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|First appearance||The Dark Knight Returns (1986)|
|Alter ego||Stanley Merkel|
|Team affiliations||Gotham City Police Department|
Watch Commander Stan Merkel is a fictional character in DC Comics' shared universe, the DC Universe, who made his debut in Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns, later integrated into the mainstream Batman continuity by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli in their 1987 four-part storyline Batman: Year One.
Merkel is usually seen working closely with Lieutenant (later Captain and Commissioner) Jim Gordon, and appears to be one of few good policemen in Gotham. Two versions of the character exist.
Officer Merkel is seen working with Gordon late in the Batman: Year One. A patrolman of downtown Gotham, Merkel was involved in a number of drug busts and hostage situations and was instrumental in bringing Mario Falcone to trial.
Sometime later, Merkel was promoted to the position of Watch Commander. During the Batman: Dark Victory storyline, he was found dead on St. Patrick's Day, hanging on the former property of the house that originally belonged to Harvey and Gilda, making him the sixth victim of the serial killer known as The Hangman.
Frank Miller's Dark Knight Universe
In this continuity encompassing only and all Frank Miller penned storylines, including Year One, Merkel wasn't killed and remained on the police force through the events of All-Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder and is among the first police officer to see the returning Batman during The Dark Knight Returns.
In these stories, Merkel's face is never visibly seen, always off-screen or obscured by shadows.
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