Deciding what’s real in DC’s fictional Universe is a tricky proposition at the best of times. No matter how many crises are created or line-wide reboots are initiated the past is always there with its numerous iterations of the company’s main characters co-existing, starring in stories that blissfully contradict each other yet at the same time have to be made to work in a seamless stream of continuity.
Alfred Pennyworth relates the tale of Bruce Wayne coming out of his shell following the death of his parents only when he was fighting crime. The young Batman sought bigger and bigger highs, prompting Alfred, a former actor, to hire acquaintances to play the part of villains. His pal Eddie starts by becoming the Riddler, with Catwoman, Penguin and, presumably, others following suit.