The Long Halloween is a Batman mini-series that ran from 1996 to 1997, produced by the creative team of Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale. The mini-series came out of the duo's semi-regular yearly Batman Halloween Specials that they did for DC Comics.The series, which is a pseudo-sequel to Batman: Year One, involves a number of intertwining plotlines. To begin with, a serial killer is targeting members of Gotham's crime families. Due to the killer striking once a month, each time on some holiday, and leaving a holiday-related trinket as a Calling Card, the press quickly dubs them "Holiday" (the title refers to the first murder, which was on Halloween).For Carmine "The Roman" Falcone, the head of Gotham's largest remaining crime family, Holiday is just the latest in a long series of problems. The Batman has been a thorn in his side and Catwoman has been robbing him (prompting Falcone to put a bounty on both their heads), District Attorney Harvey Dent is crusading to shut him down, and he's facing competition both from other mobsters and from a new breed of criminals—the costumed supervillains.Batman, Commissioner Gordon and Harvey Dent meet on Halloween to discuss an alliance to bring down Falcone. They promise to "bend the law but not break it", but as the stakes grow higher, they begin to distrust each other. Batman suspects that Harvey Dent is Holiday, and Dent becomes convinced that Bruce Wayne is secretly allied with the Falcone family. It doesn't help Bruce's case that Falcone is pressuring Wayne Industries into joining his money-laundering scheme.Eventually, the Mob resorts to trying to catch Holiday by hiring supervillains. And Hilarity Ensues.Everything leads up to two events: First, the acid being tossed onto Harvey Dent's pretty little face, leading to his transformation into the villainous Two-Face. Second, the downfall of Falcone's criminal empire.The mini-series was extremely popular, in large part because it came out at the time that DC was overtly whoring out the main Batman books with crossover after crossover, meaning that fans were happy to have a compelling and well-written Batman book to read that didn't require them to buy four books and spin-off books to understand. It had a great deal of impact on later Batman books, most notably its exploration of the idea of the crime-fighting alliance between Harvey Dentnote whose pre-Two-Face self had not received much focus prior to this series, Batman, and Commissioner Gordon, as well as the subtext of the conflict between traditional organized crime and the up-and-coming supervillains. This was also a major influence on Nolan's Batman films: The Dark Knight copies the alliance between Batman, Gordon, and Dent straight from here, and homages this series in a number of other scenes—even the slogan "I believe in Harvey Dent" came from here.Spawned two sequels, the less critically acclaimed (but still considered excellent) Dark Victory, and was concluded in Catwoman: When in Rome.
Ambiguous Ending: Alberto is identified as Holiday and is arrested and convicted for his crimes, but the last few pages seem to imply that Gilda or Harvey could've been the killer all along.Dark Victory does little to dispel the ambiguity—most characters, given what they witness in the story, believe the first option is true, but several characters wonder about Gilda's sudden vanishment into the ether, and dialogue from Calendar Man interrupted by Two-Face implies that the actual culprit wasn't Alberto.
April Fools' Plot: The seventh chapter, in which Holiday commits a fake-out non-killing against The Riddler.
Asshole Victim: "Two shots to the head. If you ask me, it couldn't have happened to a nicer guy".
Back for the Dead: Used somewhat in The Long Halloween - Most of the mobsters from Year One return with the ultimate purpose of being killed, although it's not a straight example due to them being alive for most of the story] Dark Victory contains far more egregious examples - Various cop characters from Year One - anyone who was named, and including characters who had retired such as Loeb - return briefly to serve as victims of the Hang Man.
Bittersweet Ending: Organized crime in Gotham is in ruins, but through little effectual effort on the part of the heroes. In the process, Dent's life and reputation were completely destroyed.
Bottomless Magazines: Did you know that, when one is firing a .22 in such a way as to leave a bullet outline around the Riddler, you can fire about fifty or sixty bullets without giving the Riddler a chance to run away?
Bullet Proof Vest: Batman employs one at one point, though not as part of his standard attire.
Butt Monkey: The Riddler, which carries over to Dark Victory as well.
By-the-Book Cop: Gordon will tolerate Bats and Harvey bending the laws, but not breaking them.
