4 Reasons How “Batman: The Long Halloween” Inspired ‘The Batman’

By now, you have seen the DC FanDome trailer for Matt Reeves’ The Batman about as many times as times as most NBA players worry about paternity following a playoff run. But, did you know this visual DC porn may be actually taken from some DC pages called “Batman: The Long Halloween“?

Okay, before we continue…

You’re welcome.

Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale made a historic graphic novel in 1996 with "Batman: The Long Halloween". And it has inspired 'The Batman.'
Source: DC Comics

Now that you are enjoying your cigarette, let’s talk about one of those the most intense graphic novels ever called “Batman: The Long Halloween” by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale.

Back in 1996, nerds were clamoring hard for graphic novels.

The craze began in the late ’70s with Will Eisner’s “A Contract with God“. Marvel was actually the first to make good money off their graphic novel line in the early ’80s, but it was DC that made it collectible, namely with Frank Miller’s “The Dark Knight Returns” (1986) and Alan Moore’s “Watchmen” (1987).

More than 30 years later, that is still the benchmark for graphic novels. So, DC knew they had big shoes to fill with a graphic novel about the Cape and Cowl in 1996 called “The Long Halloween.”

Turns out, following your umpteenth viewing of the trailer there are some curious similiarities between Matt Reeves’ vision of the brooding noir movie and that particular graphic novel.

Reeves hasn’t been too vocal about where his inspiration originated, but safe to say, if you have read Jeph Loeb’s and Time Sale’s graphic novel, you already know.

Here’s why Matt Reeves’ The Batman clearly got its mojo from “Batman: The Long Halloween”…

1. Canonical Timeline

Source: 6th and Idaho Productions/Warner Bros.

Matt Reeves said during DC FanDome something very interesting to anyone who believes The Batman draws its inspiration from the famed graphic novel in the late ’90s:

The idea is that we’re in Year Two, it’s the Gotham Experiment. It’s a criminological experiment. He’s trying to figure out sort of what he can do that can finally change this place. And in our story, as he’s in that mode, that’s where you meet him…and he’s seeing that he’s not having any of the effect that he wants to have yet, and that is when the murders start to happen,

Matt Reeves, DC FanDome

See that punk who looks like he stole some t-shirts from Hot Topic? That is “Year Two” Bruce Wayne into his altar ego ‘Batman’.

He’s full of rage, still teeming from the nightmares about his parents’ deaths we see time-and-time-and-time again. Bruce is younger and full of those trollish hormones found in kids hanging outside an emo party in the boonies.

“Batman: The Long Halloween” is set after one of the DCAU’s best called “Batman: Year One.”

In fact, The Long Halloween is a direct follow-up to the events in that novel and has answers to the questions still railing in the heads of geeks everywhere who read it. Possibly the movie trails this chronology.

And if that’s the case, keep an eye out for some guy to show in the movie named Dick Grayson.

Following “Batman: The Long Halloween,” we meet the man who would be Robin in “Batman: Dark Victory.” Sequel to The Batman 2 anyone?

Need any other encouragement to that theory? Check out the color palette to “Batman: Dark Victory”. Remind of any trailer you saw recently?

2. Serial Killer

Source: 6th and Idaho Productions/Warner Bros.

In the beginning of the trailer, we hear the creepy sound of duct tape being unraveled by this dude who looks like a doomsday prepper left at a late-night party. Who knew duct tape could be so cringy anyway?! Everyone assumes that is Paul Dano wrapped in army green as ‘The Riddler.’

Here’s another reason how that is a safe presumption:

“Paul Dano plays a version of the Riddler you’ve never seen before. He’s just emerging.” 

Matt Reeves, DC FanDome
Credit: Tim Sale

Well, that ain’t your mama’s Riddler from the Adam West TV series or even Jim Carrey from Batman Forever.

He is truly the centerpiece on this macabre Thanksgiving table. Riddler kills someone — arguably Gotham City’s mayor — and the presence of the FBI, GCPD, Lt. Gordon, the myriad of baddies revolve around this killing spree.

In “Batman: The Long Halloween,” crime boss Alberto Falcone is the mobster taking center stage, but he also takes credit as the “Holiday Killer” in both that novel, and the one to follow “Batman: Dark Victory.” As we know, John Turturro is playing said Don’s son, Carmine Falcone.

Turns out, the killer’s name was “Holiday” who killed…yeah, during the holidays. That’s Alberto taking credit.

Since Alberto confessed, maybe he was shielding the kid? Maybe he’s lying because he wants to keep his sinister reputation? I guess we will find out, but there is clearly a killer on the loose in Gotham.

And, how quaint that we need the world’s greatest detective to figure it out.

3. All Those Baddies

Credit: Tim Sale
Credit: Tim Sale

When Matt Reeves was revealing this cast, fans of The Dark Knight were freaking out. The movie will feature The Riddler (Paul Dano), The Penguin (some dude that is supposed to be Colin Ferrell), Catwoman (Zoe Kravitz), and Carmine Falcone (John Turturro).

Batman and Robin holds the tied record for the most villains in one Batman film at three — Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivy, and just a skosh of Bane. While that was nice, this was also the appearance of Batnips, so people tend to block this out of their mind.

Another three-fer was in the Nolanverse with Batman Begins — Scarecrow, Carmine Falcone, and Ra’s Al Ghul. So far, in The Batman, we have four. What would inspire that kind of villainous variety?

“The Long Halloween” featured Riddler, Catwoman, Poison Ivy, Solomon Grundy, Joker, Calendar Man, and Scarecrow. And oh yeah, this was the birth of Harvey “Two Face” Dent. Just look at that yearbook picture from some “rogue gallery.” (Sure would make sense when looking at those dudes looking like a band of misfit “juggalos” in the trailer. Maybe that is the Court of Owls?)

And then, there’s this Gil Colson guy, Gotham D.A. and chief prosecutor. Maybe that becomes Two-Face? And maybe, just maybe, Jayme Lawson as Bella Reál is really Barbara Gordon or perhaps Poison Ivy. Who knows, but it’ll be interesting to find out.

4. Set Photos

Anyone remember this shortly after that classic red-and-black tease came out?

Of course, that’s why I saved this until now because…well, c’mon. Even Ray Charles can see that Easter Egg. Pumpkins? A mansion that looks like Norman Bates is selling tickets inside of it? Yeah, we see you Matt Reeves.

We have several solid reasons why “Batman: The Long Halloween” is your muse. You want Bruce Wayne to fill his own shoes as the “world’s greatest detective”. You are striving for noirish elements like seen in Chinatown? Perhaps the brutish elements from Taxi Driver? Or maybe you’re longing for “whodunit” elements that Hercule Poirot or Sherlock Holmes conquer?

Well, with all those bad guys (and more in the wings) and two more sequels to go, all we can say with this “Year Two Batman” is Holy Sh*t, Batman! Bring it on!

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