Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight is one of the most popular and long running Batman titles available. Currently in its third volume, simply titled Legends of the Dark Knight, it was during the second volume of the 90’s that initiated the production of the Batman Halloween special. In 1993 Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale collaborated for a one shot that featured Bats on the chaotic night of Hallows eve. Popularity brought the creators back the two following years for an annual one shot special. Triggering the long time collaborators to work on a larger story the following year, 1996 also featured the collection of the Halloween specials into one graphic novel, now titled Batman: Haunted Knight.
The collected volume includes the three original stories that show a typical Halloween night in the shoes of the Dark Knight. The first story titled ‘Fears’ has Batman hunting down the poisonous Scarecrow. Tricked and treated to Scarecrows fear chemicals, Batman barely makes it out of a viscous thorn maze.
The second story, ‘Madness’, was originally released in 1994. Featuring one of my personal favorite, and under rated Bat-villains Mad Hatter, kidnapping Barbara Gordon and other children. Its up to Batman and Captain James Gordon to find the Hatter and his twisted little tea party.
Originally published in 1995, ‘Ghosts’ is an eerie Halloween version of A Christmas Carol. Poison Ivy, The Joker and Batman shown as a dark Grim Reaper appear as the spirits of Hallows eve. Bruce Wayne learns a valuable lesson from his Halloween miracle about not allowing his darkness to succumb his personality.
Each story stand strong on their own, a fun glimpse at what Batman would be put through on one of the most chaotic nights of the year. It would make sense that many of Batmans twisted villains would take advantage of the dark holiday. Jeph Loeb does a great job of bringing out such big characters and events in well rounded short stories. Mr. Loeb always impresses me with never wasting a word, these one shot reads are a perfect glimpse at his writing style. As far as art goes, Tim Sale has always been one of my favorites. Tim Sale’s long eared stream lined Batman creates a perfect creepy Batman for the Halloween theme. The two friends went on to create some of the most interesting mini series’ of the last couple decades as well as working closely on season one of the television series Heroes.
If you have yet to read any of the works put out by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale then you are missing out. Unique, creative, and full circle their works are always entertaining. Batman: Haunted Knight is a great starting point, and great lead up to the two follow up graphic novels ‘Long Halloween’ and ‘Dark Victory’. Each individual story of Haunted Knight gets a 4/5 from me, enjoyable and entertaining, the style is a major appeal, at least for myself. I would recommend this graphic novel to most any comic reader and is some great Batman fodder for all the Bat-fans.
Thanks booknerds, hope you enjoyed my Halloween post in August.