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Batman 15
"The Loneliest Men in the World!"

COVER IMAGE NOT FOUND February - March, 1943
Story: Bill Finger(?)
Art: Jerry Robinson (?)

"Happy holidays to readers of our adventures!" - Batman and Robin! When The Dynamic Duo spend a winter night in Gotham City, spreading joy to little-known areas of interest, a mob boss is determined to attack The Caped Crusader and The Boy Wonder! Laughter and tears, daring escapes and suspense, love and danger -- all of these occur on Christmas Eve, when Batman and Robin meet -- "The Loneliest Men In The World!"

'Twas the night before Christmas... and all through Gotham... many were happy.... but a few were not! Out Christmas shopping, Millionaire Bruce Wayne and his youthful ward, Dick Grayson see a paperboy standing beneath a streetlight, and it seems to Dick that the boy thinks that the holiday will pass him by. Determined that this not be the case, Bruce and Dick hand him some presents from Santa... to his great surprise! The young boy's mom isn't doing well, and Bruce assures him that things will be fine when he buys his mom a big Christmas dinner, and many presents. A smile passes over the newboy's face, as he takes the money, and both Bruce and Dick feel ten time better than they did before. The millionaire is sad at the thought of many people who will be unhappy during this Christmas Eve...

At Stately Wayne Manor, Bruce knows that the boy has his mother -- but many people have no family at all. Dick knows that they are lucky because they have each other, and many friends who send them presents, but some folks have no friends at all. Dick realizes that for the lonely people, the holidays must be terrible, and he was looking forward to enjoying himself... He wishes that they could bring some cheer to the loneliest men in the world! Bruce was hoping that he'd suggest it, and figures that it would be a job best suited for The Dynamic Duo! The Caped Crusader and The Boy Wonder will be playing Santa Claus, and Robin realizes that they'll need some reindeer, but Batman knows that they have something just as good! Working together, they gather the items needed, and head for the Bat-Plane hangar, where The Bat-Plane soon resembles Santa's sled, with runners, sleigh bells, and everything. Robin knows that this will be more fun than anything they've done in a long time! Although The Dynamic Duo are intent on spreading the spirit of Christmas, there are still some areas where it has failed to pass... the underworld which hates and fears what Batman and Robin stand for!

The Batplane takes to the skies and Robin asks who the loneliest men on Earth are, and The Caped Crusader has three candidates on his list. The Batplane passes by police headquarters, where the lights are on, and they can give Commissioner Gordon some season's greetings! Inside, The Commissioner is in a meeting with Dirk Dagner, a mob boss who has been set free since the police were unable to find any evidence to link him and his gang to a series of holdups. Dagner tells Gordon that he'll believe in Santa when he reads of Batman's death. The Dynamic Duo enter through the office windows, with Gordon welcoming them, and Dagner trembling at the sight of them. As Batman and Robin begin to tell The Commissioner about their holiday plans, Dagner walks out... The Caped Crusader tells Gordon how they'll hold a surprise party for the doorman at The Crane Club, then pay a visit to Link Chesney, a radio comedian and the saddest man in Gotham... Lastly, they'll visit the elderly lighthouse keeper at Pirate Reef, who spends all year by himself. While The Commissioner wishes that he could go with them, Dagner is struck by an idea to give Batman the worst Christmas ever!

At the hideout, Dagner fills his gang in on the plan, while at The Crane Club, the doorman does his task, as he has done for the past twenty-five years... Ben Botts finds it quite cold outside, and he would like to spend one Christmas Eve inside with the rich folks, but even he wouldn't have such a stroke of luck. None of the people give him a second thought... they would be surprised that he has feelings... and he must be the loneliest man in town! (Holy Maytag Repairman, Batman!) Ben Botts is startled to see Batman and Robin descending from the ladder of The Batplane, with holiday wishes for him! He is equally stunned to learn that he is to be the guest of honor at the party inside! Ben wonders who will help the rich folks out of their cars, and Robin points out that if they can't figure it out themselves, they should stay outside! The partygoers see the three new arrivals enter, and the maitre'd arranges for a special table, while Batman gets their attention...

