushing his pace only when he had to leap. At the end of the block, an elevated track ran parallel to the last roof. He hid behind a smokestack and spied a nearby clock tower.

8:13 P.M.

(2 hr. 47 min. till the party)

Bruce studied its second hand. At thirty-eight seconds before the quarter hour, there was a moderate chugging noise coming around the bend in the track. It was a small train, just a three car coal hauler, the cars not much taller than a man. The city had a dozen of them. Tonight, the little train had a wreath hanging in front of the engine and giant wooden candy canes on each car.

Bruce waited until the engine and the conductor inside it passed his point on the roof. He took a running start and caught the rim of the last car, currently empty of coal. He crossed hand-over-hand around the back of the car until he was hanging over the end of the train. There was a short ladder here. He moved to it and crouched to the bottom rung. Bruce knew that an obscure feature of this particular model of open-top hopper car was that the its container was modified from an earlier, wider model. However, the weld points on the old chassis stayed the same, so a hollow tube was added at the bottom of the container to cover the chassis fully. The top of this tube was a flimsy shell meant to keep out the rain. Its corners could be bent by hand, and these coal trains were inspected about twice a decade.

Bruce popped part of it open and retrieved a drawstring sack. Half a mile later, he jumped to some scaffolding and climbed to another roof. There was a greenhouse here. He slipped inside and opened the bag.

A minute later, Batman stepped out into the night. He tucked the sack under an abandoned pigeon coop then headed north.

He was on a deadline.

---

8:29 P.M.

(2 hr. 31 min. till the party)

Sergeant James Gordon, decidedly not on-duty tonight, sipped a mug of hot cocoa and watched his family sing carols around an old upright piano. The instrument was often off-key, but so were they, and no one seemed to mind. There were many challenges to being a cop in Gotham City, and many benefits that Gordon chose not to take advantage of, but tonight there was one perk he milked for all it was worth: Barbara and Babs and James Jr. could play till dawn, could sing until they were blue in the face, and not a soul in the building would tell him off for making a racket. It was almost like having his own house. Now that was a real pipe dream.

James wore a curious red and orange sweater, far too wide in the collar and shoulders, but tapering to the correct dimensions at the sleeves and waist. It was last year's gift from his daughter, and he loved it all the more as visual evidence for how gosh darn quick a learner she was. The sweater was her first knitting project, and it was obvious she had the knack before she was halfway through. He didn't mind a chilly neck if that was the price for showing off.

The mantle clock rang the half hour, and his wide smile fell to a flat line. With a mustache of Gordon's caliber, this was a change visible across a stadium, but his family was looking the other way. He placed the mug of cocoa on a table and muttered something about stepping outside for a smoke. His wife at the piano nodded without turning her head.

Gordon paced down the hall and slid though the window to the his twelfth floor fire escape, quietly shutting it behind him.

"Nice sweater."

To that day, James Gordon couldn't tell when the Dark Knight was being sarcastic. He pulled at his stretchy collar and nodded. "My daughter made it." He looked up. Batman crouched against the wall of the landing above. It was an inconvenient way to talk, but they took the precaution if Gordon's family might interrupt them.

"So?"

"I got you something."

Sergeant Gordon found that a major obstacle to deducing Batman's identity was the mystery of Batman's finances. The Caped Crusader never seemed to lack equipment, and Gordon knew several instances when Batman had produced hundreds of dollars in cash, but it was unclear if that money was earned, borrowed, donated, inherited, stolen, extorted, or counterfeited. At least he was sure Batman didn't have a normal day job: the guy would've been fired fifty times over.

But whatever the source, Batman had occasionally offered to 'help' Gordon. He "knew a guy" who might offer a generous lease in a safe neighborhood. He could "handle" the kids' dental bills. James trusted his friend with his life, but he couldn't accept the vigilante's generosity. Perhaps that made him a hypocrite. He didn't care. He crossed enough lines, but taking aid for personal gain? When he had no clue where the money came from? That was wrong. Plain and simple.

Gordon crossed his arms. "We've talked about this."

"I know. Here."

A gloved hand appeared through the grille above him. James reached up and took a small, dense package in brown paper.

"Do I open it now or wait for tomorrow?"

"Does it matter?"

James chuckled mirthlessly. He tore open the paper, and his eyes opened wide. It was a beautiful tobacco pipe, bent apple shape, polished to a sheen.

"Wow."

"Hope that doesn't endanger your moral propriety."

James tasted the pipe. Briar wood. It felt good in his mouth. "You know, I think I'll live. Thanks."

"You're welcome."

"Now I feel awful I didn't get anything for you."

"All I want is information."

"Don't have much to offer. I gave the cold case files one last shot tonight."

"They classified it as a cold case?"

"They don't know what to do with it. How do you describe a bandit who only hits once a year?"

"Living on borrowed time."

"Three years running – this would be the fourth if he strikes again – same night, same part of town, eight stores a night, all missing as much loot as a man could carry in both arms, but never a single witness. We don't even know if it's the same perp."

"It is."

"You're sure?"

"Gut feeling. Find anything?"

"A moniker, as if that helps. Most of the papers haven't connected all the sprees, guess it's too random, except last time some second-stringer at the Burnside Free Chronicle ran a piece putting the three years together and calling him the Yuletide Thief."

"Catchy."

"Yeah, Yuletide Thief – bane of the Innsmouth Commercial District. Of course, the Chronicle is, what, the city's sixth biggest paper?"

