Mutants & Masterminds
The driving force behind Batman’s character is from his childhood. Bob Kane and Bill Finger discussed Batman’s background and decided that “there’s nothing more traumatic than having your parents murdered before your eyes.” Despite his trauma, he is driven to train to become a brilliant scientist and train his body into absolute physical perfection to fight crime in Gotham City as Batman, an inspired idea from Wayne’s insight into the criminal mind. Another of Batman’s characterizations is a vigilante; in order to stop evil that started with the death of his parents, he must sometimes break laws himself.
Batman is often treated as a vigilante by other characters in his stories. Frank Miller views the character as “a dionysian figure, a force for anarchy that imposes an individual order.” Dressed as a bat, Batman deliberately cultivates a frightening persona in order to aid him in crime-fighting, a fear that originates from the criminals’ own guilty conscience.
- Bruce Wayne
In his secret identity, Batman is Bruce Wayne, a wealthy businessman who lives in Gotham City. To the world at large, Bruce Wayne is often seen as an irresponsible, superficial playboy who lives off his family’s personal fortune (amassed when his family invested in Gotham real estate before the city was a bustling metropolis) and the profits of Wayne Enterprises, a major private technology firm that he inherits. However, Wayne is also known for his contributions to charity, notably through his Wayne Foundation, a charity devoted to helping the victims of crime and preventing people from becoming criminals. Bruce creates the playboy public persona to aid in throwing off suspicion of his secret identity, often acting dim-witted and self-absorbed to further the act. Among the more noted measures he uses to maintain the façade is pretending he is a heavy drinker by claiming his glasses of ginger ale are strong beverages; Bruce is actually a strict teetotaler to maintain his physical fitness and mental acuity.
As noted in the Will Brooker book, Batman Unmasked, “the confirmation of Batman’s identity lies with the young audience…he doesn’t have to be Bruce Wayne; he just needs the suit and gadgets, the abilities, and most importantly the morality, the humanity. There’s just a sense about him: ‘they trust him… and they’re never wrong.”
Finger came up with the name “Bruce Wayne” for the superhero’s secret identity. In Jim Steranko’s History of the Comics, vol. 1, Bill Finger reveals, “Bruce Wayne’s first name came from Robert Bruce, the Scottish patriot. Wayne, being a playboy, was a man of gentry. I searched for a name that would suggest colonialism. I tried Adams, Hancock…then I thought of Mad Anthony Wayne.”
In T. James Musler’s book Unleashing the Superhero in Us All, he explores the extent to which money is important in Bruce Wayne’s life.