Cover art of Batman #686 (March 2009)
Art by Alex Ross
|First appearance||Batman #16 (April 1943)|
Bill Finger (writer);
Jerry Robinson (artist)
|Full name||Alfred Thaddeus Crane Pennyworth|
|Supporting character of|
Pennyworth is depicted as Bruce Wayne's loyal and tireless butler, housekeeper, legal guardian, best friend, aide-de-camp, and surrogate father figure following the murders of Thomas and Martha Wayne. As a British ex-Special Operations Executive operative of honor and ethics with connections within the intelligence community, he has been called "Batman's batman". He also provides comic relief with his sarcastic and cynical attitude which often adds humor to dialogue with Batman. A vital part of the Batman mythos, Alfred was nominated for the Wizard Fan Award for Favorite Supporting Male Character in 1994.
In non-comics media, the character has been portrayed by noted actors William Austin, Eric Wilton, Michael Gough, Michael Caine, and Jeremy Irons on film and by Alan Napier, Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., Ian Abercrombie, David McCallum, and Sean Pertwee on television.
- 1 Publication history
- 2 Fictional character biography
- 3 Other versions
- 4 Name
- 5 Family
- 6 Skills, resources, and abilities
- 7 In other media
- 8 References
- 9 External links
The character first appeared in Batman #16 (April 1943), by writer Don Cameron and artist Bob Kane. Evidence suggests that Alfred was created by the writers of the 1943 Batman serial—Victor McLeod, Leslie Swabacker, and Harry Fraser—and that DC Comics asked Don Cameron to write the first Alfred story, which was released earlier to the serial's airing.
Fictional character biography
In Alfred Pennyworth's first appearance, he was overweight and clean-shaven; however, when the 1943 Batman serial was released, William Austin, the actor who played Alfred, was trim and sported a thin moustache. DC editors wanted the comic Alfred to resemble his cinematic counterpart, so in Detective Comics #83 (January 1944), Alfred vacationed at a health resort, where he slimmed down and grew a mustache. This look has remained with the character ever since, even surviving his apparent "death"[Comics 1] and resurrection.[Comics 2]
Alfred was originally conceived as a comedic foil for Batman and Robin. In most early tales, he made bungling attempts to be a detective on a par with the young masters. He was given a four-page feature of his own,[Comics 3] and the feature lasted thirteen issues, skipping Batman #35, with the last story in Batman #36.[Comics 4] The stories followed a simple formula, with Alfred solving a crime and catching the culprits entirely by accident. In later years, the comedic aspects of the character were downplayed.
The Pre-Crisis comics (the comics that were published by DC Comics between 1938 and 1984) established Alfred as a retired actor and intelligence agent who followed the deathbed wish of his dying father Jarvis Pennyworth to carry on the tradition of serving the Wayne family. To that end, Alfred introduced himself to Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson at Wayne Manor and insisted on becoming their valet. Although the pair did not want one, especially since they did not want to jeopardize their secret identities with a servant in the house, they did not have the heart to reject Alfred.
Initially, Alfred discovered their identities by accident; while fighting a burglar in Batman #16 (Alfred's first appearance), he accidentally hit a switch and opened a sliding panel leading to the Batcave. He is helpful to the duo, following them to a theatre where they are captured, bound and gagged by a criminal gang, and rescues them after Batman attracts his attention by knocking a rope down before the crooks return. This was revised in Batman #110 (September 1957); during his first night at Wayne Manor, Alfred awoke to moaning and followed the sound to the secret passage to the staircase leading to the Batcave and met his would-be employers in their superhero identities. As it turned out, the wounds were actually insignificant, but Alfred's care convinced the residents that their butler could be trusted. Since then, Alfred included the support staff duties of the Dynamic Duo on top of his regular tasks.
Ironically, Alfred's loyalty would lead him to become a member of Batman's rogue's gallery. While pushing Batman and Robin out of the way of a falling boulder, Alfred was seemingly killed in Detective #328 (June 1964). It was revealed in Detective #356 (October 1966) that he had been revived by a scientist named Brandon Crawford. His attempt at regeneration resulted in a dramatic change: Alfred awoke from his apparent death with pasty white skin with circular markings, superhuman powers, including telekinesis, and a desire to destroy Batman and Robin. Calling himself The Outsider, he indirectly battled the Dynamic Duo on a number of occasions, using others as his puppets—the Grasshopper Gang in Detective #334, Zatanna in Detective #336, and even the Batmobile itself in Detective #340—and generally only appeared as a mocking voice over the radio. He did not physically appear in the comics until Detective #356, when he is bathed again in the rays of the regeneration machine during a struggle with Batman, and returns to normal, with no memory of his time as a supervillain. His time as the Outsider is collected in Showcase Presents: Batman Volumes 1 and 2.
Alfred was later reunited with his long-lost daughter, Julia Remarque, though this element was not included in Post-Crisis comics. Her mother was the DC war heroine Mademoiselle Marie, whom Alfred had met while working as an intelligence agent in occupied France during World War II.
