There are a few legendary unpublished stories in comic book history. And now, one of the most iconic tales-never-told will finally be published, as DC has announced a "faux-simile" reprinting of Batman #428, the 1988 issue in which Jason Todd, the second Robin, dies - but with the alternate, unpublished ending in which Jason actually survived the issue.
Why are there two versions of Batman #428, one published and one unpublished? Because back in 1988 when DC was planning the story 'Death in the Family' in which Jason Todd is ultimately killed by the Joker, the publisher allowed fans to vote on which ending would be published by calling a 900 number to cast their ballot.
"Thirty-Five years ago, 'A Death in the Family' was one of the darkest hours in Batman’s crime-fighting career, made even more harrowing by letting fans decide Jason’s fate," explains DC's announcement. "Fans dialed into a 900 number to vote if Jason Todd should live or die. From a total of 10,614 votes, fans decided that Jason should succumb to his injuries by a narrow 72-vote margin of 5,343 votes to 5,271."
Fans chose death for Jason Todd by just 72 votes, and so Jason's fate was sealed. Decades later, Jason was revived as the Red Hood, and he's had a fraught relationship with Batman ever since. Most recently, Batman did the unthinkable and messed around with Jason's head, brainwashing him as part of the current 'Gotham War' story arc.
Now, fans will get a glimpse at the actual unpublished alternate ending created by Batman's then creative team of writer Jim Starlin, artist Jim Aparo, colorist Adrienne Roy, inker Mike DeCarlo, and letterer John Costanza.
Batman #428 'Faux-simile' edition goes on sale December 12.
Batman: Death in the Family is one of the best Batman stories of all time.