The wonderful dream makers behind DC Comics have declared today National Batman Day to celebrate 75 years of Batman. To honor the cape crusader I compiled a list of facts about the often unsung hero behind Batman, Alfred. Alfred keeps the house running and can proudly claim that he unflinchingly scolds and punishes some of the toughest heroes Gotham has ever seen.
So here’s to you Alfred Pennyworth.
Fact 1: At first Alfred wasn’t a butler but was…
A detective that was nowhere as skilled as Batman and Robin and supplied an element of comic relief to the Batman comic. The rotund detective was a far cry from the thin familiar Alfred we know today.
And also an actor who comes to Batman and Robin when Bruce Wayne is a full grown adult. Alfred’s father Jarvis was Thomas Wayne’s butler, and when he died Alfred promised to care for the Wayne family whether they wanted him there or not. Soon they changed this origin and gave us the Alfred who was always there for young master Bruce and raised Bruce after his parents murder. Which is wonderful because…
Fact 2: Alfred is a great father
Whether it be Michael Caine’s Alfred gently reminding Bruce why we fall or the dry and sarcastic way that Alfred replies to Batman’s crazy whims, Alfred always cared and looked after the man who would be Batman.
For example, in Batman: Under the Hood we learn that after the Wayne’s death, Alfred and Bruce collect first edition books.
And while Alfred can be gentle and caring, he also will go to extremes to make sure no one hurts his family. As we saw in Injustice Gods Among Us, Alfred will even go so far as beating up Superman (with the help of Lex Luthor’s super power pills).
Fact 3: Alfred is also a wonderful grandfather.
Raising one kid who becomes a superhero in his adult life is difficult, but raising a brood of super powered kids can be difficult on a man. Alfred has overseen the development of Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, Tim Drake, Stephanie Brown, and Damian Wayne as they fought as members of the Bat family. Along the way he did the things typical grandparents do…
Looking after little boo boo’s and scrapes, carrying sleeping (or unconscious) kids home, or dealing with disrespectful pre-teens, and then cleaned up after the rowdy bunch. Alfred’s done it all and seen it all.
Fact 4: Alfred’s seen it all.
Yeah Alfred has a wonderful relationship with a super family, but when you have a family of crime fighters the inevitable happens. The loss of Jason Todd, the apparent death of Batman at the hands of Darkseid, and of course Damian Wayne all are heavy on Alfred’s heart.
Truly Alfred is the backbone of the Batman empire. And if anyone says that one man can’t take care of a whole family of super heroes by himself, Alfred will say back…