|First appearance||Detective Comics #469 (May 1977)|
|Created by||Steve Englehart and Walter Simonson|
|Full name||Rupert Thorne|
|Abilities||Gaining the political and underworld connections in Gotham|
Fictional character biography
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 make 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 haunted by strange visions and sounds of Strange.
After failing in his campaign against Batman and spending some time in hiding, he secretly returns to Gotham. 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. 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 devices 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.
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.
Gotham by Gaslight
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
In the comic prequel 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 is 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
- Rupert Thorne appeared as a recurring villain in Batman: The Animated Series, voiced by John Vernon. This version is essentially a composite character, integrating traits of Carmine Falcone and Sal Maroni such as the status of Gotham's ruling crime boss and role in the creation of Two-Face. His most prominent appearances are in "It's Never Too Late" where Thorne competes with fellow crime boss Arnold Stromwell for control over the city's rackets which he wins when the redeemed Stromwell surrenders himself to the police; "Two-Face" where he serves as Harvey Dent's primary target before and after Thorne inadvertently transforms Dent into Two-Face; "The Man Who Killed Batman" where Batman is presumed killed and the alleged killer Sidney Debris goes to Thorne for help and recounts the story to the mob boss; and "Bane" where Thorne hires Bane to kill Batman but is foiled when the Dark Knight defeats Bane and reveals Bane's eventual plan to usurp Thorne's empire with help from his treacherous secretary Candice. He makes minor appearances in "Vendetta", "Shadow of the Bat, Part I" and "Second Chance".
- The 2004 animated series The Batman briefly featured Thorne (voiced by Victor Brandt) in its pilot episode "The Bat in the Belfry". Implicitly one of Gotham's last "normal" crime bosses, he is quickly apprehended by Batman, leaving Gotham's underworld open for claiming by Batman's traditional rogues gallery. He makes several cameos in subsequent episodes, such as "A Matter of Family" and "Rumors" (where 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, he was to hire Joe Chill to murder Thomas Wayne (who would be running against Thorne for city council). Ultimately, he was replaced by the original character 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 the 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 treacherous actions). Of the three Batwomen, Thorne shares a personal history with Sonia Alcana whose life he ruined when he ordered the Alcanas' shop burned down when Sonia 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.
- 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 eliminate Batman and Robin.
- 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 James 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 Thorne, Bruno Mannheim, and their creations are defeated by Batman and Superman.
- Detective Comics #469-#479 (May 1977 - September-October 1978)
- Detective Comics #507 (October 1981)
- Batman #354 (December 1982)