“Batman: The Long Halloween” is generally considered to be one of the finest graphic novels ever written, and despite being a big Batman fan ever since I was a kid, I’d never read it. I officially put this graphic novel on my “bucket list” several years ago, and finally got around to buying a copy of it earlier this month. I officially finished reading it last Saturday.
Originally published as a 13-issue limited series in 1996 and 1997, it was later published in a one-volume graphic novel that is a must-read for any fan of Batman. The softcover edition that I read was published in 2011 and includes an introduction featuring Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer. In all, its 384 pages long, but it’s a quick read.
Written by Jeph Loeb, “The Long Halloween” is a murder mystery. Each chapter in the story centers around a murder that goes along with a holiday. The story begins with a Halloween murder, proceeds from month to month throughout the following year and wraps up as Halloween approaches one year later.
One reason that “The Long Halloween” is so popular is because it has it all. It’s got mafia politics, origin stories, romance, guns, bombs, exploding cars, burglaries, escapes, courtroom drama, dark alleys, cemeteries, good cops, bad cops, insane asylums, poison gas, airplanes, fistfights, high tech gear, stockpiles of cash, warehouse fires, sewer tunnels, caves, revenge plots, informants, washed up bodies, creepy mansions and lots of action. It also features a host of Batman’s most famous enemies, including the Joker, Catwoman, Solomon Grundy, Poison Ivy, the Riddler, Scarecrow, the Mad Hatter, Two Face and the Calendar Man.
This book does a great job of stringing the reader along and does a good job of making you think that just about any of the characters, including Batman, could be responsible for the string of holiday-murders in Gotham City. Don’t cheat yourself by flipping to the back of the book to see who the killer is. It’ll ruin the surprise. I think it’s also worth mentioning that portions of the book reminded me of “The Godfather,” “Dracula,” “Silence of the Lambs” “From Hell” and Dr. Seuss’ “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.”
One of the reasons that I’ve always wanted to read “The Long Halloween” is because you’ll find it on a number of “best of” lists. A number of years ago, the editors at Forbidden Planet ranked “The Long Halloween” at No. 44 on its list of “50 Best of the Best Graphic Novels.” Also, in 2014, Amazon.com ranked “The Long Halloween” No. 9 on a list they called “Amazon’s 25 Essential DC Graphic Novels.” IGN magazine also ranked it No. 4 on a list they called the “25 Greatest Batman Graphic Novels.”
In the end, how many of you have read “Batman: The Long Halloween”? What did you think about it? What other classic graphic novels do you recommend reading? Let us know in the comments section below.