Results 1 to 15 of 15
  1. #1
    Mighty Member Tzigone's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
    Posts
    1,492

    Default Bruce, Alfred, Dick and trust and closeness

    A while back someone (I cannot recall who, and could not remember exact phrase for search) commented on the shift in relationships between Bruce and Dick and Bruce and Alfred. I think it was bronze age, but wouldn't swear to it. But in that one Alfred something along the lines of the knowing Bruce better than anyone except Dick or being closer to Bruce than anyone except Dick. And the poster commented on the change in relationship and how that caveat would not be used today.

    Here is an old thread about who Bruce trusts most. First post says
    Alfred is obviously far and away at number 1 so we don't need to include him.
    But, of course, that wasn't always true. Just reading older stories and Batman #40 (from 1947) made me think of it. In that issue, Bruce fakes his death. Dick is in on the secret, and Alfred isn't. Obviously, that is a very old example.

    But when do you think the shift from Dick as the person Bruce is closest to and trust the most to Alfred in that position happened?

  2. #2
    Astonishing Member Restingvoice's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Posts
    3,445

    Default

    When they made him the father figure who raised Bruce

  3. #3
    Mighty Member
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Posts
    1,847

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Tzigone View Post
    A while back someone (I cannot recall who, and could not remember exact phrase for search) commented on the shift in relationships between Bruce and Dick and Bruce and Alfred. I think it was bronze age, but wouldn't swear to it. But in that one Alfred something along the lines of the knowing Bruce better than anyone except Dick or being closer to Bruce than anyone except Dick. And the poster commented on the change in relationship and how that caveat would not be used today.

    Here is an old thread about who Bruce trusts most. First post says But, of course, that wasn't always true. Just reading older stories and Batman #40 (from 1947) made me think of it. In that issue, Bruce fakes his death. Dick is in on the secret, and Alfred isn't. Obviously, that is a very old example.

    But when do you think the shift from Dick as the person Bruce is closest to and trust the most to Alfred in that position happened?
    That was me. I was talking about the classic 70's story "There's No Hope in Crime Alley" in which Alfred wonders where Bruce goes off to at a certain date every year, and then reflects on how he's Bruce's closest confidant after Dick.

    I found the fact that Alfred didn't know about the anniversary of the Wayne murders to be rather jarring, as well as the claim that he's only Bruce's second-closest confidant after Dick. Of course, I first read that particular story when I was a lot younger, long before I fully understood the nuances of DC continuity shifts.

    I guess Year One was the turning point in that it retconned Alfred into having been around since Bruce's childhood. Though the Alfred-Bruce relationship really isn't explored much in that story, I guess having Alfred be there from the beginning paved the way for making him Bruce's father-figure and closest confidant.

    The Burton movies and BTAS also likely played a major role in cementing this in popular conscioussness, as did the steady stream of Year One-era Batman stories featuring Alfred with no Robin in sight.

  4. #4

    Default

    Maybe Alan Burnett should get credit for retconning Alfred into Bruce’s childhood instead of Frank Miller. Burnett wrote the Super Friends episode, “The Fear”, which flashed back to the death of the Waynes. The Super Friends flashback clearly shows Alfred standing at the Wayne gravesite with child Bruce. According to Wikipedia, that Super Friends episode first aired September 28, 1985. Batman #404, the first issue of Year One, didn’t go on sale until over a year later in November 1986 (cover dated Feb 87).
    Last edited by kevink31593; 11-28-2019 at 06:27 AM.
    Post CBR reboot join date: May 2014, Pre CBR reboot join date: April 2005
    Official DC message boards join date (as Batman Fan 31593): April 2000

  5. #5
    Mighty Member Tzigone's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
    Posts
    1,492

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by kevink31593 View Post
    Maybe Alan Burnett should get credit for retconning Alfred into Bruce’s childhood instead of Frank Miller. Burnett wrote the Super Friends episode, “The Fear”, which flashed back to the death of the Waynes. The Super Friends flashback clearly shows Alfred standing at the Wayne gravesite with child Bruce. According to Wikipedia, that Super Friends episode first aired September 28, 1985. Batman #404, the first issue of Year One, didn’t go on sale until over a year later in November 1986 (cover dated Feb 87).
    For me, it's more blame than credit (the more I think on Alfred's role in modern Batman, the more I dislike it), but that's an interesting bit of trivia.

