View Poll Results: Who is the second most important character in the Batman universe?

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  • Commissioner Gordon

    26 17.11%
  • The Joker

    13 8.55%
  • Robin

    53 34.87%
  • Alfred

    56 36.84%
  • Other

    4 2.63%
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  1. #1
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    Question Most integral supporting character in the mythos

    I was thinking recently of the core concept of Batman, and who is most important to the overall plot dynamic. I came up with the following list, in order:

    1 Commissioner Gordon
    2 The Joker
    3 Robin
    4 Alfred

    1 In my opinion Gordon is what separates Batman from a strict vigilante - Gordon and he collaborate, and that really is a core aspect of Batman. Gordon's semi-corrupt relationship with Bats really sets the tone for Batman stories.

    2 The Joker is the best-known villain in comics, and represents everything Batman isn't - fun, murderous, etc. Without the Joker we wouldn't have the same Batman, at all.

    3 Every other Robin is a stand-in for the kid Dick used to be, so I almost said Dick Grayson here. But considering the fact that he's turned into an underutilized adult figure, at least in regards to Batman, I guess Robin is a more accurate character description. The kid sidekick, the dialogue generator, etc, Robin has a big role in the stories he is in.

    4 Alfred isn't exactly necessary to the Batman universe - he's there, like Robin, largely so Batman can talk to him. But that said, in importance he dwarfs pretty much every character besides those three ^


    Other things are obviously important to Batman, like Joe Chill killing his parents, the Batcave, so on. But I think these are the most important auxiliary characters. The poll is for the top spot, and if you think someone other than those 4 warrants it, vote 'other' and tell the world why.

  2. #2
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    Yeah I agree, Gordon is justice with a gun and batman is justice with a mask and fists.

  3. #3
    Mighty Member nepenthes's Avatar
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    Easy. Batman and ......


  4. #4

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    I really have to give this to Robin.

    Gordon and Alfred come in close.
    “Nothing is harder to understand than a symbolic work. A symbol always transcends the one who makes use of it and makes him say in reality more than he is aware of expressing.”
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  5. #5
    Savior of the Universe Flash Gordon's Avatar
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    Dick Grayson/Robin

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by nepenthes View Post
    Easy. Batman and ......

    My thoughts exactly.
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  7. #7
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    I'm gonna vote for Alfred. I think he's underappreciated as the greatest supporting character in superhero comics. If Bruce Wayne is the heart, body and mind of Batman, Alfred is the keeper of his soul. It was Alfred who saved that little boy who's entire world was destroyed on Crime Alley. Its Alfred and his sheer humanity that keeps Bruce honest, his insistence that Bruce occasionally get a good night's sleep, or eat a decent meal, or take a vacation, is not the stupid attempt by a harried servant to impose a predictable schedule on an eccentric employer, or the doddering demands of a old maid. Its Alfred way of reminding him that for all Bruce does, he's still human, and to forget those limitations would be the end of everything. He presents a strong moral gravity over Bruce, temperamental and restrained in his demands and duties. Compare this to Bruce's harst and strenuous attitude who seems to push away all his Robins until they rebel or die in terrible accidents.

    Without Alfred, Wayne Manor would be a ghost house, Bruce alone in his never-ending quest, brooding and going crazy by himself lookin through endless clues and fixing gadgets. Look at Batman Beyond where Alfred's warmth and foundation is gone, as Terry and Bruce kinda orbit around each other warily, neither one able to interpret the other without a neutral third party in a faithful butler.

    Somebody start the Alfred Pennyworth appreciation thread

  8. #8
    Astonishing Member Triple J's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ViewtifulJC View Post
    I'm gonna vote for Alfred. I think he's underappreciated as the greatest supporting character in superhero comics. If Bruce Wayne is the heart, body and mind of Batman, Alfred is the keeper of his soul. It was Alfred who saved that little boy who's entire world was destroyed on Crime Alley. Its Alfred and his sheer humanity that keeps Bruce honest, his insistence that Bruce occasionally get a good night's sleep, or eat a decent meal, or take a vacation, is not the stupid attempt by a harried servant to impose a predictable schedule on an eccentric employer, or the doddering demands of a old maid. Its Alfred way of reminding him that for all Bruce does, he's still human, and to forget those limitations would be the end of everything. He presents a strong moral gravity over Bruce, temperamental and restrained in his demands and duties. Compare this to Bruce's harst and strenuous attitude who seems to push away all his Robins until they rebel or die in terrible accidents.

