The Great Comic Vine Christmas Special

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Ho! Ho! Ho! Comic Vine! Merrrrrrrry Christmasss! Welcome to...

No Caption Provided
Get into it! ;)
Get into it! ;)

Herein you will find four tales taking place during the Christmas season, with varying levels of Christmas in each! We hope you enjoy them, and although we went for Christmas stories, we hope that whatever you might be celebrating this time of year, you're happy, safe, and surrounded by loved ones!

Contents:

12/10/22View: (Blog) (Forum)
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#1  Edited By cbishop
Some people have to work during Christmas. Sundown89 shows us that Nightwing is no exception...

Nightiwing in Mistletoe's Kiss

Bludhaven Water Works – 22nd December

Nightwing slammed feet first into the hulking figure opening the filtration system, his target's body rippling like water as it crashed into a pipe. With a growl that undulated through its neck, the figure got up and stepped forward. Bleached-white skin rippling again as it reformed into an approximation of human flesh, and darkened. The semblance of a black, long sleeved shirt forming above the skin.

“I was wondering when you’d crawl back out of your hole. Gestalt,” Nightwing stated as he joined his two escrima sticks together to form a staff. “You arrived just in time. I hadn’t gotten the staff at S.T.A.R Labs a gift, but you’ll do,” he said.

Gestalt surged forward, his roar causing his entire body to ripple before swinging at Nightwing. The former Robin ducked under the blow, slashing his staff through Gestalt’s arm. Spinning round, Gestalt went for another punch, the staff this time stabbing through the fist and into the arm, an electric shock arching through his body. His skin bleached as individual veins twitched and writhed as if they had a mind of their own.

“You know what we are Nightwing! You know we are the last of our kind,” Gestalt rumbled, his body vibrating with each word. Behind Nightwing, the severed arm collapsed into a writhing serpent that lined up with the vigilante’s back. “We do what we must to ensure our survival!” Gestalt continued as the arm struck, lunging towards the vigilante, slamming into him with enough force to knock him to the floor. As he hit the floor, the arm surged forward, pinning him down as individual veins popped into inch long white worms that began to crawl towards his face.

“I know that you’ve killed more people than the Joker, and that you’re a disease!” Nightwing snapped as he began to get to his feet, worms slipping down his body.

Gestalt aimed a kick to his unprotected back. “Only to the mammals, to your kind who banded together to destroy us!” Gestalt grumbled. Nightwing reached for his staff with his left hand, and felt for something on his belt with the other, only for Gestalt to slam his foot down on the reaching hand. “We ruled you through an empire of vermin- one that is not yet defeated!”

“Too bad you are,” Nightwing grunted. He removed the canister he had reached for and pulled the pin, caustic chemicals spraying out. While painful, the calcium chloride bomb wasn’t lethal…at least not to humans. For Gestalt however, parts of his body were calcifying even as the still living part pulled away, and slithered towards the door of the pumping station. Getting to his feet, Nightwing took the time to stomp on the few living worms left behind. As he did, the communicator in his costume buzzed.

“Hey, Oracle, now is not the best time,” Nightwing answered. He darted after Gestalt as the conglomerate of worms looked for a pipe it could squeeze into.

“I know. Are you coming home for Christmas?” the voice on the other end asked. Nightwing saw Gestalt begin to reform into its more humanoid self as it tried to crawl up to a window too high for its serpentine state to reach.

“I can try, but you know what this time of year is like,” Nightwing answered as he removed a second calcium chloride bomb and threw it towards Gestalt. The blast calcified its left leg as the head and torso of the composite being slipped out.

“Can you try Dick, it’s…” Oracle began to say as Nightwing vaulted up and out of the window only to see no sign of Gestalt. “…it’s not good," she continued. "Alfred he…he’s not very well.”

Gestalt leapt down off the roof of the pump station grappling with the vigilante, tentacle-like worms stretching for his face. “Alfred is sick?” Nightwing asked as he back slammed into the pump station’s wall, smashing Gestalt apart. Spinning around, Nightwing began stomping on the worms as they began to scatter in an attempt to escape. “What is it? Is it…”

“It’s not cancer. We don’t know what it is, but Bruce thinks it may be something hereditary,” Oracle announced. Nightwing headed to the electrified fence around the Waterworks to see Gestalt slither under the bars before forming into a torso with a single arm and half a head- all that the worms that made up his form could constitute. “I’ve informed his family. They are coming out to…I don’t know…they said maybe they’d take him back to the UK for treatment.”

“I’ll be there. I promise, Babs.” Nightwing sighed as he sprinted to the main gate before vaulting over it in an attempt to catch up with Gestalt. Rounding a corner he found the conglomerate of worms, all paralyzed and lying in a vague pile that resembled what had been left of its humanoid form. “But I might be a little late.”

**

Dick Grayson’s Apartment, Bludhaven – 23rd of December

S.T.A.R Labs had been prompt in their removal of what was left of Gestalt- the pile of worms still in a comatose state on their arrival and departure. Returning home, Dick had showered and then tried to sleep, but sleep was fitful. He considered Alfred as much of, if not more of a father figure then Bruce Wayne. Or at least a more consistent one, but now he knew he might lose him. Another parent lost to the cruel world.

Waking up, he booted up his laptop. His hands hovered over the keyboard, unsure of what he should be typing. He closed it. Sighing, he walked into the kitchenette before filling the kettle and putting it on to boil. Without turning to see the hooded figure dressed in brown rags, orbs of yellow light glowing in place of its eyes, he asked, “Tea or coffee?”

“Tea please,” the hooded figure wheezed. Dick turned to the window and unlatched it, letting the person inside. Pushing the hood back to reveal short, mud brown hair, and a mouth covered with a ventilation mask, the figure then sat down.

