I’ve always wanted to read a comic book that’s just about Alfred, Batman’s butler. It could be called Alfred. And it wouldn’t have to have anything to do with crime fighting or mysteries. I’m not trying to make Alfred something he’s not. No, it would just be stories about him, taking care of Batman’s mansion, following the exploits of his managerial duties around the house. He’d have to get dinner ready. He’d have to make sure that Batman’s Batman costume was dry-cleaned. You might think that this would be a pretty boring comic book. Right? But it wouldn’t be.
Take Batman’s dry-cleaning for example. It sounds super lame, right? Wrong. Where do you think Alfred might take the bat suit to get dry-cleaned? Maybe if I brought a Batman costume to my local dry-cleaner one time, they might think, OK, he went to a costume party, he spent a lot of money getting a really professionally made Batman costume. Great. But what if I started bringing like two or three of them in to get cleaned every week? What if I started bringing them in and they’re all covered in blood and sewer water and poison gas? Don’t you think the dry-cleaning guy would figure it out after a week or two? He’d say to himself, this guy is totally Batman. But wait a second, he’d think, that doesn’t make any sense, because this guy’s all old and British and he has a pencil-thin mustache. So he must be Batman’s dry-cleaner. Let’s call up the Riddler and see how much this information is worth.
Alfred wouldn’t have any choice but to buy, install, and figure out how to operate his own personal dry-cleaning machine. That’s really not as easy as it sounds. You’re dealing with some serious chemicals. Did you know that they use like formaldehyde and stuff? That’s a carcinogen. Alfred is literally putting his life on the life for the sake of keeping Batman somewhat clean. I think I’ve just written the first three issues right there.
You might think that, seeing as how Alfred has to go above and beyond the call of duty of a regular butler, Batman might cut him some slack here and there. “Hey Alfred,” Batman might say, and Alfred would respond, “Yes, Master Bruce?” “You know what Alfred? Forget about wearing that tux all the time. You work really, really hard. Just wear whatever you feel like wearing, whatever’s comfortable.” And Alfred would be caught off guard, surprised. “Th-thank you Master Bruce. As you wish Master Bruce.” “And another thing,” Batman would continue, “Enough with the whole ‘Master Bruce’ business. How long have we known each other? You practically raised me. You’ve been the closest thing I’ve ever had to a real dad. Just call me Bruce. Or Batman. But not when company’s around. Then just stick to Bruce.” And Alfred would be practically choking up at this point, totally unable to hold back the tears of pure joy welling up in his eyes. This would all be covered in issues four through six.
“Thank you sir! I mean … Bruce. You don’t know how long I’ve waited to have a genuine moment like this with you.” Alfred would start pouring his soul out to Batman. But just then a portal through space-time would rip open right besides Alfred and Batman. And it would be a cyborg robot Alfred from a parallel universe. He would come in, guns a-blazing, making this big dramatic speech about how on his world, Batman was a total dick, never giving Alfred any respect, and so this Alfred became a complete villain. On his world, he killed his Batman for treating him no better than a doormat. But it wasn’t enough. Now he travels across the multiverse killing every Batman he can find. And it’s up to our Alfred to figure out a way to stop him.
That would be issues seven through twelve. I know, I told you that the whole series wouldn’t be about anything heroic, just Alfred and his household duties. But by issue three, I’m sure the fans would have said to themselves, what the hell? Seriously? A comic book about just a butler? That’s so, so lame. I’m never even going to think about buying this piece of trash ever again.
And the publishers will get the message. Sales will be at an all time low. By the time issue five hits the stands, they’ll have ordered me to switch up the stories, make them more about superheroes and supervillains. But I’ll protest. “Don’t you remember our plan? Only butler stories!” And the publisher will say, “If you can’t write these stories, we’ll find someone who can!” And I won’t have a choice.
But by the time I reboot the series, it will be too late. The fans will never give it a second chance. They’ll print up to issue twelve and call it a wrap. After a year or so, they’ll package all twelve issues together in a hardcover and call it a graphic novel. Maybe somebody in the TV biz will buy the rights, and they’ll come up with a TV show, also called Alfred. And the theme song will be almost identical to the 1960s Batman TV show:
Na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na Alfred! Alfred! Alfred! Alfred! Alfred! Alfred! Alfred! Na na na na na na na na na na na na na Alfred!