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How Aunt Harriet Was Written Out Of the Batman Titles

This is "Out of Sight," a feature where I explore notable comic book moments that occurred off-panel. When I say "off-panel," I'm mostly talking about a character not being around and then showing up and us learning that something dramatic happened to them off-panel. I'm flexible enough that I can deal with maybe something "in between panels," as well. You can hit me up at brianc@cbr.com if you have a suggestion for a future column!

Today, we look at how the Batman titles finally got rid of Aunt Harriet (off-panel).

As I discussed in a recent Follow the Path, Aunt Harriet was added to the books when editor Julius Schwartz felt that there were too many men living together at Wayne Manor.

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She showed up in Detective Comics #328 as soon as Alfred was killed off to take over as the Wayne Manor housekeeper...

Her role was a dull one and she was rarely used, but when the Batman TV series debuted, she was part of the series, so she was included in the new show and thus, even when the show reversed itself and brought Alfred back to life, she stuck around...

In Detective Comics #373, she almost dies. She needs a special surgery and it is powered by the same stuff that Mister Freeze uses and so Batman and Robin have to defeat Freeze to get the surgical instrument needed to save her life...

She is now named Cooper in the comics and she is now also drawn a bit larger in the face...

That was her last appearance as a regular character. Once the Batman TV series ended, the comics had the freedom to mix things up a bit and so they moved Batman from Wayne Manor to a penthouse in Gotham City.

In Batman #226 (by Frank Robbins, Irv Novick and Dick Giordano), Alfred needs to wake Batman up and so used a gong that Aunt Harriet had given him "when she moved out"...

Thus, it is obvious that she moved out when they moved away from Wayne Manor, presumably back to her own home that she lived before she moved in with Bruce and Dick in the first place. All off-panel, but hey, we get it!

Her last appearance as any sort of regular character came in the mid-1970s, when she showed up to surprise Dick for Christmas along with Bruce and Alfred in The Batman Family #4...

I'm sure she had many other awesome off-panel adventures!

If anyone else has a suggestion for a notable plot point (or, like here, MULTIPLE plot points) that happened off-panel, drop me a line at brianc@cbr.com!

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