Batman masterpiece The Long Halloween returns after 25 years in new specials

DC is returning to the world of Batman: The Long Halloween 25 years after the publication of the seminal limited series with the original creative team – writer Jeph Loeb and artist Tim Sale – on board to continue the story. 

Batman: The Long Halloween Special

Batman: The Long Halloween Special variant cover by Tim Sale (Image credit: DC)

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The 48-page prestige format Batman: The Long Halloween Special will be published on October 12 to “show that some secrets never stay buried.”

“25 years ago, Tim Sale and I set out to tell a mystery tale of how Gotham City went from crime to freaks,” says Jeph Loeb in the special’s announcement. “The result was Batman: The Long Halloween. We’re thrilled to be back at DC revisiting some of our favorite characters all the while revealing that you may not know the whole story…”

The special will mark the return of Loeb to the world of comic book writing, after spending a decade as executive vice president, head of television of Marvel Television as part of Marvel Entertainment.

DC describes the story as “a mystery that could destroy Batman, Commissioner Gordon, Two-Face, and…well, that would be telling, wouldn’t it?”

Batman: The Long Halloween Special

Batman: The Long Halloween Special variant cover by Tim Sale (Image credit: DC)

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The original series was published in 13 issues between 1996 and 1997 taking place in the early years of Batman’s career. It ties into Harvey Dent/Two-Face’s origin and introduces a Holiday, a mysterious killer who murders one person a month on holidays.

The story has been adapted into a two-part animated film. Part One (opens in new tab) is now available and Part Two (opens in new tab) is coming to digital platforms on July 27 and Blu-ray on August 10.

“As it has always been, working together on Batman has brought out the best of Jeph and myself as Gotham City storytellers,” adds Tim Sale. “We have been blessed to have the mighty talents of Comicraft’s Richard Starkings with us every step of the way, and we are very fortunate to welcome colorist, Brennan Wagner, to help shape our latest venture.”

The special will feature three covers all by Sale. 

Interestingly, DC’s announcement subtly refers to “the Batman Halloween specials” (plural) but the publisher did not respond to inquiries about whether there will be subsequent new specials. Considering the original premise of the series, Newsarama will be on the lookout next month for possible additional news.

Batman: The Long Halloween Special

Batman: The Long Halloween Special main cover by Tim Sale (Image credit: DC)

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Newsarama ranks the original The Long Halloween (opens in new tab) – which the Batman Trilogy director Christopher Nolan cited as a significant influence on his films – as the fourth-best Batman story of all time. 

“A harrowing mystery that is a perfect marriage of Batman’s noir detective roots and his colorful rogues’ gallery. For Loeb, it might represent his pinnacle as a writer,” reads Newsarama’s review. 

“Sale’s art is the most immediately memorable thing about the book. The thin lines punctuated by big swathes of black inking give the whole book a very palpable tension,” it continues. “And Sale’s character models are extremely unique while still being entirely recognizable. Coupled with Gregory Wright’s bold color palette, The Long Halloween absolutely evokes the noir films it pays homage to.”

Read Newsarama’s entire list of the best Batman stories of all time.

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