#33 – Batman: The Long Halloween by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale

I promised you it would be on our list soon and here it is – number thirty-three is Batman: The Long Halloween. It comes to your via Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale who you might recognise; they also brought us graphic novel number thirty-four, Superman for All Seasons. This might be the first time a writer and artist have taken two slots in a row in our top 100 run down.

Like Superman for All Seasons, The Long Halloween goes back to the early days of the titular superhero's career. The plot sees Batman team up with Harvey Dent and Commissioner Gordon in pursuit of Holiday, a murderer who decides to kill people on holidays. I know what you’re thinking; what a jerk, right? Batman, Dent and Gordon also think so, and their search for Holiday sends them across 384 pages of Loeb's novel.

The Long Halloween was critically acclaimed on release and regulary appears in ‘best Batman comic’ lists. It also had a long-standing impact on the continuity of Batman with the introduction of the Calendar Man character, as well as helping Christopher and Jonathan Nolan in crafting their story for the recent Batman films.

One of the best features of The Long Halloween is the artwork; Sale brings to the book a dark noir theme, something that fits perfectly with the detective roles Batman, Dent and Gordon play in the book. This, along with the sophisticated script by Loeb, make it one of the more mature Batman novels in print.

The interplay between Batman, Dent and Gordon is made fascinating by Loeb’s dialogue and he also treats us to a more in-depth look at their characters, especially that of Dent. We also get to see some classic Batman characters throughout the book, including The Joker, Poison Ivy and the Riddler. The Long Halloween is essential Batman reading.

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