Batman: The Long Halloween
In a mere week people will be flocking to the theaters to see Christopher Nolan’s final Batman epic, The Dark Knight Rises. His influences have been blatantly stated in the 2006 print of The Long Halloween. In a conversation between Nolan and David S. Goyer in 2006 before the principal photography began for The Dark Knight, The Long Halloween was sited as largely influencing Harvey Dent, Jim Gordon, and even Batman himself. Goyer is even quoted as saying, “…But by the time The Dark Knight comes out, it will become apparent that Long Halloween is the preeminent influence on both (Batman Begins) movies.”
The Long Halloween was released in 1996 and ’97 as a 13 issue series written by Jeph Loeb with art by Tim Sale. Taking place after Batman: Year One, Batman is tracking down a killer named “Holiday” who’s been murdering people each month on certain holidays. With the help of Captain Gordon and DA Harvey Dent, Batman hopes to stop the killer before Gotham is ripped in two by escaped asylum inmates and an ever growing mob war.
The Long Halloween boasts a large cast of famous Batman characters and villains. The Joker, Catwoman, Poison Ivy, Calendar Man, Solomon Grundy, Scarecrow, Mad Hatter, and The Riddler, all play their part in the story. Relationships between the characters are cast, most notably between Selina Kyle and Bruce Wayne, whether they’re in costume or in person, the sexual tension is so thick you can cut it with a knife. It’s withing these relationships that The Long Halloween creates a dark and diverse Gotham City, rife with villains and heroes struggling to make a living inside it’s dangerous borders.
This is a Batman trade that everyone, not just fans of the Bat, should read and experience. The story is suspenseful and chilling, leaving you frantically trying to finish the book just so you can see who “Holiday” is. The mysteries surrounding this unknown serial killer was driving me mad. The art by Tim Sale is obviously spectacular, but his artistic takes on the different villains were something to be admired. Catwoman and Poison Ivy being some of the more dramatic changes, were both beautiful and unsettling. Jeph Loeb created this same change narratively, leaving the Bat as a hardened crime buster, making Calender Man actually creepy, and showing Captain Gordon as an intelligent and confident police officer and father. The narrative at times can be hard to follow when you start to dive into the mobs deep rooted family tree, and as hard as Loeb tried to keep reminding me who every member was in the family, I was easily lost in the shuffle between the Falcone’s and the Maroni’s. Confusing mob family trees aside, the fantastic dark storytelling and shadow ridden art are a perfect match for Batman and Gotham City, all reasons sited why The Long Halloween is the classic that it is. Don’t miss the back of the trade that’s filled with all of the original covers and sketches. So much love and energy was put into this book, it’s influences on anything Batman now is uncanny.
Pick up your copy of The Long Halloween from Cosmic Comics! before the Dark Knight Rises and see why Christopher Nolan’s Batman is such a success.
Burke of nerdfarmblog.com