Rockin’ Around the DC Animated Universe

Hey! If you’re reading this, that means everyone is alive, and that whole Mayan calendar doomsday thing was hogwash! If not, well that means that I just spent my last day on Earth writing about cartoons to myself… But hey, that’s fine, I usually talk about cartoons to myself anyway, why should this be any different?

“Comfort and Joy” is an episode of Justice League where we get a peek at how our favorite heroes in tights spend the holidays. Green Lantern mocks Hawkgirl with snow angels, then follows up with an epic snowball fight.

As for Hawkgirl, she likes to go to alien planets to start bar fights. See, GL, you NEVER mock a chick with wings. They’ll mess you up, man!

Flash visits an orphanage every year to get them whatever toy they desire. This year, they just happen to want a rapping, robotic rubber ducky with a flatulence issue. He picks it up from the manufacturer after he sees that it’s sold out everywhere.

Then, without a moment to spare, Flash springs on to the road to the children for which he cares, when all of a sudden there arose such a clatter, it was Ultra-Humanite to make everything… badder? …worse? That doesn’t rhyme, dammit.

Ultra-Humanite thinks we’re all a bunch of uncultured apes (ironic, right?), so he wreaks holiday havoc on a modern art museum and breaks DJ Rubber Ducky in the process. They agree to a truce in honor of the season, and Ultra-Humanite fixes the farty duck toy.

“Santa Flash” and “Freaky The Snowman” present the newly reassembled toy to the kids, and when they expect to hear poopy, fart noises they get a beautiful passage from “The Nutcracker.” Bravo, Ultra-Humanite, bravo. For spreading all that culture and joy, Flash gets him a Christmas tree for his cell. Awwwwww.

So, how does Superman celebrate Christmas? With Ma and Pa Kent of course, and he brought Martian Manhunter home, too! This is by far my favorite part. We get to see Clark be a giant dork, which I’ve always enjoyed, and watch Martian Manhunter learn about Christmas. Here are the moments I dig the most whenever I watch this episode.

–Hearing Superman use the word “cozy”

–Seeing Zook, J’onn’s (Martian Manhunter) old alien sidekick from the ’60s as a stuffed toy on Kara’s (Supergirl) bed

–When J’onn plays Santa on a roof and down a chimney to restore a little girl’s faith in the jolly fat guy, there’s a small nod to J’onn’s Choco (Oreo) cookie obsession as established inthe comics. That makes me giddy as a small, adorable, woodland creature who’s had too much candy.

–Clark getting cross at Pa Kent as soon as he mentions that they used to wrap the presents.

–Superman trying to see through the lead-wrapped presents that “Santa” wrapped and laid out.

And finally, J’onn understanding and relating to Christmas by hearing a flock of churchgoers sing Christmas carols. The Martian Manhunter then pays the Kents back for their hospitality by singing completely naked in a window stroking their cat.

Mama Kent’s like “Whaaaaaaaaaaaaat?”

I love the holidays.

So, that covers all the Leaguers right? WRONG! Where’s Batman?! Now, to be fair, given all of Batman’s past villainous Christmas calamities with the Joker, Clayface, Mr. Freeze, Harley and Ivy, etc… I can understand him wanting to sit this one out.

Switching gears and changing shows to Static Shock, there’s an incredibly touching and powerful episode called “Frozen Out.” It serves as a statement on our society and how we treat homeless people. I remember when I was about 16 and I saw this episode, it completely changed my view of things.

When Virgil, a.k.a. Static Shock, tries to get into the holiday mood by going to a bunch of Christmas parties, his plans are constantly interrupted by a meta-human named Permafrost, a young disturbed homeless girl with the ability to create and control snow and ice.

As the episode reveals, her mother became ill and died when she was a little girl, and her stepfather walked out on them, leaving her to fend for herself out in the world.

The voice acting is phenomenal. Hynden Walch (Teen Titans’ Starfire) as Permafrost gives a tear-inducing performance. This episode is all about the simple act of giving and being decent to others, and how maybe we should all be a little more cognizant of people who don’t have as much as we do. Hand out food instead of spare change.

Hey, if you have twenty minutes, check out the episode:

If not, just read a few quotes from it that really landed for me when I was a kid. Happy Holidays, everybody.

“When you find her, try and remember this, she’s not some faceless category ‘the homeless’ — she’s a person like you and me, a person in pain.”

“When you’re homeless, people look right through you, it’s like you’re not even there.”

“This great country of ours is so very blessed, yet for some the blessings are out of reach. Therefore it is our duty to offer these people safe conduct through life’s difficult journey, to be their ambassadors of compassion.”

Wes Calimer is a Los Angeles based geeky writer and director who will now go watch his favorite Christmas movie of all time… DIE HARD.


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