  6. #6
    Moderator Frontier's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Posts
    45,341

    Default

    I definitely think adaptions and the retcon of Alfred being with Bruce since childhood cemented that Alfred was probably closer to Bruce then Dick was since he knew Bruce longer, since no one outside people who look up that kind of trivia or read old comics would know that Alfred was a later addition to the mythos who wasn't as "in-deep" as he is now.

  7. #7
    Mighty Member Tzigone's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
    Posts
    1,492

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Frontier View Post
    I definitely think adaptions and the retcon of Alfred being with Bruce since childhood cemented that Alfred was probably closer to Bruce then Dick was since he knew Bruce longer, since no one outside people who look up that kind of trivia or read old comics would know that Alfred was a later addition to the mythos who wasn't as "in-deep" as he is now.
    That's probably very true. As I said, the more I think about it, the more I dislike it. From Bruce's coincidentally (I don't think one is connected to the other) being so much more emotionally damaged in the versions where Alfred raises him and the reflection of that on Alfred's abilities, to the changing role of Alfred in his adult life (I find both employee and parental figure at the same time problematic), to the demotion of Dick in importance and significance and closeness to Bruce. While there are some bits I like about Alfred the parental role, the negatives far outweigh the positives when I start weighing them up.

  8. #8
    Astonishing Member The Kid's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Posts
    2,291

    Default

    A lot of the adaptations have also helped cement this. In the Nolan movies, Alfred was basically Bruce's ride or die and even though he only had like 5 min of screentime in the last movie, he probably had some of the most emotional moments
    DC, hurry up and make your own version of Marvel Unlimited!

  9. #9
    Moderator Frontier's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Posts
    45,341

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Tzigone View Post
    That's probably very true. As I said, the more I think about it, the more I dislike it. From Bruce's coincidentally (I don't think one is connected to the other) being so much more emotionally damaged in the versions where Alfred raises him and the reflection of that on Alfred's abilities, to the changing role of Alfred in his adult life (I find both employee and parental figure at the same time problematic), to the demotion of Dick in importance and significance and closeness to Bruce. While there are some bits I like about Alfred the parental role, the negatives far outweigh the positives when I start weighing them up.
    It depends which interpretation of Batman we're going with. There have been several Batman's with Alfred in his life from the start who have grown up to be emotionally healthy or stable, if still reeling from the emotional scars of the Wayne murder.

    I don't think it has ever diminished Dick's importance in the long-run. Dick and Alfred are very close to Bruce in their own way, it's just a different dynamic. One's a parent, the other a son. It's like how Damian is close to both Bruce and Dick for different reasons.

    I think the fact that Alfred is technically just an employee makes his level of loyalty and devotion to Bruce more heartwarming (but to each their own).

  10. #10
    Mighty Member
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Posts
    1,847

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Frontier View Post
    It depends which interpretation of Batman we're going with. There have been several Batman's with Alfred in his life from the start who have grown up to be emotionally healthy or stable, if still reeling from the emotional scars of the Wayne murder.

    I don't think it has ever diminished Dick's importance in the long-run. Dick and Alfred are very close to Bruce in their own way, it's just a different dynamic. One's a parent, the other a son. It's like how Damian is close to both Bruce and Dick for different reasons.

    I think the fact that Alfred is technically just an employee makes his level of loyalty and devotion to Bruce more heartwarming (but to each their own).
    True.

    Also, people tend to forget that Bruce was actually pretty mentally stable when he first started out as Batman - be it Year One, Zero Year or the Golden Age. Its only later in his career that the losses start to pile up, the futility of his mission sets in, and he becomes the psychologically and emotionally damaged Batjerk.

    Besides, Bruce being raised by a former military officer who is also technically his employee is precisely the kind of messed up dynamic which explains his decision to become a costumed vigilante later in life.

