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COMIC LEGEND: The point of Knightfall was to point out why Azrael should NOT be Batman.
Anonymous wrote in the other week to say the following:
Hey, Brian. Here’s an ooooooold rumor that I (and a lot of other people) have been wondering about for years: The official story (if I’m not mistaken) is that Azrael Batman was supposed to be permanent and that they only went back because of fan backlash.
But since practically forever there’s been a rumor that Azrael Batman was INTENDED to be rejected by fans, ala New Coke (i.e. they set it up to fail to build hype for the original coming back).
Yes? No? A combination of the two maybe?
I am pretty sure that I had always heard the second story, but if it is in fact a rumor, then it is a true one.
Denny O’Neil explained the situation to Tezak…
JT: In the Knightfall saga, Azrael was Batman for about a year. I know some fans were very upset sending death threats to DC comics stating that if Bruce Wayne wasn’t put back in the Batsuit, that you would lose loyal readers. How long was Azrael supposed to be Batman? Did those letters from the fans influence your decision on how long Azrael was going to be Batman?
DO: No, We had most of the series, and particularly its length, planned from the git-go. Actually, I would have been more bothered if the readers liked Az–that would mean they favored a nastier Batman and I would have had problems with that.
The whole point of the storyline was to show that Bruce Wayne “had” to be Batman and that someone like Azrael just wouldn’t work in the cowl.
Thanks to Anoymous for the suggestion! And thanks again to Denny and Jek for the information!
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