Before DC Comics’ New 52’s Zero Year, there was Batman: The Long Halloween (published 1996-1997). Originally, DC Comics released a series of Batman mini-series that told of his early days as The Dark Knight that were sequels to the highly acclaimed Batman: Year One. This series written by Jeph Loeb with art by Tim Sale was included among those “early years” series and was later collected in Graphic Novel form.
The story takes place over a year starting on Halloween. Crime Family leader Carmine Falcone faces a problem bigger than the police, rival gangs, or even Batman. That problem is the serial killer Holiday. He is systematically taking out men in Carmine’s organization and is slowly undermining his network. Meanwhile, Batman, District Attorney Harvey Dent, and Captain James Gordon vow not to become like the mobster and only to do things by the rules (well, bend them a little bit.) They try to turn to Julian Day aka The Calendar Man to help with the Holiday Killer, but he refuses to give them anything concrete.
As Carmine Falcone’s crime empire is falling, the crazies are making themselves known. The Joker, Mad Hatter, Scarecrow, Poison Ivy, Solomon Grundy, Riddler, and the mysterious Catwoman are all rising to power in Gotham City. Carmine Falcone decides to use this to his advantage by hiring a few of them to help him hold onto his empire and flush out the mysterious Holiday Killer. This leads to disagreements with other members of his family who think the new criminal element is to unpredictable.
Friendships are betrayed. Trusts are broken. Lives are lost. Gotham City will never be the same after The Long Halloween.
I have to say, this is one of my favorite Batman series. It is meant to show the transition from the “old world order” of criminal enterprises into the new era ruled by madness and fear.
As the time spreads from one holiday to the other, the reader becomes anxious as Batman searches for the Holiday Killer and battles his most fierce enemies yet. Loeb really understands the Dark Knight and his enemies. He and Tim Sale craft this extraordinary journey from the early days of Batman, which truly form Bruce Wayne as the Dark Knight.
It is an instant classic for the ages and with Tim Sale doing the very unique artwork, it is an unstoppable tale.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments below and tell me if there is a comic book, movie, or novel you would like me to review. While you are at it, check out my 75th anniversary Batman tribute and my post-crisis Batman canon list. Don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe for more posts like this one.