Post-Crisis and Zero Hour
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In the Post-Crisis comics continuity, Alfred has been the Wayne family valet all of Bruce's life and had helped his master establish his superhero career from the beginning. In addition, he was Bruce's legal guardian following the deaths of his parents. Alfred's history has been modified several times over the years, creating assorted versions. In one such version, Alfred was hired away from the British Royal Family by Bruce's parents, and he virtually raised Bruce after they were murdered.
Meanwhile, another version of Alfred's Post-Crisis life was slightly more closely linked to his pre-Crisis counterpart. In this version, Alfred is an actor on the English stage who agrees to become the Waynes' butler to honor his father's dying wish. At the time he begins working for the Waynes, Bruce is a young child. After several months, Alfred voices the desire to quit and return home to continue his life as an actor. However, these plans are momentarily forgotten when young Bruce returns home after getting into a fight with a school bully. Alfred teaches Bruce to handle the bully strategically, rather than using brute force. Following Alfred's advice, Bruce takes care of his bully problem. Upon returning home, Bruce requests that Alfred stay, and Alfred agrees without a second thought. Alfred raises Bruce after the Waynes are murdered.
Alfred later helps Bruce raise Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, and Tim Drake, all of whom were adopted by Bruce Wayne and became his partner Robin. He also had close friendships with other members of the Bat-Clan including Barbara Gordon and Cassandra Cain. Alfred often acts as a father-figure to Bruce, and a grandfather to Dick, Jason, and Tim. He is also highly respected by those heroes who are aware of his existence, including Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, and the original Teen Titans.
Alfred has also been romantically linked to Dr. Leslie Thompkins, though his relationship with her never came to anything, particularly after she apparently allowed Stephanie Brown to die from neglect. He also developed feelings for Tim Drake's stepmother, but again, nothing came of it.
During the events of Knightquest, Alfred accompanies Wayne to England and becomes enraged when Wayne insists on endangering his own health while paraplegic. This was the culmination of several weeks of Wayne's self-destructive behavior, and when Wayne returns to Gotham City, Alfred remains in England, tendering his resignation. He spends some time vacationing in Antarctica and The Bahamas before returning to England. Dick Grayson tracks him down several months later and convinces him to return to Wayne Manor. In that story, it was revealed he had walked out of his own wedding years earlier.
His resourcefulness came to the fore in the No Man's Land storyline, especially in Legends of the Dark Knight #118. Batman is missing for weeks, leaving Alfred alone to watch his city for him. He uses his skills as an actor, storyteller, medic, and spy to survive and collect information on the recently destroyed society. Alfred even uses hand-to-hand combat in a rare one-panel fight sequence between him and a pair of slavers that ends with his rescue by Batman.
In Batman #677, agents of Batman's mysterious enemy the Black Glove attack and beat Alfred in front of Bruce and Jezebel Jet, severely injuring him. In the same issue, a reporter from The Gotham Gazette suggests to Commissioner Gordon that Alfred may be Bruce's biological father and that this may be a reason for the murder of Martha Wayne. Alfred later denies the entire story, agreeing with Bruce that it was a fabrication. In Batman and the Outsiders Special, Alfred is seen apologizing at the graves of Thomas and Martha Wayne at the loss of Bruce, commenting that he grieves as a parent, regarding Bruce as his son. Later, a secret panel in Alfred's room opens, the result of a fail-safe planted by Bruce in the event of his death. Bruce leaves him one final task and also gives him an emotional goodbye, telling Alfred he considered him as a father.
Alfred is left emotionally shattered, commenting more than once that, even if his biological fatherhood is a fabrication, in a deeper sense he actually was Bruce Wayne's father, having watched over him for years and feeling he failed him in the last moments.
After the event of Final Crisis, when Batman was apparently killed in action, Alfred finds himself with the task of raising Bruce's biological son Damian with Grayson. Batman: Battle for the Cowl sees Alfred allowing Damian Wayne to take on his first mission as Robin, giving Damian a Robin tunic and calling on Squire to assist the new Boy Wonder in finding Tim Drake, who went missing hunting down Jason Todd. Alfred also assists Grayson in his role as Gotham's new Dark Knight.
After discovering that the original Batman was actually lost in time after his battle with Darkseid, Alfred immediately seeks clues to his whereabouts. Eventually, Bruce finds his way to the present. After Batman successfully expands his mission globally with Batman Inc., Bruce assumes full responsibility as a father, and Alfred assists him in raising Damian.
The New 52
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In The New 52 (a 2011 reboot of the DC universe), it is revealed that Alfred's father Jarvis Pennyworth was the butler of the Wayne family before Alfred when Bruce was still a child. Jarvis was blackmailed by the Court of Owls to set a trap for the pregnant Martha Wayne. Despite declining, the Court managed to cause a car accident that caused the child to be born prematurely and eventually to have died. Jarvis attempted to resign from his services and write a letter to his son in which he describes the manor as a cursed place, and tells Alfred that he should not begin his service under the Wayne family. However, Jarvis was unable to send it as he was murdered that night.[Comics 5]
During Batman: Eternal, Alfred is reunited with his long-absent daughter, Julia Pennyworth, an agent of the Special Reconnaissance Regiment, when Batman finds her in Hong Kong and takes her back to Wayne Manor for medical treatment after she is stabbed with a samurai sword through the chest by a Chinese gang boss she was hunting. Although Julia is initially hostile to Alfred, feeling that he has wasted his life going from a soldier to tending to a fop like Bruce Wayne, after Alfred is attacked by Hush and infected with a fear toxin, she discovers the Batcave and takes on her father's role to coordinate the Bat-Family's efforts against their foes. Alfred is briefly transferred to Arkham before it is attacked as part of the conspiracy, but he manages to survive the explosion and trick Bane into helping him reach an emergency cave Batman had installed under Arkham, the cave's defenses knocking Bane out and allowing Alfred to call for help.
