The trailer for the latest animated DC Universe movie, Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One is out, and like many of the more recent animated movies, it looks better than the live-action features DC has been cranking out.
The movie has an extensive voice cast that includes Supernatural veteran Jensen Ackles (who previously voiced Jason Todd in the 2010 animated Batman: Under The Red Hood) as Batman. Joining Ackles are Josh Duhamel as Harvey Dent, Jack Quaid as Alberto Falcone, Naya Rivera as Catwoman, and Troy Baker as Joker.
Comic Book Origins
One of the main means of excitement for this one is the source material, the graphic novel by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale.
When the original The Long Halloween series came out, my husband and I were living in a small town, about an hour-and-a-half away from the nearest comic book shop. This meant the monthly trek into the “big city” to get our books was a welcome retreat. The Long Halloween’s first issue came out in October of 1996, the start of a monthly yearlong story, basically running from “Halloween to Halloween.” There would be, appropriately enough, 13 issues, that I soon couldn’t wait to tackle each month.
We were hooked by the first issue, written by Loeb and illustrated by Sale. The book provided a gritty, noir look at Gotham’s organized crime underbelly with a killer mystery to boot. This was Loeb’s storytelling at its best, and I loved Sale’s thick-inked, stylized art so much I used to try and mimic it in drawings. I especially loved the covers, and even carved my own replica of the now iconic “bat emblem” jack-o-lantern several years in a row. I eventually put in on one of these fake pumpkins so I could put it out every year.
The main mystery revolves around a serial killer (called “Holiday”) who murders one victim each month around a specific holiday, all while a big crime family battle is raging between the Falcone and Maroni families. As it takes place during Batman’s earlier years, we see Harvey Dent’s eventual transformation into Two-Face, and several appearances by favorite villains like Catwoman, Joker, Riddler, Mad Hatter, Solomon Grundy, Calendar Man and Poison Ivy, to name a few.
The story is dark, twisty, addictive, and satisfying, and it was so popular, Loeb and Sale did a couple of more multi-issue collaborations, including a fun six-issue Catwoman story.
Even today, with Batman remaining my favorite of the main superheroes, this is still one of my favorite stories. Of course, it has built up quite a following, and there’s even a “The Long Halloween” trophy achievement in the Batman: Arkham Knight video game.
In 2015, a well-received audio drama was released, making fans of the story even more keen on seeing an animated film.
Fortunately, readers today can still find all 13 issues in a trade paperback.
As for the movie, I’m holding out hope it will be a good, faithful tribute to the story that will not only please fans of the series like me, but grab those new to the tale and get them seeking out the original stories.
That seems a tall order, but if anyone can do it, it is Batman.
Batman: The Long Halloween, Part 1 comes out on Blu-Ray and digital June 22, with Part 2 expected this fall.