#8 on the countdown is “Wanted: Santa Claus – Dead or Alive!” from DC Special Series #21 by Denny O’Neil, Frank Miller and Steve Mitchell.
Miller was just a couple of months into his historic run on Daredevil when this story saw publication.
Anyhow, it opens with the star from the Gotham City Nativity getting stolen.
Batman is investigating other Christmas-related crime when he discovers that a famous safe cracker is working as a department store Santa Claus. Batman rightly guesses that the crook is planning on robbing the store. However, “Santa” has changed his mind about robbing the store, which does not sit well with his erstwhile compatriots…
Batman hears gun fire and heads to find “Santa” before his former friends succeed in killing him. Batman is having no luck when, suddenly, he sees “Santa”! How did he see him? Why, it was by the light of the missing star!
Or WAS it? As you will see later on, that’s a common riff. “Batman is saved by something normal…or was it a Christmas miracle?” You can’t see a whole lot of peak Frank Miller in these pages, but on some of them, you can ALMOST see his Batman from his Dark Knight Returns. These are still excellent pages by Miller and the great Steve Mitchell.
This was printed in a special comic filled with Christmas stories. It has the classic Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez cover with the various characters all headed for the Star of Bethlehem. There’s a great Legion story in there drawn by Garcia-Lopez involving said star. It’s one of the best Christmas comic book collections around. DC tends to eke out Marvel when it comes to classic Christmas one-shots.
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