When Hush was briefly kept prisoner in the Batcave, he managed to break out of his cell and lock Alfred in it before sabotaging the Batman Family's equipment via the Batcomputer as they fought various villains, including crashing the Batwing with Batman still in it. However, he was swiftly returned to captivity when Alfred escaped the cell and knocked Hush out, Alfred harshly informing Tommy that he was hardly going to be locked up in his own home.
During the Batman: Endgame arc, the Joker broke into the Batcave, and during a confrontation with Alfred, cut off Alfred's right hand. Julia confirms to Bruce later in the issue that Alfred survived the encounter and is in a stable condition.[volume & issue needed] Following the death of Bruce Wayne, Julia says that with current medical technology, they can have Alfred's hand reattached without any complications. However Alfred refuses, stating that with Bruce dead, he no longer has need of it as he has no one left to serve.
Even with the loss of Bruce as Batman, Alfred still assists the Batman Family in the Batcave along with Julia. After Bruce is discovered to be alive but with no memory of who he is or of his life as Batman, Alfred tells Bruce everything that had happened in his life up to the point of the creation of Batman, but accepts Bruce's request not to learn any more. Alfred did this so that, after years of service to the people of Gotham and the world, Bruce could finally accept his reward of a life without pain and the burning desire to be Batman, allowing his life as Bruce Wayne to finally begin. However, when the new villain Mr. Bloom launches a mass attack that apparently kills Jim Gordon-the new Batman-the amnesic Bruce pieces together enough information to deduce that he was once Batman, and convinces Alfred to subject him to a machine that will theoretically download all of his memories as Batman into his mind.
Bruce's original plan was for the machine to be used to create a series of clones of himself that could be programmed to continue his mission, but although the process failed because simulations confirmed that the human mind could not handle Batman's trauma, Bruce comes through the process by having Alfred take him to the point of brain-death and then download his memories onto his blank brain. With his master restored, Alfred's hand is subsequently reattached, Bruce joking that they used a random hand from the reserves rather than keeping Alfred's hand on ice all this time.
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Following the 2016 DC Rebirth continuity reboot, Alfred appears in Detective Comics and the third volume of Batman.
All Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder
In Frank Miller and Jim Lee's All Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder, Alfred is a tougher individual with a different backstory. Following Batman's assault on the corrupt Gotham City police, Alfred and Vicki Vale are caught in the devastating car wreckage Batman creates (not aware of their presence) and Vale is badly hurt. Alfred is seen, shirtless and muscled, applying a tourniquet and generally taking control of the situation. He is described as having been a medic in the Royal Air Force and as ex-British Secret Service.
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
In Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, an elderly Alfred still acts as Bruce's butler, mourning Bruce's diminished social contacts while continuing to loyally serve his master even after Bruce becomes Batman once again after a ten-year retirement. At the story's conclusion, having set Wayne Manor to self-destruct to protect Bruce Wayne's full secrets after his faked death during his fight with Superman, Alfred dies of a stroke, his last thoughts being to consider how utterly proper it is that he should die as Wayne Manor ceases to exist.
In the sequel, Batman: The Dark Knight Strikes Again, the Batcave computer has been programmed with an artificial intelligence named and apparently patterned after Alfred, to the point that it refers to Bruce as "Sir".
Alfred appears as a main character in Geoff Johns' and Gary Frank's Batman: Earth One. In this incarnation, Alfred was a member of the Royal Marines. Alfred met Thomas Wayne during a tour of duty in the Middle East and the two became good friends. During a battle, Alfred saved Thomas' life but lost his right leg in the process. It is also implied that both he and Thomas are keeping a traumatic secret. Discharged back to his home in London, Alfred received a gift from Thomas in the form of a very expensive prosthetic leg. He later traveled to Gotham City to visit his friend and found himself arriving on the night of a campaign party for Thomas' bid at the mayoral office. Afraid for his friend after hearing of the death threats on his life, Alfred tried to talk Thomas out of going to the movies with his wife and son, but Thomas refused to allow threats to keep him from enjoying his weekly movie night with Martha and Bruce.
Later that night, Alfred was called to the police station. Thomas and Martha had been killed by a mugger outside the theatre and Bruce had been orphaned. To Alfred's shock, he discovered that Thomas and Martha had named him Bruce's legal guardian some time ago. Unsure of himself, Alfred still made it his mission to look out for Bruce as he grew up.
When Bruce took on his costumed persona of Batman and began his war on crime, Alfred reluctantly took on the role of confidante and advisor, often telling Bruce to simply carry a gun instead of a belt full of untested gadgets. Alfred later saved Bruce's life by shooting Mayor Oswald Cobblepot.
