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Comic Book / The Night of Thanks, But No Thanks!

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"Worst night of my life, Alfred. Absolutely, without a doubt, the most miserable night of my life."
—Bruce Wayne to Alfred Pennyworth in the ending
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The Night Of Thanks, But No Thanks! is the first of two Batman stories written by critically acclaimed writer Harlan Ellison (the other being "Funny Money", a story in the anthology series Batman: Black and White). It was published in Detective Comics #567 around late 1986.

This is a story that writer Harlan Ellison promised to write for editor Julius Schwartz, during Schwartz's tenure as editor of Batman. However, Ellison delayed the script so much that it was published in this issue, a whopping eight years after Schwartz had left the Batman editorial office. For this reason, this story is dedicated to Julius Schwartz.

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Tropes For "The Night Of Thanks, But No Thanks!"

  • Big Damn Heroes: Hilariously subverted when Batman tries to come to the rescue of a lady who is getting mugged—while running to her aid on-foot, he gets cut off by a delivery truck passing by, and then he finally reaches her, he's shocked to see that she was more than capable of defending herself, having beaten up the crook all on her own. She even uses the opportunity to mock Batman right there, much to his aggravation.
    "Hey, you! Yeah, you! Mr. Big Time Crime-Crusher! Make yerself useful...go call a cop."
  • Broad Strokes: The story is "continuity-light" and could easily be fit into either the pre-Crisis or post-Crisis DC continuity. However, due to it being the first Batman story published after the pre-Crisis continuity got its big send-off in Batman #400, it is considered to be the first post-Crisis Batman story.
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  • Interrupted Suicide: Batman comes across a teenager during his patrol who is just about to jump off a building to his death. Bats tries to save him, only for a tactical forces officer to suddenly leap up and save the kid just in time (who then notices Batman and politely tells him they have the situation well in hand).
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: The entire story is basically a comedy of errors induced by Batman trying to find action on a particularly boring night patrol, all of which end with either situations that, despite initial appearances, involve no criminal activity, or situations where the crime is resolved before he can. Bats finally throws in the towel and ends night patrol early, heading back to Wayne Manor to grumble about the situation to Alfred.
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