“So, Wisp, why the late night visit?” Dick asked the young woman as the kettle began to whistle. The woman, a scavenger calling herself Poor Will ‘o’ Wisp, was a contact that he had made on returning to Bludhaven after his brief tenure as Batman. She kept an eye on several figures within the criminal underworld. They’d met during an ongoing gang war between a Chilian gunrunner called The Chinchilla, and Tiger Shark’s right-hand enforcer the Red Piranha. She had been crucial in identifying the new criminal power structure in the city.

“Something weird happened down at Ujo’ Garra’s compound yesterday evening,” Wisp stated as she removed her mask. Dick went to the kettle and poured the water into a teapot. “Some of her goons were roughing up this woman, and then they entered a paralytic state before being dragged away.” She removed an old Nokia phone from within her rags and powered it on. “I got a photo…” she began to say, only for Nightwing to hold out a hand.

“Dragged away by what?”

“The woman, she pulled all three of them back to the old Bludhaven University Campus,” Wisp stated as she pulled up the photograph, and handed it to him.

Looking at the photograph, Dick saw a tall woman with long blonde hair, wearing a green dress and brown boots, a tiara on her hair with little leaves, and a hairpiece with white berries attached to it. “I’m heading out of town for a few days, but I’ll see if I can find this woman,” Dick sighed as he began to pour out the tea into two cups.

“Do you…I don’t know...want me to water your plants?” Wisp asked shyly. Dick shot her a look. “What? It's Christmas.”

**

Bludhaven University, Bludhaven

Nightwing stalked between the two greenhouses, his eyes glowing in the darkness as the winter sun descended. The university was abandoned. The council had long since decided not to fund higher education, and redevelopment hadn’t been scheduled. Peering through a broken pane of glass, Nightwing saw nothing but dead and dying plants.

“This is a waste of time,” Dick sighed before turning around to see the woman from the photograph standing behind him. “Or not. Okay, who are you, and what have you been doing with the people you’ve been abducting?”

“I’m Mistletoe,” the woman replied in a British accent as she placed her hand on her hip, “and I’m just doing what I’ve always been doing. Come take a kiss, and I’ll let you in on my plan.”

“I’ll pass,” Dick replied. The woman rolled her eyes, strutting towards him, her hand reaching for a golden-bladed sickle on her hip. Looking to disarm her, Dick lunged for her hand, only for his target to grab his arm, and slam his open hand into her stomach. Almost immediately, his hand adhered to her dress.

“But you’ve got to stick around. I’m having a party,” Mistletoe purred as she leaned forward and placed a kiss on Nightwing’s lips. With a great amount of effort, Dick was able to remove his hand, and blinked only to see the femme fatale now missing.

“That was seasonal?” Dick stated before shaking his head. He looked in both greenhouses for Mistletoe, only to see no sign of the woman. “We’ll finish this later, but if I were you I’d be making myself very scarce Mistletoe.”

**

Wayne Manor, Gotham City – 23rd of December

It was late afternoon when Dick reached Wayne Manor. He took a deep breath before knocking on the imposing door. After a few seconds the door opened, and Dick saw Alfred on the other side, his wizened old face smiling, his suit and hair immaculate.

“Welcome home, Master Grayson,” Alfred welcomed as he fully opened the door, allowing Dick to enter the house. “I trust everything in Bludhaven is as good as it can be.”

“As well as it can be, Alfred.” Dick replied. Alfred closed the door behind him, and the two men walked towards the kitchen. “How are you doing?”

“For my age, well, I’m doing okay,” Alfred answered. The kettle whistled as he walked into the kitchen. A figure dressed in a red sweatshirt and black jeans sat at the end of the kitchen table, and looked up from the laptop they were typing on. “Tea or coffee, Master Grayson? Master Drake?” he asked as Dick sat down at the table and looked at Alfred.

“Alfred, Barbara said you were sick?” Dick asked as a young blonde haired woman dressed in purple workout gear walked into the room.

“Miss Gordon said that?” Alfred asked as the woman wrapped her hands around the man working at the end of the kitchen table. “That seems far too cruel for something she would do.”

“I…I don’t know.” Dick stammered.

“Hey Tim,” the woman said as she removed a sprig of mistletoe from her hair. Laughing, he kissed her, and the room flashed. The kitchen was replaced by a dirt chamber, vines crawling up him and lancing out to a central orb, something moving inside. Seconds later he was back in the kitchen; Alfred, Tim and Tim’s girlfriend, Stephanie, looking at him with worry on their faces.

“Master Grayson, are you okay?” Alfred asked.

Dick struggled to sit up, Stephanie handing him a glass of water. “Yeah, just feeling a little faint,” Dick groaned. He looked past Alfred to the calendar pinned to the fridge, the date of the twenty-third of December crossed off. “I need to head down to the Bat Cave…” he grumbled. He walked out of the kitchen, and headed to the grandfather clock in the hallway. He began turning the hands to open the secret pathway to the hidden lair deep below.

The passage did not open.

“Dick, what do you think you’re doing?” a voice asked, causing Dick to look towards the door. There stood a well-muscled, grey haired man dressed in a suit, and a noble-looking woman dressed in a black dress, pearls around her neck. Both were staring at him.

“Master Wayne, I do fear Master Grayson has experienced a turn. He seems to want to go down to the caves below the property,” Alfred announced as Dick did a doubletake. The people before him couldn’t be here... could they?

“The old, bat-infested caves. I had them boarded up and fumigated years ago, after Bruce fell in them,” the man announced. He looked at Dick with a sign of confusion at the younger man’s request. “Still have those pair of ecologists submitting lawsuits against me every year because of that,” he added.

The woman looked up at one of the decorations and smiled. “Thomas,” she announced, the old man looking up and smiling. He leaned down to kiss her.

Dick saw the room flash again, and felt pain as the vines began to dig into his flesh, causing him to scream. That scream echoed as he woke up from his bed, the red haired woman lying next to him jolting upright. He didn’t even need to look at her to know it was Barbara Gordon, the former Batgirl and current Oracle. He looked around the room, and he saw no signs of the wheelchair she needed to get around after the Joker had crippled her.

