Who is the most important character in the Batman mythology other than Batman himself?
My opinion may seem obvious, but I’d say Joe Chill. Not only did his action create Batman. All the actions Bruce did from the moment forward, including all the Crisis Events. Joe Chill enabled Batman’s involvement.
I think it would be interesting to get a Joe Chill one shot book.
Joe Chill is who came to mind for me as well. You don’t get Batman without Chill and what he did.
A one-shot about him could be interesting. It could end with him walking towards the Waynes as they leave The Mark of Zorro while thinking “I’ll just take his wallet or her pearls. A simple snatch and grab. Nothing big will come out of it.”
I don’t find the character of Joe Chill to be too important. It could just as easily just be a nameless criminal that was never found, and in some ways that could be more interesting. The plot point of a criminal murdering the Waynes is a key factor of course, but Joe Chill specifically is not.
To me, the characters that are most important to the actual mythology and just to have in a Batman story are Alfred and Gordon.
The argument could be made that it’s the person/persons who convinced him to take up his crusade. Different variations of the story and teachers etc; but without their guidance and ideologies; There’s no bat.
IMO, it’s Alfred. He is the person that allows it to happen. Raising him, being there and maintaining the Wayne legacy while Bruce is off training and learning. He’s is the the one human constant in Bruce’s life from the time his parents are killed to taking up the mantle and through til the present day.
Alfred is the reminder of his parents and he is also the conscience of his parents that keeps Bruce from becoming just a revenge fueled mess.
He is the steady hand at the rudder.
Dick Grayson, easily. In the Golden Age, Robin’s arrival slowly* helped Batman to give up murdering every criminal in sight. (I guess Bruce finally put his pistol away when Robin said, “I want a gun! Chicks dig the gun!”) And even though later continuities removed Batman’s year-one bloodlust, they stuck with the idea that Dick helped Bruce to mellow out. Perhaps the best take on this development was in The New Frontier, when Darwyn Cooke had Superman notice a major change in Batman’s costume and demeanor upon taking in the little orphan acrobat.
*I say “slowly” because in Detective Comics #38, Batman tells Dick, “My parents too were killed by a criminal. That’s why I’ve devoted my life to exterminate them.” And then the two of them spend the rest of the issue killing gangsters to avenge the deaths of the Graysons. It would take a few issues before the Dynamic Duo stopped leaving corpses in their wake. And people say that Frank Miller’s ASBAR got it wrong! Pfft!
Nobody has even considered The Joker?
Sure, all of these events (and the people involved) may have started the ball rolling, but it is really The Joker that has defined (and redefined) him.
Saw others already but I’m on the Alfred train. Argument for Gordon could be made & I wouldn’t argue as well as Grayson.
It’s Dick. I can’t really make an argument for anyone other than him save for Alfred. Joe Chill is both important and not. The idea behind him is that it was some no-name loser, some faceless hat in the crowd who killed the Waynes. Not a mobster or someone else rich and/or powerful. Just a guy. A malleable non-player who is both one Gotham criminal and every Gotham criminal. He’s important precisely because he is not.
The Joker is important in Batman mythos but not at the same level as Alfred, Gordon or Grayson. While he didn’t come along until the early 70’s Ra’s is a great Batman villain. Same with two-face, Penguin and Catwoman. The Joker is but one reflection of Batman. Each major villain is a reflection of one of Batman’s personality facets. Yes, the Joker is important but he, nor any of the individual villains, are higher in the Batman pantheon than Alfred, Jim & Mullet-head.
Team Alfred. And to drive it home: 'natch.
Robin. While other characters may be more important to Batman himself, the Batman mythos would be radically different if the writers never introduced a sidekick. Think of all of the sidekicks and allies Batman has had. The thousands of Batman stories told that revolve around him having a sidekick. Even non Batman things. Would there even have been a Teen Titans without a Robin?
Mr. Grayson has been praised sufficiently on his own, but Alfred is the Real Deal, and the power behind the cave.
I was leaning toward Alfred with Dick and Gordon closely following, but @Awesome_squid has an excellent point. The Batman mythos and all of superhero comics changed due to Robin (at least a large part). My vote goes to Robin (Dick Grayson).
I said Chill when I read the heading.
I would say that in DC Mythos, Robin ranks higher than Alfred. However, if you take Robin out of Bruce’s life you still have Batman. If you take Alfred out of Bruce’s life, I don’t think you end up with Batman and given the number of times Alfred patched him up, Bruce wouldn’t have survived long enough as Batman to adopt Dick Grayson in the first place.
So I’m still saying it’s Alfred.
Bat-mite. If Batman can’t be prepared for whatever that little imp conjures, he is not Batman.
@abfgmsw As I said in regards to another Silver Age character, Bat-Mite comes to us courtesy of Bat-co-creator Bill Finger himself, so he’s undeniably an essential part of the canon.