Rupert Thorne

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Rupert Thorne
Rupert Thorne
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
First appearance Detective Comics #469 (May 1977)
Created by Steve Englehart and Walter Simonson
In-story information
Full name Rupert Thorne
Abilities He had the best political and underworld connections in Gotham

Rupert Thorne is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. The character is a crime boss and enemy of Batman.

Publication history[edit]

Created by Steve Englehart and Walter Simonson, the character first appeared in Detective Comics #469.

Fictional character biography[edit]

Thorne is introduced as a corrupt politician being blackmailed by Doctor Phosphorus into turning the city against Batman. After Phosphorus is defeated, Thorne persuades his fellow city councilors to declare Batman an outlaw. He attempts to gain complete control of Gotham City by becoming Mayor.

Thorne is one of three criminals (the other two are the Penguin and the Joker) who makes a bid at a secret auction for Batman's identity held by Professor Hugo Strange. He captures and tortures Strange to make him divulge it. Strange resists, however, and apparently dies in the process. Even though he has the body disposed of, Thorne is literally haunted by strange visions and sounds of Strange.[1]

After failing in his campaign against Batman and spending some time in hiding, he secretly returns to Gotham. (Detective Comics #507, October 1981) He gets the corrupt Hamilton Hill elected as Mayor, and then has his puppet fire Police Commissioner James Gordon in favor of Peter Pauling, who is on Thorne's payroll. Thorne finally identifies Bruce Wayne as Batman after acquiring photos of him changing costume from reporter Vicki Vale. Thorne then hires Deadshot to kill Wayne.[2] Deadshot is unsuccessful, however. Meanwhile, Thorne is still haunted by the ghost of Hugo Strange, who is revealed to have faked his death and tormented Thorne with experiments designed to simulate ghostly experiences. Thorne becomes convinced that Hill and Pauling are plotting against him and trying to drive him insane. Thorne kills Pauling but is eventually apprehended by Batman.[3]

Thorne makes a return appearance in Detective Comics #825 (cover-dated January 2007, released November 2006). This was his first major comics appearance in decades, and his first appearance in the Post-Crisis DC universe. He is shown incarcerated in Blackgate Penitentiary when Doctor Phosphorus makes an attempt on his life, one that Batman prevents.

Other versions[edit]

Gotham by Gaslight[edit]

In the alternate 1891 of Gotham by Gaslight, Gotham City Council member Thorne becomes the new Mayor of Gotham City following the death of Mayor Tolliver.

Justice League: Gods and Monsters[edit]

In the comic prequel of Justice League: Gods and Monsters, Rupert Thorne appears when Lew Moxon attends a meeting of the other crime lords in Gotham. During the meeting, it's revealed that Rupert and Lew have been friends since childhood and that they became criminals together. Lew then reveals that he knows that Rupert has betrayed him by taking some of his money from his prostitution business and, as per policy, Rupert takes out a gun and shoots himself, committing suicide.

In other media[edit]


Rupert Thorne as seen in Batman: The Animated Series
  • Rupert Thorne appears as a recurring villain in seven episodes of Batman: The Animated Series voiced by John Vernon, though he is essentially a composite character, as the traits of Carmine Falcone and Sal Maroni are integrated into this version of the character, such as his status as Gotham City's ruling crime boss and the man responsible for Harvey Dent's transformation into Two-Face. His most prominent appearances are in "It's Never Too Late", where Thorne is the main antagonist and competes with fellow crime boss Arnold Stromwell for control over the city's rackets, which he wins when Stromwell surrenders himself to the police; "Two-Face", where he serves as Harvey Dent's primary target before and after Thorne inadvertently transforms him into Two-Face; "The Man Who Killed Batman", where Batman is presumed killed and his alleged killer, Sidney Debris, goes to Thorne for help and recounts his story to the mob boss; and "Bane", where Thorne hires Bane to kill Batman but is foiled when Batman defeats Bane and reveals Bane's eventual plan to usurp Thorne with help from his treacherous secretary, Candice. He makes minor appearances in "Vendetta", "Shadow of the Bat, Part I" and "Second Chance".
  • Rupert Thorne is featured in The Batman voiced by Victor Brandt. He appears in "The Bat in the Belfry" as one of Gotham's most powerful gangsters. Batman foils one of his scams, however, and corners him on a rooftop. Thorne nearly falls to his death off the roof, but Batman saves his life before turning him and his henchmen over to the police. His criminal empire falls apart, leaving a power vacuum that is soon filled by Batman's traditional rogues gallery. He also makes a cameo in the episode "A Matter of Family". In "Rumors", he is shown to be one of the titular character's captives.


  • Rupert Thorne was originally meant to appear as a major antagonist in the 1989 film, Batman. In an early script written by Tom Mankiewicz, Rupert Thorne was to hire Joe Chill to murder Bruce Wayne's father Thomas (who would be running against Thorne for city council).[4] He was replaced by Carl Grissom (played by Jack Palance).
  • Rupert Thorne's most major appearance in the DC animated universe continuity outside Batman: The Animated Series is the direct-to-DVD movie, Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman (based on The New Batman Adventures) with John Vernon reprising his role. He works with Penguin and Carlton Duquesne in an illegal arms deal with the President of Kasnia. The three are also allied with Bane, although there is no mention of Bane's previous allegiance with Thorne in "Bane". Of the three Batwomen, Thorne shares a personal history with Sonia Alcana whose life he ruined when he ordered her parents' shop burned down when she was still a child. Thorne had escaped punishment due to lack of evidence, although everyone knew he was the one behind it. In the end, Thorne is proven guilty for his role in the arms deal and sent to prison.

Video games[edit]

  • Rupert Thorne appears in the video game The Adventures of Batman & Robin for the Sega CD voiced by John Vernon. Clayface takes on Thorne's shape while the real Thorne is on vacation, using the gangster's money to hire other supervillains in a plot to kill Batman.
  • Rupert Thorne exists in the 'Arkham' universe as he is referenced in Batman: Arkham Origins. One of Edward Nygma's Datapacks is a phone conversation between Anarky and Commissioner Gordon in which Anarky bemoans the fact that Gotham is "owned by people like Rupert Thorne."


  • Rupert Thorne plays a larger role in The Batman Strikes!, a comic book based in the continuity of the show. In one issue, he works with Bruno Mannheim to create an army of super-villains based on Bane, Man-Bat, and Firefly. Rupert Thorn, Bruno Mannheim, and their creations are defeated by Batman and Superman.

See also[edit]