Wednesday, July 2, 2008

A Few Lesser Known Facts About Bruce Wayne

Batman's name comes from two historical freedom fighters

Co-creator Bill Finger used two historical figures to name Batman’s alter ego. The first was Robert the Bruce, or King Bruce I of Scotland, the man who led the Scots against the British in the Wars of Scottish Independence, and who succeeded William Wallace (think Braveheart) as Guardian of Scotland in 1298. For the surname, Finger borrowed from Anthony “Mad Anthony” Wayne, a brigadier general and hero of the American Revolutionary War. The name Anthony Wayne was also the original stage name given to Marion Robert Morrison before the studios changed it to John Wayne.
Batman was inspired by da Vinci, movies and masked men

Kane and Finger drew from a variety of resources in creating the original Batman character, including:
radio show character, The Shadow which inspired Batman’s cloak, dual identity and sleuthing abilities;
the 1920 Douglas Fairbanks flick The Mask of Zorro, which inspired his wealthy alter ego;
the 1930 film The Bat Whispers, which inspired his costume and bat identity;
a da Vinci sketch for the “ornothopter” flying device, which inspired his wings.Additionally, pulp sleuth Doc Savage and lit figure Sherlock Holmes helped Finger flesh out Batman’s science-based sleuthing characteristics.

Batman's secret identity is not so secret

A total of 11 characters know (or have known) that Batman and Bruce Wayne are the same person. They include:
all three Robins (Dick Grayson, Jason Peter Todd and Tim Drake);
Batman's butler, Pennyworth;
mute inventor, handyman and one-time Penguin henchman Harold;
fellow superhero Superman (and Wayne knows who’s behind Kent’s nerdy glasses);
fellow superhero Azrael;
fellow superhero Batgirl (a.k.a. Barbara Gordon, aka wheelchair-bound, crime-fighting librarian Oracle);
and three enemies (Bane, Ra’s Al Ghul and Hugo Strange), although all three learned the truth during the Crisis of Infinite Earth (a massive 1985 DC Comics event) then conveniently forgot.The question mark is Commissioner James Gordon; it appears he’s had his suspicions over the years, but has been unable to confirm them.

Batman is perpetually 34 years old

Bruce Wayne may be stuck at age 34, but at least he has a well-rounded history. Batman passed some of his teen years at establishments like Cambridge and the Sorbonne; and his 20s began at the FBI, then led him to Korea, Japan and China for martial arts training, including a lessons in stealth from some friendly ninjas. Beginning with his 1939 debut, Batman has worn a number of capes in the comics, depending on the times. In the '40s he sold war bonds; in the '50s he taught criminology courses and experienced his own baby boom with Bathound, Batmite, Batwoman, and Batgirl. In the '60s he entered the space race by fighting aliens; in the '70s he developed a cocaine habit -- just kidding, actually he returned to his dark, comic-book roots and in the '80s Frank Miller revived him with anger and vigilantism. The rough 'n' tumble '90s earned him a broken spine and a wheelchair (from which he made a full recovery).

Batman and Robin shared a bed.....Pause

The Caped Crusaders have battled charges of homoeroticism since at least 1954, and psychiatrist Fredric Wertham’s Seduction of the Innocent, which attacked not just Batman but a number of comics. His accusations ran the gamut, from valid to dubious to absurd, and at the time the industry laughed at his conjectures about Batman.Perhaps it was one of those uncomfortable laughs. After all, Batman’s creators responded by introducing Batwoman (arguably the first intentional beard in comics), and later, Batgirl. And even a cursory look at Batman through the years offers up numerous examples of, if not homosexuality at the very least, Batman’s hidden identity as a pederast -- an older man interested in young boys. Batman No. 84 Ten Nights of Fear! finds the duo sharing a bed at a time when doing so was still unsafe for married TV couples. Batman then recommends a shower for his young ward, although it is not known if they were meant to share that too.The first Robin, Dick Grayson, was an 8-year-old circus acrobat orphaned when, conveniently, the murder of his parents landed him in Batman’s cave. The second Robin’s name was Jason Peter Todd, and he continued the tradition of being the son of acrobats orphaned by a killer, as well as the tradition of his name featuring a phallic slang (readers actually voted this Robin dead). The final Robin, Tim Drake, ended those traditions, but his girlfriend Stephanie did dress up as a superhero called, appropriately enough, The Spoiler. For the pederast, girls ruin everything. Naturally, not everybody reads these things in the same way.

1 comment:

Michael Follon said...

This is to correct a factual error at the beginning of this post. Robert the Bruce did not lead the Scots against the British in the Wars of Scottish Independence. He led them against the English. The author of the post has made the common mistake of equating English with British.