"Seventh by circulation. Ninth by revenue."

"Small potatoes. Point is, the name didn't catch. But if he hits again, it's going to get a lot more attention."

Batman had heard enough small talk. "Did they set the sting?"

Gordon chewed on the end of the pipe for a moment. That answered it, but he responded anyway. "No."

Batman grunted, unhappy but not surprised. After failing to stop two massive heists in the same area exactly a year apart, one might have expected Gotham's finest to recognize the pattern and patrol that area extra well on that day the next year. Clearly they hadn't tried hard enough as they failed to stop the third heist. Batman had expected this humiliation would motivate the GCPD to buckle down and catch the Yuletide Thief this fourth Christmas Eve. He knew the Department could be relentless when the higher-ups felt insulted, and this circus of failure made everyone look bad. They would saturate the streets with plainclothes officers until a mouse couldn't slip though.

Except, now they wouldn't.

Batman suspected the reason, but he still asked, "Why?"

Gordon grimaced and spit. "Tojo."

Only weeks ago – it seemed a lifetime – Imperial Japanese warplanes had attacked the Pearl Harbor Naval Station in Hawaii. This led to predictable changes in law enforcement priorities. More cops watched factories and shipyards. The coastal patrol had tripled. New teams hassled immigrants and spied on political clubs. With the new demands, it was hard to justify an operation to protect a few department stores.

If that wasn't enough, the declaration of war caused a bigger problem. After Pearl Harbor, recruitment stations popped up almost overnight, and still lines ran around the corner for days. It seemed every boy in the city had enlisted. Eventually, the mania ebbed, then everyone took a collective breath and realized the implications. Their sons were going to war. This would be their last Christmas before boot camp. Possibly their last, period.

Gordon elaborated on the slim chance Batman hadn't gleaned the consequences. "Y'see, a lot of young guys have signed up to fight. Others are worried they'll be drafted."

"Police are exempt from the draft."

"We said that. Some don't believe us. Frankly, I don't blame them. War goes south and draft boards get itchy."

"And they want to spend tonight at home."

"Listen, Christmas Eve is never a popular shift, but this year we've had the fewest overtime requests in living memory. Everyone who can pull strings is off tonight, myself included."

Batman didn't say anything. No one deserved it more.

"And a lot of guys who can't pull strings are going to have whooping cough or car trouble or some other damned thing, you just watch."

"How bad is it?"

"Innsmouth has eighteen officers on foot and four squad cars tonight."

"Worse than last year."

Gordon shrugged. "I dropped a hint to a friend in their larceny squad to focus on Timm Street and Conroy Square. Made up some hooey about an anonymous tip. Figure decent odds he'll pass the message along.

"Good."

If most of the eighteen officers stayed together, they could cover a third of Innsmouth with the concentration it took to catch a skilled thief. This was an example of a new strategy Batman and Sergeant Gordon had been testing since Gordon's promotion: let the cops concentrate in one spot so Batman could work unopposed elsewhere. Divide and conquer. On the other hand, searching two-thirds of Innsmouth meant Batman had to do the work of thirty officers virtually alone.

Gordon slipped the pipe into a pocket. "That's all I know. Anything else?"

"Certain you won't join me?"

"Hear the music in there?" Gordon tugged proudly at his sweater. "Wild horses couldn't drag me away. You understand."

There was no answer. He looked up. The landing above him was empty. Gordon turned back to his apartment. "Of course." He was stepping through the window when a voice nearby said, "Merry Christmas, Jim."

Gordon jumped and nearly smacked his head on the window frame. "What!?" He stared back and forth, but there was no one around.

---

Innsmouth was an ancient town, almost as old as Gotham City herself. The town clung to a tiny, nameless peninsula at the edge of Gotham Bay and had changed little in its first several hundred years. It was a cluster of rotted wharves whose fortunes hung on the next whaling expedition long after the whaling ended. Innsmouth never really had a golden age, but the last new business probably moved in around the Battle of Gettysburg, and the town only grew more isolated and stagnant. Then Innsmouth suffered a great catastrophe in the 1920s. The details of the disaster had never been well-known, but half the residents ended up in prison, a sanitarium, or the morgue. The dying town was finally dead.

Innsmouth was reborn when Gotham City, which had long surrounded it at a safe distance, absorbed it as a new city municipality by act of the state legislature. Thanks to a quirk of Jazz Age economics, its colonial architecture and dirt-cheap rent brought in bohemians and antiquers. These new residents attracted a wave of quaint curiosity shops catering to the rare sort of people who had money to burn in quaint curiosity shops. Luxury retailers and full-sized department stores followed. In a sense, it was a shining American success story: take a decrepit, backwards husk of a village that suffered an unexplained disaster, add migrants and capitalism and bake for a decade, and the result was a world-class shopping district. And all that progress despite the Great Depression and the location's utter gloom.

Innsmouth's one season without gloom was, bizarrely, winter. Preserved from the march of time like an insect in amber, it was one of the few places in America with enough old buildings, old roads, old signs, old traditions, and old people to resemble that sort of rustic Northern European hamlet which the cultural consensus recognized as the proper site for a winter wonderland. Streets were cobblestone, the buildings were timber, and there were candles in the windows. Spruced up like a gingerbread village, it made the perfect Christmas shopping center. Few mansions could match the decorations of an Innsmouth gas station on Christmas.

9:20 P.M.

