Bendis on Batman? Quarter Bin Gold

This past weekend, I went back issue diving at an area comic book store, and I spent about an hour going through the quarter bins. For those not in the know, the quarter bins are boxes and boxes of comics that you can buy for a quarter a piece. If you don’t care about the quality (not a NM book to be found) and either want to fill out your collection or find some fun old comics, the quarter bins are the place for you.

This particular quarter bin diving session had a fantastic yield. Not only did I find a multitude of New Mutants issues to fill out my run, but I found some great issues of The Defenders (which I’m going to start collecting the complete run for) and some other random issues that looked like fun. Being the Marvel Zombie I am, I didn’t pick up that much DC stuff at all (although the store I was in was having a sale, back issues marked $10 and under were on sale for $1 a piece, so I loaded up on old All Star Squadron issues), and glossed over one Batman comic in particular. A little later, my friend who was also diving saw that and said, “Bendis Batman” and moved on as I jerked my head to see what he was referring to.

It was issue #21 of Batman Chronicles and it contained the only DC work that Brian Michael Bendis has ever done. Ever.

If you were ever curious about Brian Michael Bendis and his career, this is an extremely interesting footnote. Published in the Summer of 2000, this is Bendis right after his success on the indie scene with Jinx, Torso, and Powers (which just began at this point at Image Comics), in the middle of his stint on Sam & Twitch (a Spawn spin off book), and right before he went all exclusive with Marvel Comics with Ultimate Spider-Man. And it marks the ONLY time he’s ever written any DC characters. Like I said, interesting footnote.

Batman Chronicles apparently was a seasonal anthology book of three Batman related stories and was canceled two issues after Bendis’ issue came out. I wonder if even the most die hard Batman fan like my associate, Conor, even bought this.

Bendis’ story was the middle story, clocking in at 6 pages. It was drawn by Michael Gaydos, an early nod towards what would become a great partnership over at Marvel in the pages of Alias. The story is called “Citizen Wayne” and to be honest, isn’t either Bendis or Gaydos’ best work.

The gist of the story is its set in the future, where Bruce Wayne has just passed away. His dying words, “Rosebud.” Mild mannered reporter Clark Kent gets assigned the story to find out what “Rosebud” meant, and interviews a balding Dick Grayson who now runs Wayne’s businesses, an aging and drunk Selina Kyle, and wheelchair-bound Jim Gordon. No one knows what “Rosebud” means, until the end when we flash back to the shooting of Thomas and Martha Wayne, and we see a closeup of the gun, which has “Rosebud” stamped on the barrel.

No, I’m not making this up.

Gaydos’s art is set in grey scales, of course, and the whole story has a very shadowy, dark, 1940’s/Noir feel to it. Which isn’t surprising considering the tone of the story and the source influence of the movie Citizen Kane. The art was good, but not nearly as mind blowing as I remember Gaydos’ work on Alias was.

I think it’s funny that if Bendis were to ever leave Marvel (and I don’t think he will) and work at DC Comics, the one character that’s perfect for him is Batman. And here we have Bendis writing Batman, and yet no one is in costume, Batman is only alive for like two panels, and the whole story rings of a tongue in cheek, bad idea that seemed really good at the time, I’m sure.

If you’re fan of Bendis then this is a must have, purely for the historical footnote, and for 25 cents?  How can you beat that?


  1. Bruce Wayne as Charles Kane by Bendis, that sounds awesome.

  2. Interesting, I never knew he wrote anything for DC.  I’m heading to the comic store on my lunch break to find this one!

  3. Those 25 cents bins are the best.  I love Batman and I love Brian Michael Bendis. Citizen Kane is on my top 15 films of all time. I had to study that film a lot when I was  in film school. I am mad at my self that I never know about this book. I never pick this Batman line up. Now it is my gold this week to find this issue of Batman Chronicles. That story sound like it can be fun. I am waiting a bit to call a few comic book stores by my house and I hope they have it. Because I am going to be very mad at my self .If I have to wait for the next Con to look for it.

  4. Funny side note… As most people know Charles Kane is based off of William Randolph Hearst, but did you know that rosebud had meaning for Hearst as well.  Rosebud was a pet name Hearst gave Marion Davies’s (his mistress) lower female part.

     Gives a whole new view to the movie.  Just think…. Kane died with Rosebud on his lips… ha.

  5. WOO HOO!  I found it on my lunch break!  Although, the store priced it at $3.25.

  6. I picked this up awhile ago but I paid $4.  It was worth it despite it being the only story in the book I liked. 

  7. You wonder if I bought this?  *sob*  It’s like you don’t even know me anymore.

  8. One day….one day……

  9. This story is also collected in a tpb. Batman: The Greatest Stories Ever Told, Vol Two. I believe it is the last story in that collection.

  10. WHAT?!?!?! I have to read this! good find ron!

  11. Oh thanks for the info RolandofGilead

  12. I doubt this is the book Bendis would have wanted you to highlight with SI going on. First JLI now this. Did Bizarro Ron post this article?

  13. I’ll bet stores are pricing this up because you guys ran a feature on it.

  14. Now I know what to be looking for at the summer conventions!

  15. My LCS gives it’s pull list customers $10/month backissue coupons and I’ve been looking for something to grab. This’ll do.

  16. That’s a nice incentive your shop gives. I love digging through back issues, but I always forget about the quarter bin. I’d gladly pay two quarters for this fine piece sir.

  17. "Gives a whole new view to the movie.  Just think…. Kane died with Rosebud on his lips… ha. "

    Reminds me of the latest issue of The Boys!  D’OH!

  18. haha… agreed NJBaritone

  19. Hahaha, Citizen Wayne?

    Not exactly the greatest idea in the world, but the concept is hilarious.

  20. I think I got all the Batman Chronicles books, so I think I got this when it came out, but I don’t remember it all. I guess have some digging to do tonight!

  21. If Bendis left Marvel for DC, I don’t think I’d ever stop crying.


  22. If Bendis were to go to DC, I’d like to see him write Robin