Yes, Master Bruce?
~ Alfred Pennyworth

Alfred Thaddeus Crane Pennyworth is Bruce Wayne's butler at Wayne Manor and his oldest and staunchest ally, even when he occasionally expresses discomfort at Bruce's risking his life repeatedly.

Golden Age

Alfred was first introduced as "Alfred Beagle" a heavy-set butler at the Wayne manor, who while an enthusiastic and loyal servant was a slow-witted and clumsy man. In addition to being a professional butler, Alfred was a staunch armchair detective, but particularly bad at adapting the skills he was trying to hone. Most comics had Alfred playing foil to Batman as the slow-witted everyman to Bruce Wayne's more professional detective skills. Alfred was further made comic-relief by often having him trying to solve mystery novels or riddles while Bruce Wayne or Dick Grayson were fighting crime just in the background, with Alfred so engrossed though that he didn't notice what was going on right behind him. As at the time Alfred is played up as having no idea Wayne was Batman, this incarnation is largely hand-waved as no longer canon to the DC universe, mostly.

This version of Alfred showed up in more modern times when the Zero Hour crisis caused dimensional barriers to weaken. Since Beagle had (mostly by stumbling into it) learned the secret of the Dynamic Duo's identities, Batman and Tim Drake were forced to deal with him while also keeping him safe from modern threats more deadly than the worst of the Golden Age. In the end, the comical Beagle sacrificed himself to save his charges, and while fading away, vowed to never leave him the way the other Alfred had (at least at the time).

Silver Age

When writer, Denny O'Neil took up the job of writing Batman for DC he decided to rework many aspects of the characters, Golden Age writer Julius Schwartz, had originally put in and Alfred was among the more re-worked. Alfred's last name became Pennyworth and his character design was changed, credited then as having come back from a miracle health spa that made him look and feel like a new man. Further evolution of the character would make Alfred British, intelligent, socially refined and a former MI6 Secret Agent. Though Alfred Beagle was his birth name, Alfred had changed it shortly after joining the British secret service to Alfred Pennyworth. He served for many years at his post but eventually felt his services could be spared and retired, joining a theater troop as a make-up artist and a fill-in acting position, as both put his formers skills in subterfuge to use and allowed him to validate what he picked up the skills for, without compromising his former career.

Waynes' Butler

Alfred's father was a professional butler and had always wanted Alfred to follow in his foot-steps. When Alfred's father's days were numbered Alfred decided to make him proud and swore to him to become the best butler he could. Alfred quit his job and applied for work in the US for the prestigious Wayne family. Thomas Wayne considered Alfred to be the perfect candidate and hired him on the spot. Less than a minute after being hired young Bruce Wayne did his best to get Alfred comfortable in his new position by trying to carry his bags for him and show him to his room and in so doing, immediately endeared himself to Alfred. Since then Alfred has applied himself entirely to the station of butler and never looked back. Alfred was the first one to teach Bruce Wayne he could out-smart people in a fight and taught him how to think on his feet when he was being picked on at school.

Tragedy struck one night as the Waynes returned from a matinee'. As the Waynes cut through an alley a mugger turned a gun on them. Thomas and Martha Wayne were killed, young Bruce was left alive but severely traumatized. Once Alfred heard of the event he rushed down to attend to Bruce and helped him work through the ordeal as best he could. Alfred pledged himself to Bruce Wayne's continued service til the end of his days and spent years trying to ease the pain of the situation. Alfred was aided in his endeavor to help Bruce Wayne through the situation by the Wayne's private physician, Dr. Leslie Tompkins. When Bruce Wayne graduated college he decided to travel the world abroad a bit before taking the reigns of his father's company, during this time Alfred attended to matters at home and causally dated Dr. Tompkins in-between his regular duties. Alfred and Leslie ultimately decided to call off the relationship as while the two enjoyed each-other, each viewed it as nothing they would ever get into to seriously. By the time Bruce Wayne returned from his time abroad Alfred could tell he was different. Wayne had been training with martial artists, magicians and even ninjas to better himself. Wayne had been motivating his training by thinking of his parents, the crime rate in his home city of Goham and a story Alfred had read him one night called "Waiting in the wings", all had contributed to a rather obsessive mindset that demanded Bruce put his newly honed skills to use.

Bruce would take up the title "Batman" shortly after returning to Gotham and stalked the streets dressed as a black, clad specter in the image of a bat. Alfred helped Bruce in his endeavors, not wishing to impede his work but determined to at the very least make sure he could do so with as little risk as possible. Alfred has since continued his duties to Bruce Wayne, both as a butler and assistant to his alter-ego as Batman.


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