Thirteen years ago Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight arrived in theaters to critical and financial success. It’s considered the best comic book film of all time — some say The Godfather of comic book cinema. Christopher Nolan stated that one of the biggest influences on his most infamous film is the critically acclaimed thirteen-issue limited series Batman: The Long Halloween, written by Jeph Loeb, with art by Tim Sale, originally published in 1996-97. Recently it has finally been adapted into a two-part animated film directed by Chris Palmer, and written by Tim Sheridan.
Batman: The Long Halloween Part One was released digitally on June 22nd, and is now available on Blu-ray. Part Two will be released digitally on July 27th, 2021. In anticipation for Part Two’s release, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, DC, and Warner Bros. Animation presented a virtual panel for Comic-con 2021.
The panel is moderated by Tiffany Smith. The guests are writer Tim Sheridan, and voice actors Jensen Ackles(Batman), Troy Baker(Joker), Julie Nathanson(Gilda Dent), and Katie Sackhoff(Poison Ivy). For those who miss the normal days of being able to see all the great cosplayers on the showroom floor, the talented Heidimaetrix gives tips during fun intermittent sessions on how to be an excellent female Joker.
After introducing all the panel participants, moderator Tiffany Smith states that “The Rise Of The Villains” could have been added to the title. An idea that aligns with what the story of The Long Halloween is really about: crime in Gotham City shifting from organized syndicates to that of the chaos super villains bring to the criminal underworld. The character Sal Maroni in Part One tells Batman at one point that crazy nuts like The Joker did not start showing up until the caped crusader began taking down organized crime. It makes me think of the scene in Part One when Harvey Dent is caught in the dilemma of whether he should burn the pile of Falcone’s cash stockpile at the suggestion of Catwoman, or simply turn it in to the corrupt authorities, where it will go back safe into the mobster hands. “I’m of two minds,” says Harvey Dent. To which Batman suggests, “So it’s a coin toss.” It’s one of my favorite scenes in Part One. I almost like it more than the scene in the film The Dark Knight when Heath Ledger’s Joker declares that Gotham City deserves a “better class of criminal,” one whose ideals aren’t that of selfish greed, but of an incomprehensible pleasure that strikes fear into the hearts and minds of innocents.
The actors who portray the villains in the film do most of the talking during the panel, discussing the duality of each villains evil, and what they really want. Troy Baker(Joker) says, “Everyone is the Hero of their own story.” I found this an interesting statement, since The Joker in The Long Halloween Part One is offended by the presence of the mysterious murderer Holiday. “There’s only room for one homicidal maniac in this town,” The Joker says as he’s looking for Holiday, tying up the mobster Falcone to a chair, using him as bait.
Katee Sackhoff says, “I don’t think many people were born bad.” And continues on to say that Poison Ivy partially craves a partner like The Batman who she feels is on her level, a person that desires to be loved and held, but also is crazy and has an agenda for something bigger. Sackhoff’s interpretation of the character Poison Ivy leaves one to look forward to her portrayal in Part Two, and how things will play out between her and The Batman.
The story of The Long Halloween postulates the idea that every supervillain in the DC universe is a reflection of a Hero like The Batman. Whether Bruce Wayne likes it or not, him bending the rules to fight crime will cause the craziest people to break them in order to destroy the concept of a corrupted justice system. With every risk, comes a reward most normal people probably would not like, but must accept. In a city like Gotham, there’s bound to be something worse to fight in a dark, damp alley.
I can’t wait to see Batman: The Long Halloween Part Two. I found Part One extremely interesting, and clearly saw how influential the graphic novel was on Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy. It will be released digitally on July 27th, and unlike Part One, Part Two will have an R-rating due to “some violence and bloody images.” So get ready for another no holds barred, gritty adventure meant for the mature audiences of the DC fandom.