A friend recently showed me a scan from a Batman comic from Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?,

in which Alfred Pennyworth is revealed to be The Joker.

and we ended up discussing whether or not the events shown are considered canon.

The Wikipedia page for the comic states:

The Batman presented in the story is not necessarily the one from current DC Universe continuity but rather an indeterminate amalgamation that pays homage to the entirety of the character's 70-year history.

But the source for this is a news site and nothing authoritative.

Is there an authoritative source stating whether or not Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader is considered canon?

  • "Is X considered canon?" seems more appropriate for Meta than for the main site (there are similar questions on Meta, e.g meta.scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/1725/…).
    – user8719
    Commented Jun 2, 2014 at 12:55
  • 2
    @JimmyShelter To be fair, there was discussion that that should have been moved to the main site instead of being on Meta.
    – phantom42
    Commented Jun 2, 2014 at 13:12
  • @JimmyShelter I figured it would be safe to post this after seeing other (positive voted) "Is X canon?" questions. If it's off topic for the site then I'm happy to move or rephrase the question to keep things tidy - this question came after a discussion as to whether or not Alfred is the canonical Joker, so I could phrase the question as that instead if it's a better fit for the site. Commented Jun 2, 2014 at 13:15
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    I disagree - this is a singular story, rather than a series run or a lengthy story arc, so I think answering it here makes more sense - if it were asking about a multi-part story arc, or a particular series in the Batman universe, I'd argue it could be Meta, but that it'd still be better suited for the main site.
    – Zibbobz
    Commented Jun 2, 2014 at 15:36
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    Alfred isn't "revealed" to be the Joker, he has a story in which he hires actors to dress like various villains from Batman's past, and he dressed like the Joker. Also, this entire story is revealed to be a dream induced by a near-death experience. It's more of a homage than anything else, discussing the "eternal" role of Batman. It ends with his birth, the co-narrarator is his mother, etc... Commented Jun 2, 2014 at 15:51

1 Answer 1


No, it's not canon.

Series Writer Neil Gaiman speaks to this issue specifically in an interview for Wired Magazine where he describes the story as being (in essence) imaginary;

Wired.com: Awesome. That references Alan’s legendary Superman triple entendre: "This is an imaginary story…. Aren’t they all?"

Gaiman: Right. So I cut it, because it was too obvious. Plus, that line is one of the five amazing moments in comics.

Wired.com: That famous preface messes with the idea of canon and continuity. Moore’s comic is arguably outside DC Comics continuity, and so arguably is yours. Same goes for a bunch of other awesome comics. Has continuity outlived its usefulness?

Gaiman: Continuity isn’t actually something that I ever worry about. You use it where you need to, and you don’t use it where you don’t need to. It’s a given that we exist in a world where we have to live in continuity every day; no one is immune to that, in life or romance novels. By the same token, it’s not something I find terribly important.

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