Scott Bryan Wilson Explains Why Batman Doesn’t Appear in the Pennyworth Comic

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Alfred Pennyworth may be best known as Batman‘s butler and Bruce Wayne’s surrogate father figure, but he’s also a character with his own stories and adventures. Both the Pennyworth television series and the spinoff comic by writer Scott Bryan Wilson take fans into that aspect of Alfred’s life. However, if comics fans were expecting that Batman might show up in the Pennyworth comic, they’ll be disappointed. The Dark Knight doesn’t make an appearance and it turns out, that was Wilson’s choice. The writer told ComicBook.com that while he had the okay to bring Batman into things, he chose not to. Pennyworth is Alfred’s book.

“There are actually three storylines,” Wilson said of the Pennyworth comic. “There’s his very young days as a kid. There’s him as a spy from the TV show era, and there’s him, the one we know today. When I was asked to pitch to write the series, Katie Kubert, who was the editor on it originally, she said, ‘Hey, you can have Batman in it if you want. It’ll probably help sales.’ And I said, ‘You know what, though, this ain’t Batman’s book. This is Alfred’s book. This is not Batman’s book.”

Wilson went on to explain that he did consider having Batman showing up briefly in the first issue, but ended up moving away from that idea out of his love for Alfred and the desire to tell his story. That desire also meant breaking things into three separate storylines, a narrative choice that is a bit unique, but allows for a lot of connection through Alfred’s entire life.

“Originally I was like, ‘oh maybe Batman could show up in the first issue.’ No, this is Alfred’s book. And I kept thinking that. But I just kept thinking I love the butler Alfred so much and so much of who he is would be tied into this past that I don’t see it as to separate stories. I can’t just write one or the other, I’ve got to write both. And then I sort of had the idea that we’ll also show sort of his childhood and where he came from there and we can tie all that in, a lot of his stuff working on the stage, being an actor.”

He continued, “So, I said ‘okay, I’ll do three storylines’. I sort of wrote the whole outline and it bounces around a lot. Katie kept saying with every script, ‘this is going to get confusing for the reader. I don’t know.’ I just kept saying ‘trust me, trust me, we can do this. We can do this. Just trust me. Once they get the rhythm of it, they’ll get it.’ And she trusted me. I think it works out because especially with five, six, and seven, there’s a lot of cutting. It starts cutting a lot between the three time periods. I think that kind of storytelling is fun because it allows you to plant seeds in one timeline and reference them in another. You can have a line of dialogue that was said when Alfred was 30, and then he can repeat it five pages later when he’s an old man. And you see the symmetry with that, or this is the same person.”

You can check out information about Pennyworth #5 below.

“The continuing untold early Cold War adventures of Alfred Pennyworth, British spy! Alfred is reunited with one old friend, confronts another, and takes a meeting with his MI6 handler…or it could all be just a hallucination as he runs out of time and freezes to death, alone in the vast emptiness of the frigid north.”

Pennyworth #5 goes on sale on December 14th.

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