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|First appearance||Batman: The Long Halloween (1996-1997)|
|Created by||Jeph Loeb|
|Alter ego||Either Alberto Falcone or Gilda Dent, potentially both.|
Holiday or the Holiday Killer is a fictional character appearing in the Batman story The Long Halloween (1996-1997) by writer Jeph Loeb and artist Tim Sale. The character is a serial killer who kills members of Gotham City's mobsters and corrupt officials on major holidays. The true identity of the killer is never definitively revealed in the story itself; both Alberto Falcone and Gilda Dent confess to being Holiday, with Gilda claiming she committed the first three murders and that her husband Harvey took over subsequently.
Fictional character biography
Set shortly after the events of Frank Miller's Batman: Year One, The Long Halloween follows the crusade of Batman, Captain James Gordon and Harvey Dent to topple mobster Carmine Falcone's crime family. At the same time, however, a mysterious assailant begins killing mafiosi on holidays, starting with Halloween.
The killer's identity remains a mystery for most of the story, but the method is always the same. The killer's weapon is a .22 pistol (using a rubber baby bottle nipple as a silencer) with the handle taped and the serial number filed off, which is left at the crime scene along with a holiday trinket representative of the holiday. This leads to the nickname "The Holiday Killer".
Holiday's crime spree occurs for 13 months, with the only holidays without a murder being April Fools' Day, where the killer confronts the Riddler but leaves him alive in the spirit of the holiday, and New Year's Eve where the 'victim' later turns up alive. There are several red herrings that appear in the story to further deepen the mystery, but ultimately, Alberto Falcone is revealed to be Holiday on Labor Day, Gilda Dent later confessed to the first three killings, and Two-Face briefly assumed the role.
Although Carmine Falcone's youngest son appears to meet his end on New Year's, Alberto Falcone turns up alive and well in September. After the murder of Sal Maroni, Falcone is captured by Batman and Jim Gordon, confesses to all of the Holiday murders, and is sentenced to death.
It becomes clear that Alberto faked his own death on New Year's Eve. A number of the killings after this point are to cover up that fact. Carmine Falcone's daughter Sofia tracks down the Gunsmith with intentions of finding out who Holiday is, but finds him dead. Medical examiner Jasper Dolan is killed because he knows that Alberto is still alive. Carla Viti is killed as she searches through the police files on Holiday, possibly because of some clue to Alberto being alive is held within. Although the lack of a body cast early suspicion on Alberto, unused Tim Sale-drawn panels cut in early drafts showed Carmine Falcone weeping over a badly decomposed corpse after New Year's. These pages were published, in penciled form only, in The Long Halloween' collected editions.
Alberto's reasons for becoming Holiday are also the subject of debate. In the final issue, he claims to have been lashing out against his father for never taking him seriously or including him in the family business. Alberto also seems to be addicted to the dubious fame of being a wanted serial killer, as he appears proud of his actions to the police in his confession. Also, one of the running themes of the story seems to be the change in Gotham City from one plagued by mobsters to one ridden with "freaks" such as The Joker, Poison Ivy, and Two-Face.
Gilda Dent, wife of Harvey Dent, confesses (in a private monologue) that she was the original Holiday, who murdered the first seven victims. While burning the supposed evidence of her crime, she claimed that she began the murders because Harvey could not settle down and raise a child with her until the Falcone crime family was finally destroyed. In Gilda's confession, she mentions that on New Year's Eve, she had heard of Alberto's murder at sea. Afterwards, Harvey returned home with wet hair, stating that it had been snowing even though he was wearing a hat. She took this as a sign that Harvey himself had taken up killing Falcone family members. As a result, she stopped killing and took a passive role, waiting for Harvey to finish the job so they could settle down.
Harvey Dent (who becomes Two-Face at the end of The Long Halloween) was definitely the final Holiday, as he murders Carmine Falcone and Vernon Fields on Halloween. While there is no 'marker' for the holiday, Two-Face leaves his double-sided coin. The ending of the book leaves it open to interpretation whether Harvey killed any of the previous victims.
Before his transformation, Dent is an early suspect of the Holiday murders. In the first issue of the miniseries, Batman provides Dent and Gordon with a ledger from Falcone's safe with a list of members of the family, which gives Dent information to track and kill them. Although the ledger is a crucial piece of evidence, Dent cannot use it; it is inadmissible in court against Falcone because Dent would have to reveal that Batman had stolen it.
There is also a .22 pistol that Gilda finds in their basement, which Dent maintains is evidence. The killer is seen filing the pistol at a craftsman work area; Dent is also shown having a work area with the same layout later.
In addition, the murder of the Irish gang seems to be an act of revenge, as they blow up Dent's house and injure his wife. However, in her "confession", Gilda states she killed the Irish, slipping out of the hospital as Harvey slept by the bedside. In any case, the looks on their faces before they die seem to indicate they recognize who Holiday is. After Dent becomes Two-Face, both the ledger and a Holiday-style .22 are found in his briefcase in his basement. This leads Batman and Gordon to conclude that Dent was Holiday since the beginning.
Dent is seen as a main suspect for a large portion of the story, notably for a number of enigmatic comments he makes such as saying of Johnny Viti's murder: "Two shots to the head. If you ask me, it couldn't have happened to a nicer guy", a phrase Two-Face says after Falcone's death.
- Halloween - October 31: Johnny Viti (Carmine Falcone's nephew), who had threatened to testify against his uncle at one point
- Thanksgiving - November 28: The Irish (a gang of five Irish assassins hired by Falcone to murder District Attorney Harvey Dent)
- Christmas - December 25: Milos Grapa (Falcone's personal bodyguard)
- New Year's Eve - January 1: Alberto Falcone (Carmine Falcone's son)
- Valentine's Day - February 14: Mobsters hired by Maroni (innocent patrons of rival mob boss Sal Maroni's restaurant were stunned but actually not killed by the shockwave produced by the explosion incidental to this particular Holiday killing. This is confirmed as the readers can see them standing or trying to get up in a subsequent panel. If an innocent had really died then Gordon would not have later said, "This time it's a civilian" when Holiday murdered Coroner Dolan on Independence Day)
- St. Patrick's Day - March 17: A large number of Maroni's men.
- April Fools' Day - April 1: The Riddler (shot at, purposely unharmed. A play on the theme of April Fools' Day)
- Mother's Day - May 6: The Gunsmith (a shop owner who had been making Holiday's guns)
- Father's Day - June 21: Luigi Maroni (Salvatore Maroni's father)
- Independence Day - July 4: Jasper Dolan (Gotham City Coroner)
- The Roman's Birthday - August 2: Carla Viti (Falcone's sister and Johnny Viti's mother)
- Labor Day - September 1: Salvatore Maroni
- Halloween - October 31: Carmine Falcone and Vernon Fields (corrupt assistant to District Attorney Harvey Dent)