(1 hr. 40 min. till the party)

Batman arrived on the subway (that is to say, hanging in the wheelbase under a subway car). Innsmouth was miles from downtown, arguably another point in its favor, and was the last stop on its line. Batman made it to the top of a nearby water tower and studied the streets. If he had to pick any night of the year to commit a crime, this might be it. As Gordon admitted, Christmas Eve had a weak police presence, and many would be busy stopping domestic feuds and booking drunks. Plus, as irresponsible as the GCPD could be on December 24th, private security firms were worse. Batman could only guess how many factories and warehouses and shops and offices – untold millions in potential stolen goods - were completely unsupervised tonight. He wondered why more criminals didn't take advantage of the mess.

As usual, Batman was in the middle of other, more dangerous cases. He couldn't ignore this once-a-year opportunity, but he also hadn't found time to investigate it beforehand; he only knew what the police knew. He recalled their notes. Innsmouth had ninety-seven luxury retailers dealing everything from toys to wedding rings. In the past three years, twenty-four of them had reported losing merchandise and cash boxes on a Christmas Eve. Eight a night. That was extraordinary. Only the most reckless thief robbed more than two or three targets in an evening. Snowstorms on two of the past years made a car implausible, so the whole caper was pulled on foot. The simple logistics of one person moving and hiding stolen goods between that many targets on foot was formidable. And if it was a gang, the lack of witness reports was next to impossible. Groups did not hide that well.

That was especially important given the most astonishing detail, most of the stores were robbed while they were open. Batman rubbed his chin. If, indeed, the Yuletide Thief didn't repeat the same targets, that left seventy-three stores to hit. When mapped, the three earlier clusters had hardly overlapped, implying the Thief sensibly preyed on a different area each year. If one looked at a map and omitted a two block circle around prior targets, as Batman had, it left a mere thirty-one possibilities. After removing the neighborhoods the police would occupy, that left nineteen.

Nineteen stores. He pulled the list from a belt pouch. Now, what drew the perpetrator to the original targets? The cops hadn't figured it out in three years, he doubted even he could find the answer in an evening by pondering it. He had to investigate. Batman leaped from the water tower into the night.

---

10:02 P.M.

(58 min. till the party)

The Dark Knight raced down an alley. A large figure ahead was fleeing through the shadows, knocking over trashcans and other debris, but Batman dodged these with animal grace and tightened his pursuit. The figure was carrying a large bag, but he was deceptively fit, and desperation gave him an impressive sprint. Clearly the man knew the way, turning nimbly at the endless splits in the path to shake the Dark Knight's tail. It was a fierce effort, but not enough. Batman inched closer with every move. Finally, they reached a long narrow run with nowhere to turn or hide. Batman pressed the advantage, flying over the muddy stones with his cape trailing behind him. The big man stopped and spun, swinging his bag with a mighty heave, but Batman wasn't there.

Only steps away, the Dark Knight hopped sideways at the wall, kicked away to the other wall, then wall-kicked again, reaching such a height that his shins impacted the runner's head, knocking them both to the ground. They flopped and rolled several yards. Batman was on his feet in a moment and stood over his prey.

Looming demonically, he looked down and appreciated the supine face framed by a stripe of moonlight.

"Hello, Santa Claus."
Author: Batman 1939
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Simon_Jester
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Re: Batman 1939: A Very Special Batman Christmas

Postby Simon_Jester » 2016-12-17 08:29pm

...This is a very Batman Christmas.
This space dedicated to Vasily Arkhipov

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Elheru Aran
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Re: Batman 1939: A Very Special Batman Christmas

Postby Elheru Aran » 2016-12-22 06:05pm

Timm and Conroy references? I like ;)

Looking forward to part 2!
It's a strange world. Let's keep it that way.

Stewart M
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Posts: 114
Joined: 2016-08-22 06:09pm

Re: Batman 1939: A Very Special Batman Christmas

Postby Stewart M » 2016-12-22 09:25pm

Elheru Aran wrote:Timm and Conroy references? I like ;)

Looking forward to part 2!


Good catch!
Author: Batman 1939
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Stewart M
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Posts: 114
Joined: 2016-08-22 06:09pm

Re: Batman 1939: A Very Special Batman Christmas

Postby Stewart M » 2016-12-24 10:59pm

Batman 1939: A Very Special Batman Christmas

Part 2 of 2​


Santa Claus coughed. He had little breath left after being chased, and the fall had knocked the rest out of him. He curled into the fetal position. Batman looked down at the gaudy faux elf and pitied the felon in spite of himself. He picked up Santa's sack and felt a weight settle in the bottom. He turned the sack over. A few empty gift boxes fell out followed by a pile of emerald necklaces, a topaz signet ring, and a silver hatpin. All the price tags were still attached. Batman slipped the loot into a belt pouch and tossed the sack at Santa Claus.

"Get up."

Santa slowly climbed to his feet. In one smooth motion, Batman produced handcuffs and restrained him, then he frisked the Santa's outfit. He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his shoes, and his clothes were all tarnished with gravel and clues. But alas, Santa's pockets carried only some lint, a matchbook, a toy candy cane, and a mint. Batman pulled Santa's fake white beard to-

"OW!"

It was a real beard. Santa either had an impressive dye job or was very spry for a man his age.

The scheme had a twisted brilliance. This was not the first crime someone had committed dressed as St. Nick. Batman recalled a gruesome bank robbery in Texas years ago. That Santa disguise had allegedly done its job, avoiding the bank and the public's suspicions entirely, at least until Santa and his accomplices brandished firearms. That proved to be an unwise thing to do in Texas, but the outfit worked.

