Batman Writer Tom King Explains Why Alfred Had to Die

One of the saddest moments of Tom King’s Batman run has to be a sad end for Alfred. But, now the creator has come forward to explain why such a big move needed to be made. He talked to Entertainment Weekly about his run on the title and inevitably the death had to come up. There were other things addressed as well, like that messy marriage business that happened earlier and what the road forward looks like for King. All of it is really fascinating and it is clear that the writer had some big plans for the eventual send-off for the title. It will be up to other writers to decide what to do about Batman and his various relationships going forward. Alfred’s loss is a huge one because he proves to be very core to the character in ways that might not seem apparent initially. It might seem outrageous to continue on without him, but for King, it’s all a process of maturing and moving into the next stage of life.

“It’s not like I wanted Alfred to die! I love that character,” King began. “To me it’s a moment to show, at the end of a long story, Bruce’s maturity. Bruce is obviously defined by the death of his parents and his reaction to that death and how that drove him to become Batman and to do this utterly insane thing, which is dress up in leather and kick and punch people in the face every day. But it’s an utterly insane thing that saved the world. Then, here he has the death of his true parent, Alfred, and his reaction to that is not the same. That’s what interested me about it. To me, it showed how well Alfred had raised him.”

“When he was this little boy, he was cut off and just stuck being a little boy,” he continued. “Then Alfred was the one who brought him from being just this child to being this man who, when a death like Alfred’s comes along, he can handle it, and I’m sad to say, like most of us handle death. I’m old enough now that I’ve lost people close to me. It’s the worst thing that can happen to you and you never get over it, and you grieve it forever. But it also becomes part of you and your grieving is a sort of happiness because it still connects you to that person. There’s a maturity to it.”

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Now, James Tynion will step into the role of delivering tales of The Bat. While that is very daunting, the writer is more than up for the challenge.

“I loved writing stories for [Batman] Eternal, Detective Comics, and even Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but my desire to tell a Batman story, one focusing solely on Bruce Wayne instead of an ensemble, is what drove me back to the Batcave,” Tynion mentioned in a statement after he was announced as writer. “I want to dig deep into the Bat himself and tell an epic story that pushes him to his absolute limits. I want to tell a Batman story like the kinds I grew up loving, one that embraces the horror and gothic elegance of Gotham and dives deep into Batman’s greatest villains.”

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