Though Alfred introduced himself to the eight-year-old Bruce as his butler, it is obvious he never serves as a manservant in the story otherwise as Bruce's guardian and mentor. However, he is recruited by Thomas as his family's head of security prior to Thomas and his wife's deaths. He is also a skilled martial artist, and trains Bruce the combat skills he would eventually utilize as Batman. He has a daughter living in Seoul, South Korea with her mother, where Alfred had previously worked at a security firm, implying Julia Remarque's existence in this continuity.[Comics 6]
- Alfred appears in the Elseworlds series Superman & Batman: Generations. He serves the Wayne family before dying in 1967, but his spirit remains around to give Bruce advice. In Generations 2, he makes his final appearance in 1975, when he convinces the ghost of Dick Grayson not to kill the Joker. He manages to convince Dick to pass over, but in the process his own soul crosses over, meaning he cannot come back.
- In Batman: Castle of the Bat, Alfred is reimagined as the hunchbacked Alfredo, the 'Igor' to Doctor Bruce Wayne, whose experiments see him reviving his father's brain in the body of the giant 'Bat-Man'. In keeping with his role as 'Igor', Alfredo is often forced to bear the brunt of his master's frustrations with the situation as the revived Thomas Wayne escapes to stalk highwaymen as the monstrous 'Bat-Man', but Bruce always swiftly apologises for his actions.
- In Batman: Dark Allegiances, Alfred is still Bruce Wayne's butler as Bruce faces various fascist-themed versions of his foes in the 1930s, but after the government asks Bruce to become an official American agent during the Second World War, Alfred joins Bruce and Selina Kyle in the field as the 'new' Robin.
- In Batman: Dark Knight Dynasty, in a timeline where the Waynes were never killed, Alfred assists Bruce in investigating his parents' deaths when they apparently fall out of their penthouse (Revealed to have been done due to the influence of Vandal Savage's henchwoman the Scarecrone when the Waynes threatened his plan to acquire the meteor that gave him his powers). While studying available information on the meteor after Bruce determines its connection to events, Alfred discovers a record of the unusual energy reading it emits, but triggers a booby-trap that destroys Wayne Manor and kills him. Five centuries later, Bruce's descendant Brenda Wayne discovers a fragmented recording of Alfred and the energy reading that assists her in her own investigations into Savage's activities.
- In League of Justice, where the Justice League exists in a world where magic is prominent, Alfred is reinvented as a zombie-like figure, reinforcing Bruce's idea that science is more reliable than magic despite its greater potential power.
- Alfred plays a prominent role in the "Vampire Batman" trilogy where Batman is turned into a vampire to fight Dracula,[Comics 7] forging Batman's weapons to use against the remaining members of Dracula's 'family'[Comics 8] and subsequently working with Commissioner Gordon after Batman succumbs to his vampiric instincts and begins to kill his old enemies. At the conclusion of the trilogy, with Gordon being hunted by Two-Face and Killer Croc in the remains of the Batcave, Alfred sacrifices his life to allow the currently-weakened Batman to drink his blood, giving his old master the strength to save Gordon and Gotham itself one last time before he allows himself to die to end the threat that he has become.[Comics 9]
During the "Trinity War" event of The New 52, it is revealed that the leader of the Secret Society is Alfred from Earth-3 who serves Owlman of the Crime Syndicate of America. Flashbacks reveal that Alfred helped Thomas Wayne Jr. kill his parents and brother when he was a child, Owlman reflecting that Alfred was the only member of his family that he could control.
Injustice: Gods Among Us
In the comic tie in to the video game, Alfred remained loyal to Bruce even when Bruce began the Insurgency and opposed Superman and had his secret identity exposed. When Superman invades the Batcave and breaks Batman's back, Alfred ingests the 5-U-93-R pill (which gives a person superhuman strength and durability) and subdues Superman, breaking his nose and beating him down. Alfred takes Bruce to the Tower of Fate, where Zatanna and Doctor Fate are hiding and will heal Bruce. For over seven months, Alfred oversees Bruce's slow recovery. When the Insurgency began their attack on Superman's Regime, Alfred provided a Kryptonite tipped bullet to Black Canary for her to face Superman.
In the following years, Alfred remained the caretaker of Wayne Manor despite Bruce's absence, and still maintained a close relationship with Damian Wayne despite Damian's decision to join Superman. He is visited by Superman in Year Five, the Kryptonian wanting to know the ever-elusive Batman's location. Alfred, unaware where Batman is and not willing to help nonetheless, ignores Superman. He is eventually killed by Victor Zsasz, whom Superman sent to get information on Batman's location. His death pushes Batman out of hiding to confront Zsasz and Damian killing Zsasz out of revenge. In the game's sequel, Injustice 2, Zsasz is killed in year one by Damian, leaving Alfred's death in the continuity unexplained, but his takedown of Superman is referenced by Harley Quinn.