“Dick, what’s wrong?” Barbara asked as he got out of bed, and walked past the Superman advent calendar, all the doors opened. “Dick? You’re scaring me.”

“This isn’t real! You’re not real!” Dick yelled.

Barbara slipped out the other side of the bed and got to her feet. “Does it feel real?” Barbara asked, her question catching Dick off guard. He nodded, and watched as she walked over to him, his eyes noticing the engagement ring on her finger for the first time. “Then embrace it. I love you.”

“Maybe…” Dick gulped. Barbara looked up, mistletoe vines coating the ceiling of the room, white berries hanging down over her head. “No…no, we can’t,” he pleaded as Barbara leaned in for a kiss, vines sprouting from her neck and chest. “Get off me!” he yelled as he ripped the vines away, pain radiating over his body. His eyes flicked open to reveal a chamber with thirteen earthen caskets arranged around a glowing green orb, and attached via mistletoe vines- a humanoid, female figure suspended inside.

Ripping the last vine off his chest, Dick saw the orb stop glowing and saw it open. Mistletoe stepped outside, the sickle already in her hand. Reaching for his own weapons, Dick realised he was unarmed, and instead balled his fists, ready for a fight.

“You weren’t meant to fight it,” Mistletoe hissed as she sprung into action, swinging the sickle at Dick’s legs. The normally nimble vigilante was only just able to stumble away from the attack. “Thirteen offerings for thirteen months of continued life,” she continued as Dick saw one of his escrima sticks lying among a pile of weapons confiscated from the other victims. “Not much in the grand sum of things. Not compared to a lifetime of humiliation and slavery at the hands of the Roman invaders,” she added as she swung the sickle again.

This time, Nightwing grabbed her arm to block the blow, only for his hand to adhere to her skin. “Wait, that would mean…”

“That I'm an immortal wood nymph druid, yes but only after the offerings to Maponos,” Mistletoe hissed. She grabbed Dick by the neck and walked over to the casket he had just escaped from, lying him down, his hand detaching from her skin. “You are very handsome. If the worm-ridden filth hadn’t been man enough to support me, and I wasn’t on a deadline, I would very much have enjoyed you,” she purred. She leaned down for a kiss, only for Nightwing to deliver a palm strike to her face, his hand adhering to her for a few seconds before he could pull it away. Chunks of flesh coming off of her revealed wooden features and oozing green sap underneath.

“No thanks, I’d rather not kiss under the mistletoe,” Dick said as he squirmed out of the casket, and ran for the escrima stick. His hands clenched around it just as the sickle came swinging down towards the back of his head. Turning, he blocked the blow, and pulled the weapon out of the nymph’s hand, the blade clattering across the earthen floor. As it did, the first light of Christmas morning shone down. It illuminated the greenhouse, the green orb solidifying into hard wood, and the vines dying back.

“No…NO! I served for nearly two millennia,” Mistletoe yelled. She wrapped her hands around Dick, and leaned in for one last kiss, her body turning into a wooden statue seconds before her lips touched him.

“Merry Christmas,” Dick mumbled as he broke the statue's arms to escape its grasp.

“Dick?!” a voice called over the communications link in his costume. “Dick, can you hear me?”

“I can hear you, Barb,” Dick groaned. He looked into the other caskets, only to see each one filled with bones entwined with vines. “And I’m okay,” he added as he fished up his other escrima stick and holstered them both.

“Thank God. We were worried when you didn’t turn up last night.” Barbara sighed in relief just as something large thundered overhead. “What happened?” she asked.

Dick picked up the golden sickle before looking up at the black bat like aircraft hovering overhead. “Long story,” he replied as he pulled a grapple gun off his belt, and fired up into the hovering Batwing.

“You can tell me when you get home,” Barbara said as Dick stowed the sickle in one of the evidence boxes within the aircraft. “After a kiss under the mistletoe,” she added. Her words caused Dick to freeze, pain radiating through this body from where the vines had dug into his skin.

“Dick, what happened?”

“Later,” Dick replied as the Batwing took off westwards towards Gotham. Down below, vines began to coil around the statue, its formerly pursed lips opening to deliver an inaudible scream from within its wooden prison.

References and Provenance

Nightwing/Dick Grayson, Oracle/Barbara Gordon, Robin/Tim Drake, Spoiler/Stephanie Brown, Batman/Bruce Wayne and Tiger Shark are owned by DC Comics as are the locales of Bludhaven, Gotham City and Wayne Manor.

The Chinchilla is an original character created by cbishop, who graciously gave me permission to reference his character.

Red Piranha is an original character created by mrmonster, who graciously gave me permission to reference his character as well.

Mistletoe, Wisp, Gestalt and Ujo’ Garra (Moon Claw) are all characters created by sundown89.

Maponos is the Brittonic and Gallic God of Youth

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#2  Edited By cbishop
Sometimes, you have to go to great lengths to find the Christmas spririt. As you'll see in this tale from Mrmonster...

A Suicide Squad Christmas Special

Life in Belle Reve’s Special Assignments block is weird. Unlike most prisons, our staff require us to spend at least a few hours a day at the gym, maybe even at the indoor shooting range if Amanda Waller deems you “low risk.” Newbies think it’s weird; they think Waller is out of her mind for not only allowing us to keep our skills fresh, but mandating it.

And then, every once in awhile, all that goes away when the guards come to your cell and say…

“Deadshot, you’ve been summoned to the conference room,” a staff member told me.

I knew the drill. I extended my arms through the door’s slot so they could handcuff me. Then, I stepped outside for them to shackle my legs. It was a standard procedure that I was long used to. I was escorted to the conference room where I took a seat alongside the usual suspects (Harley Quinn, Black Manta, Peacemaker, and King Shark) along with three new faces that I was sure I’d be introduced to.

