WE LOVE ALFRED: An 80th Anniversary Salute

13 GROOVY MOMENTS in the life of the ultimate gentleman’s gentleman…


It was 80 years ago this week that Batman #16 hit the newsstands — either Feb. 6 or 10, 1943, depending on your source. Besides being the early days of the Dynamic Duo, the issue was especially significant for introducing Bruce and Dick’s rotund new butler, Alfred.

The loyal servant slimmed down significantly before too long, however. William Austin portrayed the gentleman’s gentleman in the 1943 Batman movie serial and served as the physical inspiration for the comic-book character starting with Detective Comics #83, in which Alfred went on a tough exercise regimen and grew a mustache. (Alfred’s surname was revealed to be “Beagle” in Detective Comics #96, but in time his last name would be changed to “Pennyworth.”)

Here are 13 GROOVY MOMENTS in Alfred’s life — on page, on screen and elsewhere. (Pub dates in parentheses):

Batman #16 (Apr.-May 1943). Alfred’s first appearance.

Script by Don Cameron. Pencils by Bob Kane, inks by Jerry Robinson, backgrounds by George Roussos.

Detective Comics #83 (Jan. 1944). The version of Alfred we know and love.

Script by Cameron, pencils by Jack Burnley, inks by Roussos.

Batman #22 (Apr.-May 1944)

Dick Sprang

Batman #22 (Apr.-May 1944). Splash page for “The Duped Domestics.” 

Script by Al Schwartz, pencils by Kane, inks by Roussos.

Batman #22 (Apr.-May 1944). Splash page for “The Adventures of Alfred.” 

Script, Mort Weisinger, art by Robinson.

Detective Comics #110 (Apr. 1946)

Win Mortimer

Detective Comics #328 (June 1964). Alfred supposedly dies rescuing Batman and Robin.

Script by Bill Finger, pencils by Sheldon Moldoff, inks by Joe Giella.

Detective Comics #356 (Oct. 1966). Alfred as the Outsider. It’s revealed that when Alfred “died,” he was transformed into the supernatural villain.

Cover pencils by Carmine Infantino, inks by Giella.

Detective Comics #356 (Oct. 1966). A cured Alfred returns to Wayne Manor.

Script by Gardner Fox, pencils by Moldoff, inks by Giella.

Batman ’66. And why was Alfred brought back? Because this guy was on TV!

The great Alan Napier and the great Adam West.

Evolution of Alfred in Movies & TV in 9 Minutes:

Alfred Pennyworth figure from Mattel (2019), with alternate faces — Alan Napier, Michael Gough (Batman ’89) and the Outsider!

Pennyworth TV series poster (2019), with Jack Bannon as a young Alfred prior to working for the Wayne family.


— ALAN NAPIER’s ALFRED: His 13 Greatest BATMAN ’66 Adventures. Click here.

— The Inside Story of the INSIDE STORY OF THE OUTSIDER! Click here.

PETER BOSCH’s first book, American TV Comic Books: 1940s-1980s – From the Small Screen to the Printed Pagehas just been published by TwoMorrows. He has written articles and conducted celebrity interviews for various magazines and newspapers. Peter lives in Hollywood.

Author: Dan Greenfield

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    • I think that it’s pretty amazing that Alfred went from being a chubby character to resembling his live-action counterpart in actor William Austin who played Alfred in the first Batman serial.

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