In the prequel comic to Injustice 2 Ra's enacts a plan to bring the world balance and has Damian kidnap Alfred's corpse and resurrects him through the Lazarus Pit to use as a hostage against Batman. Due to Alfred being dead for a long time, he is brought back in a zombie-like state and requires constant medical attention from Damian. Upon recovering, around the same time he witnessed Batman and Damian attempt to kill each other, a fully recovered Alfred stops them and lecture them that his death was neither Damian nor Bruce's faults, attempting to reconcile them. Unfortunately, when Jaime Reyes/the current Blue Beetle and Diablo unintentionally destroys all supposed extinct animals, Alfred is now under the Insurgency's safety. Upon returning to Wayne manor for his recovery, it is reveal that the side-effect of Alfred's resurrection somehow cause him completely forgotten about the previous casualties he remembered during Superman's downfall and five years regime, such as Damian's accidental murder of Dick Grayson, only for Batman manage to remind him about this.
Alfred makes a very brief appearance in the 1997 Tangent Comics One Shot Green Lantern in a story revolving around the Tangent versions of King Faraday and Roy Raymond. In this version Alfred Pennyworth is the head of a publishing empire that owned "The House Of Mystery".
Batman: The Murder Machine
In an alternate reality depicted in the Metals crossover, Alfred is killed by Bane, prompting Bruce to request Cyborg's help in completing 'the Alfred Protocol', an artificial intelligence version of Alfred, created to allow Batman to keep some aspect of his 'father' with him. Once the Alfred Protocol is completed, its fixation on protecting his 'son' results in the A.I. version of Alfred murdering all of Batman's rogue's gallery, permanently merging with his 'son' as part of this goal.
Nightwing: The New Order
In this alternate reality, Nightwing ends an ongoing feud between superpowered beings by activating a device that depowers ninety percent of the super powered population. This builds to a future where super powers are outlawed and any super powered being must take inhibitor medications or be contained and studied should the medications not work on them. As Bruce was killed during the feud, Alfred was left with his estate and moved to Arizona while allowing Dick Grayson and his son stay in Wayne Manor. Though Alfred did not approve of Grayson's crusade against superhumans after the death of Bruce, Alfred would sometimes pay visits to the former hero. When Grayson discovered that his son Jake was beginning to develop powers, his house was invaded by his own police force the Crusaders to take Jake away. Alfred, refusing to stay idly by like he did when everyone lost their powers, attempted to strike one of the police members and was killed in response.
Alfred's name was later given officially as Alfred Beagle.[Comics 10] This name was subsequently given to an alternative version of the character from the world of Earth-Two, and Pennyworth became Alfred's accepted surname in the mainstream continuity.[Comics 11] Alfred has also used the alias "Thaddeus Crane", which is derived from his middle names.[Comics 12] His full name of Alfred Thaddeus Crane Pennyworth was depicted on his tombstone in Superman/Batman: Generations.
In the 2012 film The Dark Knight Rises, Bruce Wayne leaves the residue of his estate to Alfred, listing him in the will as Alfred J. Pennyworth.
- Jarvis: Alfred's father in both pre-Crisis and New 52 continuity.
- Mademoiselle Marie: A war heroine with whom Alfred (while working as an intelligence agent in France) has a daughter in pre-Crisis continuity.[Comics 14]
- Julia Remarque: Alfred's daughter by Mademoiselle Marie.[Comics 14]
- Wilfred Pennyworth: Alfred's brother, Wilfred is referenced in the late 1960s and early 1970s[Comics 15] and is mentioned in the 1997 film Batman & Robin.
- Margaret Wilson née Pennyworth: Alfred and Wilfred Pennyworth's sister, in the 1997 film Batman & Robin.
- Daphne Pennyworth: Alfred Pennyworth's niece, daughter of Wilfred Pennyworth, Daphne briefly appeared in the late 1960s/early 1970s.
- Barbara Wilson: Alfred's niece, daughter of Margaret Wilson née Pennyworth in the 1997 film Batman & Robin.
Skills, resources, and abilities
A highly intelligent and resourceful man, Alfred runs the day-to-day operations of Wayne Manor and maintains much of the equipment of the Batcave beneath it. A former actor, he can use his acting and disguise skills to help Batman in the field when necessary, and is even capable of impersonating Bruce Wayne on the telephone convincingly, as well as giving Bruce various lessons that help him maintain his covers. He has also provided first aid up to and including suturing wounds and removing bullets, as well as occasional tactical support. He is also able to perform arthroscopy and other advanced medical procedures, thus limiting, if not eliminating, the need for hospital medical treatment even in the face of grievous injuries, helping to maintain Batman's secret identity by ensuring that Bruce Wayne has no need to visit hospitals for wounds inflicted as Batman. Nevertheless, Batman still requires professional medical treatment when Bane breaks his back (Batman: Knightfall) and Hush's machinations result in his suffering a skull fracture (Batman: Hush). On these occasions, Alfred admits that his own skills are inadequate for such medical procedures.
While not as skilled at martial arts as Bruce Wayne, Alfred is still nearly as resourceful. In one story in which he is kidnapped, he readily escapes and overcomes his captors without disturbing the cut of his suit. It was later mentioned that he had been kidnapped unsuccessfully 27 times (it should be noted, however, that these events take place in the Gotham Adventures comics, based on the animated adventures of Batman, and not within the standard DCU continuity).[Comics 16] During Batman: The Resurrection of Ra's al Ghul, Ubu, Ra's al Ghul's musclebound bodyguard, attempts to use Alfred as a hostage, only to be disabled by a well timed sucker punch from Alfred.
