Batman has had a lot of stories. He’s been around for seventy-five years–of course he’s had a lot of stories! Movies, videogames, comics, television, Batman has had more media coverage than some natural disasters. Over the course of so much material, some of those stories are remarkable, some not so much. Batman: The Long Halloween is one of the remarkable ones.
The Long Halloween is a story that spans a year. It’s a Batman epic that revolves around the untouchable crime family the Falcones and some of Batman’s most classic super-villains as a new killer dubbed Holiday kills on one holiday of every month.
Jeph Loeb, the writer of The Long Halloween, is a four-time Eisner Award winner and five-time Wizard Fan Awards winner and his comic book work, most of which he’s composed with artist Tim Sale, has appeared on the New York Times Best Seller list.
|All the rogues that appear throughout.|
The Long Halloween, like many comics before it, feature a huge assortment of Batman’s famous gallery of rogues and they each get their own special appearance on a particular holiday. Poison Ivy gets St. Patrick’s day (her hair is made of clovers), Scarecrow gets Mother’s day (he killed his own mother on Mother’s day), and Riddler gets April Fools (for… obvious reasons I think). What makes The Long Halloween so remarkable is that regular criminals make up a huge part of this graphic novel too. The crime lords and their families fight amongst themselves and more than a few of their numbers are taken out by the killer dubbed Holiday. The supervillains of Gotham are only brought in as a last resort to help the Falcone family: it’s a great twist in the usual Batman-fights-freaks story line.
|An example of the art deco style|
The art style in The Long Halloween is fantastic–some of the best, most original art I’ve seen in a modern comic. It’s not hyper-realistic like, say, Hush (which is also a Batman comic written by Jeph Loeb) but instead has an art deco feel to it. The shadows are all encompassing yet they don’t overtake. Likewise with the colours, which are muted yet still vivid. Batman was, however, created for an art deco universe so the shadows, colours and design of the piece, which are solid, angular, and dark, fit the Bat-universe like a glove.
Batman is my favourite superhero so maybe I’m a little biased but The Long Halloween is perfect. It’s paced flawlessly with a killer whose identity you won’t be able to guess–not that that’s a bad thing, it was actually kind of nice to not know a thing about the killer. The plot is perfect, the art is perfect, just everything about this graphic novel is perfect.
My final thoughts on Batman: The Long Halloween are that it is just fantastic. It’s my favourite Batman comic and I think if you read it now it’ll be your favourite Batman comic too. The art deco style might be a little strange at first if you’re more the ilk of realism, but it grows on you quickly. Even if the art doesn’t appeal to you, the story–the perfect story–it’s more than enough to keep you reading!