Calling Card: Holiday leaves one at the site of each of the killings. A jack-o-lantern for Halloween, a cornucopia for Thanksgiving, etc.
Consulting a Convicted Killer: Batman visits Calendar Man in his cell at Arkham Asylum to ask him where he might find the killer known as "Holiday". Calendar Man suggests that, the day Batman is paying this visit being a holiday, Holiday is likely looking to commit a murder.
End of an Age: In many ways, the story chronicles the transformation of Gotham City from a town controlled by traditional criminals like the Mafia into a city overrun by the "freaks" that make up Batman's rogue's galley. The weakening of the Falcone empire due to Holiday allows characters like Two-Face, the Joker, Scarecrow and others to fill the power vacuum.
Hollywood Silencer: A baby's bottle nipple serves as a one-shot silencer for a .22 pistol.
Horror Doesn't Settle for Simple Tuesday: Holiday strikes on Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's, Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Independence Day, a birthday, then Halloween again, notably not killing the Riddler (deliberately) on April Fool's Day.
Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Each issue corresponds with a month, and is named for a holiday that falls in that month. The only exceptions are the first and last (each correspond with October, with the Holiday killings each falling on Halloween) which are named "Crime" and "Punishment".
August is also a slight aversion: the "holiday" is the Roman's birthday, and the chapter is appropriately titled "Roman Holiday".
Noodle Incident: The last time anyone sees Poison Ivy at the end of the St. Patrick's Day chapter she's receiving payment from Falcone and is never seen again until the final one, where she's being broken out of Arkham. Presumably Batman caught her and sent her there sometime in between, though how he did so is left to any reader's guess.
An Offer You Can't Refuse: Maroni offers to testify against Falcone, an offer that Harvey, being District Attorney and all, jumps at.
Falcone uses strongarm tactics to get the bank's board members on his side. His bodyguard Milos even offers to "convince" Bruce Wayne, but Falcone employs a much more subtle tactic against Gotham's favorite son.
Orgy of Evidence: The Holiday serial killer leaves behind a holiday-themed item at each killing, making it look like there's a pattern. It turns out that Gilda, the original Holiday, knew to plant such evidence to trick the police.
Pet the Dog: Batman giving Solomon Grundy (this is BEFORE Grundy became a super-villain again) a Thanksgiving dinner.
Pyrrhic Victory: Organized crime has been almost completely neutralized, only to be replaced by the arguably worse supervillain element. Gotham's DA was a casualty of the conflict.
Shrug of God: Fans are divided on whether to take the twist ending in the final pages literally, or just write it off as the rantings of a delusional person. Jeph Loeb has refused to say which interpretation is correct, claiming the answer "is in the text".
Smug Snake: Calendar Man. He really has fun jerking Batman around.
Spinoff: As noted in the introduction, The Long Halloween came about in part due to Loeb and Sale's work on the Batman Halloween Specials from 1993-1995.
Superhero Paradox: Lampshaded. Gordon points out that the number of inmates at Arkham Asylum has doubled since Batman started operating, and wonders if there's a connection.
Title Drop: Falcone angrily tells Batman that the mob have been calling the Holiday incident the "Long Halloween"—a night of macabre horror that started last Halloween, with no end in sight.
Took a Level in Badass: The Calendar Man. This is the story that gave this guy any credibility towards his status as a villain. Unfortunately, this was rarely followed up on again until Batman: Arkham City.
Wacky Wayside Tribe: The Joker's attempt to spread his poison into Gotham Square on New Year's Eve has remarkably little to do with the overall plot besides giving Batman something to do. Rule of Cool excuses it, though.
"Well Done, Son" Guy: Alberto just wants to impress his father, but Falcone wants to keep Alberto out of the family business. Sofia too, as seen in "Father's Day".
What Happened to the Mouse?:: According to Loeb, this is how Editor Archie Goodwin roped him and Tim Sale into what would become The Long Halloween. During breakfast at the San Diego Comic-Con in the mid-1990's, he wondered aloud whatever happened to Carmine Falcone and the mobsters from Year One. Once they'd confirmed Miller wasn't going to use them again, the rest is history.