Presumably due to his lack of superpowers, the advanced combat training Bruce's other associates have, and Alfred's age, Alfred is the only member of the "Batman Family" that Bruce does not mind using a firearm, in his case favoring a shotgun when dealing with direct attacks on his person.
Current issues of the various Batman comics seem to indicate that Alfred is a pioneer in and has also mastered several fields of rose breeding (even creating his own, the "Pennyworth Blue"), computer programming, electrical engineering, chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, nanotechnology, and biotechnology as he singlehandedly builds, programs, and maintains much of Batman's next-generational technology such as the Batcomputer.[Comics 17]
In other media
- Alan Napier portrayed Alfred in the live-action TV series Batman starring Adam West and Burt Ward. However, his surname Pennyworth was never used.
- Ian Abercrombie portrayed Alfred Pennyworth in the live-action TV series Birds of Prey.
- Sean Pertwee portrays a younger, more deadly, version of Alfred Pennyworth in the Batman prequel series Gotham.
- Gotham creator Bruno Heller and executive producer Danny Cannon will develope an Alfred Pennyworth TV series titled Pennyworth which will be an origin story on a younger Alfred and his past as a soldier in the SAS.
- Olan Soule voiced Alfred in the cartoon The Batman/Superman Hour.
- Alfred Pennyworth appeared in the Challenge of the Super Friends, voiced by William Callaway. In the episode "Wanted: The Superfriends", he is among the male humans that get turned into a Bizarro.
- Alfred Pennyworth appeared in The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians, voiced by Andre Stojka.
- Alfred Pennyworth appeared as recurring character in the DC animated universe, voiced by Clive Revill (in the first three produced episodes for Batman: The Animated Series before leaving due to a previous commitment) and by Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. (throughout the rest of Batman: The Animated Series as well as for the character's appearances in The New Batman Adventures, Superman: The Animated Series, Static Shock and the Justice League cartoon series).
- Alfred Pennyworth appears in the animated TV series The Batman, voiced by Alastair Duncan.
- Alfred Pennyworth is featured in Batman: The Brave and the Bold, voiced by James Garrett. He appears in a non-speaking cameo in Batman's flashbacks in "Invasion of the Secret Santas", and appears again in a non-speaking cameo in "Chill of the Night!". In "The Super-Batman of Planet X", a robot likeness named Alpha-Red (voiced by James Arnold Taylor) appears and serves as the robotic butler of the Batman of Zur-En-Arrh.
- Alfred Pennyworth appears in the Young Justice episode "Downtime", voiced by Jeff Bennett.
- Alfred Pennyworth appears as a main character in Beware the Batman, voiced by JB Blanc.
- Alfred Pennyworth appears in Lego Batman: Be-Leaguered, voiced by Nolan North.
- William Austin portrayed Alfred Pennyworth in the 1943 serial Batman. Austin's appearance influenced the change of Alfred's design from the original fat, clean shaven Alfred.
- Eric Wilton portrayed Alfred Pennyworth in the 1949 serial Batman and Robin.
- Alan Napier portrayed Alfred in the 1966 live-action film Batman, based on the 1960s TV series.
- Michael Gough portrayed Alfred Pennyworth in the Tim Burton/Joel Schumacher Batman film series. In the fourth film Batman & Robin, he has a niece named Barbara Wilson who turns into Batgirl. Gough also portrayed Alfred in a 1989 Diet Coke commercial, in the BBC radio-drama presentation of the "Knightfall" story arc from the Batman comics, and in a series of OnStar commercials featuring Batman. In flashback scenes of Batman & Robin, a young Alfred is portrayed by Jon Simmons.
- Michael Caine portrayed Alfred Pennyworth in The Dark Knight Trilogy. He is a former senior NCO in the elite SAS of the British Army. He is a veteran of tours of duty whilst in the British Army in Malaya, Yemen, West Germany, Northern Ireland (twice) vs the IRA and on Cyprus.
- In Batman Begins, he is Bruce Wayne's legal guardian after Thomas Wayne and Martha Wayne are murdered by Joe Chill. When Bruce vanishes for seven years and is declared dead by Wayne Enterprises' CEO William Earle in order to claim his shares, this plan is thwarted because Bruce left everything to Alfred. After Bruce returns from training in the League of Shadows, Alfred is told of his goal to become a symbol to frighten the criminals of Gotham City. Alfred helps Bruce arrange the order of the tools necessary for Bruce to become Batman, and encourages Bruce to feign a social life to deflect attention from the idea that he could be Batman. When the League of Shadows attack Wayne Manor, Alfred saves Bruce when trapped under a beam and rallies his surrogate son to resume his fight to save Gotham. In the aftermath, Alfred offers some suggestions about updating the Batcave.
