Anthony "Tony" Zucco is a fictional character in the DC Comics universe. He was introduced in Detective Comics #38 (April 1940) and is most well known for his connections to the origin of Robin.
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 money from C.C. Haly, owner of Haly's Circus, where the Flying Graysons are the main attraction. When the ringleader, Haly, refuses to pay him protection money, Zucco sabotages the ropes the Graysons use in their act. They break while Dick's parents are in mid-air, sending them falling 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 canon, he is sent to the electric chair, whereas he is sent to prison for life in the Silver Age version.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 the 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 Haly's Circus in order to use its trucks for drug trafficking. He is shown to be heavyset (hence his street name) and quite nervous, as he is constantly sweating. He kills Dick Grayson's parents in order to show the circus owner, C.C. Haly, that he means business, 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.
Although Dark Victory was meant to update Zucco's fate in Batman: Year Three, the Chuck Dixon miniseries Robin: Year One revealed Zucco did not die of a heart attack, but he actually went into a coma and was later sent to prison after recovering. He is sentenced to two consecuative life terms for the deaths of John and Mary Grayson, and he is incarcerated in Blackgate Penetientary.
Seven years after killing the Graysons (it was said he had served slightly over seven years, since Alfred says "It was almost ten years ago that Richard Grayson became a victim"), Zucco files for a parole hearing, offering testimony to put other criminals away. He professes remorse for his crimes, but his real motivations are for his own personal gain. Before he was sent to prison, Zucco had hidden a ledger detailing every operation in Gotham City in the orphanage Dick spent a month in after his parents' deaths. It would be enough to send any criminal boss to life imprisonment if he offered it to the authorities. The orphanage is being condemned and he is eager to get it back before the place is torn down. Wanting to keep the truth from Dick, who has recently become Nightwing, Alfred goes to the parole hearing and pleads for the judge to keep Zucco behind bars. Unfortunately, Dick does learn of Zucco being released early, despite Alfred's attempts, and he races to Blackgate to confront his parents' murderer once and for all. However, as he steps out of the prison, Zucco is gunned down by a helicopter hired by a rival crime boss to eliminate him. While it does give Dick some closure, his relationship with Batman is even further strained, even though Bruce insists he knew nothing about the parole.
In other media
Batman: The Animated Series
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.
Batman, who as Bruce Wayne adopts the young Grayson, goes 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.
Tony Zucco appears in The Batman episode "A Matter of Family", which introduced Dick Grayson/Robin into that series. In this series, he is voiced by Mark Hamill, who voiced the Joker in Batman: The Animated 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. Afterward, Dick Grayson officially becomes Batman's sidekick Robin.