While The Long Halloween is a defining story for the Dark Knight, the lesser-read Haunted Knight is perhaps the duo’s strongest take on the character.
Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale to be in high esteem among Batman fans for their work on Batman: The Long Halloween. The Long Halloween often tops lists of the best Batman stories, receiving a 2-part animated film adaptation and inspiring elements from Christopher Nolan The black Knight and Matt Reeves The Batman. Whereas The Long Halloween and its equally popular sequel dark victory are both terrific crime novels, the iconic duo of Loeb and Sale’s best Batman collection is one less regularly recognised: haunted knight.
Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale created a trilogy of Batman-centric stories with Loeb as writer and Sale as artist. The first arc, Batman: Haunted Knight is a trio of Halloween specials from the series Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight. The first story, “Fear”, sees Batman battling the Scarecrow as Bruce Wayne strikes up a romance with a mysterious figure who enters his life. The second, titled “Madness”, focuses on a confrontation between Batman and the Mad Hatter following the kidnapping of Barbara Gordon by Hatter. Finally, the series ends with “Ghosts”, a riff on Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol in which Batman plays the role of Ebenezer Scrooge. The three stories are not directly related, although they share many thematic connections and all take place on separate Halloweens. haunted knight is followed by The Long Halloween and dark victory, two detective stories featuring a year of holiday murders by mysterious villains. The duo also created Catwoman: When in Romea companion of dark victory.
The Long Halloween has been back in the conversation since last week following the sudden passing of acclaimed artist Tim Sale. Due to its highly acclaimed artistry and detective mystery, the story often finds itself named one of the best Batman stories of all time, and with good reason. The Long HalloweenThe exploration of Batman, Jim Gordon and Harvey Dent versus its central mystery and revered artistry makes for a spectacular detective comic. His predecessor haunted knighthowever, arguably gives readers an even better example of Loeb and Sale’s effectiveness when manipulating the Dark Knight.
While the 12 month structure for The Long Halloween and dark victory makes a strong detective story, haunted knightThe trio of stories contained allows Loeb to focus on different aspects of Bruce/Batman as a character with a more personal twist. Bruce’s self-determined isolation resulting from the lingering demons of his parents’ death is a common theme throughout the collection, showing how a Batman at the start of his career must overcome these feelings of regret. The three-story free arc contains a powerful message about Bruce coming to terms with his own fears and madness, beautifully rendered by Sale’s art. Because each of the three stories has a psychedelic or psychological element to it, Sale, known for its distinct style and sometimes exaggerated proportions, feels even less encumbered by convention than before. His surreal depictions throughout Batman’s mental journeys create some truly remarkable and unique imagery, visually depicting the Dark Knight as both demon and damned while adding a fantastical element to the gothic architecture that permeates Gotham.
In a triad of visually stunning and emotionally touching unique pieces, Batman: Haunted Knight illustrates the incredible work Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale would later do with The Long Halloween. By focusing on the villains and the personal conflicts to their protagonist, the collection of stories makes Bruce Wayne equally interesting for the Caped Crusader. The Long Halloween and dark victory certainly deserve their place among Batman‘s Hall of Fame, but one would be hard pressed to find a better race from Loeb and Sale that haunted knight.
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