- In The Dark Knight, Alfred and Bruce Wayne have moved to a downtown penthouse and the Batcave has been relocated to Gotham Harbor while Wayne Manor is being rebuilt. When Bruce travels to Hong Kong to capture a Mafia accountant, Alfred invents an alibi for Bruce. While reflecting on the Joker's reign of terror in Gotham, Alfred recalls a tale from his past career as a British intelligence agent about a thrill-seeking bandit in order to explain to Bruce that some men "just want to watch the world burn". Rachel Dawes gives Alfred the task of giving Bruce a letter "when the time is right". After Rachel's death, Alfred reads the letter and discovers that she was going to marry Harvey Dent. He later burns the letter, reflecting that, just as the people of Gotham would need to believe in Dent, Bruce needed to believe that Rachel loved him.
- In The Dark Knight Rises, Alfred has grown concerned as Bruce has not moved on from Rachel or Batman eight years later. Alfred reveals that during Bruce's absence, he frequently visited a restaurant in Florence with the fantasy that he would one day see Bruce there, settled down and happy. Alfred reluctantly assists Bruce in finding out information about the mercenary Bane. Following Batman's first encounter with Bane, Alfred fears that Bruce will get himself killed, and threatens to leave in order to dissuade Bruce. Alfred then tells Bruce that Rachel wanted to marry Harvey Dent, and that he burned her letter to protect Bruce's feelings. Angry and hurt, Bruce orders Alfred to leave. Alfred returns after Batman apparently sacrifices himself to save Gotham, and attends Bruce's funeral with Commissioner James Gordon, Lucius Fox and Detective John Blake. Over Bruce's grave, Alfred tearfully apologizes to Thomas and Martha for having failed to protect their son. When Alfred returns to the Florentine restaurant, he looks across to see Bruce alive and dining with Selina Kyle. They exchange knowing smiles and Alfred leaves, happy that Bruce has begun moving on with his life.
- Jeremy Irons portrays Alfred in the DC Extended Universe.
- In Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, while still loyal to Bruce, he subtly mourns his master's non-existent social life and attempts to act as a humanising influence, such as trying to discourage Bruce using a kryptonite sample salvaged by Lex Luthor against Superman, fearing such an act would corrupt his soul. After Bruce accepts Superman as an ally after learning that both of their mothers have the name Martha, Alfred pilots the Batplane by remote while Bruce saves Martha Kent.
- Irons reprises his role in the film Justice League.
- Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. voiced Alfred Pennyworth in the animated films Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero, and Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman which are set in DC Animated Universe.
- Alastair Duncan voiced Alfred Pennyworth in the animated film The Batman vs. Dracula and Batman Unlimited: Animal Instincts.
- David McCallum voiced Alfred Pennyworth in Batman: Gotham Knight, Son of Batman and Batman vs. Robin.
- Alan Oppenheimer voiced Alfred Pennyworth in Superman/Batman: Public Enemies.
- Jim Piddock voiced Alfred Pennyworth in Batman: Under the Red Hood.
- Jeff Bennett reprises his role as Alfred Pennyworth in Batman: Year One.
- Robin Atkin Downes voiced Alfred Pennyworth in Justice League: Doom.
- Radio commentator Michael Jackson voiced Alfred Pennyworth in Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Parts 1 and 2.
- Alfred Pennyworth makes a non-speaking cameo appearance in Lego Batman: The Movie - DC Super Heroes Unite, an adaptation of the video game of the same name.
- Martin Jarvis reprises his role as Alfred Pennyworth in Batman: Assault on Arkham.
- James Garrett reprises his role as Alfred Pennyworth in Batman: Bad Blood.
- Brian George voiced Alfred Pennyworth in Batman: The Killing Joke.
- Steven Weber voiced Alfred Pennyworth in Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders.
- Ralph Fiennes voiced Alfred in the animated movie The Lego Batman Movie.
- Frogman voiced Alfred Pennyworth in DC Super Heroes vs. Eagle Talon.
- Anthony Head voiced Alfred Pennyworth in Batman: Gotham by Gaslight.
- Alfred appears in the anime film Batman Ninja.
- An Easter egg in World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King shows a character named Alfred Copperworth, a homage to Alfred Pennyworth, located in the Purple Parlor in the city of Dalaran (a copper is the lowest form of currency in the game, equivalent almost to a penny, and was the metal used to make the original U.S. penny).
- Alfred Pennyworth appears in the Batman Begins video game, voiced by Michael Caine.
- Alfred Pennyworth appears in LEGO Batman for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Nintendo DS and Wii as a playable character.
- Alfred Pennyworth appears in Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes, voiced by Steven Blum.
- Alfred Pennyworth appears as a playable character in Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham, voiced by Robin Atkin Downes. In one level, Batman ends up mind-controlled by Brainiac's ship causing Robin and Alfred to follow him through the Batcave. When playable, the tray that Alfred is carrying can enable him to cross through fiery areas.
- Robin Atkin Downes reprises his role of Alfred Pennyworth in Lego Dimensions.
- Alfred Pennyworth's biography can be unlocked in Batman: Arkham Asylum. The player must scan a plaque describing one of Bruce Wayne's donations to the Arkham Medical Center.
- He is referenced consistently in Batman: Arkham City, while the character does not make an actual appearance, he remains in constant radio contact with the players as the game's storyline progresses, and his bio appears.
