Earl was a top-flight engineer for Global Motors, but quit in protest when the company leaders refused to listen to his warnings about serious safety defects in their hot new sports car. Afraid that he would expose their callousness to the press, the executives sent thugs after Earl. Batman intervened and saved his life.
After several months, Earl had been unable to get work in the auto industry due to being blacklisted as a whistleblower. Batman appeared again, and offered Earl "the challenge of a lifetime"—to build him a new car.
After spending six months on the design specs alone, Earl built the vehicle single-handed, using a workshop provided by Batman and components produced by Wayne Enterprises. The vehicle met all of Batman's needs and expectations, and he retained Earl as its mechanic, to keep it upgraded with new technology, or to repair it whenever it was seriously damaged. Earl's daughter, Marva, began assisting her father in his secret workshop when she was old enough.
The Penguin managed to trace the use of exotic car parts to Earl's workshop by tracing the parts shipments via someone who worked for a parts marker who he later killed. Then he invaded the workshop and forced Earl, on threat of killing Marva, to turn the recently damaged Batmobile into a deathtrap. However, Earl managed to slip a warning to Batman that ended up saving his and Robin's lives by rigging the air conditioning switch as an ejection system, and they rescued Marva and apprehended Penguin.
Batman apologized to Earl for letting Penguin trace him, and assured him that he would set up dummy corporations to order future parts as well as providing him with a new secret workshop. Earl, feeling no regrets, launched on an enthusiastic explanation of the new Batmobile he was planning to build.
Abilities and equipment
Earl is a brilliant engineer and a mechanical genius, with a deep love for his work and who also shares Batman's strong conscience.
- In the comics, the Batmobile and other equipment is maintained by Batman himself, sometimes Alfred, or by Harold Allnut, a mute hunchback who is also a mechanical genius.
- Earl gives no indication that he is aware of Batman or Robin's real identities, or of the source of the parts for the Batmobile.
- In the 2015 video game Batman: Arkham Knight, across the street from the Bank of Gotham in Chinatown there is an auto shop called "Earl Cooper Auto Repair".