Fictional character history
Antonio Zucco (originally just "Boss Zucco" in his first appearance) is a Mafia boss, or simple low level thug (his position of power varies depending upon the Golden and Silver Age continuity) in Gotham City who is responsible for the death of Dick Grayson's parents.
Throughout the years, Zucco's role in Robin's origin remains largely the same. Zucco tries to extort the Haly's Circus, where the Flying Graysons are the main attraction. When the ringmaster Mr. Haly (who runs an honest business) refuses to pay him protection money, Zucco sabotages the trapeze ropes the Graysons use in their act. The ropes break while Dick's parents are in mid-air. Because the Graysons perform their act without a safety net, they fall to their deaths.
Dick is subsequently adopted by Bruce Wayne (a.k.a. Batman) and becomes his partner Robin. Both of them locate Tony Zucco and send him to jail. In the Golden Age version, he is sent to the electric chair. In the Silver Age version, he is sentenced to life in prison.
Batman: Year Three
Having been sentenced to two consecutive life terms for the Grayson murders, Zucco is incarcerated in Blackgate Penitentiary. After serving seven years of his sentence, he files for a parole hearing and offers testimony against other Gotham criminals. He professes remorse for his crimes, but hides an ulterior motive. Before he was sent to prison, Zucco had hidden a ledger in the orphanage where Dick briefly resided following his parents' deaths; the ledger contains incriminating information about the Mafia's operations in Gotham. Zucco plots to remove the ledger from the oprhanage before it is demolished. Wanting to keep the truth from Dick (who has recently became Nightwing), Alfred goes to the parole hearing and pleads for the judge to keep Zucco in prison. Unfortunately, Dick learns of Zucco's release. Despite Alfred's attempts to stop him, Dick races to Blackgate to confront his parents' killer. However, as he steps out of the prison, Zucco is gunned down by a helicopter hired by a rival crime boss. While Zucco's death gives Dick some closure, his already-strained relationship with Batman becomes further complicated. Bruce insists he knew nothing about Zucco's murder.
Batman: Dark Victory
In Batman: Dark Victory, Zucco (dubbed Anthony "Fats" Zucco) is portrayed as a low-level thug working for Sal Maroni, a member of Carmine Falcone's Mafia empire. He and another minor family head, Edward Skeevers, are put in charge of drug trafficking. After constant attacks by other enemies such as Penguin, Zucco starts a new method of smuggling these drugs. He only lets Skeevers in on the secret, believing that its success will make their minor families greater than the Falcones and the Maronis put together, and attempts to take over Haley's Circus in order to use its trucks for his trafficking activities. He kills Dick Grayson's parents as a demonstration of power to the circus' owner, and then quickly goes underground. He is later found by Batman and Dick Grayson, who is not yet Robin, and is chased down a dark alley by Grayson until he has a heart attack, confessing to various crimes.
Tony Zucco's remains have been reanimated as a Black Lantern in DC Comics' 2009/2010 crossover Blackest Night, with John and Mary Grayson, Jack and Janet Drake, Captain Boomerang, and the original Dark Knight's deceased rogue gallery members. They all attempt to take the lives of Dick Grayson and Tim Drake, who became the new Batman and Red Robin. Grayson eventually cryogenically suspended himself and Drake during the battle, which forced the Black Lanterns to retreat as they are unable to read any sign of life from them. This Zucco has an appearance similar to his depiction in Dark Victory.
The Black Mirror
It is eventually revealed that Zucco had fathered a daughter named Sonia. Unlike her father, she is a seemingly a legitimate businesswoman and runs the GGM Bank under the alias of Sonia Branch. Batman (Dick Grayson), who initially hoped that Sonia is not as corrupted as her father, is disappointed when he realizes that Sonia manipulated him into subduing rivals who wish to take over her bank. Due to the lack of evidence, Sonia remains beyond the reach of the law.
All Star Batman and Robin
In Frank Miller's All Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder, Grayson's parents are killed by a low-level hitman called "Jocko-boy" Vanzetti. Throughout the early issues, he is toyed with and brutalized by Batman (even coating his batarangs with snake poison). Later, he is brought to the Batcave, to be tortured and interrogated by Dick Grayson (at one point with an axe) while Batman looks on. During this period, he reveals that the Joker ordered the hit. Afterwards, he is thrown into Gotham Bay with his hands tied behind his back.
