13 Frights of Halloween-Legends of the Dark Knight Halloween Special
Welcome to the 13 Frights of Halloween, the series where I share 13 comics that are spooky, creepy, unsettling, and much more. To kick things off this year, let’s take a look at a classic Tim Sale and Jeph Loeb Halloween Batman Comic. No, not the Long Halloween, but instead one of the comics that got it all started Batman: Legends of The Dark Knight Halloween Special #1.
Batman: The Legend of The Dark Knight Halloween Special #1
Written by Jeph Loeb
Art by Tim Sale
Colors by Gregory Wright
Letters by Todd Klein
This comic is the first of three Halloween specials Loeb and Sale would put out for DC before creating the Long Halloween. In order to provide a sense of class to these comics, they were published under the Legends of The Dark Knight title as almost graphic novels. Complete with square binding and all. It is a premium product all around.
All three would be later collected as Batman: The Haunted Knight (or some variant in that vein). Today, I want to look specifically at the first one, but rest assured the other two specials will get their time under the Autumnal Moon.
A Haunted Night
The first Halloween special is appropriately titled Fears, as it features a young Batman taking on the Scarecrow one Halloween season. Scarecrow is setting out to create blackouts in the city by attacking the power plants and during the ensuing chaos, him and his henchmen loot the city. Every single time Batman gets close to apprehending Scarecrow, the Agent of Fear manages to slip away. Leading to a multiweek clash between the two.
Meanwhile during these clashes, Bruce manages to attend his own Halloween party and meets a girl. Bruce, the hopeless romantic, falls in love with her but she is keeping a dark secret from him.
Can the Caped-Crusader stop the Scarecrow from blacking out the city? Will he find love? Find out by reading the story.
The Tim Sale Show featuring Jeph Loeb
The highlights of this story is the art from a Tim Sale. He is really messing around with Human form and the characters are all uniquely weird but still on model. I love it. Sale captures this moody almost Gothic tone in the comic. It isn’t like Mike Mignola in terms of figure work or character designs, but almost McFarlane in nature. Sale utilizes hard shadows and heavy inks to create a dark looking comic that is just pretty.
Sale also plays around with the page layouts throughout the book to alter the pacing. One of my favorites is this page turn that goes from Batman, in the shadows, brooding over the city to this massive two page spread of Gotham, but illuminated by this massive bolt of lightning across the sky.
Then there is the one where Sale borrows from Neal Adams, but not from Adam’s Batman work but instead his X-Men run.
It is really neat to see artists sampling pages from other artists to draw homage. It is even more rewarding when you recognize the page instantly.
I have been writing about Sale a lot here, and for good reason as he is the main event. I will give Jeph Loeb credit. He has a firm grasp on Bruce Wayne and Batman. Loeb really loves an internal monologue for Bruce and is on full display here. It does set the tone of a more moody detective piece.
Loeb’s version of Bruce has a lot in common with the Batman the Animated Series version of the character. Honestly the plot reads like an episode of the cartoon. Especially, with the single appearance love interest, Jillian. She is merely there to serve as a choice for Bruce and leads to him reconsidering his fight for justice. Standard boiler plate Batman Year One-ish story.
Batman Legends of the Dark Knight Halloween Special #1—FEARS is a good ever-green story. If you are looking for a moody Batman story for Halloween, check this out. It’s been reprinted in many formats and is available on all the digital comics platforms.
Links and Such
For more 13 Frights of Halloween, click here.