And that Texan Santa wasn't even supposed to be in the bank. This thief probably worked at one of Innsmouth's targeted stores or pretended to. A department store Santa had full access to the building like the rest of the staff, and they might work a different store each year. No one would bat an eye if they saw Santa smoking in the break room or leaving the manager's office. And as a temporary worker with strange hours, his breaks wouldn't be closely supervised. It was a law of con-artists that people aren't questioned if they seem like they belong – and no one belonged on Christmas Eve more than Santa Claus. Worse, the few establishments still open tonight were caught in a maelstrom of desperate customers and untrained seasonal help. A thief could probably set up a ladder and steal the chandeliers. And even if a witness came forward, what would they say? The neighborhood had no shortage of other Santas walking around this time of year.

If that wasn't helpful enough, no one minded if Santa Claus carried a sack of loot in plain sight. Of course.

Batman had seen enough. "Walk."

10:03 P.M.

(57 min. till the party)

Vigilantism had a bad reputation in American history. Classic vigilantes tended to be bigots who targeted minorities for "crimes" like voting or flirting. It was a dangerous mindset. Batman treated their stories like cautionary tales. He intended to seperate himself from those thugs both philosophically and in tradecraft. A beating or lynching was a simple task requiring no technique, but to arrest a fugitive and safely pass them to the authorities without being arrested? That took finesse.

Specifically, Batman tried to leave his captives in places that were: out of sight, nearby, safe for the captive (from the weather, other criminals, fire ants, etc.), easy for the police to reach, easy for him to leave, and near a phone. Finding a spot that fit even half of these conditions could be very difficult and he wasn't familiar with the web of yards, alleys, and backstreets that made this corner of Innsmouth. He would need to search.

Batman spoke not a word, but went straight to his work, down darkened back allys where ne'er-do-wells lurk. To find a keen spot he could fasten his prey, while mindful, of course, that he shan't get away.

His prey fell behind, though for only a pace, and drew that toy candy cane at his face. Its wielder exclaimed with an eye for a fight, "I won't let you take me alive, Dark Knight!"

With piratical flair, Santa flicked the candy cane, popping off the top and revealing a long switchblade inside. Batman looked down at the candy blade then back at Santa with a flat expression. More than a few Gotham felons had tried to pull a knife on Batman. Most weren't holding the knife three seconds later, and that was without handcuffs. Santa must have expected a more frightened response because he frowned and also looked down at his weapon. He hesitated, then hitched his arms back and threw the knife which bounced off Batman's shoulder. He turned and ran.

Batman usually handcuffed criminals behind their backs, but he made an exception when they might need to carry something or open doors or were too fat. Plus, if they ran, they wouldn't break their nose when he tackled them. In four paces, Batman reached Santa and moved to catch him around the waist. To the Dark Knight's surprise, Santa dived forward, launching headfirst into a wooden fence.

To the Dark Knight's further surprise, Santa broke through the fence and landed on the sidewalk outside. Batman followed though the hole and almost ran into a choir of children caroling. Most stopped instantly, but the more oblivious children continued their rendition of "Silent Night" for a few more measures before they noticed the tall, scary man looming behind them. The handful of passing adults looked on curiously.

Groaning, Santa climbed to his feet. The kids saw him and cheered. "Santa Claus!"

Santa smiled through a swelling lip. "Oh my, hello there. Dearie me, what a surprise."

Batman seized Santa's arm and made to pull him back through the fence, but a young boy with a missing tooth noticed the handcuffs and pointed in shock. "Why're you arrestin' Sanna?" The other children pointed and jeered, "Boo!" Batman paused, then turned to conceal Santa with his body. The handcuffs gently clicked open.

Batman put them away and whispered in Santa's ear, "If you ruin this, I end you." He stepped away.

Santa Claus stretched his arms wide to show the children that everything was fine. "Hey! Ho, ho ho! Don't worry kids, it's all part of a game! This is my good friend, er, Chester! He's a very special elf. We're pals!"

The kids stretched their arms out, "Yay!" Santa held his belly and laughed. Batman forced a grin.

Another little boy raised his hand, "Uh, Santa?"

Santa pointed at him, "Yes, little Timmy?"

"My name's Wilbur."

"Ho, ho. Who cares?"

"Santa, why does Chester the Elf smile like he's evil?" The other children nodded and agreed. A little girl added, "Super evil."

Batman's grin dropped to an annoyed line. Santa chuckled awkwardly and threw an arm over Batman's shoulder. "Oh, golly. I'm not sure. He probably wasn't hugged enough as a child! But don't worry. Deep down, he's as cuddly as a lamb."

Batman was perfectly still, his neck muscles tensed like steel. "Gee, thanks, Santa. But don't you think it's time for us to go?"

Santa laughed again, "Heavens no, you've hardly had a chance to meet the children!"

Batman knew what was coming, but he felt obliged to stand there as Santa Claus turned and shoved him. "Tag!" Santa was strong, and Batman had to step nimbly to avoid knocking over the first row of kids. By the time Batman stopped and turned, Santa was sprinting in the other direction. The Dark Knight's eyes narrowed, and he resumed the chase with a vengeance.

10:19 P.M.