Batman; The Animated Series
Tony Zucco appeared as the main villain in the Batman: The Animated Series episode "Robin's Reckoning; Part 1 and 2". He was a mob boss who attempted to make a deal with the ringmaster of the circus that Dick Grayson use to perform. When he refused Zucco promised he would get even with him. He manage to sabotage the props that kept the Graysons from falling to their deaths. When this happened, all but Dick Grayson died. For years Robin's been seeking him.
Tony Zucco starts off as a young man eager to make a name for himself in the racketeering business, as well as with the mob. On the side he strong arms companies to pay him protection money. As in the comics, he threatens Haley's Circus, and kills Dick Grayson's parents. Zucco's brashness infuriates his uncle, mob boss Arnold Stromwell, who disowns him after Batman's visit to his house.
Bruce Wayne decided to adopts the young Grayson. Grayson wanted to after Zucco with a vengeance. After a couple of brief run-ins with Batman, Zucco escapes and hides out in an abandoned amusement park on the edge of Gotham. Nine years later, Batman and Robin catch up with one of Zucco's henchman, and learn that the mobster has returned to the city.
Batman tries to handle it on his own, not wanting Robin to get involved in it. Upset at Batman's orders, Robin goes after Zucco anyway, despite Alfred's protests. Batman goes to the amusement park and finds Zucco, but injures his leg, and is forced to fight the henchmen with his injury. Batman defeats everyone but Zucco, who stands over Batman with a machine gun once his henchmen are defeated, but Robin shows up on his motorcycle and drags Zucco to the edge of a pier. Batman comes up behind them, and manages to calm Robin down. Robin apologizes to Batman, and throws Zucco back onto the pier. After this fight with Batman and Robin, Zucco is arrested and convicted of murder. Batman explains that he distanced Robin from the investigation because he didn't want Zucco to hurt him any more. Zucco got executed while he went to prison.
The BatmanTony Zucco appears in The Batman episode "A Matter of Family", which introduced Dick Grayson/Robin into that series. In this version, Zucco has three brothers who act as his underlings and acts as Gotham's Mafia Don. They are all involved in circus acts. His brothers are a strong man (referred to in the credits as Bruiser), a lion tamer, and a juggler. Zucco's skill is knife-throwing. In his childhood he works in the circus as part of a knife-throwing duo with his father, with Zucco throwing the knives while his father is bound to the giant target. One night, he misses, killing his father.
When John Grayson appears in the tent near the Grayson's trailer and Zucco offers protection money, John refuses. John Grayson is attacked by Zucco's brothers. Dick calls the police minutes after Zucco first appears in their big top tent; the call is intercepted by Batman, who quickly takes Zucco and his brothers down, allowing the police to take the "Lion Tamer" away while Zucco and the other two brothers escape. Swearing revenge on Batman and the Graysons for the loss of his brother, Zucco plans to kill the Graysons by removing two nuts from the railings of the Graysons' trapeze act. After the Graysons' murder, Batman corners every one of Zucco's brothers until he learns their boss' whereabouts, which turns out to be Haley's Circus. When Zucco knocks out Batman at Haley's Circus, he straps the Dark Knight to a knife-throwing wheel and recounts his childhood in the circus. Dick arrives in his Robin costume just in time and battles him long enough for Batman to free himself. At one point Dick has the chance to enact revenge on Zucco for the murder of his parents when Zucco falls from the same platform as the Flying Graysons. Dick chooses to spare Zucco, who is then arrested and got executed.
- In the movie Batman Forever; Two-Face was the one who killed Dick Grayson's family, not Tony Zucco. Zucco wasn't even in the movie.
- In Batman the Animated Series, Tony Zucco is voiced by Thomas F. Wilson.
- In The Batman, he is voiced by Mark Hamill, who also voiced the Joker in Batman: The Animated Series. His victim John Grayson is voiced by the BTAS Batman, Kevin Conroy.