This is "Never Gonna Be the Same Again," a feature where I look at how bold, seemingly "permanent" changes were ultimately reversed. This is not a criticism, mind you, as obviously things are always going to eventually return to "normal." That's just how superhero comic books work. It's just fun to see how some of these rather major changes are reversed. This is differentiated from "Abandoned Love," which is when a new writer comes in and drops the plot of the previous writer. Here, we're talking about the writer who came up with the idea being the same one who resolved the change. This is also differentiated from "Death is Not the End," which is about how "dead" characters came back to life, since this is about stuff other than death.
Today, we look at how Batman gave up on Wayne Manor for over a decade!
The end of the 1960s was a fascinating time for Batman and the Batman titles as a whole. After the heady days of Bat-Mania, the TV series had now been finished for over a year and while the sales were still much better than they were before the show started, they obviously were not doing the insane numbers they were doing while the shoe was on. Sales were down enough that Schwartz and his creative teams had the freedom to really try to mix things up. There was no point in trying to appeal to the casual fans that the show brought in, but the sales were high enough that they could likely survive a big change to the status quo of the series. The decision was made to try to do a throwback to the classic days of Batman. "Classic," of course, is a bit of a misnomer, since Batman only appeared in about a year's worth of stories before Robin showed up and yet those were the stories that they wanted to evoke. The early, darker stories where Batman was very much a masked manhunter.
At the same time, like most other comic book titles of the late 1960s, modernization was the name of the game. DC Comics had a new top Editor in Carmine Infantino and most DC titles tried to reflect the modern era by coming up with bold ideas to match the late 1960s. Over the next year, Wonder Woman would go mod, Green Lantern would become a hard travelin' hero and Superman would have his powers greatly reduced and become a TV news anchor.
In 1969's Batman #217 (by Frank Robbins, Irv Novick and Dick Giordano), the first thing that happened in the issue was a major change that saw Dick Grayson moving away from Wayne Manor...
Dick spent most of the 1970s as a part-time partner of Batman. He eventually returned as a full-time partner in the early 1980s before becoming his own distinct superhero, Nightwing.
Now that Dick was gone, Batman decided that he and Alfred will also leave to move to the city, where they set up a new Bat-Cave in an apartment building, where Bruce will live on the penthouse of the Wayne Foundation...
They also started a bit with trying to get to know everyday victims...
But that was obviously a short term thing. The new apartment headquarters was seemingly a permanent change and, indeed, it remained that way all throughout the 1970s!
So how did Wayne Manor return?