Batman: The Long Halloween

Author: Jeph Loeb, Tim Sale
Year: 1999
Genre: Mystery

I read this book years ago, and we recently acquired it, so I read it again. It's a pretty compelling mystery story with enough plot twists to keep you interested.

The thing that strikes me about Batman as a mystery story (and they are mystery stories; the character first appeared in Detective Comics) is that it lives on the fine line between fantastic and ridiculous. Batman himself seems more or less like a hard-boiled Dashiell Hammett-type, and recent versions like Loeb & Sale tend to play up the grittiness of it (see also Frank Miller's Batman: Year One). If he's such a badass, though, why does he wear a cape and pajamas? I have no problem with Catwoman in her catsuit - she reminds me a little of Diabolik, which is comparatively (i.e., next to Batman) realistic - but The Joker? Come on! And despite The Long Halloween's close and sympathetic portrait of Harvey Dent, despite how bad you feel for him when he's burned by acid, you can't help but think that his half-gray flannel, half-gangster pinstripe Two-Face suit is just tacky.

The Long Halloween brings out this contrast in stark relief because it's Batman vs. the Mafia. It literally begins in The Godfather and ends in Arkham Asylum. You could view it as the story of Gotham City's transition from "normal" mobsters to criminal "freaks" like The Riddler and Poison Ivy, but it's hard to shake the feeling that fairy tales and film noir just don't mix.

Unless, of course, you're Jasper Fforde.

1 comment:

Meaghan said...

I think you just like catwoman's costume because she's sexy! Honestly, why is it weird for Batman to go around in costume but not Catwoman. She's not even fighting crime, she just wanders around being ambiguous and flirty. Boys...