BATMAN #237: O’Neil & Adams on the Greatest Halloween Comic Ever

A classic revisited — 50 years later…

UPDATED 10/31/21: This is an annual tradition here at 13th Dimension — an INSIDE LOOK at the greatest Halloween comic ever: Batman #237, by the late Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams — and this year, it’s the 50th anniversary! Read on — if you dare! — Dan

There are a gazillion Halloween-themed comics out there but there’s one that stands above them all: Batman #237 — 1971’s Night of the Reaper! by Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams.

It’s probably the first cover I can remember seeing on the spinner rack:

And the story itself is a high point in the celebrated O’Neil-Adams collaboration:

Batman and Robin (and some of Dick Grayson’s very familiar-looking friends) find themselves in Rutland, Vt., for the annual Halloween Parade. A killer dressed as the Grim Reaper stalks the town — and it’s revealed (SPOILER ALERT) that he’s a Holocaust survivor bent on revenge. It’s a story that begins with a lot of atmospheric humor and ends in poignant tragedy.

It’s the best Halloween comic I’ve ever read — and it’s not even close. Adams himself called it “one of Denny’s richest and fullest stories.” And that’s saying something.

I spoke to O’Neil and Adams about Batman #237 separately a few years ago as I was launching 13th Dimension. Each interview was a part of THE NEAL ADAMS INTERVIEWS and THE DENNY O’NEIL INTERVIEWS, respectively.

I like to highlight those discussions every Halloween, so here they are, once again:

— DENNY O’NEIL Talks About the Genesis of Batman #237. Click here.

— NEAL ADAMS Talks About Creating the Classic Cover. Click here.


— For the complete DENNY O’NEIL INTERVIEWS Index of stories, click here.

— For the complete NEAL ADAMS INTERVIEWS Index of stories, click here.

Author: Dan Greenfield

Share This Post On


  1. O man… dig the floats. Thanks for bringing this memory back. I need to pull the comic out of the files now.

    Post a Reply
  2. Thanks. I have to look for it….nobody got my dime after 69 until burst back with a blam…

    Post a Reply
  3. This very story is reprinted in the new Swamp Thing Halloween Comic available only at WalMart.

    Post a Reply
    • I just read the story! Wow!
      Who wants to talk about floats?! I really want to ta;k to somebody about floats…

      Post a Reply
  4. I bought this issue when it came out (I was 13 having been collecting Batman for 5 years) and even did a Super 8 film adaptation of the story a few years later.

    Post a Reply
  5. I love them working in Captain America, Havok, and Quicksilver on that float!

    Post a Reply
  6. One of my all-time favorite stand-along Batman stories (along with Night of the Hunter). But, beyond the parade scene, the opening page with Batman impaled on a dead tree in front of an old mansion under the full moon is the page I always remember best. And this story stands out for me because of the Holocaust vengeance plot more than the Rutland Parade – which was also done in “The Avengers” around the same time.

    Post a Reply
  7. great issue, yes. I had a letter published in it which also upped its cherceness for me…or at least…I think I did! Chris Juricich

    Post a Reply
  8. If Marvel and DC ever get back to collaborating on joint publishing projects, they should create a TPB collection of all the various Rutland Halloween stories published over the years: This one, the various ones from the Avengers, plus a couple of JLAs, then Thor, the second Defenders story, the Beast from Amazing Adventures… probably more I’m not aware of.

    Post a Reply

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: