Jim Lee and Bruce Timm recently spoke to Entertainment Weekly, admitting some of their favorite Batman stories of all time. To my surprise, they left my favorite off of the list, motivating me to share it with all of you today, on Batman Day nonetheless.
I was a Junior in high school (2003) and we were on winter break. I’d received a little Christmas money early ($20) and made a trip to the “On Cue” store 10 minutes away. It was the closest retailer to me that had my many different sources of entertainment (and the only one with comics). I made my way to the back of the store and saw, staring right at me, The Long Halloween, Haunted Knight and Dark Victory. It was overload for me, seeing as I was just reintroduced to the Batman comic world (I had a large stash from the early 90’s, but never had money to keep up). As difficult as it was to just choose one of the three, there was something special about the cover (see above) that reached out to me, begging me to choose it. So I did, took it home and read it in 2 days.
I had never seen anything like it. A deep, layered story featuring everything you’d want in a Batman story: action, drama, romance (which I usually don’t care about), twists and oh yeah… villains.
Every villain you could want was in this epic tale. Up to that point, and currently, I’m a huge fan of the Joker. He’s my favorite rogue of The Dark Knight’s. However this story introduced me to the man that was Harvey Dent. The only information that I knew about Two-Face was from Batman: The Animated Series and Batman Forever. This story, however, blew them out of the water. We got to truly know Gotham’s fearless District Attorney, and really feel for him… making his villainous turn that much more disheartening. It was fantastic! It nearly shot him to my favorite villain of all time!
Of course, this was a Batman story first and foremost, and I never forgot that. Writer Jeph Loeb made Bruce Wayne face a variety of obstacles throughout the 13-issue story, both physically and emotionally. Of course, he came out on top but the damage was done.
So what caught my eye about this story, more so than others? Well… the look! I had never heard the name Tim Sale before, but this book made sure I never forget it. I love the noir, the shadows, the exaggerated elements of characters we had known for decades. He had/has his own style, and I dug it. This opened my eyes to an artist that had been around, yet was just getting started… which still entertains me to this day.
I love The Long Halloween. I cannot even guess how many times I’ve read it. As soon as the “Absolute Edition” was announced in 2006, I logged on to Amazon right away and preordered.
So there you have it. Do you agree? Disagree? Let me know in the comments below. Oh, and one more thing…
Happy Batman Day!