Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Batman: The Long Halloween

Batman: The Long Halloween is a series of 13 issues (1996-1997) written by Jeph Loeb with art by Tim Sale. It basically picks up in the Batman universe after Batman: Year One (Miller & Mazzucchelli), the origins of Bruce Wayne/Batman and Jim Gordon. The Long Halloween tells the story of Batman, Gordon, and Harvey Dent's relationship towards each other and their attempts to save the rotting city of Gotham.

The story is at it's core a murder mystery or a "who done it?" It examines the bond between men with the same wants, but different ideas on how to achieve goals. The characters are fleshed out very well. From the examination of Bruce Wayne's connection to his deceased parents, to the Gotham city mobsters' connection to family and power; Loeb and Sale craft a tale that keeps you in suspense and keeps you guessing.

Going into this graphic novel I had only read one Loeb & Sale collaboration: Daredevil: Yellow (also really good). I liked Sale's art in Yellow, but it was still new to was growing on me. By the time I got through The Long Halloween I became a full on fan. Not a crisp style like a Steve McNiven (amazing artist), but rather a slightly exaggerated form of quick-hand drawings that give the characters personality through their visuals: a large Batman, shadowy Harvey Dent, and sleek Joker are some examples.

I am planning on picking up more of Loeb & Sale's work including their other Marvel "color" books such as: Spider-Man: Blue, Hulk: Grey, and Captain America: White. Along with The Long Halloween, Batman: Dark Victory won the duo an Eisner Award for best Graphic Album reprint.

Being 13 issues long, The Long Halloween is quite the read. Affordable at no more than $20, it feels like you are reading an actual novel (non-graphic) which you must set down from time to time to catch your breath. I recommend this read for a rainy Sunday when you have no plans. It will make your weekend.

I believe in Batman: The Long Halloween.

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