(41 min. till the party)

They went up a ladder to the roof of an old hat factory. Behind it was a public park where visitors enjoyed a grand three-story Christmas tree. Santa leaped from the roof and caught the top branches of the tree. Batman slid to a stop behind him. They were hardly seven feet apart, separated by empty air. Santa glanced at him and grinned, still gripping the tree, but his look of satisfaction changed into one of surprise and then horror when he felt the tree shift. Even the giant pine couldn't support Santa so high up for long. Like a delayed sneeze, the top of the trunk where he clung began to dip, bending faster and faster until tree was curved almost horizontally. Glass bulbs fell and shattered like colorful grenades. The star toppled off and cracked the windshield of a parked truck. At last, the strong but pliable timber had leaned as far as it could. A shower of pine needles rained to the ground and so did Santa Claus.

The instant Santa let go, the tree snapped upward. Its tip whip-lashed towards Batman's face. He caught it with one hand. The pine was elastic enough to pull him casually off the roof. This time the tree didn't start upright, so it hardly arrested Batman's decent as he plummeted. His fall dragged the top of the tree into an arch. Once he used all the resistance it offered, he let go and surfed down the slope of the Christmas tree's lower boughs. Batman landed in a stumble but stayed on his feet.

Santa Claus was already on the move, weaving through the startled crowd. Near the frozen beach at the end of the park was a large sign:

Trustworthy Eddie's Large Animal Petting Zoo
Warning: Large animals may respond aggressively to petting.

Santa ducked under the enclosure rail and looked around. Happy families strolled through a line of wooden stalls stuffed with straw. He saw a bison, horses, oxen, a mule, then, walking on the frozen sea, a team of six reindeer pulling a sleigh. There was a driver and a small boy inside the sleigh, and a photographer nearby setting up a shot of them. A proud man and woman – presumably the boy's parents – watched from beside the camera.

Santa rushed out onto the ice, pulled the driver out of the sleigh, jumped in, and snapped the reins. The reindeer brayed and stamped but quickly started to trot. The driver tried to chase after the sleigh, but he began to slip on the ice. Try as he might, he couldn't follow at more than a steady walk.

Batman had arrived seconds earlier and witnessed the driver's futile attempt to pursue. Batman looked around. In the nearest stall was another large reindeer chewing on a carrot. Batman climbed atop the reindeer and kicked it into a gallop. "Yaw!"

The Dark Knight and his steed raced onto the ice and immediately slowed to a trot. Still, it was a brisker pace than the sleigh ahead.

On the sleigh, the boy was in awe of Santa Claus standing next to him.

"Hey, Mister Santa Claus."

"What, kid?"

"We're on your sleigh."

"Sure."

"So say it, say it."

"Huh?"

"Do the reindeer names."

"Oh, sure. Reindeer, right. Um. Reindeer. Uh. Now Dasher?"

"Yeah!"

Now … Dancer, now, uh, Larry and Vincent."

"That's not right!"

"Now Martin, now Hubert, and Gary and Winston."

"How don'tcha know your own reindeer?"

"When you reach my age, twerp, your mind gets a little fuzzy."

"You're terrible."

"I'd like to see you do better."

"Okay." The boy put on a scholarly expression and recited, "On Dasher, on Dancer, on Prancer and Vixen, on Comet, on Cupid, on Donner and-"

Santa shoved the boy out of the sleigh. He tumbled across the ice in his thick snow clothes.

Santa rolled his eyes. "What kind of name is Prancer? Stupid-" He looked back and did a double-take. His face went white, and he tugged frantically at the reins. "Yip, Yip! Mush!"

Batman was cantering towards him on a majestic reindeer. They both traveled at what might be a steady jog on dry land but seemed a blistering pace across the rough ice. The little boy, padded like a marshmallow, was trying to stand. Batman leaned far over, grabbed the boy under the arms, and lifted him onto the reindeer's neck in front of him.

The boy looked up at Batman. "Do you know the reindeer names?"

Bataman dully recited, "Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen."

The boy blinked curiously and pointed ahead. "He's not Santa Claus, is he?"

"No."

"And … you're not Santa Claus."

"No."

"But you know the reindeer."

"Yes."

"Then who are you?"

"Santa's special assistant."

"What does Santa make you do?"

"Me?" Batman pulled alongside the sleigh and steered to intercept it. "I enforce the naughty list."

Batman let go of the animal and carefully rose to a crouch on its back. He faced the sleigh and prepared to jump. The boy, now without Batman's arms around him, began to slip sideways off the animal. "Whoh. Whooah!"

Batman quickly caught him and straddled the reindeer again. The reindeer snorted and slowed.

"Are you alright?"

The boy nodded. "I think so."

"Can you pilot a reindeer?"

The boy shook his head. "No."

"If I left you here, could you find the way back to your family?"

The boy turned and squinted through the dark. They had traveled at least a quarter of a mile along the beach, moving almost parallel. Land was easily fifty yards away, far enough that the town was a hazy stripe of lights. Individual buildings and piers were practically invisible.

"I don't think so." The boy's voice took at edge of fear. "Please don't leave me on the ice."

Batman gently sighed and patted his shoulder. "Don't worry. Santa wouldn't like that."

Their reindeer headed towards shore. Batman frowned at the sleigh as it disappear into the night.

---

10:29 P.M.

(31 min. till the party)

Batman knew that if a person acted confidently and wasn't obviously breaking the law, strangers assumed that person was allowed to be there, that it was all authorized by someone in charge, no matter how brazen the act. This illusion was stronger on a holiday when strange public customs were expected, and it helped if the actor didn't stay long enough to answer questions.

