Rupert Thorne was an influential city councilman from Gotham City. During an incident involving the disfigured scientist "Alex Sartorius" (Doctor Phosphorus), Thorne turned his attention on Batman. He vocally decried the efforts of the Dark Knight Detective, as well as lobbied to have his vigilante tactics outlawed.
His efforts brought him to the attention of criminal scientist Professor Hugo Strange, who had learned the Batman's secret identity and planned to give it away. As a crucial piece of information, which Thorne believed would aid him against Batman, he captured Hugo Strange, subjectected him to torturous interrogation, which ultimately resulted in the latter's death and Thorne was left with nothing. For several weeks following Strange's apparent demise, Thorne was haunted by the Professor's spectral apparition.
During this time, Thorne was approached by the Joker who terrorized Thorne in a public restroom, hoping to determine whether or not Thorne had learned Batman's secret identity. Satisfied that Thorne knew nothing, the Joker let him be.
In the hopes of escaping the strange apparition, Thorne decided to travel west through Ohio. Along the way, he picked up the hitchiking Silver St. Cloud, but kicked her out of his vehicle when he learned that Silver was a Batman sympathizer. As soon as he was alone, the ghost of Hugo Strange attacked him once again, breaking Thorne's will. The police eventually found him, completely frightened and he started confessing all of his crimes and corruption within the Gotham City Council. This information was enough to detain him and clear Batman's name in the public eye.
Unfortunately for Thorne, his version about Hugo Strange's ghost caused the authorities to declare him mentally unstable and he was taken to Arkham Asylum as an inmate for treatment. Thorne's conditions worsened with time and sudden appearances by Batman and Dr. Phosphorus didn't help his recovery.
Thorne was eventually released from Arkham and he joined back with the members of the Tobacconists' Club, who he blackmailed to regain their support and together, they planned to manipulate the election of the next Mayor of Gotham. For this purpose, Thorne and his men provided candidate Arthur Reeves with photographic evidence of Batman's secret identity. When Reeves exposed Batman, Thorne informed the press about the fake evidence and Reeves' political career was ended as his opponent Hamilton Hill became the new Mayor of Gotham, just like Thorne had planned.
With Hill as Mayor, Thorne was able to fire Commissioner James Gordon – one of the few elected officials who openly supported the Batman. Gordon was replaced with another Thorne "yes-man", Peter Pauling. A few weeks later, Thorne learned through his connection with Picture News Magazine editor, Morton Monroe, that photographer Vicki Vale has gathered picture evidence of Batman's real identity and forcing Monroe to steal them, Thorne learned that Batman was Bruce Wayne. Determined to take down Batman once and for all, Thorne hired Deadshot to murder Wayne, but when the killer was stopped by Bruce Wayne and Batman, Thorne realized that his evidence was wrong.
Although he was back at the top of Gotham's undeworld, Thorne was still being haunted by the ghost of Hugo Strange. For this reason, Thorne hired Dr. Thirteen to find the truth behind the ghost and Thorne learned that it was all an elaborate hoax. However, in his paranoia, Thorne mistakenly believed that his own pawns, Mayor Hill and Commissioner Pauling were attempting to drive him mad and kill him. For this reason, Thorne murdered Peter Pauling and was summarily apprehended by the Batman.
- Although this character was originally introduced during DC's Earth-One era of publication, their existence following the events of the 1985–86 limited series Crisis on Infinite Earths remains intact. However, some elements of the character's Pre-Crisis history may have been altered or removed for Post-Crisis New Earth continuity, and should be considered apocryphal.
- As with many characters of his archetype, Thorne was likely inspired by real-life accounts of political boss William M. Tweed, whose influence and corruption dominated New York politics for several decades.
- 35 Appearances of Rupert Thorne (New Earth)
- 4 Images featuring Rupert Thorne (New Earth)
- Quotations by or about Rupert Thorne (New Earth)
- Character Gallery: Rupert Thorne (New Earth)
- ↑ Detective Comics #469
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- ↑ Batman #311
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- ↑ Batman #354