"Task Force X, meet your newest recruits." Amanda Waller opened. "The man with the bear face is called Bear Face, he’s a mad scientist who crossed his DNA with a Grizzly Bear.

“The woman sitting in the front row is Wendigo Woman. She picked the wrong stretch of woods to consume human flesh, and now she’s sharing a body with an evil Native American spirit.

“The man sitting in the back corner is Red Piranha. He’s a former member of the League of Assassins who thought he could make it big in Gotham’s criminal underworld. Nightwing had other plans.

“Now, with pleasantries out of the way, let’s get back to business,” Waller said. “A sorcerer has captured Santa Claus, and is holding him in the North Pole. You must rescue him.”

“Hold on, Santa Claus is real?” Peacemaker interjected.

“Yes, but not in the way you might think,” Waller said. “Santa Claus is a being who spreads joy and positive energy throughout the world. Modern stories about him giving out toys are just myths.

“But anyway, a demon named Sabaac has captured him and imprisoned him inside his Arctic palace. We believe he’s keeping Santa Claus until his energy peaks on Christmas day, at which point we won’t even know how much power he’ll harness.

“I'm sending you to the North Pole," she continued. "Your goal is to eliminate Sabaac, dead or alive, by Christmas Eve.”

“When’s that?” I asked, completely serious. It’s easy to lose track of time in Belle Reve.

“Two days,” Amanda Waller said. “ARGUS will drop you off at an airfield in the North Pole. From there you’re on your own.”

______

After being taken to the base, we were handed duffel bags with our belongings and told, “Instructions on how to get to Santa’s workshop are in Deadshot’s duffel. One last reminder to the fresh recruits: we can and will see everything you do via satellite. You so much as joke about trying to escape, and your head will be blown off. Adios, y buena suerte.”

And then they left, leaving us alone in a frozen Hell.

“Team, listen up,” I said after taking a look at the map. “If we keep a good pace, we can cover most of the distance today, set up camp for the night, and be ready to storm the place tomorrow morning.”

“Can we stay in a hotel?” Harley asked. “I know the North Pole isn’t known for five star resorts, but if we can at least find somewhere with a pool and premium cable…”

“HARLEY!” I barked.

“Alright, alright,” she said.

____

We trekked all day, and stopped that evening for dinner which was just beans and beef jerky. We didn’t even have wood or matches to start a fire, so we just ate everything cold.

“How long should it take us to get there tomorrow?” Black Manta asked after he finished eating.

“About two hours,” I said before eating my last spoonful of beans, “and once we get there, we’ll…”

King Shark sniffed the air and said, “Something coming.”

“Everyone, on alert!” I ordered as the others scrambled to ready their weapons.

Moments later, bats started circling our camp. Except these weren’t normal bats, these ones had wingspans of eight feet or so, and had claws and teeth that looked sharper than a lion’s.

I shot two of them before saying, “What are you guys waiting for? Attack!”

Black Manta started blasting with his laser beams. Harley knocked one out of the sky and started beating it with her bat. Peacemaker took flight with one of his helmets, and began wrestling with them in the sky. And King Shark, well, let’s just say he got a good meal out of that fight.

Others weren’t so lucky. Bear Face tried to fight them, but he couldn’t catch any, and ended up getting lifted into the air and dropped back down from like fifty feet. I could tell just by the sound of his fall that it killed him.

They tried to do the same with Wendigo Woman, but she maimed any bat that tried to abduct her. I didn’t know what to think of her when I first saw her, but now I knew that she had real power. Anytime a bat got close to her, she’d reach out with almost superhuman speed, grab it, and rip its wing right off its shoulder. By the time she was done, all that was left was for Red Piranha to shoot down one that had fixated on him. After that, we were safe.

“Everyone okay?” I asked.

We were fine. A couple cuts and bruises, but Bear Face was the only one we lost.

“Rest in Peace,” I said as I looked over his body. Even as degenerate as we were, it always pained me to see one of us die.

____

The next morning, it was time to storm Santa’s workshop. Only problem was, the place was surrounded by more bats flying overhead.

“Harley, you and I are gonna sneak to the other side to plant explosives,” I explained. “Once the bats are distracted, we’re gonna dash back over here, and King Shark will bust us through the wall. From there, we’re gonna sneak inside and eliminate the demon.”

_____

The plan worked like a charm, and we soon found ourselves inside.

As we entered the palace, Red Piranha was immediately killed by an arrow that landed right in his neck. “GET DOWN!” I shouted to the others before a volley of arrows flew towards us.

“KILL THEM ALL!" an inhuman voice shouted. I didn't know what said that, but I could tell that what I was hearing wasn't human.

We made quick work of the elf archers. Peacemaker and I began shooting at them, Harley and Black Manta dashed in close to start dealing with them one at a time, and before continuing throughout the fortress.

“Who on Earth might you be?” Sabaac asked.

“We’re Task Force X, and on behalf of ARGUS, we’re here to liberate Santa Claus and apprehend you,” I explained.

“Yeah, I think I’ll just kill you instead.”

He then started tossing fireballs at us. We ran to take cover, all while he just stood there and laughed.

Nothing we were doing was working. My bullets simply bounced off of him. Black Manta’s beams didn’t even break skin. Even King Shark could not bite through him, and almost died just trying.

“You fools,” he said. “The power of Christmas will be mine, and from there, even the Justice League won’t be able to stop me.”

“NO!” Wendigo Woman shouted as she approached him. Something awakened inside of her. She and the spirit living inside her fully merged, and became an unstoppable force. Sabaac zapped her with lightning, which hurt her, but not enough to stop her. She then reached him, and ripped off an arm.

“AAAHHHH!” Sabaac shouted in pain. He then transformed his hand into a knife and stabbed her, but still, Wendigo Woman did not yield.

Wendigo Woman ripped his other arm off. She said, “Enjoy whatever Hell you came from." She used the last of her strength to tear him in half before she collapsed from her injuries.