The Dark Knight rode his reindeer briskly along the beach while crowds of Christmas shoppers watched and muttered from the boardwalk. Recovering the trail was simple. Six reindeer pulling a heavy sleigh could not cross a beach without leaving tracks. Sooner or later Santa would have to return to land, and he wouldn't be far behind.

Soon the boardwalk ended, and the beach crossed into the old part of town. Innsmouth was a dense community. Its lively hub of stores ran right against the dead husk around it. A block from the last bright boutique was a pitiful landscape of rotting shipyards and canneries. Many parts of Gotham were frightening, but few were quite as spooky. Batman had to focus his on the ground immediately below him, and still he could barely see the terrain.

But soon his reindeer started to bray and stamp. It pulled towards the street, and Batman let it lead. He heard the other reindeer before he saw them. Santa's sleigh was parked on a weedy yard in front of an abandoned library. The six harnessed reindeer were nibbling disinterestedly at the weeds or kneeled down to sleep. Batman slipped off his mount and patted it appreciatively on the shoulder. It pranced up to the others and nuzzled one on the snout. Batman wasn't sure how he would arrange to return the animals, but he decided to figure that out later.

Tracking Santa here was much easier than in the live part of town. Batman found a statue to some giant fish-creature in a public square and climbed to the top. There were no basements dug this close to the beach, so any hideouts could be seen from the surface. There was no electricity here; any heat would come from a fire or a portable heater, and he had never met a successful criminal that willingly hid in the cold. The town was full of windows, the moon was weak, and there was no other light around to distract him.

Batman took out his binoculars and patiently searched.

---

10:40 P.M.

(20 min. till the party)

Ambergris was a waxlike substance secreted from the intestines of a sperm whale. Captain Abernathy's Wacky Ambergris Emporium hadn't housed the intestines of a sperm whale in seventy years, but the building still smelled brand new. Batman climbed down one of the building's old chimneys and crept through its industrial stillness to the one room with noise.

He gently eased open the door and looked inside.

That was it. That was how the thief hit so many stores in a night. He was wrong before. It wasn't Santa Claus.

It was all the Santa Clauses.

Eight men in spiffy Santa costumes lounged around a makeshift clubhouse. A fire was roaring in the fireplace. Two played pool at a lacquered table with good felt. Several sorted through a haul of stolen merchandise on the floor. The rest were arguing loudly over drinks at the bar.

Batman recognized the loudest one, "I'm telling ya, he'll be here any minute. That's what he does, Paul."

Another Santa, 'Paul', snorted. "Please, he'll never find us. You lost him on the ice."

A third chimed in. "And it couldn't've been da Batman, cause da Batman don't exist, see?"

"Whoever it was, we gotta put that fire out! Then we gotta skedaddle. He's comin' on his reindeer. He's comin' right on us."

"Nuts ta dat, I say. Let me fix'ya an eggnog, heavy on da nog."

"Eddie's right. I'd like to see this tough guy go through all of us. We're the real steel deal."

"Do you see this coat? Do you think I belly-flopped on gravel for fun? I go away by the skin of my teeth, guys."

"Neeeh, if I didn't know betta, I'd say you was holdin' out your part o' the loot from the gang here. Maybe it's whatcha call an act."

"Why would I do that? Don't believe me, fine. At least let's call some buddies in case he shows up. We put in all that effort installing a phone line."

"No, we got to keep the line open in case Joey the Fence calls."

"Yeah, he might wanna do some fencin'"

"And y'know he takes offense if we don't pick up."

Suddenly, in a cloud of dust, Batman burst through the ceiling. In a blur, he handcuffed one of the pool players to leg of the table, stole his cue, and used it to trip the other pool Santa. One of the Santas counting the stolen merchandise stood first, and Batman threw the pool cue like a javelin, pegging him in the chest. That Santa was knocked off his feet with a wheeze, but the rest were starting to rise. All as one, they pulled Christmas decorations out of their pockets, all except the Santa he followed here. Then Batman remembered the candy cane knife. A Santa at the bar, Eddie, was swinging a length of shiny silver tinsel in a circle. He flicked the tinsel at Batman who deflected it just in time with his forearm. That still stung because the tinsel was actually an iron chain.

The two loot-counting Santas approached, one with a pry-bar done up in pretty ribbons, the other carrying a short hammer covered in white glitter and paint to look like a tree ornament. Batman started to brawl. The pair was surprisingly tough in their padded suits, but Batman soon got the better of them. He had disarmed one and was about to throw the other when the tinsel-chain whipped him in the back.

He uttered a short noise of pain, then was tackled to the ground. Heavy blows landed on him, but with a roar of strength, Batman rolled one attacker off of him and kicked the other in the teeth. Then Eddie Santa wrapped the chain around his neck. Batman bucked and struggled, but the chain was tight. The rolled Santa tried to hold his arm. Batman managed to fight to the wall. He ran two step up it and sprung backwards, knocking Eddie Santa over and loosening the chain. Batman turned enough to force distance between them with an elbow, unwrapped the chain, and used it to catch the incoming hands of the Santa that had fallen off his arm. Batman tied the hands together, rose, and flipped that Santa over his shoulder, right onto Eddie. They impacted with all the force of a man large enough to play Santa falling on another.

