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Summary:  After preventing two inhabited planets from colliding into each other, the Justice League take a time off to celebrate the holiday season.  While Flash visits some orphans at a Central City orphanage, Superman invites J'onn J'onzz to spend Christmas at the Kent farm in Smallville.  Meanwhile, Green Lantern and Hawkgirl spend the holiday together; first engaged in a snowball fight, and then bar-hopping on an inhabited moon in the Omega Quadrant.

JL Roll Call:  Superman, Green Lantern, The Flash, J’onn J’onzz, Hawkgirl

Featured Characters:  J’onn J’onzz, Superman, Green Lantern, The Flash, Hawkgirl

Supporting Villain:  Ultra-Humanite

 

Cartoon Network on “Comfort and Joy”:  “After saving a distant planet, the Justice League returns to Earth just in time for Christmas Eve.  While Flash plays Santa for some orphans, Superman invites J’onn home to celebrate the holidays in Smallville.  Meanwhile, Green Lantern and Hawkgirl share their favorite holiday traditions with each other (courtesy of [website name removed]).”

Cartoon Network's official press release for "Comfort and Joy" (circa 2003):  "How do you celebrate Christmas when you’re one of the world’s greatest superheroes?  What would Superman—who still firmly believes in Santa—want for Christmas?  Can villains set aside their evil schemes to experience some holiday joy?  And what does Christmas mean to you when you’re a Martian without a home planet?

"These questions and more will be answered in an all-new holiday episode of Justice League, Cartoon Network’s top-rated original animated series based on the popular, long-running DC Comic book.  The brand new half-hour special, ‘Comfort and Joy,’ helps Cartoon Network launch the holidays on Saturday, Dec. 6, at 10 p.m. (ET, PT).

"The Justice League, comprised of the world’s finest superheroes, rushes to complete one last mission to save two planets from colliding before each embarks on a week’s vacation to enjoy the Christmas holiday.  Flash pays his traditional visit to the Central City Orphanage as ‘that jolly man in the red suit’ to bring a special present to the resident kids.  Green Lantern decides to show Hawkgirl his favorite childhood games and activities that involve snow, which results in a spectacular snowball fight.  Superman, heading home to spend Christmas with his Earthly parents, the Kents, and await Santa’s arrival, decides to bring along a depressed Martian Manhunter, who doesn’t understand why everyone finds the season so magical.  (Batman and Wonder Woman volunteer to serve ‘world monitor duty’ at the League’s Watchtower headquarters.)

"Little does each hero suspect that major surprises await them all.  When Flash is asked to produce the hottest toy of the season, a ‘DJ Rubber Ducky,’ he is forced to search the world for it.  With the doll at last in Flash’s possession, arch-villain Gorilla Grodd appears and nearly destroys it.  Through an amazing act of goodwill and compromise, Flash and Grodd actually join forces to repair the toy and deliver it the anxious kids before resuming their adversarial relationship.  Hawkgirl reciprocates Green Lantern’s holiday ‘gift’ by showing him the place and unique way she prefers to celebrate—resulting in mayhem.  One last surprise awaits them both: a secret romance.  And Superman’s family embraces Martian Manhunter warmly, leaving him the freedom to explore the peace and joy of Christmas Eve on his own.  His unexpected experiences that night lead him to compose his own song of joy which he shares with the Kent family.

"The Justice League was born when Superman and Batman enlisted Green Lantern, Flash, Wonder Woman, Martian Manhunter, and Hawkgirl to face down powerful threats on Earth and from other parts of the galaxy.  The heroes of the Justice League, who gather at their orbiting space station the Watchtower, may not always agree on the best way to conquer a threat, but they put their personal differences aside to work together to defeat any peril.  A critical and fan favorite, Justice League has become one of the highest-rated shows on all of cable in its time period with key demographics since its debut (courtesy of Cartoon Network and Toon Zone)."

Bruce Timm on “Comfort and Joy”:  “We had a slot open in our schedule and we knew we would love to do [a] Christmas episode, and Paul Dini is like Mr. Christmas.  He is Superman in that episode; Paul Dini is so into Christmas that it’s not even funny.  We beat the story out with Paul and it is what it is; a lot of people just don’t like it, it’s a little too sweet for them.  Some people have a real aversion to open sentiment.  It’s certainly a heart-warming little Christmas story in places and I don’t have a problem doing a story that’s sentimental as long as it’s genuinely affecting like it is.

“Sure it borders on being a little too sugary in places; certainly we knew that J’onn singing in the episode would be too much.  We were certainly nervous about it and, at worse, we’d be the Star Wars Holiday Special, but when we recorded the episode Carl Lumbly just improvised that Martian song at the end.  We didn’t want to write out a song for him to do, because we felt it should have an alien feel.  About a week or two before we recorded the episode, he came up with what he felt a Martian lullaby would sound like (courtesy of RetroVision CD-ROM Magazine).”

Paul Dini on “Comfort and Joy” #1:  “I love Christmas specials and the holiday in general.  It was fun to see Clark hang around the kitchen table, swapping stories and wanting to turn on the Christmas tree lights.  One of the few pleasures Superman gets is to spend time with his family (courtesy of ToyFare Magazine).”

Paul Dini on “Comfort and Joy” #2:  “We thought it would be fun to see them on their day off, to see what they do when they’re not off saving the world.  When you’re writing superheroes, if you can have fun with it but not ridicule the characters themselves, or what they stand for, that does humanize them quite a bit (courtesy of [website name removed]).”

Paul Dini on Superman in “Comfort and Joy”:  “It was perfectly natural that Superman would revert temporarily to a child-like state of happiness at Christmastime […] as, to me, he always seemed much more an American farm boy at heart than an alien from Krypton (courtesy of LiveJournal).”

Paul Dini on Green Lantern and Hawkgirl:  “We have the whole history of the DC Universe to play with.  We can do straight adaptations—and we have—but it’s also fun, once you hit your stride with a character, to keep it going and broaden it a little bit.  Take them in a direction that may not be the same as the comics, but which works in the context of your show.

“Essentially what you see [in 'Comfort and Joy'] is the first date for Green Lantern and Hawkgirl, and you’re going to see more of that—there’s a big arc coming with Hawkgirl’s origins and […] Thanagar.  That’s the last of the new shows for this season (courtesy of [website name removed]).”

 

Commentary

"Hello, Mr. and Mrs. Kent; I hope I'm not intruding.  Super...uh, Clark was most insistent I join you for the holiday.  My name is J'onn; I'm a Martian."

"Oh, we're no strangers to aliens in this house.  You just make yourself at home."

An exchange between J'onn J'onzz and Jonathan Kent from "Comfort and Joy"

Commentary coming soon!

 

Image courtesy of The World’s Finest.

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