Superhero comics feel a little like Halloween every day, on account of all of Marvel and DC’s various heroes and villains wearing costumes whenever they go into costume. However, there’s a long and proud history of comics celebrating Halloween, dating all the way back to the Golden Age. It makes sense that Halloween is an important holiday for some superheroes, given all the ghouls and other supernatural threats they need to fight. To help celebrate Halloween, here’s a few of our favorite Halloween superhero stories:
(Shout out to all the folks on Twitter who suggested stories for this article!)
Batman: The Long Halloween
One of the definitive Batman stories, The Long Halloween was a year-long miniseries pitting the Dark Knight against a mysterious killer named Holiday. Set during Batman’s early crime fighting career, The Long Halloween redefined Batman’s early partnership with Commissioner Gordon and Harvey Dent, as well as the trio’s fight against Carmine Falcone’s organized crime syndicate. Christopher Nolan cited The Long Halloween as one of his inspirations for his Batman trilogy of films, especially The Dark Knight, which featured Harvey Dent prominently.
Marvel Zombies Halloween
It makes sense that Marvel would release a Halloween special based off their popular Marvel Zombies line, a gory, zombified take on the Marvel Universe. The one-shot featured an older Kitty Pryde explain to her son Peter what Halloween is as they take refuge from the zombie apocalypse. After Peter runs afoul of several Marvel Zombies (including a zombie Squirrel Girl), they escape only with the help of an unexpected and dark ally. Fred Van Lente, writer of several other Marvel Zombies miniseries, wrote the Halloween special, but the comic appears to be set in a separate universe from the rest of the Marvel Zombies miniseries.
The Rutland Halloween Parade
Comics super-fan Tom Fagan was the organizer of the Rutland Halloween Parade, an annual event held in Rutland, Vermont with a strong emphasis on superheroes. Fagan was friends with many comics creators during the late Silver Age and invited many of them up to his home to enjoy the festivities. Several creators wrote superhero stories around the event, with Fagan appearing dressed up as Batman (or Nighthawk, if it was a Marvel series). In 1972, Rutland was even the center of an unofficial DC/Marvel crossover, with both the Avengers and the Justice League arriving in town during the same Halloween parade, chasing the Juggernaut and Felix Faust respectively. The thread linking the three comics stories together was Fagan's car, which was stolen by both villains at different times through the night.
Infinite Halloween Special
In recent years, DC has embraced Halloween, releasing several anthology one-shots in celebration of the spooky holiday. One of the standout specials was the Infinite Halloween Special, which featured thirteen tales of terror told by various Arkham inmates. Some of the better stories include "Kcirt ro Taert", a Paul Dini written story about Zatanna tracking down some teenagers who lace trick or treat candy with Scarecrow’s fear toxin and "Blood Lust", a story featuring the vampiric Batman from Red Rain. There’s also a bizarre story written by Dan Didio about a middle aged Charlie Brown analogue sacrificing his dog (Snoopy, of course) to summon the Pumpkin Sinister, a pumpkin demon, in order to get revenge on Blue Devil for once kissing the Red Headed Girl.
Young Justice #3
What’s Halloween without a fair share of teenage pranks? In Young Justice #3, Robin, Superboy and Impulse meet a younger Mister Mxyzptlk before he becomes the impish prankster and occasional foe of Superman. The younger Mxyzptlk is a serious scholar and, upon discovering his future self’s goofy and oddball actions, vows to pursue a scholarly path. Unfortunately, Mxyzptlk’s oath causes a shift in the timeline, creating a dark, post-apocalyptic world. In order to save their timeline, Robin and the others must teach Mxyzptlk the value of slapstick humor. Peter David’s entire Young Justice run is one of the best comics of the 1990s and this early issue showcased how irreverent and wacky the book could be.
X-Men and Power Pack #1
Halloween is all about dressing up as your favorite mass murdering psychopath, something that even kid superheroes can appreciate. The 2005 X-Men and Power Pack miniseries kicked off with a Halloween story when Jack Power dresses up as Wolverine, hoping to win a local costume contest. Unfortunately, EVERYONE in town is dressed up as Wolverine, leading Jack to sulk and lash out at his siblings. When the real Wolverine arrives in town looking for Sabretooth, the youngest Power sibling confuses the hairy Canadian for her brother since both are short and ill-tempered. Eventually, Wolverine and the Power Pack would team up to hand Sabretooth the most humiliating defeat in his career.
Spider-Man: The Short Halloween
Bill Hader and Seth Meyers got their big break in comic books in 2009 with Spider-Man: The Short Halloween, a humorous one-shot featuring artwork by Kevin Maguire, the artist for the critically acclaimed and laugh filled Justice League International series. After Spider-Man is knocked out during a fight, some drunk Halloween revelers mistake the unconscious webcrawler with their drunk friend with humorous consequences. The comic reads like a long Saturday Night Live sketch, which makes sense as both Hader and Meyers were writers and cast members for the longrunning NBC comedy show. While The Short Halloween received strong reviews, neither Hader nor Meyers explored a further career in comics, presumably due to their busy Halloween careers.
So what are your favorite Halloween superheroes stories? Share yours in the comments below!