The Caped Crusader tells them that on this night, the club will remember their most neglected employee... Ben Botts, the doorman! In his twenty-five years of service, Ben has never been invited inside the club, and now all this will be changed! Ben wants to remain at his post since only he knows all the customers, and some partycrasher might get past, and disgrace him! Mr. Zang, the manager, apologizes for not appreciating Ben, and raises his pay, as well as honoring him as tonight's guest. Ben is moved, and two ladies wipe the tears from his eyes. Outside of the Crane Club, Dagner and his gang walk in... Dagner announces that this is a holdup, and that The Caped Crusader better not try anything, or else!

Ben Botts blames himself for leaving his post, while Dagner and his hoods admire the expensive presents. While Robin has outward regrets, The Boy Wonder suddenly has an idea! As Dagner wonders what the item in his hands is, Robin demonstrates the seat-cane by seizing it, and pressing the button... which knocks Dagner and a hood in the jaw! Batman grabs ahold of Spike, the diminutive crook, then sends him flying across the room with an uppercut! The Boy Wonder continues to use the seat-cane on Dagner's mid-section, but Dagner recovers, and draws his gun on Batman!

Ben Botts gets the drop on Dagner by throwing the roast chicken at his head! Dagner and his hoods run from the party, while The Caped Crusader tells Robin that the crowd is too thick to catch up with them. The party ends with Ben receiving a doubled salary and the doorman is having the best Christmas ever, with a grateful Batman thanking him for saving his life! Aboard the Batplane, Robin realizes that their holiday plans were almost ruined after running into Dagner at Gordon's office, and then at the party. The Batman figures that if Dagner is smart, he'll take the rest of the night off, but crime never takes a holiday! In his getaway car, Dagner tells his men to head for Link Chesney's place! Chesney is a famous radio comedian -- whose humor makes his audience laugh, while he remains in a gloomy state. He hates the sound of Christmas Eve, and figures that his audience forgets him when the broadcasts end. He figures himself to be the loneliest man in America!

Chesney hears the doorbell, and having given the servants the night off, he answers the door himself! Batman and Robin are greeted by Chesney, who appreciates their visit, but doubts that his own mood will be merry. He finds people to be cold and they have chilled him permanently, but The Caped Crusader is sure that there must be some warmth inside him to be able to tell all those jokes. Chesney points to the files where his jokes are kept -- ones he has bought and older ones with new angles, which are worth thousands of dollars, but lack any warmth whatsoever. Nevertheless, Batman is determined to prove Link Chesney wrong! Dagner and his hoods enter, with the gag file their goal! While Chesney is startled by the new visitors, Batman and Robin are knocked out by Dagner's hoods!

Spike and Nails tie The Dynamic Duo to the radiator, with Chesney to be the one to strangle them! Dagner's scheme is to have a bound Chesney standing on tiptoe on a stool, until he tires, and the rope which links him to the ones around Batman and Robin's necks will seal their fate! Dagner tells them that after he takes the valuable gag file, he and his gang will take a sea voyage. It will be Dagner and his gang who will pay the lighthouse keeper a visit, and a shipwreck will soon take place. Even so, The Caped Crusader would rather be where he is than where Dagner will end up when the law catches up with him. At Pirate Reef, Lighthouse keeper Tom Wick spends Christmas Eve as he does any other day of the year... as he walks out onto the balcony to check out the weather, Tom sees a boat headed towards the lighthouse!

Dagner and his hoods pay a call on Tom Wick, eager to spend Christmas with him! Seeing that they are interested in the light, Tom shows them the controls, and tells them that The Spanish Castle will be on the way, with war materials worth millions! Having learned what he wanted, Dagner slugs him! They plan to turn off the light and when the ship hits the reef, they will retrieve the materials, and sell it to the highest bidder! At Chesney's home, the comedian is growing tired, but Batman sees a way out! He uses his leg muscles to lift Chesney's stool, then tells him to jump onto his shoulder, and steady himself by the wall. Chesney succeeds and the chandelier falls, with Batman using some of the broken glass to free himself!