"Wendigo Woman is down. Repeat: Wendigo Woman is down," I said as I readied the medical kit.

"Don’t," she said. "It's too late, I can feel it."

"I'm so sorry," I said.

"Don't be," Wendigo Woman said. "This way, I'm finally free from the spirit."

She then died right in front of me. The Wendigo spirit then left her body, and went flying, probably in search of the next unlucky person who gets tempted to eat human flesh.

We found Santa Claus, and let him out of his cage. He said, “Thanks. I’ll make sure you’re all on the nice list this year.”

“Yeah, good luck with that,” I muttered to myself.

I radioed Waller and said, "Santa Claus is safe, and the sorcerer has been eliminated. Please get us out of here."

“Sending an air rescue to your location,” Waller replied.

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#3  Edited By cbishop
SpareHeadOne shows us that for some, Christmas marks important moments in their lives...

Joy Unknown

Bells ring, Harps sing!

The trumpet sounds, Joy abounds!

For the news of the immanent birth

Of a boy who would change the earth!

For his importance Heaven would decide,

"Over him, a sweet girl will preside."

First Christmas

The baby boy cried, hungry for his bottle in the orphanage nursery. He had been abandoned by his mother.

Second Christmas

The baby boy cried, hungry for his bottle on the unfurnished wooden floor of his adopted mother's apartment. His mother was not home.

Third Christmas

The boy cried, burnt with a cigarette, watching his mother being thrown around the living room by a man.

Fourth Christmas

The boy didn't cry anymore. He sat on his bed mattress. He couldn't hear the yelling anymore. It was just background noise.

"Merry Christmas," said a sweet little girl to the boy.

"Merry Christmas," replied the boy. The girl gave him a gingerbread man to eat and kissed him on the cheek. He had never felt such love. "What is your name?" asked the boy.

"Jeanie," she answered, and the boy went to sleep that night with a smile on his face.

Fifth Christmas

The boy walked the streets of Gotham. He found a bakery. He stole a plate of gingerbread men, and began handing them out to the children who passed by, saying, "Merry Christmas," and kissing them on the cheek. Jeanie, the sweet little girl from his bedroom, was with him.

The baker found him and beat him for stealing his produce, but the boy didn't feel it. All he could feel was the love of Jeanie spreading from her to the people around him. He kept his eyes on her as the baker punched him to the ground, picked him up, and threw him down again. He smiled at her that whole time and when it was over he continued giving the gingerbread men away, and wishing everyone a Merry Christmas.

Sixth Christmas

The boy was in hospital. He had a fractured cheek, a broken arm and broken ribs. He could neither get out of bed nor talk without great pain. Jeanie sat with him and talked to him. The boy was happy with her by his side. He stared up at her in peace as she spoke to him.

Seventh Christmas

The boy was visiting the hospital, sitting beside a man whose head was wrapped in a bandage. He spoke with the man until the nurse came and shooed him away. The boy went and visited other people, and kept them company. He would tell them about Jeanie, and how when he grows up he wants to do a job that makes people happy.

Eighth Christmas

The boy was looking after his mother who was unwell. He would bring her water and pills. He would mop her fever soaked brow.

A man sat in the living room watching TV in his underwear. "Beer!" the man shouted. The boy brought the man a can of beer. "Well? Open it!" the man bellowed impatiently, slapping the boy around the head. The boy opened the can and beer spurted out, spraying the man. He rose from his lounge chair and began throttling the boy.

The boy began to laugh which made the man even more angry, and he started punching the boy over and over, but between every punch the boy could still be heard laughing. A genuine smile could be seen on his face. Jeanie was there too, laughing with the boy. Their eyes fixed on each other, both of them knowing that no one could take away their secret joy.

Ninth Christmas

The boy returned home around three o'clock, the time when his mother and the same man from the year before were usually asleep. He had brought with him a Christmas turkey, pudding, decorations and gifts that he had stolen. Jeanie helped him set everything up just right and she helped him cook all the food.

Later that evening his mother and the man stumbled out of bed, still too bleary to start barking orders. The boy was standing in the living room waiting for them. He had become pale with a kind of bluish hue. His eyes had began to yellow, and yellow could be seen in the crevices of his face. He had a bruised eye from an elbow the man had given him the day before, but he was dressed in his best clothes. "Merry Christmas" he said to them having already served up their Christmas dinner on the side tables of their lounge chairs.

The man sat eating his turkey meal, and watching a Christmas movie on TV. He took a moment and looked around. The decorations, the meal in the living room, the atmosphere all reminded him strongly of the only good Christmas he had ever had as a kid. The boy served them their pudding, and when the movie was over he brought out the gifts that he had carefully chosen with Jeanie.

The man, who was in a good mood, unwrapped his gift. His jaw dropped, and he inhaled with surprise. "A 1920's Solingen hunting knife!" It was the first time the man had raised his voice about something good. "My dad had one of these. He used to show it off to everyone. Man, I wanted that knife so bad when I was growing up."

Tenth Christmas

The boy was locked in a cupboard. Jeanie sat with him in the dark and held his hand. She sang him Christmas carols, and he rocked back and forth humming along with her. He was content with her and the songs warmed his heart in the cold house.

Eleventh Christmas

The boy sat with a man on a park bench, and sang to him the carols that Jeanie had sung to him. Jeanie sat with them and she hummed along. A tear began to form in the eye of the man. The boy stood up, gave him a gingerbread man, kissed him on the cheek and said, "Merry Christmas."

"Merry Christmas" replied the man, fighting back tears. The boy ran off, and the man wept.

--------------------------------------------------------------------

Twenty Fifth Christmas

Eel Obrien (Plastic Man) sat down to Christmas dinner with his new girlfriend Ramona.

Eel held up his glass and made his usual Christmas toast. "To the gingerbread man."