    Without Alfred, Wayne Manor would be a ghost house, Bruce alone in his never-ending quest, brooding and going crazy by himself lookin through endless clues and fixing gadgets. Look at Batman Beyond where Alfred's warmth and foundation is gone, as Terry and Bruce kinda orbit around each other warily, neither one able to interpret the other without a neutral third party in a faithful butler.

    Somebody start the Alfred Pennyworth appreciation thread

    This ^^.

    Yes, we need a Pennyworth appreciation thread!
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    That's how it starts. The fever. The rage. The feeling of powerlessness. That turns good men....Cruel - Alfred.

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  9. #9
    Extraordinary Member t hedge coke's Avatar
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    Gordon's more "integral," I think, but I prefer Alfred be there. Depends on the story, of course.

    Didn't Alan Grant's Demon/Batman oneshot invert the roles with Commissioner Pennyworth and gentleman's gentleman, James Gordon?
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  10. #10
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    While one can make a compelling case for Alfred and for Robin, I'll go with Gordon.

    To my mind, Batman's collaboration with Gordon is the one thing which separates him from being just another outlaw vigilante. The fact that he's willing to work with Gordon indicates that his mission is to strengthen the justice system, not to subvert it. Gordon and Batman are two sides of the same coin (especially in post-Year One comics)...the cop and the vigilante, both crusaders fighting to clean up a city that likes being dirty!

    As far as Alfred and Robin go...who's more 'integral' has fluctuated depending on the era. So Pre-COIE, Robin was much more important, and Alfred was basically Bruce's butler and trusted confidante but little else (I remember the classic story 'Appointment in Crime Alley' where Alfred thinks about how he's Batman's closest confidant after Master Dick). Post-COIE and thereafter, the focus shifted to Alfred, partly because of the retcon that Alfred raised Bruce since childhood and is now more of a mentor/father-figure to him, and partly because of the reduced importance of Dick, and the 'Robin' character in general, as opposed to previous eras.

    But Jim Gordon has LITERALLY been there since Day One (and I mean, 'Tec # 27 kinda day one!) and he's always been as important as he is now, in some form or the other.

  11. #11
    Astonishing Member Dispenser Of Truth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bat39 View Post
    While one can make a compelling case for Alfred and for Robin, I'll go with Gordon.

    To my mind, Batman's collaboration with Gordon is the one thing which separates him from being just another outlaw vigilante. The fact that he's willing to work with Gordon indicates that his mission is to strengthen the justice system, not to subvert it. Gordon and Batman are two sides of the same coin (especially in post-Year One comics)...the cop and the vigilante, both crusaders fighting to clean up a city that likes being dirty!

    As far as Alfred and Robin go...who's more 'integral' has fluctuated depending on the era. So Pre-COIE, Robin was much more important, and Alfred was basically Bruce's butler and trusted confidante but little else (I remember the classic story 'Appointment in Crime Alley' where Alfred thinks about how he's Batman's closest confidant after Master Dick). Post-COIE and thereafter, the focus shifted to Alfred, partly because of the retcon that Alfred raised Bruce since childhood and is now more of a mentor/father-figure to him, and partly because of the reduced importance of Dick, and the 'Robin' character in general, as opposed to previous eras.

    But Jim Gordon has LITERALLY been there since Day One (and I mean, 'Tec # 27 kinda day one!) and he's always been as important as he is now, in some form or the other.
    This. Exactly this. I'm borderline jealous, since this is exactly what I was going to pop in here to say (though you frankly did it much more eloquently than I would have).
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  12. #12
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    It's the guy that killed Thomas and Martha Wayne, whether he's Joe Chill or an anonymous mugger.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carabas View Post
    It's the guy that killed Thomas and Martha Wayne, whether he's Joe Chill or an anonymous mugger.
    I actually really like this answer.

  14. #14

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    Alfred Pennyworth

  15. #15
    Extraordinary Member t hedge coke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carabas View Post
    It's the guy that killed Thomas and Martha Wayne, whether he's Joe Chill or an anonymous mugger.
    I think the gun is important, there, but it doesn't much matter to most Batman stories who fired it.

    (Still crazy to me that when they catalogue the elements of Batman in Return of Bruce Wayne, two of the handful, at least, originate with Frank Miller. The bullet, the gun, the pearls, the bell...)
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