- In Batman: Arkham Origins, the character makes his first in-game appearance in the series, as the prequel shows his different mentality towards Bruce Wayne's adventures as Batman. Throughout the game, there are several instances where he disapproves of the techniques which Batman uses. Batman seems to hold Alfred at a distance, often shown taking advantage of his butler and shunning any attempts of warmth. When hired assassins target Batman, Alfred pleads with him to abandon his vigilante persona, but his words fall on deaf ears. Bane knows that Batman and Bruce Wayne are one and the same. He breaks into the Batcave and beats Alfred close to death before Batman can get to him due to him having taken a detour to defeat Firefly. Arriving in time to see Alfred die, Batman is able to save him by electric shocks from Electrocutioner's gauntlets which helped to restart Alfred's heart. The event leaves Batman so shaken he considers giving up on saving the city. With his understanding of Batman renewed, Alfred convinces him to keep fighting. After this, he continues to help Batman as he travels to Blackgate Prison to stop the chaos. This time, Batman shows gratitude towards Alfred. In the "Cold, Cold Heart" DLC, Alfred is present with Bruce Wayne at a party at Wayne Manor commemorating Ferris Boyle until Mr. Freeze crashes the party with Penguin's gang to capture Boyle. Upon Bruce becoming Batman, he was able to rescue Alfred and the other hostages.
- In Batman: Arkham Knight, he contacts Batman throughout the game again through a holographic projector giving Batman valuable information. At the end of the video game where Batman's secret identity is revealed, he and Alfred are supposedly killed in a large explosion at Wayne Manor when Alfred enters the password "Martha" as part of the Knightfall Protocol, though it is possible they faked their own deaths.
- In the first season, like most interpretations, Alfred is Bruce's close friend and guardian. However, after Thomas Wayne's ties to corruption is revealed, their friendship is fractured when Alfred is shown to have known about these. Despite this, Alfred continues to support Bruce in the field and helps him in his battle against the Children of Arkham. In the final episode, Alfred is kidnapped and tortured by the group and their leader, Lady Arkham, as part of retribution against the Wayne family. He leaves clues for Bruce to find him and is rescued during Batman's final confrontation with Lady Arkham. Alfred may also lose an eye, depending on whether the player chooses attack Lady Arkham rather than unmask for his safety.
- In the second season, titled The Enemy Within, Alfred continues to support Bruce, despite suffering from post traumatic stress following his kidnapping and torture. Following the death of Lucius Fox, he becomes Bruce's closest ally, but suggests bringing another person onto the team. After falling unconscious in the Batcave, he decides to step away from helping Bruce as a vigilante, leading to him realizing that Bruce is only going towards the self-destructive path that his father lead. Depending on whether Bruce decides to stop operating as Batman or continue his activities as the vigilante, Alfred will either stay or leaves him to return to the UK.
- Marechal, AJ (2014-02-11). "Fox's 'Gotham' Casts Classic 'Batman' Characters the Penguin, Alfred Pennyworth". Variety. Retrieved February 11, 2014.
- Mackie, Rob (2005-10-21). "Batman Begins review". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2007-02-20.
- Tilley, Steve (2005-06-13). "Michael Caine one tough butler". CANOE. Edmonton Sun. Retrieved 2007-02-20.[dead link]
- "Comic Book Awards Almanac". Users.rcn.com. Archived from the original on January 7, 2009. Retrieved 2010-12-25.
- Daniels, Les (1999-10-21). "Batman: The Complete History".
- Batman: Eternal #9
- Batman: Eternal #21
- Batman: Eternal #22
- Batman Eternal #47
- Batman (vol.2) #49
- Batman (vol.2) #51
- Justice League Vol. 2 #23
- Batman: The Murder Machine #1
- Nightwing: The New Order(2017)
- "Fox's Batman Prequel 'Gotham' Casts Penguin, Alfred". The Hollywood Reporter. 2014-02-11.
- "Breaking News: Alfred Takes the Stage in New EPIX Series "Pennyworth"". DC Comics. May 15, 2018.
- Goldberg, Lesley (May 16, 2018). "'Gotham' Boss Sets New Batman Prequel Series at Epix (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 16, 2018.
- "Jesse Eisenberg and Jeremy Irons Join the Cast of Warner Bros. Pictures' Untitled Superman/Batman Film from Director Zack Snyder". Business Wire. January 31, 2014.
- Friedman, Roger (May 1, 2016). "Exclusive: Jeremy Irons Will Bring Batman's Alfred to "Justice League of America"". Showbiz 411. Retrieved May 1, 2016.
- Kit, Borys (November 3, 2015). "'Lego Batman' Finds Alfred with Ralph Fiennes (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter.
- "サイト名". dc-taka.com (in Japanese). Retrieved April 4, 2018.
- Game Informer features a two-page gallery of the many heroes and villains who appear in the game with a picture for each character and a descriptive paragraph. See "LEGO Batman: Character Gallery", Game Informer 186 (October 2008): 92.
- "Voice Of Alfred Pennyworth - Batman | Behind The Voice Actors". Behind The Voice Actors. Retrieved September 25, 2017. Check mark indicates role has been confirmed using screenshots of closing credits and other reliable sources
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