Alfred Pennyworth (Batman’s Batman?)

By  Phil Perich for Before the Bat: The Gotham Podcast



What a midseason finale Gotham had.  Alfred Pennyworth, wow!  Alfred first appeared in Batman #16 (April/May 1943).

Alfred becomes Bruce Wayne’s butler after fulfilling his father’s dying wish.  Jarvis Pennyowrth had served the Wayne family when Bruce was a child.  After fighting off a burglar, Alfred discovers Batman and Robin’s identities when he accidentally hits a switch that opens a secret panel to the Batcave.  This origin is revised in Batman #110 (September 1957).  Alfred originally appeared as overweight and clean shaven, but when the Batman movie serial had a thin actor with a mustache, the comics followed suit when Alfred went to a health resort in Detective Comics #83 (January 1944).  Alfred was portrayed as a retired actor and intelligence agent.  Alfred appears to die when he is crushed by a boulder in Detective Comics #328 (June 1964).  But it is revealed in Detective Comics #356 (October 1966) that Alfred was revived by a regeneration machine created by scientist Brandon Crawford.  Alfred awakens with pasty white skin and wants to destroy Batman and Robin calling himself the Outsider.   


Another treatment of the regeneration machine restores Alfred and wipes all his memories of being the Outsider.  Alfred is later reunited with his long lost daughter, Julia Remarque.  Alfred had met Julia’s mother in France during World War 2 during his time as an intelligence agent.  After DC Comics alters their timeline with Crisis on Infinite Earths, Alfred is now shown to have started serving the Waynes when Bruce was still a child.  After Bruce’s parents are murdered, Alfred becomes the boy’s legal guardian.  Alfred is shown to have an on and off romance with Leslie Thompkins, An old friend of Bruce’s father and mother figure to Bruce after his parent’s deaths.

Alfred not only raised Bruce Wayne, but help him care for his wards/sons (Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, Tim Drake, and Damian Wayne) when they served as Robin.

Alfred is such an integral part of the Batman’s story and mission and aids him so much he is often referred to as “Batman’s Batman”.

Alfred has been featured prominently in most Batman stories from Comics, to TV, movies, and animation.  But the character hasn’t had a big a role as he does in the prequel show Gotham where he is played by actor Sean Pertwee.

As with other versions of the story, Alfred is a former marine and becomes Bruce Wayne’s guardian after his parents murder.  So was the midseason finale episode entitled “Lovecraft” the best interpretation of Alfred yet?  You tell me!

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Until next week, be good. Remember even a perfect gentleman can be a dangerous defender.

Posted on December 3, 2014 and filed under Comics.