"What does that mean?" asked Ramona.

"Well," Eel began, "after I had been doused with the acid that turned me plastic, a monk took care of me. When I saw how a person could be so caring and without any expectation of payment, I knew I had to use my new abilities for good. But it didn't turn out to be as easy as I thought. First thing I did was to bust my old gang. All that money that I got back from them seemed too good to pass up. I had decided to keep the money. On my way home I passed an orphanage where I saw a young orphan boy. Immediately I remembered being a kid, walking the street with my parents on Christmas day. I saw a poor-looking orphan boy getting beaten up by a man. I watched in amazement as the boy picked himself up, and with a smile, he gave me a gingerbread man. He kissed me on the cheek and wished me a Merry Christmas.

"When I was ten I became an orphan too. I got beaten up often until I decided that I would be the one doing the beating. I learnt that everyone wants to take from me, and no one wants to give, so I decided that I would be the one doing the taking. I didn't learn from the gingerbread kid back then. But as I passed that orphanage, one million dollars in my bag, I thought about the joy in that little boy's eyes as he gave away food that he could clearly have used for himself. I thought about how he was beaten up and still continued to give merrily. I couldn't keep the money anymore. If that boy could do it, so would I. I donated the whole million dollars to that orphanage.

"So, that's why I toast my gingerbread man every Christmas. If it wasn't for him, his generosity and Christmas spirit. I would not be a good man today."

-----

"So," said a starry eyed young lady at the Christmas dinner table, "how did you two fall in love?"

"It was his indomitable will," Myra Mason answered. "After the accident he never once gave up, nor complained, nor felt sorry for himself. He worked tirelessly to rehabilitate himself. That was what I first fell for in Charles."

"Well, actually, I might have had some help with that," interjected Charles McNider, AKA Doctor Mid-Nite. "The truth is, after the accident I was very depressed- so depressed that I had plans to kill myself. I couldn't see, nor could I see a way to live as a blind man. I was just waiting to get well enough to end my life.

"But this boy came to visit me on Christmas day. He just sat with me, and talked and talked. He greatly praised a girl friend of his who he said had been there when his family were not. He told me how he had been in hospital the year before, and how his friend visited him and kept him company. He said that was why he wanted to come and do the same for others.

"This gave me great strength of resolve. If this boy from a hard background was inspired to do good by another's goodness, then I was inspired to good because of his goodness. I would be the best I could be. And that is why I worked so hard." Doctor Mid-Nite got up from his chair, gave everyone a gingerbread man, kissed them on the cheek and wished them all a Merry Christmas.

-----

The man who ran the Boys' Youth Club stood at the front and spoke to the boys who had nowhere else to be on Christmas day. "...I looked around at the Christmas that boy had prepared for me, and I thought 'Hell, that boy has never been given a Christmas this good, and yet he is giving one to me after I have treated him worse than a dog.'

"If that boy had not allowed all the bad things that had happened to him to turn him bad, then what right did I have to complain about the tough life I grew up with? What right did I have to pass on the poor treatment I had received as a kid?

"And that's why I started this youth club. And that's why we teach the Christmas Spirit all year round here."

-------

The ex-president sat in the group therapy circle. It was his turn to speak. "I was a sell out. I mean, all who reach the presidency are. By the time you get there, you are so spoiled by the wealthy people of the world that if you have any morals left, you have to keep them secret when you are around those people.

"When I started out in politics I was aware of the corruption, but I was stupid enough to think that I wouldn't be taken in by it. I really thought I was going to change the world for the better.

"By the time I was president I was addicted to designer drugs that only the mega rich can afford. I had already had many one night stands with the girls that were thrown at me at parties. I was in so deep that if I didn't do what certain corporate entities expected, I knew without them ever having to say anything that they would destroy me and my family.

"I guess I wore the mantle of 'corporate puppet' as well as most because I soon got used to signing off on slimy deals without any thought. I knew I was making the rich richer, and seeing the poor not benefit. I knew I was going along with biased corporate funded science studies in order to fool the public out of their hard earned cash. I knew I was funnelling good, hard working taxpayer's money out of public services, and into the already overflowing pockets of greedy CEOs. I just got used to it. I just fooled myself into believing I was doing my job.

"But it wasn't until they began pressuring me to go to war that I really started questioning what I was doing. Weapons manufacturers were getting low on profits, and began applying pressure to myself and the congressmen they had bought. On Christmas Eve the congressmen brought their advisors to a meeting at my ranch. They assured us that if the USA made a few public deals with the nations that bordered Bialya, that Bialya would be forced to attack the weakest of those countries in order to stop them becoming aligned with the USA.

"War would begin, and we would start funnelling taxpayer money to the weapons manufacturers while telling the public of the plight of the poor Georgians who were being invaded by the evil Bialyans. We would provide as much weaponry as Georgia could afford, and even give them weapons for free since they were already paid for by the American public.

"That night I could not sleep. Was I really going to approve the murder of thousands, possibly millions of innocent people? It was one thing to legally grift people out of their children's college funds, but murder? What would happen to me if I declined to go along with it? I couldn't be sure. I didn't want to find out either. After all it wasn't like I would be pulling any triggers, or pressing any buttons myself. I'm not to blame if a country chooses to go to war. Am I?

"We attended Christmas at my wife's family home in Gotham. I didn't eat any dinner that night, because I was so conflicted within. After dinner I took a walk in the park to wrestle with my conscience. Will I? Won't I? Will I? Won't I? I sat on a park bench and that's when the boy came along. The boy who saved the lives of millions, and least of all, my life. He just walked right up and sat next to me and said, 'Merry Christmas. My friend Jeanie taught me these Christmas carols. They cheered me up when I was in a dark place.' Then he just started singing, 'Silent night. Holy night. All is calm. All is bright...'

