In the New 52 continuity, Alfred Pennyworth's father is named Jarvis Pennyworth.

Jarvis DC

However, there was already a very well-known comic book butler named Jarvis; Edwin Jarvis, the butler of Tony Stark and the other Avengers, who first appeared in the 1960's.

Has anyone connected to DC ever commented on why this name was chosen? Was it an intentional reference to the Marvel character?

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    It just sounds like a great butler name. I went to Jamaica with my whole family once. We rented a villa. Our butler was named Bemford. Super butlery name.
    – Wad Cheber
    Sep 28, 2015 at 3:21
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    I put a Twitter chat into with one of the creators of the character to see if there was any insight. The character, after all didn't come into existence until 2012 so there may have been an inside joke... Jun 22, 2016 at 19:42
  • The origin of the name seems to either be simply "spearman" or "servant spear" with several baby name pages indicating that there's implied servitude or at least service inherent in the name, making it a natural fit for a butler.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Sep 13 at 20:33

4 Answers 4


The Jarvis Pennyworth of the New 52/Prime Earth continuity likely 'inherited' his first name (out of universe) from Jarvis Beagle, the father of Batman's butler in the Golden Age/Earth-Two continuity, Alfred Beagle.

I couldn't tell you why Jarvis Beagle was given the first name 'Jarvis,' but that's not what you asked, and we can safely rule out the notion that the name was inspired by the Marvel character, Edwin Jarvis, since Jarvis Beagle was first mentioned in Batman Vol. 1 #16 in 1943, 21 years before Edwin Jarvis was introduced.

ALFRED BEAGLE: You may remember my father, Jarvis, who was your father's butler for many years! The poor old gentleman was heartbroken when I forsook the family calling to be an actor in the music halls!

Batman Vol. 1 #16, page 44.

Batman Vol. 1 #16 (May, 1943)


Alfred was introduced in Batman number 16, 1943. In this issue he gives his father’s name as Jarvis.

The out-of-universe reason is that Alfred’s father’s name already existed for over 20 years before Tony Stark’s butler Jarvis.

“Was it an intentional reference to the Marvel character?” - No. Because the character’s name was already established. Now if Marvel was intentionally referencing DC, that’s another question and I don’t know. Why was the name Jarvis chosen? I don’t know.

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    Your answer was deleted on September 13, at which time it consisted only of your first paragraph. I would argue that it was rightfully deleted and downvoted, as it said nothing about the "why" at that time. Your edit from 15 hours ago has made it clearer, and your original answer can probably be undeleted, but the preferred course of action is to flag it to be undeleted (which I've now done for you) rather than just reposting it.
    – F1Krazy
    Sep 20 at 14:21
  • This still doesn't appear to address the question of "why." At best you're only saying "It's not because of Marvel," but you aren't saying positively why.
    – DavidW
    Sep 20 at 14:25
  • @DavidW In fairness, neither is LogicDictates' answer, as OP pointed out in their (now-removed) meta-commentary.
    – F1Krazy
    Sep 20 at 14:26
  • These are fair points. But I would say that the first paragraph answers the question in full, the rest is just fluff. The “why” is because the name already existed.
    – user167608
    Sep 20 at 14:33
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    @DavidW & F1Krazy - As I noted in my answer, the OP didn't ask why Jarvis Beagle of the original (1938) Earth-Two continuity was given his first name. It only asked why Jarvis Pennyworth of the modern (2011) New 52/Prime-Earth continuity was given that first name. Both my answer and this one do address that point. Sep 20 at 19:10

Jarvis, as a name, is sometimes tied to the idea of service (albeit primarily with "spear").

In Celtic Baby Names the meaning of the name Jarvis is: Servant spear. This name is derived from combining an Old German name meaning spear, and the Celtic word for servant.

It would, therefore, be a likely name for a butler, as someone who serves. I have no evidence for whether that was the reason that the name was chosen for two different comics butlers.


Considering that Alfred Pennyworth and the references to his father, Jarvis Pennyworth, were introduced 20 years before Edwin Jarvis(Iron Mans Butler) was invented, I’d say it’s more likely that the marvel employee read the DC comic, and thought Jarvis was a good butler name.

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    Hi, welcome to SF&F. Do you have any evidence this is the case? (Note that page for Jarvis Pennyworth gives a 2012 date for his introduction.) The question was looking for any remark made by someone connected with DC.
    – DavidW
    Dec 28, 2022 at 1:26

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