As you all probably know, in 1992, DC began a storyline called Knightfall.
The story resulted in the crippling and replacing of Bruce Wayne as Batman by Jean-Paul Valley, who was introduced in 1992 as Azrael.
Valley's tenure as Batman was told in the storyline called Knightquest (Bruce was given his own, parallel Knightquest storyline - Valley's was Knightquest: The Crusade, while Bruce's was Knightquest: The Search, as Bruce was searching for his kidnapped girlfriend, Ms. MacGuffin).
Eventually, Bruce was healed by Ms. MacGuffin, and he returned to kick ass and chew gum, and he was all out of gum.
This was told in the Knightsend storyline.
At one point in the story, it appears as though Valley has killed Bruce via an exploding Batmobile.
Nightwing is there, and as you might expect, he goes nuts, and tries to beat the heck out of Valley.
Bruce shows up, though, as he was not dumb enough to fall for the ol' "exploding Batmobile" gag, and he ultimately defeats Valley and reclaims the title of Batman (only to promptly give it to Dick to use for a little bit while Bruce goes on a vacation and gets to chew the aforementioned gum).
The fact that Dick was given the title so quickly after Knightsend apparently led to some folks thinking that perhaps the ORIGINAL ending of Knightsend was that Bruce WAS killed in the bombing (or, at least, presumed dead, to return some time later on), and that Dick was going to become Batman officially (remember, this was before Nightwing had his own series, so he'd be available). The theory then went that DC changed their mind at the last moment and had the writers change the story to the way it saw print.
It sounded pretty unlikely to me, but reader William Moore, who suggested it, told me he hears it fairly often (Will later e-mailed me to tell me he first heard it on the DC message boards). So I posed the question to Alan Grant, who wrote 1/4 of Knightsend, and he let me know that, no, there was never any plans to have Dick become Batman permanently, that it was always going to be Azrael becoming Batman for awhile until Bruce came back to take the name again.
Thanks to Will for the suggestion and thanks ever so much for Alan Grant for being gracious enough to fill me in on the answer!
Okay, that's it for this week!
Thanks to the Grand Comic Book Database for all this week's covers!
Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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See you next week!