However, before he locked in to his Marvel gigs, he also got the chance to do one story for DC Comics. In 1995, DC Comics launched Batman Chronicles and Superman: The Man of Tomorrow. These books were quarterly comic books designed to take care of a little problem that comes up in comic book publishing. There were four monthly Batman titles and four monthly Superman titles, so that meant that there would be a Batman or Superman comic book every week. However, four times a year, there will be a month that has five Wednesdays in it instead of four. So those “fifth weeks” would mess with the shipping schedules, so DC decided to launch two quarterly titles that would plug into those “fifth weeks.” Superman: The Man of Tomorrow was a regular Superman series, but The Batman Chronicles was designed as an anthology.
The problem with Batman Chronicles is that during 1999, every Batman title became part of a massive weekly storyline called “No Man’s Land,” so titles that normally did their own thing, Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight and Batman Chronicles, were now just part of a shared storyline (“No Man’s Land” saw the DC Comics debut of the brilliant Alex Maleev, who would soon become Brian Michael Bendis’ collaborator on Daredevil. The featured image for this piece is by Maleev). When “No Man’s Land” ended and the editorial shift occurred, Batman Chronicles was almost sort of off in its own no man’s land, especially as the editor on the book was changing from issue to issue. Ultimately, it was just canceled with Batman Chronicles #23.
Before that point, though, Joe Illidge was in charge of the book for one issue in early 2000, and he decided to follow up on an acclaimed earlier issue of Batman Chronicles from 1998 where Paul Pope did an alternate reality Batman story, with Batman in 1930s Berlin. So Batman Chronicles #21 opened with a story by the Pander Brothers about a woman from an alternate reality causing havoc on our Earth. The second story in the issue was called “Citizen Wayne,” and it was written by Brian Michael Bendis and drawn by Michael Gaydos.
The story was a re-imagination of Orson Welles’ classic noir film, Citizen Kane, with Bruce Wayne in place of Charles Foster Kane…
Clark Kent takes on the role of Joseph Cotten’s Jed Leland, the reporter trying to get to the bottom of the mysterious final words of the dead recluse, “Rosebud”.
Kent visits those closest to Wayne, from Selina Kyle to Dick Grayson to Jim Gordon…
to finally even Jack Napier/The Joker…
In the original film, “Rosebud” turns out to be a sled. In this story, it turns out to be something else very important to the childhood of Bruce Wayne.
It’s a strong story and DC included it in 2007’s Greatest Batman Stories Ever Told, Volume 2.
We would imagine that while this was the first Brian Michael Bendis Batman story, it will certainly not be the last (and we’re not even talking about the Batman/Daredevil crossover that he once tried to get DC and Marvel to publish!).
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