The History of the Halloween Special or How I Managed To Go Off-Topic and Love the Parade
As I typed the words “…we will be taking a closer look at the Halloween Special.” I knew my work was cut out for me. Will I have the time to dig through the entire DC comic book history to find a definitive answer? Once I asked myself that question, I came extremely close to deleting those fated words. The easy out is to just look at the comics with titles like DCU Halloween Special or perhaps Wildstorm Halloween Special. However, sometimes the easy way out isn’t the most fulfilling. The gears in my head have been spinning since Monday. The main question I keep asking myself is what was the first DC comic to feature Halloween? Then something happened along the way in my many Google searches. I got a bit off-topic but stay with me for a bit.
Comicbooks have been a big part of an annual Halloween parade in Rutland, Vermont. The inspiration is so big that the parade has been featured in both DC and Marvel books and is the catalyst for the first DC/Marvel Crossovers!
From Comics Alliance:
Following the first Rutland Halloween Parade’s lackluster showing in 1959, a motivated Tom Fagan went to Rutland’s Recreation Department, where – as he later remarked to Alter Ego magazine – communicated, “We should have a theme for this. Because it’s Halloween and these are creatures of the night, you should have Batman as parade marshal to lead off the parade.”
If you clicked the link you will also see that Marvel beat DC by featuring the parade in a comic. DC wasn’t far behind when they released Batman 237 in 1971.
You might notice a certain superhero costume that is not DC sanctioned in this picture, I know I spotted it instantly.
In Justice League of America 103 released in 1972, Justice League visited Rutland for the parade. It should also be noted such real-world DC Comic employees such as Len Wein made appearances in this book.
The comics from both DC and Marvel that featured the Rutland Halloween Parade had characters from the other company making an appearance. Of course, this would only lead to these creative minds wondering if they could do a crossover.
To get back on the topic of the Halloween Special. At first glance, it appears the first Halloween Special on DCU is not even a DC title! In 1997 the comic shelves saw Wildstorm Halloween Trilogy of Terror. The interesting this about this book being on DCU is that at the time of release, Wildstorm was an imprint of Image Comics. Of course, as we all know Jim Lee is the man currently running DC Comics but that wasn’t always the case. In the early 90s, he joined up with other creators to form Image Comics. Throughout time, the imprint was later sold to DC. I could go deeper into the history of Image and Wildstorm but I don’t want to get too off track.
If you dig a little deeper, you will find that the first DC title to have the words Halloween Special is actually Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight Halloween Special 1
This was released in 1993 and became an annual book for Legends of the Dark Knight until 1995.
The next time we would see a Halloween Special appear was in 2007 with the Infinite Halloween Special. Oddly, this title is not on DC Universe at this time. The cover promises “13 Tales of Terror!” and seems to follow the format of the books we have read this week. The tradition of the Halloween Special lasted until 2010. Yes, more Halloween-themed anthology books have been released since then but the titles have changed over the years ranging from Comics Calvacade to DC House of Horror to Secrets of Sinister House.
If anyone happens to know the first DC Comic that featured Halloween, I would love to know! My research obviously took me elsewhere but that question still lingers.