Batman surveyed the carnage. One Santa handcuffed to a table. Another tripped and wisely hiding under that table. Four too winded or injured to put up a fight. That left two at the bar. His original Santa and Paul, their evident leader. Batman turned and stared them down. Paul stared back defiantly and slipped on a pair of spiked brass knuckles with small bells tied to the grip.

Paul sneered at him. "You better watch yourself Batman, or I'm going to teach you a lesson with my Santa Claws."

The original Santa, who had kept his distance so far, rolled his eyes and slipped away through the door.

Paul looked at the door. "Hey. Hey! Herb! Get in here, Herb! Herb!" Paul looked back to see a fist coming at him.

The blow knocked him over the bar. Expensive bottles and glasses cracked on the floor.

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the room,

many colored glass shards were in need of a broom

The pugilists though, couldn't give half a care

St. Nicholas, for one, thought he ticked off a bear.

He understood now what led others to dread

as he tasted his lunch and saw stars 'round his head.

He gave what he could till one marvelous tap

soon settled his brains for a long winter's nap.

Then the mighty Detective who again proved his name

and his prowess at arms (a big part of his fame)

remembered the door and flew like the Flash

eager to take take out the last of the trash.

But the moon on the breast of the ugly old town,

showed the same as before; there was no one around.

He scanned but his wondering eyes made it clear,

This 'Herb' fellow really could put it in gear,

After running all night, he was still awfully quick,

And he'd get away this time, that wily St. Nick.

Mulling this loss, Batman gathered his calm,

and tied up the crooks with his practiced aplomb.

Now a call with a clue for the men of the law.

An address to arrest without working at all.

To the top of the roof! to the edge of the wall!

But carefully, carefully, carefully stall.

Returning for one last preemtive move.

When one arrives late, one must arrive smooth.

---

11:19 P.M.

(19 min. after the party started)

Julie Madison, now wearing a deep green evening dress with her hair freshly curled, leaned against the wall of the foyer with her arms crossed. The host, some cousin of a friend in show business, walked by for the third time since she arrived, but this time he didn't ask if anything was wrong. She didn't explain herself the first two times, and he was bound to get the message eventually. It was a lovely apartment. Julie would have preferred to explore or mingle with the guests, but she just couldn't enjoy it now. This was personal.

He promised to be here. Five minutes she would have expected, ten she could forgive, but twenty? She had to draw the line somewhere. The world didn't revolve around Bruce Wayne's lazy whims. Julie tapped her foot and looked around yet again. There were bells and bunting and mistletoe everywhere and bowls of candy on every table. Someone leaned their head out of the kitchen and asked if she wanted any wine. She politely declined. She would wait here by the front door for five more minutes, and if he showed up later, too bad. She could enjoy the party on her own.

Three minutes passed. Julie was about to stop early and forget him when she heard Bruce's voice from the parlor.

"So listen, the Pope is visiting America, right?"

Julie's eyebrows shot up. She quickly walked to the parlor and peeked inside.

A gaggle of guests gathered around Bruce who sat casually on a piano bench. He was wearing ... a Santa outfit. It didn't fit well, and the beard was crooked. Why was he dressed as Santa Claus?

The crowd chuckled at some remark, and Bruce continued, "Yeah the Pope. The Pope! So he's here in the States, and he's going to a big, important meeting, he's in this car with a driver. The Pope's on the road and feelin' bored. And he's in this fancy limousine , see? Chrome, dark windows, the whole mess. The Pope's in this limo, and he's so bored he knocks on the little slide, the whatchamacall, uh, partition. The driver hears the knock and asks, 'Yes, your Holiness?' And the Pope responds, 'Hey, buddy, I want to drive.'"

A frumpy lady in furs was incredulous. "Buddy?"

Bruce wagged a finger at her. "It's my joke, Betty. Maybe he doesn't say 'buddy', whatever. Then the Pope says, 'Hey driver, no one ever lets me drive since now I'm the Pope.' And the driver says, 'But you don't have a driver's license. Do you even know how to drive?' But the Pope persists and eventually the driver agrees to switch spots. So they do."

"Ha!"

"That wasn't even the punchline, Harry, go easy on those. So they're driving down this country road, and it turns out the Pope doesn't know how to drive. He's going about eighty in the wrong lane when he gets pulled over by a traffic cop. The cop gets out of his car and he walks up like a cowboy. Hup. Hup Hup. He moseys up to the limo and knocks on the driver's window. The Pope lowers the window, and they stare at each other a long moment, neither saying a word.

"Finally, the cop lifts a hand telling the Pope to hold on, then he walks back to his car and hails his boss on the radio. 'Chief, it's Deputy Jones, and I got a problem.' 'Yeah, what?' 'I just caught a speeder, but he's a big shot, so I don't know what to do with him.' 'Who is it? The mayor?' 'Bigger.' 'The governor?' 'Bigger!' 'Well, dadgum'it, who then?' The cop swallows then answers, 'I don't know, but the Pope's driving him!'"

The crowd laughed so hard they started spilling champagne on themselves. Bruce had already finished his flute of champagne (or had spilled it earlier) and sat there with a goofy grin. He glanced over and noticed Julie in the doorway.

"Well, ho, ho,ho! Everybody, Julia Madison." He stood and led her into the room with gentlemanly bravado. "Most of you have met her, and if you haven't, gosh, you're in for a treat."

The crowd greeted her warmly. A few whistled. When Julie had finished responding to her well-wishers, she pulled Bruce to a corner and rounded on him.