  11. #11
    Moderator Frontier's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Posts
    45,341

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by bat39 View Post
    True.

    Also, people tend to forget that Bruce was actually pretty mentally stable when he first started out as Batman - be it Year One, Zero Year or the Golden Age. Its only later in his career that the losses start to pile up, the futility of his mission sets in, and he becomes the psychologically and emotionally damaged Batjerk.

    Besides, Bruce being raised by a former military officer who is also technically his employee is precisely the kind of messed up dynamic which explains his decision to become a costumed vigilante later in life.
    Yeah, I think it's been consistent enough that Bruce started out fairly fine, if a little colder and brooding, then Dick came in and brought a sense of happiness and wonder in his life that continued until he started experiencing the wear and tear of being Batman and he started losing more and more people to the War on Crime.

  12. #12
    Astonishing Member Badou's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Posts
    4,192

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Frontier View Post
    It depends which interpretation of Batman we're going with. There have been several Batman's with Alfred in his life from the start who have grown up to be emotionally healthy or stable, if still reeling from the emotional scars of the Wayne murder.

    I don't think it has ever diminished Dick's importance in the long-run. Dick and Alfred are very close to Bruce in their own way, it's just a different dynamic. One's a parent, the other a son. It's like how Damian is close to both Bruce and Dick for different reasons.

    I think the fact that Alfred is technically just an employee makes his level of loyalty and devotion to Bruce more heartwarming (but to each their own).
    I'd probably disagree with how the change has diminished Dick's importance. I mean Dick was created several years before Alfred was (which I bet the vast majority of fans wouldn't know now) and was the go to in terms of the person closest to Bruce, but now that defaults to Alfred. Some even put Superman ahead of Dick now too. King might even put Catwoman. So that initial change is going to have some ramifications. So you see Dick written out of stories more and his position kind of lessened overall. I think it was most apparent in the New 52 where they felt comfortable enough reducing Dick's level of importance to just being around Bruce for a few years and we are already at the point where nearly every Batman villain is established before Dick is Robin. I can't see DC ever reducing Alfred's position the same way where he would ever come into the picture again until Bruce is already grown.

  13. #13
    Astonishing Member Restingvoice's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Posts
    3,445

    Default

    Adding to that, a protagonist needs an antagonist, a serial protagonist needs many antagonists, but neither protagonist necessarily needs a sidekick, much less multiple sidekicks, and when you have a sidekick with as many abilities and emotional resonance as Alfred Pennyworth, you don't need anyone else and can just discount the rest, if the writer wants it.

    Oh and yeah, love interest. Protagonist, antagonist, a sidekick, and a love interest. That's all a writer need for a simple story. A lot of action movies go by that formula, plus a few ragtag bunches of supporting characters. These are the Batfam. King's Catwoman fulfills both the sidekick and the love interest part.
    Last edited by Restingvoice; 11-29-2019 at 05:07 PM.

  14. #14
    Mighty Member Tzigone's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
    Posts
    1,492

    Default

    I mean Dick was created several years before Alfred was (which I bet the vast majority of fans wouldn't know now) and was the go to in terms of the person closest to Bruce, but now that defaults to Alfred. Some even put Superman ahead of Dick now too.
    Was Dick even considered for best man in most recent wedding storyarc? I know Alfred and Jim were. I liked the idea as used in Earth 2 version of Dick being Bruce's best man.

    they felt comfortable enough reducing Dick's level of importance to just being around Bruce for a few years and we are already at the point where nearly every Batman villain is established before Dick is Robin.
    So much not a fan of that. I really do like old-school, where Dick predates all the significant villains. Any many of the other first-gen heroes. And, of course, all the silver age ones. I like him having that kind of experience under his belt.

  15. #15
    Fantastic Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Posts
    270

    Default

    In the case of new 52, even other Robins are more important than Dick lol.
    I’m ok with Bruce having someone really having raised him and a kid can’t do that. But the more they stress Alfreds closeness to Bruce in recent years, the uglier it made every party look.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •