One of the most popular and influential Batman stories ever written is finally going to get a full-on adaptation, in the form of DC Universe’s Batman: The Long Halloween. The two-part feature adaptation was announced by host Matt Bomer during IGN’s DC FanDome panel for Superman: Man of Tomorrow.
It’s news that is likely to send Batman fans into a state of excitement, as there are few stories more fondly recalled (and frequently sampled) than Jeph Loeb’s Batman: The Long Halloween, which exists in the same rarefied air as previous DC Universe animated adaptations such as The Dark Knight Returns and Year One. In tone, The Long Halloween feels a bit like a follow-up to the latter, taking place in the second year of Batman’s crime-fighting career, when he’s still relatively green. It’s a story that witnesses a changing Gotham city, as the entrenched mobsters and crime bosses are growing nervous about the emergence of a new generation of superpowered “freak” villains. And that’s BEFORE a mysterious killer emerges, and begins slaying important city figures with crimes tied to major holidays. The search for this “Holiday Killer” forms the backbone of The Long Halloween, but the quest also brings Batman into contact with many of his rogues gallery as they make some of their first appearances, including Joker, Catwoman, Scarecrow, Solomon Grundy and The Calendar Man. The series was initially released in 13 issues between 1996-1997.
The Long Halloween has long been popular material for live-action adaptations to crib some of their elements. The sequences with Harvey Dent and Commissioner Gordon’s characters in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight bear some clear influence from The Long Halloween, and Matt Reeves’ upcoming The Batman looks even more clearly inspired by it, having a similar noir-like structure as Batman tries to unravel a mystery. But the animated film will be a straight-up adaptation, meaning it’s much more likely to be compared to previous two-part DC Animated adaptations such as Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns. Here’s hoping that the budget on this one is in the same ballpark, allowing the animators to fully bring The Long Halloween to life.
Either way, we’ll have to wait a while before we hear much more about The Long Halloween. Bomer announced that part one of the film was scheduled for the summer of 2021, with part two to follow that fall. We’ll bring you more information as it breaks.