"And immediately, I imagined the Bialyans and Georgians happy in their homes with their families, sharing Christmas. Parents' hearts filled with joy at their children's excitement, and children learning the value of giving. The boy was still singing, 'Sleep in heavenly peace. Sleep in heavenly peace.'

"And then I imagined bombs going off in the homes of those poor people. Parents screaming and holding their dead children. A father dead on the floor holding a gift that his daughter had given him. Laying next to him was one of my old campaign posters saying, 'Vote for Peace,' and I was sickened by the picture of me and my fake smile.

"I wanted to shake off the bad feelings. I wanted to be as far removed from evil as I could. So I sang. I sang along with the boy with all my heart, and with every good intention I could muster. By the end my mind was made up. There really was no choice at all. I would rather die on the altar of the media than destroy all those lives. I would feel joy inside as my name was dragged through the mud, because I would know that I had taken a stand for the first time since I entered politics.

"Then that poor street kid kissed me on the cheek, and wished me a Merry Christmas. And after he left I burst into tears. The burden was being released from my heart. The pressure of that world was gone, because I knew what I would do. I would do the good thing, the right thing. Of all of us here, I think I am the most grateful to be in jail."

-------

Our savior of millions, our creator of heroes, our boy who was now a man, and had married Jeanie, his true love, was about to make his debut in the career he had chosen. The lights went dim in the audience of Pogo's Comedy Club, and the announcer introduced our man. "The next act in our Christmas Special is a guy who says he has always known from a young age that his purpose in life is to bring laughter and joy into this cold, dark world. Please put your hands together for Arthur Fleck!"

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#4  Edited By cbishop
This one's by me, and features my original character, Heironymous. Forgive the asterisks between stanzas- CV would automatically remove the spaces without them. Sometimes, in the grand tradition of the comics we have loved, Santa has to team up with heroes to make Christmas happen...

Heironymous Saves Christmas

Twas the day before Christmas! What was Santa to do?

Rudolph had a case of Red-Nosed Reindeer Flu!

"Much too sick to be flying," said the vet when she came.

He got a second opinion, but that vet said the same.

*

"What will we do?" Santa asked Mrs. Claus.

"The gifts must go out! It's one of our highest laws!"

Mrs. Claus just smiled. "Call Heironymous, dear.

Doesn't he owe you a favor for that thing last year?"

*

"You mean that time in the place with that thing he was after?

Oh, that was fun," he recalled with some laughter.

"But I do think it's really the elves that are owed.

After all, it was them that handled that load."

*

"Trust me, dear, call him. Heironymous will be here.

The elves will understand with Christmas so near."

"She's right, Santa, call him," said one of the elves.

"We helped him to help you, not to be helping ourselves."

*

"Well then," smiled Santa, "bring my phone, and we'll see

If he still has the second oldest number in D.C."

The elf dashed away, and in just a short while,

Brought Santa his phone which he unlocked and dialed.

*

Meanwhile, in D.C., Heironymous was bored.

He had been reading files, but at the moment he snored.

His partner, Rebecca Hendrix, just shook her head,

And sat on a couch where she'd read them instead.

*

Sometimes the paperwork was a nice change of pace

From busier days that were more of a race.

She had just started to read, and kicked up her feet,

When she heard a faint noise that would start, stop, and repeat.

*

"Heironymous," she called, stirring him from his dreaming,

"I know this sounds odd, but... I think your bookshelf is ringing."

"If we weren't here," said the dragon, "then yes, it just might.

Third shelf from the top, and fourth book from the right."

*

Rebecca followed directions, and pulled down the book,

Opened it up, and flipped through for a look.

There in a hollowed-out space in the midst of its pages

Was a sight that she thought must be one for the ages.

*

A small phone sat inside, it's ringer still piping.

It was scented, and glittered, and had peppermint striping.

She started his way, but he said, "That's too near.

Put it back in the book. I can smell it from here."

*

"But don't you want to answer? I think you just might-

The I.D. says... 'Santa?' You're kidding me, right?"

"Why would I kid about Santa?" he asked with a wink.

He pulled out his phone, and said, "They're both linked."

*

"Then why have me find this?" she asked closing the pages.

"I thought you'd like it," he smiled. "It's one for the ages."

Rebecca just smirked as she put the book on the shelf,

And Heironymous answered, "Santa! How are you, Old Elf?"

*

He listened for a minute, looking quite worried indeed,

Then said, "Don't worry, Santa- we'll be there. Top speed!"

He hung up and stood up, and said, "Partner, let's roll!

We've got to leave now if we're going to reach the North Pole!"

*

"The North Pole?" she beamed, throwing files aside.

Quickly she moved. "Now you're talking! Let's ride!"

He pointed. "Bottom shelf on the left, very first one.

Bring that phone with you, and we'll call on the run."

*

Rebecca did as instructed, and caught up in the hall.

"Why all these phones? Just synch them all."

"Not that one," said the dragon. "Not on your life.

That phone is the one that's meant for my wife."

*

"That monkey you married?" she laughed, making fun.

Heironymous frowned slightly, but said, "That's the one."

Hendrix laughed again, then stopped. "Wait, but that's--"

"--Yes, the very same one that's in the Volcanic Flats."

*

Rebecca danced a quick step while clapping her hands.

Sounding downright giddy she squeaked, "The Fairylands?!"

"Yes, and before you ask, we will stop in Oz,

But only just briefly, because we have to reach Claus."

*

Hendrix drummed her hands on Heironymous, before cheering, "Let's go!

Maybe we'll get a chance to play with elves in the snow!"

She ran ahead to the elevator while he rolled his eyes,

But chuckled and said, "You don't want a snowball fight with those guys."

*

So, they called ahead to the wife, and then to Glinda the Good,

And she got them there as quick as any good witch would.

He looked to Princess Emma after he explained the situation,

and said, "How's a visit to Santa's Village sound for a vacation?"

*

Emma beamed brightly, and asked, "Ozma, please? Can I go?"

"Look at that smile," Ozma laughed. "Dare I say no?"

