Sal Maroni
Sal Maroni.webp
Publication information
PublisherDC Comics
First appearanceDetective Comics #66 (August 1942)
Created byBill Finger (writer)
Bob Kane (artist)
In-story information
Alter egoSalvatore Vincent Maroni
SpeciesHuman
Team affiliationsMaroni Crime Family
Notable aliasesThe Boss, The Italian, Morelli, Anton Karoselle
AbilitiesCriminal mastermind
Expert marksman

Salvatore Vincent Maroni is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics, commonly in association with Batman. The character is portrayed as an infamous gangster of Italian descent in Gotham City and an enemy of Batman. Maroni is most famous for disfiguring Harvey Dent, setting the stage for the young district attorney's transformation into the supervillain Two-Face.

In live-action, Maroni has been portrayed in film by Dennis Paladino in Batman Forever (1995) and Eric Roberts in The Dark Knight (2008), while on television he has been portrayed by David Zayas in the series Gotham (2014).

Publication history

Sal Maroni first appeared in Detective Comics #66 and was created by Bill Finger and Bob Kane.[1]

Fictional character biography

Pre-Crisis/Earth-Two

Maroni's first Pre-Crisis appearance was in Detective Comics #66 (August 1942) as Boss Moroni, a mobster on trial for the murder of a man named "Bookie" Benson. Harvey Dent (here named "Harvey Kent") is the prosecutor at the trial. He calls Batman as his first witness. During Batman's testimony, Moroni calls Batman a liar, leading Dent to show his proof: Moroni's lucky two-headed silver dollar found at the scene with his fingerprints on it. Enraged, Moroni throws a vial of acid at Dent, horribly disfiguring his face. Driven insane by his disfigurement, Dent becomes the gangster Two-Face and eventually kills Maroni before surrendering and going to prison.[2]

Bronze Age/Earth-One

During Bronze Age recountings of Two-Face's origin, Maroni's role was unchanged, but his name was changed to Morelli. Harvey Dent's surname was altered to Dent, which has become that character's permanent name. In this version, Batman is present at the trial and tries to prevent the mobster from throwing the acid, but is unable to prevent Dent from being disfigured.

Prior to Crisis on Infinite Earths, Maroni appeared in DC Superstars #14 and Batman #328 to #329. He survives an assassination attempt by Two-Face in the first story, but his legs are left paralyzed. In the latter story arc, he undergoes plastic surgery to alter his appearance and changes his name to Anton Karoselle to avoid attention. He then exacts revenge on Two-Face by killing his former wife Gilda's new husband Dave Stevens allowing the gangster to find him and gun him down in retaliation.

Post-Crisis

In the graphic novel Batman and the Monster Men, Maroni lends money to Norman Madison (father of Bruce Wayne's girlfriend Julie Madison) to cover his debts, and to Professor Hugo Strange for his genetic experiments. After Maroni puts pressure on Strange to repay his loan, the mad scientist responds by robbing one of his illegal gambling establishments to steal the money he needs to pay Maroni off. When Maroni realizes Strange might be responsible for the robbery, he sends enforcers to intimidate and threaten him. Strange decides to get rid of Maroni once and for all, and sends another creature to kill him. Maroni is saved by Batman, who as a favor to Julie Madison, forces him to call off her father's debt.

In the sequel, Batman and the Mad Monk, Norman tries to pay off his debt to Maroni, unaware of Batman's intervention on his behalf; Maroni refuses to take the money, terrified that Batman would visit him again. Norman instead gives the money to rival mobster Carmine Falcone, which humiliates Maroni. Later, near the end of the story, Norman tries to kill Maroni only to be gunned down by his men.