Freed, Chesney is unhappy because his files have been stolen -- the crooks are at large -- and his radio audience have not remembered him! Smiling, The Caped Crusader tells him to answer the phone! Link Chesney's face shows a real smile, as he hears the multitude of voices calling out to him at once! His fans are calling him from all over the country,and it was The Batman's doing. The Dynamic Duo set out after Chesney's files... and the crooks! Chesney calls out to the departing duo, and thanks them for restoring his faith in his fellow man! The Batplane heads for sea, and Batman sees that the lighthouse has darkened -- with a ship heading for the reef! With Robin taking the controls, The Caped Crusader heads over the side, and below, Dagner waits for the ship's imminent collision! Beneath the full moon, Batman swings onto the lighthouse balcony from The Batplane ladder, with Dagner's jaw sore from The Caped Crusader's kick... and his men in terror from the re-appearance of the supposed deadman! If he's dead, The Batman tells them, then they've been hit by a ghost! (Holy Casper, Batman! Those hoods are most unfriendly!)

Robin drops in on the shoulders of a crook, while Batman ducks a shot from Dagner! The Caped Crusader's punch sends the mob boss into the lighthouse controls... shocking him! The lighthouse is once again active, and many American sailors' lives are saved! Tom Wicks is the recipient of a Christmas Eve party, with books, a radio, and a feast fit for a king, but the best present he has recieved is the company of The Dynamic Duo. It's Christmas morning in Gotham City, with Dagner and his hoods gift-wrapped for Commissioner Gordon. During the day at Stately Wayne Manor, Dick wonders if they ever found the loneliest man on Earth. Botts, Chesney, and Wick all had friends, even if they didn't know it! Bruce tells his ward that they did meet the loneliest man... and send him to prison -- Dirk Dagner! Dick knows that the mob boss will never have a friend since he's all about avarice, hatred, and is all bad -- an animal to be caged! He will never have anyone say to him as Bruce and Dick say to their friends, "Merry Christmas!"

On the splash page, Santa Claus peers over the buildings of Gotham City, as The Batplane soars through the night air, and gangsters fire their tommyguns at it, while the good citizens tip their hats to Batman and Robin!

Carolers sing, Santa recieves charity donations, strangers wish each other a Merry Christmas, and while Christmas Shopping, Bruce and Dick manage to have their purchases knocked askew by a passing matron. A streetlight illuminates the loneliness emanating from the young paperboy, who is out on a cold, winter night. The gift of sharing, of compassion, and goodwill is well illustrated by the actions of Bruce and Dick.

The Dynamic Duo decide to play Santa, with The Batplane as their sleigh, and what a sight it is!

It's Christmas Eve, and Dirk Dagner can only think of getting his revenge as the best present he could ever receive.

A Gotham City doorman is on par with loneliness as The Maytag Repairman! (Holy Gordon Jump, Batman!)

Instead of a candy cane, Robin treats Dagner and a hood to the seat cane, which they gracefully take on their chins!

Visually, Link Chesney resembles Buster Keaton, "The Great Stone-Face!"

Lighthouses often play a part in Batman stories. "The Great Batman Contest!" from Batman #100 had The Caped Crusader scaling up the side of one, for example.

On another Christmas Eve, Batman was also tied to a radiator in "Silent Night, Deadly Night!" from Batman #239.

The sight of a bunch of superstitious, cowardly criminals being frightened by the sight of The Batman, not to mention being punched out by him is something else! The Caped Crusader even manages to have a smile on his face, as he assures them that reports of his apparent demise are woefully premature!

It's nice to see that The Golden Age Batman and Robin could appreciate the holidays and do their part to better the lives of those around them.

Steve Chung
"The Loneliest Review In The World!"