"Bruce Wayne, where the dickens have you been?" It was less angry than she had planned, but she felt it made her point.

He was all innocence. "What do you mean, Jules, I've been waiting for you."

She hated that she liked the nickname. "No, I've been waiting for you! I've been by the door this entire time. Why didn't I see you?"

"Well, It's not like I came through the window."

"Bruce!"

"Listen, how long were you waiting?"

"Since nine before the hour."

He chuckled. "Well, that's the answer. I've been here since 10:42."

"Doing what?"

"Changing into this costume, mostly." He tugged at the pom on his hat. "I think I got the wrong size, but the worst was figuring out this beard glue. Tricky stuff. Took me nearly half an hour. Didn't want to leave the bathroom till it dried."

Julie looked closely at him. His face did seem oddly sticky. "So then you start telling jokes in here?"

Bruce shrugged. "I knew you'd arrive eventually." He smiled. "I trust you, Jules."

She bit her lip. It was hard to stay angry at a guy in a Santa costume. "Why'd you go through all this trouble, anyway?"

"I thought it'd make you happy. I know you like these holiday things. It was the least I could do."

"Well ... alright."

"Grand. Come on, I think they're going to start singing."

"You sing?"

He looked sheepish. "Poorly. But I've been known to hum a few bars."

She couldn't help but giggle.

---

12:38 P.M.

(Christmas Day)

Batman sat unmasked at a desk in the echoing hollows of the Cave. His old friend, Alfred Pennyworth poured them both some tea.

Batman mused, "I don't understand why they decorated their weapons. They hardly worked as camouflage, and the gang couldn't have expected to show them off deliberately. They had never been caught in the act. Why go through all the trouble?"

Alfred shrugged politely. "I can only suggest, Master Bruce, that some renegades are so caught up in their own private story that they fashion props to keep to a theme, if only to amuse themselves."

Bruce idly sharpened a batarang as he pondered. "Hm. Perhaps."

Alfred sat and blew on his tea. "So, any other events of note this past evening?"

Batman considered the question. "No, that's it. Fairly successful venture. Found the culprits. Put most of them away. Returned the stolen goods. Minimal property damage. Tested a few investigative ideas. Supported good cops who now owe Gordon a favor. Returned ahead of schedule." He concluded with a content head-shrug. "No pressing concerns."

"Nothing? Nothing else novel in the past few hours?"

"Nothing." Bruce sipped his tea.

"Ah." Alfred inclined his head primly. "Very good sir."

Alfred could plainly see the big red lipstick marks on Bruce's cheek, but he decided not to mention it.
Author: Batman 1939
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Simon_Jester
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Re: Batman 1939: A Very Special Batman Christmas

Postby Simon_Jester » 2016-12-25 01:20am

Delightful as always.
This space dedicated to Vasily Arkhipov

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Elheru Aran
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Re: Batman 1939: A Very Special Batman Christmas

Postby Elheru Aran » 2016-12-27 11:03am

Excellent.

And I'm wondering if you plan to go anywhere... eldritch, shall we say, with Innsmouth?
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Re: Batman 1939: A Very Special Batman Christmas

Postby Stewart M » 2016-12-27 06:17pm

Elheru Aran wrote:Excellent.

And I'm wondering if you plan to go anywhere... eldritch, shall we say, with Innsmouth?


That would give away the game, wouldn't it?
Author: Batman 1939
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Elheru Aran
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Re: Batman 1939: A Very Special Batman Christmas

Postby Elheru Aran » 2016-12-29 03:09pm

Would I be amiss in smelling a certain potential inspiration from The Doom that Came to Gotham? ;)
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FaxModem1
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Re: Batman 1939: A Very Special Batman Christmas

Postby FaxModem1 » 2016-12-29 05:41pm

I rather enjoyed that. The rhyming throughout the story was rather enjoyable. Considering that this is the DC universe, I was half expecting the genuine article to arrive and encounter the Dark Knight.

Still, that was a wonderful Christmas treat.
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Re: Batman 1939: A Very Special Batman Christmas

Postby Stewart M » 2016-12-29 09:27pm

Elheru Aran wrote:Would I be amiss in smelling a certain potential inspiration from The Doom that Came to Gotham? ;)

Actually haven't read it, unfortunately.

FaxModem1 wrote:I rather enjoyed that. The rhyming throughout the story was rather enjoyable. Considering that this is the DC universe, I was half expecting the genuine article to arrive and encounter the Dark Knight.

Still, that was a wonderful Christmas treat.

Glad you enjoyed it.
Author: Batman 1939
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Elheru Aran
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Re: Batman 1939: A Very Special Batman Christmas

Postby Elheru Aran » 2016-12-30 10:05am

Stewart M wrote:
Elheru Aran wrote:Would I be amiss in smelling a certain potential inspiration from The Doom that Came to Gotham? ;)

Actually haven't read it, unfortunately.


You should. It's quite good as far as Elseworlds stories go (IMO), and the Mignola illustrations are superbly suited to the Lovecraftian roots of that story. It's also one of the only real attempts that I've ever seen to introducing anything Lovecraftian to the DC Universe (apart from mystical concepts like the Source Wall and some of the weirder aspects of Swamp Thing).

But enough of that, I agree with everybody else, well done, and I look forwards to any more that may be coming!
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Feil
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Re: Batman 1939: A Very Special Batman Christmas

Postby Feil » 2017-01-12 03:11am

I enjoyed this very much.


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