So, they skipped down Red Brick Road, and quicker-than-that

They soon found themselves standing in the Volcanic Flats.

*

Brought before his wife, she said, "Heironymous! Sweetie!"

"Swingy-Dingy," he grinned. "It's time to honor our treaty."

"We're all ready to go," the monkey said brightly.

Then she jumped to his shoulder and hugged his neck tightly.

*

Heironymous blushed, Hendrix and Emma just laughed,

And they were soon once again on their way down the path.

"We'll get there faster this way," Emma said, making a portal.

She gave a shy grin. "Glinda says I'm 'good for a mortal'."

*

Coming out of the portal, they were in the North Pole.

The Village was bright, and cheery, and cold!

They were taken to Santa who was loading his sleigh,

and he said, "Oh, Heironymous! We've lost so much day!"

*

"Not to worry, Saint Nick, we'll get them all out.

That's why all these Fire Monkeys here are about.

They can fly, and breathe flame, and they light their own way.

They can take some of the gifts, and then we'll take the sleigh!"

*

"Why, Heironymous, dear dragon! That's splendid, indeed!

They can each team with an elf for some much-needed speed!"

He hugged the dragon, the monkey, Rebecca, and Emma,

Happy to see an end to this Christmas dilemma.

*

"Wait," said Rebecca, "I can do just the same!

I am strong, I can fly, and I even breathe flame!

Team me with an elf for some much-needed speed--"

"--And this will go even faster!" Santa agreed.

*

They all got to work, and the air filled with laughter,

And each of them knew they would all be friends after.

Everyone ready, and all knew what to do,

Emma made portals, and sent them all through.

*

Santa was amazed at the sight of the portal.

And said, "Glinda is right- she's good for a mortal.

Dear girl," Santa said, "you're good, and quite clever!

This just might land you on the Good List forever!"

*

So, with the gifts all divided, and each team away,

They at last turned their attention back to the sleigh.

"This is what's left, and that's up to me,

But you know, without Rudolph, it'll be hard to see."

*

"That's why I'm here," Heironymous said with a grin.

"We've got this Santa, so strap yourself in!"

Heironymous changed form, and can you imagine the sight?

Santa’s sled had eight tiny reindeer and a dragon that night!

*

He was strong, and could fly, and could even breathe flame,

So, what Rebecca and the rest did, he did the same!

"Heironymous," called Santa, "with your flame so bright!

Thank you for guiding my sleigh tonight!"

*

Heironymous beat his wings, and gave a loud roar,

And it was a great sight indeed to see that team soar!

They flew through the night, and made all of their rounds

Then back to the Pole where they finally touched down.

*

They celebrated and cheered, and to Rebecca's delight,

They played with elves in the snow before leaving that night.

The snowballing was epic, as Heironymous did say,

But not quite so one-sided with Fire Monkeys in play.

*

At last, Hendrix said, "I don't want this to end,

But I have to get back for my family and friends."

"Right you are," Santa said, happy tears in his eyes.

They hugged, exchanged numbers, and said their goodbyes.

*

Emma made a portal, and 'fore it winked out of sight,

Santa called, "Merry Christmas to all! Thanks for the great night!"

They retraced all their steps back the way they had roamed-

Past the Flats, back to Oz, and then they were sent home.

*

Heironymous and Hendrix, now back in D.C.,

Found two cards and two gifts waiting under a tree.

Both of them thought it a wonderful sight-

A great start to Christmas, and end to their night.

*

THE END

-cbishop

December 10, 2022

Merry Christmas!

Notes:

Story and original characters owned by Chris Bishop, copyright 2022.

Heironymous, Rebecca Hendrix, Princess Emma, The Volcanic Flats, Swingy-Dingy, Fire Monkeys, Heironymous' office and phones, and the Fairylands (my version) were all created by Chris Bishop (cbishop).

The Red Brick Road was plucked out of The Wizard of Oz movie and made a thing by Wildvine.

Oz, Princess Ozma, and Glinda the Good were created by L. Frank Baum.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was created by Johnny Marks.

Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus, Santa's Elves, Santa's Sleigh, Santa's Reindeer, Santa's Village, and the North Pole are all Public Domain (or gosh, I sure hope so).

D.C. (Washington, D.C.) is a non-fictional place (or gosh, I sure hope so).

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#5  Edited By cbishop
No Caption Provided

That's it for The Great Comic Vine Christmas Special- hope you enjoyed it! Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays, everyone!

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#6  Edited By cbishop
The Great Comic Vine Christmas Special
The Great Comic Vine Christmas Special

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batkevin74

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Woo hoo front page :)

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Watcer

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Great idea.

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owie

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#15 owie  Moderator

Love it.

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cbishop

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Woo hoo front page :)

I'm not gonna lie- I think it's kinda cool. :^D

@watcer said:

Great idea.

Thank owie- all his idea. :)

@owie said:

Love it.

Thanks for the idea! You got us here! :)

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arekdr

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Super !!!

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@cbishop: Hi buddy.....

Nice work. It is a super fun read in light of getting ready for Christmas.

Now we just have to add the Finale....... Let's get every character from the tale to dance in one big Christmas music video

Like this:

how the saints saved christmas final scene - Google Search(starts at 12:10)

Anyways never mind ...... I am probably going crazy myself.....

No Caption Provided

Have a great Chirstmas everyone. Early wishes from me!!!

---> Offender-Tron out

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cbishop

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@vidi15king: The link doesn't work, presumably because it's for the UK (I'm Stateside). Merry Christmas anyway! :)

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@cbishop: Oh, my didn't see that one coming. Yeah, I'm from UK

Anyways Merry Christmas

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Fantastic work everyone. I hope to see more member-based content on the front page next year

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@wildvine said:

Fantastic work everyone. I hope to see more member-based content on the front page next year

Thanks, Wv. <3 Missed your face in this! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! :)