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CSBG Archive

When We First Met #11

Each day in June you’ll get an entry showing you the first appearance of seemingly minor characters, phrases, objects or events that later became notable parts of comic book lore. Not major stuff like “the first appearance of Superman,” but rather, “the first time someone said, ‘Avengers Assemble!'” or “the first appearance of Batman’s giant penny” or “the first appearance of Alfred Pennyworth” or “the first time Spider-Man’s face was shown half-Spidey/half-Peter.” Stuff like that. Here is an archive of what I’ve featured so far.

Enjoy!

I just noticed that even though I mention him in the opening, I actually haven’t done a bit on Alfred yet. So here is an ALL-ALFRED edition of “When We First Met”!!

First Alfred the Butler

In 1943’s Batman #16, Batman and Robin gain a butler!

Alfred does, indeed, learn their identities later in the issue (by mistake, of course).

Isn’t it amazing that the implication is that Alfred’s last name is Jarvis!!!
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First Thin Alfred

As I wrote in an edition of Comic Book Legends Revealed a couple of years ago, DC decided to change Alfred’s look to fit the look of the character in the serials.

So in 1944’s Detective Comics #83, Alfred is trying to work out (he almost injures Bruce and Dick with his workout) so Bruce sends him on a vacation.

When he returns…


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First Alfred Pennyworth

The most common last name given for Alfred in those early days was Alfred Beagle. Most of the time he was just plain ol’ Alfred. That changed in 1969’s Batman #216, when he gained the name he uses to this day!


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Feel free to send in ideas for future debuts I should feature here to bcronin@comicbookresources.com!

13 Comments

From the looks of things, Alfred went for quickness over health when he lost weight. Frickin’ Lon Chaney working for Batman.

Hah! Thanks a lot, Cronin… I’ve enjoyed reading the above MORE than any DC Comic in recent years! Robin’s sarcasm is priceless (and without need of any Holy (Whatever) Batman!) especially when HE was the one baffled!

And we SO need a Marvel/DC crossover where Alfred and Jarvis can discuss their possible family connections! ;)

Btw, there was a story that implied that Alfred had an affair with Mlle. Marie (who I believe had her own feature in DC’s war comics) which resulted in a daughter that he did not know about. Though this has been long retconned away (he’s not old enough to have been around in WWII anymore) I’d like to see where that was revealed.

comicbookreader

June 10, 2011 at 8:45 am

So when exactly does it get retconned such that Alfred was supposed to have been Bruce Wayne’s butler ever since Bruce was a little kid? Or is that purely an invention of the movie versions?

“His upper lip has burst into flower” is easily the weirdest way I’ve ever heard someone say “He grew a moustache.”

Comicbookreader, Alfred always being the Wayne Family butler was an innovation of Frank Miller in Dark Knight Returns first, and then in Year One

Brian:”Isn’t it amazing that the implication is that Alfred’s last name is Jarvis!!!”

Given the context of the passage (Butlers being referred to by their first names in the Batman universe), I think that Jarvis was supposed to be his father’s first name. I could be wrong, though.

I miss Alfred’s dropped g’s at the end of words.

Daniel O' Dreams

June 10, 2011 at 11:20 am

I like that the “world’s greatest detectives” can’t recognize someone after having lost weight.

Well, he’s also got that impenetrable disguise of the mustache… or the lipflower, as Robin might say.

Daniel O’ Dreams:”I like that the “world’s greatest detectives” can’t recognize someone after having lost weight.”

buttler:”Well, he’s also got that impenetrable disguise of the mustache… or the lipflower, as Robin might say.”

Considering that no one recognizes Dick Grayson when he wears a domino mask, that’s not very surprising.

always heard alfred looked different in the early run . and then changed. plus the fact always wondered what issue alfred revealed his name as penny worth plus i also would love to know when the reveal of alfred maybe fathering a daughter was revaled. along with the exact issue batman reveals he knows alfred was the out sider to alfred himself.

I don’t recall, but wasn’t Alfred’s last name “Pennyworth” in the Adam West show, a few years before Batman #216? Or was he just plain old “Alfred”?

I don’t recall, but wasn’t Alfred’s last name “Pennyworth” in the Adam West show, a few years before Batman #216? Or was he just plain old “Alfred”?

Could be. I’m just going by first comic book appearance of stuff, so he very well could have been called Pennyworth on the show.

Actually, it’d be interesting to find out if the Pennyworth name came from the TV show.

And is Graeme right, that Alfred as Wayne family butler since Bruce’s youth comes from Miller? I asked about that on another one of these, I think.

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