Maroni is featured prominently in Jeph Loeb's maxi-series Batman: The Long Halloween, which retells Two-Face's origin. In this version, Salvatore Maroni is the scion of the Maroni crime family, headed by his father Luigi "Big Lou" Maroni. He is the most powerful mobster in Gotham next to Carmine Falcone and was shown to have notorious enforcer Tony Zucco as one of his henchmen. Both Sal Maroni and Carmine Falcone believe that the serial killer Holiday (so named for assassinating mobsters on holidays) is working for the other, which strains their previously ironclad business relationship. When his father is killed by Holiday, Maroni makes a deal with Dent to reveal all of Falcone's criminal activities in exchange for leniency.[3]

However, Falcone's daughter Sofia — Maroni's secret lover — visits him in jail, where she falsely claims Dent, not Falcone, is responsible for the killings and his father's death. Dent's corrupt assistant Vernon Fields provides Maroni prior to his court appearance with "stomach medicine" for a supposed ulcer. During the trial, Maroni throws the disguised acid into Dent's face, disfiguring him. Maroni then gets into a scuffle with a bailiff who shoots him twice in the chest, which he survives.

When he is moved out of his cell, Maroni is finally killed by Holiday. The killer is revealed to be Alberto Falcone, who committed the murders to make a name for himself independent of his family.[4] Maroni's sons Pino and Umberto later offer their services to Sofia Falcone and are later killed in the Columbus Day Massacre orchestrated by Two-Face.[5]

The New 52

In 2011, "The New 52" rebooted the DC universe. Sal Maroni met with Mr. Haly at Haly's Circus. When it was mentioned that his son CJ helped Dick Grayson return to Haly's Circus, Maroni stated that he would be indebted to the circus should they ever need help.[6]

Other versions

Elseworlds

Sal Maroni appears in the Elseworlds story "Citizen Wayne" which was published in 1994. Set in the 1930s, the story depicts Maroni as an Al Capone-like crime lord who is heavily involved in bootlegging, and who lures the cops trying to investigate him into a trap when they are led to believe that they can get him for tax evasion (Capone was eventually jailed for tax fraud). In this version, Maroni scars Harvey Dent's entire face with acid in an attempt to kill him. This leads Dent to assume the Batman mantle and break up Maroni's operations before finally killing him in revenge. Bruce Wayne is a newspaper publisher and fierce critic of Batman who, following Maroni's death, decides to take down the Caped Crusader personally; he feels that Batman has overstepped the mark by committing murder. The pair are killed during the fight and, much like Citizen Kane, their story is told in flashbacks as a young Assistant District Attorney interviews their friends and acquaintances, including Maroni's surviving henchmen. [7]

Batman '66

In Batman '66, Maroni snapped during a trial conducted by Harvey Dent and threw acid in Dent's face, causing the DA's transformation into Two-Face.

In other media

Television

David Zayas playing Maroni in Gotham.
David Zayas playing Maroni in Gotham.

Film

Eric Roberts as Maroni in The Dark Knight (2008).
Eric Roberts as Maroni in The Dark Knight (2008).

References

  1. ^ Cowsill, Alan; Irvine, Alex; Korte, Steve; Manning, Matt; Wiacek, Win; Wilson, Sven (2016). The DC Comics Encyclopedia: The Definitive Guide to the Characters of the DC Universe. DK Publishing. p. 196. ISBN 978-1-4654-5357-0.
  2. ^ Greenberger, Robert (2008). The Essential Batman Encyclopedia. New York City: Del Rey. p. 252. ISBN 9780345501066.
  3. ^ Batman: The Long Halloween #9. DC Comics.
  4. ^ Batman: The Long Halloween #12. DC Comics.
  5. ^ Batman: Dark Victory #13. DC Comics.
  6. ^ Nightwing (vol. 3) #25. DC Comics.
  7. ^ Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight Annual (vol. 1) #4
  8. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (2014-07-31). "David Zayas To Play Mobster Sal Maroni In 'Gotham'". Deadline. Retrieved 2014-07-31.
  9. ^ "Batman: The Long Halloween Part Two - Exclusive Trailer Debut". IGN. May 18, 2021. Retrieved May 19, 2021.