Thursday, July 28, 2016

Face-Off: Alfred or Jarvis?

Martinex1: Today's Face-Off question is: Alfred Pennyworth or Edwin Jarvis?  Who do you prefer? What do you say about these supporting characters?

Butler to the Bat?

Or Servant to the Super-Team?

Alfred as portrayed on television's Batman by Alan Napier.

Jarvis was portrayed by James D'Arcy on Agent Carter

Alfred has been a Lego!

Jarvis has been a super-computer!

Michael Caine has played the butler!

And Jarvis was played by Ultron when he became the Crimson Cowl!


Redartz said...

Both are among my favorite supporting characters in comics. Not so familiar with Jarvis' portrayals outside comics, as I haven't seen Agent Carter. Alfred, of course, has many appearances in film and tv. Currently Sean Pertwee is impressive as young Bruce Wayne's aide and gaurdian on Gotham. Guess I'd have to name Alfred as tops overall, but Jarvis is certainly appealing, and an important piece of the Avengers' appeal over the years.

Rip Jagger said...

I jumped onto the Avengers and the Marvel Universe at a time when Jarvis and his betrayal of the team to the new villain Ultron was a big big deal. So Jarvis always since has loomed rather large in my imagination.

Alfred probably first made an impression on me on TV and Alan Napier's portrayal is the first I think of. I've warmed to it over the decades, but I confess the goofy way he was presented hurt him in my eyes.

Since those days both have gotten great treatment. Michael Gough was great in the Batman movies he appeared in and Michael Caine added real depth to the movies of which he was a part.

Jarvis in the movies of course has been a very very entertaining computer program and now more recently reborn (sort of) as The Vision, which ironically brings the character back thematically in the place I first discovered him.

If I gotta pick, I go Jarvis.

Rip Off

Anonymous said...
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dbutler16 said...

They're both awesome, so I can't really choose one over the other, except to say, definitely not the computer version of Jarvis from the movies. It's an interesting take, and a pretty good way to work him into a "realistic" movie, but I prefer the flesh and blood version.

William said...

I've got to go Alfred all the way here.

I've always liked Jarvis, but he's pretty much been mostly a background supporting character in the Avengers. Whereas Alfred has played a much more integral role in the life of the Batman over the years. In fact he's one of the key figures in Bruce Wayne's / Batman's life.

My favorite incarnation of Alfred is of course the Bruce Timm Animated version as voiced by Efram Zimbalist Jr.. In fact he was one of my very favorite things about the show and animated movies.

Alfred has also played a major role in all of the live action Batman movies as well. And is also usually a high-point of those films.

On the other hand, Jarvis was replaced by a computer voice for the Iron Man and Avengers movies.

And I believe the human Ultimate Comics version of Jarvis was brutally murdered by a traitorous Black Widow. (What fun).

So, if we are considering the relevance, prominence, and importance to the main character(s) they are associated with, I would have to say that Alfred Pennyworth is the clear winner in all respects.

Sorry Jarvis.

J.A. Morris said...

I'm going with Jarvis because I read more Avengers than Batman comics.

Doug said...

I am going to agree with my fellows above who advocate for Alfred. Jarvis is a nice character actor in the midst of gods, but he rarely factors into the direct outcome of a story. Alfred, on the other hand, with deeds as simple as waking Bruce Wayne for a board meeting or stitching up the Dark Knight after a night spent knocking skulls seems more integral to the way some stories play out.

That being said, I do enjoy both characters, and have found the recent portrayal of Jarvis in the MCU films to be a fresh take on an old idea.


Dr. Oyola said...

Jarvis. He didn't enable a young boy to dress like a bat and beat people up in lieu of the therapy he actually needed.

Martinex1 said...

Ha ha. Dr. Oyola that is true.

I am a big Avengers fan, but I find myself leaning toward Alfred. Jarvis played decent roles in the Crimson Cowl storyline and also much later in the Under Siege run when he was beaten badly by Mr. Hyde. He also had some snippets of personal development like when he stood up to a bully in the above pictured Avengers 201. But as ever present as he was, I never felt he rose to the supporting character level of other Marvel creations such as Aunt May, J Jonah Jameson, or even Happy Hogan. Maybe I am missing it or have forgotten over the years, but has he been developed more than I realize? On the other hand and as little as I read Batman, Alfred seems more integral.

Regarding Alan Napier as Alfred on the television series - that for a long time was my impression of Alfred. As a kindergartner, I was surprised and befuddled that characters could mistake Alfred for Batman on the occasions when Alfred had to disguise himself as the Caped Crusader. I don't think I understood the camp at that age. Ha.

Anonymous said...

Yes I agree with William, Doug and Martinex1 - even though I'm a Marvel fanboy all the way, I have to give my vote to Alfred. He just seems so much more integral to the Batman character, acting as a surrogate father to the young Bruce Wayne and counselor/cutman/grounding factor to the adult Bruce Wayne.

Jarvis, of course has been involved with the Avengers since the beginning. I wasn't a fan of Jarvis being Tony Stark's operating system in the movies, but his evolution into Ultron and eventually the Vision at least was commendable.

- Mike 'can't afford a butler on my salary' from Trinidad & Tobago.

Edo Bosnar said...

Tough call, but sticking to my true-blue Marvel fanboy roots, I'll say Jarvis.

Anonymous said...

While I am sure the zuvembies shambling about this site are probably unaware, the "Crimson Cowl" turn of (the fake) Jarvis was an echo, shall we say, of a long (for the era) Batman story line involving the Outsider, who tormented Batman starting in 1966 and was later revealed to be the supposedly dead but instead altered Alfred. The Crimson Cowl appeared in 1968, though of course it turned out he was not actually Jarvis. The Outsider was actually Alfred, though Alfred was unaware of his evil actions when he was performing them.

Martinex1 said...

Thanks for the info Anon. I was not aware of that storyline. Good to know.

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