Former Batman writer Tom King has opened up about his decision to kill Alfred Pennyworth, Bruce Wayne's loyal butler and surrogate father figure in Batman #77, telling the Word Balloon podcast that the decision to kill Alfred came from DC, after King himself planned to save his life following a cliffhanger ending.
"I got the opposite of push back. I got push forward," King explained. "I sort of had this cliffhanger where Alfred, at the end, was gonna, could perish. And I put it in the script, like, of course, we'll figure this out later and he's not dead. And DC's like, 'No, why isn't he? Why's he not dead?' And I'm like, 'Well, because he's Alfred and he has to live forever because he's a fantastic character.' And they're like, 'No no no no, he's dead'."
As for whether Alfred might return, King said "Nothing in comics is permanent," acknowledging that another writer could undo Alfred's death, and eventually likely would. But he continued saying, "What sticks, what stays in continuity is what's good. If Alfred's death leads to good stories, it will probably stick until a better idea comes along."
DC plans a memorial anthology for the character February 12, titled Batman: Pennyworth R.I.P..