Batman and Santa Claus – A Comparison

Since today is my birthday, I’ve decided to write about anything that strikes my fancy.  Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about the similarities between these two iconic and powerful characters.  Now I know what you’re thinking, but there are a LOT more similarities than one might think.

Lets start with the basics:  Both St. Nicholas and Bruce Wayne are wealthy philanthropists who use their power and influence to encourage others to obey the accepted rules of a societal system.  Both believe themselves to be of the highest moral authority, especially Batman (I tend to agree on this point).  Both are nocturnal, except in very rare instances.   Both use fear, intimidation and coercion to force others to be better people.  Their methods might be a BIT different, but the core of the M.O. is there:  “Be good, or else.”

I think a big misconception about Santa is that he uses bribery.  This is not true, for the simple fact that, for Santa, “Good little children” is the status quo.  He expects and assumes that most if not all children WILL be good; that they ARE good.  He believes in the goodness in all children, in all people.  Even if you were kind of bad one year, you were likely gonna get SOMETHING from him under the tree.  It is only when a child is REALLY or CONSISTENTLY bad, breaking with the norm, that they get nothing or coal.  Presents from Santa are NOT bribery and are more about his own desire to GIVE gifts and see little children smile.  Nothing, or a lump of coal is Santa’s equivalent to Batman creeping up on you in a dark alley and beating the shit out of you, because you broke the law.

Which brings me to another big similarity:  Santa and Batman are both nocturnal and achieve their goals with only a few lucky individuals having even seen them.   Most people only see the results of their night time good deeds, whether it’s children coming down the stairs to find a special gift just for them under the tree, or the poor tired Commissioner  Gordon finding yet another Gotham perp hanging from a lamp post, or tied to their accomplices.

They see you when you’re sleeping, they know when you’re awake.  They know if you’ve been bad or good, so be good or you’ll get a concussion.  Both Batman and Santa Claus, through the use of some craft they possess, seem to always know who’s been naughty and nice.  In the case of Batman, it’s an immensely vast security network and a plethora of informants.  In the case of Santa Claus it is a veritable army of invisible elves that report to him on the behavior of EVERY child on the planet.  Not to mention Hugin and Munin.  Another interesting similarity?  Neither of them give a damn about your privacy.

Batman maintains a hideout where he spends all day training in martial arts, making advanced crime fighting gadgets, investigating crimes and brooding.  Santa Claus has a fortress at the north pole where he spends all year eating cookies and cakes, making toys, reviewing his list and being jolly.  Ok those aren’t exactly similar things, but they both have super secret bases where they keep their straight up bitchin’ rides.  The Batmobile is like the ONLY car I’ve ever wanted to drive.  Though I think the sleigh trumps it, being emissions-free and all.

Both are utterly recognizable by both children and adults almost everywhere.  Interestingly enough, Batman may be MORE recognizable world-wide than the Right Jolly Old Elf.  Either way, when you see either of them, you know it and you feel immediately better than you did before.  At least I do anyway.  I mean, how could seeing either of them be a BAD thing?  I mean, unless you’ve been naughty…..have you?  Cause if you have and you see Batman…just…just lie down and give up or something.  Don’t try and run.  ESPECIALLY if you see them both, cause while it isn’t Santa’s like, regular gig, even money is on him helping the Dark Knight take your ass down.  You’ve got no chance at all.

Also there is selflessness.  It takes a lot of energy to be Santa Claus, even more to be Batman.  Both figures offer up their whole beings to be what they are.  Granted both of them enjoy what they do, but probably not all the time.  When Batman bites down on a belt while Alfred relocates his shoulder after a fight with Killer Croc, I bet he has second thoughts.  Just like when Santa gets stuck in another heating vent, because NOBODY USES REGULAR DAMN CHIMNEYS ANYMORE and has to call Blitzen to yank his ass out of there, he might be thinking about retirement.  But they keep doing it.  They keep on keeping on, because……well because we need them to.  Because we need to believe that goodness is rewarded and badness or evil is punished; that there are guardians who watch over us and protect us.

Which brings me to the most important similarity.  Batman and Santa Claus are both REAL.  We all know Santa is real, that goes without saying, but……I’ve been thinking about this for a long time and believing it for almost as long.  Batman has become real.  As real as Santa is.  The spirit of Batman, of the Dark Knight lives within us.  Whenever you see a crime being committed and you intervene, or even call the police instead of moving on and not getting involved….you’re Batman.  Whenever your kids stand up to bullies in school, not because they are picking on THEM, but because they are picking on someone else….they’re Batman.  Whenever you do the right thing, in spite of it being difficult or not particularly good for you at the time…’re Batman.

But you have to WANT it, too.  It’s like wearing a Santa suit.  You can put it on and not FEEL the spirit of Santa within you and you’re just some guy in a Santa suit.  But if you feel that spirit, let it into you and want it to be a part of you, you BECOME Santa.  The same is true for donning the cowl of the Dark Knight.  If you put it on and let the spirit of Batman into you….you become Batman.  Even if you are just making some sick kids feel better for an afternoon.  You ARE Batman.  Anyone who’s ever worn these suits knows it’s true.

The final similarity I offer is more just something they have in common.  They are both great role models.  As far as looking for someone to look up to, or someone for your kids to look up to and want to emulate, you can do a hell of a lot worse than Batman and Santa Claus.  I didn’t have very good role models as a child.  Nor did I have any particularly strong male figures in my life.  It was not until I grew older and reflected on my young life that I realized I had chosen these two figures.  You can ask anyone I went to school with, or frankly who knows me: if someone is doing something wrong or illegal, I will not turn a blind eye.  This has gotten me into trouble before and on several occasions gotten me injured.  You could ask the same people about the lengths to which I will go to try and help someone have a happy holiday, especially if their holiday isn’t going so great.  This has also gotten me into trouble before and on MANY occasions made me broke.  But those are the role models I chose.  There are no two men I can think of that I want to be more like and that is an encouraging thought.

Who are your role models?

Any thoughts on that mass of crazy that you just read? I want to hear about it!  Leave your thoughts in the comments.  Thank you so much for reading my insanity and as always, have a wonderful day and if I don’t see you, have a Happy Yule too!