Batman has become an icon for comic books and heroism over the last decade, capturing the attention of millions of fans with both his on-screen appearances as well as his countless adventures in graphic novels. The intrepid Dark Knight has come a long way since his conceptualization in 1939 when the first Batman Comic was published, and our favorite vigilante first dawned his cape and cowl.
But in all his fame and glory, an often forgotten fact is that there is indeed a man behind the mask. Though his nights are spent leaping from rooftop to rooftop with numerous young sidekicks as the Caped Crusader, his days are spent as Bruce Wayne, billionaire, philanthropist, care-taker, ladies man, and head of a multibillion-dollar industry. While our stoic orphaned hero does identify more with his masked persona than the face he shares with the world, Bruce Wayne and Batman still share certain core characteristics.
Here are a few things you probably didn’t about the world’s greatest detective, during his day job.
1. Bruce Wayne practically runs the DC Universe
There has been a lot of talk about how rich little Brucey is and what a nice clean fortune his parents left for him. But they also left him a massive company to run, with subsidiaries dealing with chemicals, construction, shipping, biotech, media, aeronautics, etc. Wayne Industries exceeds the industrial goals of its competitors such as LexCorp, run by Lex Luthor, (which explains his snippy behavior in the BVS movie) and Ferris Aircraft, headed by Carol Ferris (love interest and employer, what a combination, of Hal Jordon, the Green Lantern). While the day to day operations are handled by his associate and long-time friend of his parent’s, Lucius Fox, Bruce still plays a major role in overseeing the bulk of the subsidiaries and ensuring that employees and management at Wayne Enterprises follow all required protocol, and even helped push the shift to a greener industry. Though he may have just been trying to curry favor with the intoxicating Selina Kyle, who’s known for having a green thumb herself. Forbes valued the fictional character at $6.9 million dollars, while Centives recalculated the numbers according to the Nolan movies and logged Wayne Enterprises in at $23.22 billion dollars, and our white knight himself at $11.6 billion. That’s a lot of moolah.
2. Bruce’s name was always meant to be heroic
Bruce’s character was named after two great historical heroes. The first was Robert the Bruce, a Scottish national hero. And the second was a hero from the American Revolution, Mad Anthony Wayne, contributing to his last name. It was noted in the autobiography of Bob Kane, creator of Batman, the name was created by recently acknowledged co-creator of the character, Bill Finger, who said, “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… And then I thought of Mad Anthony Wayne.” To think how close we were to having a Dark Knight named Bob Hancock.
3. Bruce Wayne loves soup
The truth is there have been so many reincarnations of our favorite vigilante that along the way it’s hard to put a finger on who he is, be it the stumbling but sweet man-boy from Batman the Animated Series or the suaver and “worldly” ladies man from the Nolan movies. But one thing is for certain, our man loves his soup. You don’t have to take my word for it. Just ask Alfred, the man that keeps the Caped Crusader fed and fit for a night of skulking and badassery. In Batman Volume 1, Issue #701, as Alfred attempts to soothe his surrogate son’s soul at the end of another adventure, he reassures him that he has prepared mulligatawny soup, his favorite. The young billionaire maintains his love for broth even on screen. In Batman: The Animated Series, an episode entitled Vendetta, Alfred again steps forward with dinner for the battered Bat, letting him know that he had made French Onion Soup, which he says is Bruce Wayne’s favorite food. For all their differences, this is one consistency I can’t help but like.
4. Bruce Wayne has a soft spot for the criminally insane
I know this probably doesn’t come as a shocker to most of you, but it’s true. Despite the Batman’s many encounters with the unsavory underworld of Gotham, Bruce Wayne, and Wayne Enterprises, along with numerous charities and medical foundations, also provide help for ex-convicts from Stonegate Penitentiary and patients released from Arkham Asylum. In the episode Double Talk, from Batman: the Animated Series, Arnold Wesker, known as the Ventriloquist, is released from Arkham Asylum, with a clean bill of health so long as he stays away from things from his criminal past, and his dummy, known in the crime circles as Scarface. Wesker is set up with a small place to live in a halfway house, owned and operated by Wayne Enterprises, and a job with Wayne Industries. While Batman keeps an eye on Wesker after hours, Bruce Wayne does his best to be a welcoming new boss, even for the wacko with the dummy and the machine gun. He’s a big believer in second chances. In another episode entitled Second Chance, Bruce Wayne foots the bill for a surgery to turn Two-Face back into Harvey Dent by fixing the scars on his face. “Good ol’ Bruce. Always there. You never give up on me.”
5. Bruce is more than just a pretty face
He’s also a fat wallet. Nah, I’m just kidding. However, the Batman’s main features were described in Uricchio Pearson’s, “I’m Not Fooled By That Cheap Disguise”, as “wealth; physical prowess; deductive abilities and obsession”. Yet, over the years the character developed to more and that began with the training of the young orphan Bruce Wayne. According to Batman: Year One, Bruce trained for eighteen years before taking on the role of Batman. Bruce Wayne is actually an expert in most subjects encompassing the world of crime-fighting. And with criminals such as the Joker, Lex Luthor, Gorilla Grodd, etc. overtaking the world of DC, those subjects pretty much include everything from chemistry, physics, mechanical engineering, biotechnology, geology, geography, cultures to zoology and martial arts. He even speaks over 40 languages fluently. In the Animated Series, the episode Night of the Ninja, one of his former Sensei’s makes an appearance, as does the magician Giovanni Zatara, who taught Bruce the art of escaping any and all traps, in the episode Zatanna. In a story envisioned by Alfred, in Batman the Brave and the Bold in an episode entitled The Knights of Tomorrow, Bruce can be seen teaching his son all the skills the boy will need to one day take on the mantle of the Bat, right down to the unnecessary but so very enjoyable, superhero quips. Your tyrannical tantrum of terror ends tonights, Two-Face!
6. Our boy billionaire has a passion for Action movies
In more than one personification of the Batman, have we seen his focal point of inspiration? And it usually points to The Mask of Zorro. Though his life was burdened with tragedy, he, like the rest of us, looked to a masked hero to sweep down from the skies and save the day. In Batman the Brave and the Bold, a young Bruce is seen attending the movie The Mask of Zorro at a theatre with his parents. In the Animated Series, his hero takes on a new form, called The Grey Ghost. In the episode, Beware the Grey Ghost, a new criminal is blowing up buildings in Gotham, following the exact M.O of a villain seen on Bruce’s favorite childhood show, The Grey Ghost. It is really something else to see your heroes as fanboys, but that’s what Bruce was, with the memorabilia and everything. I can understand why. The heroic Grey Ghost was voiced by none other than Adam West. He truly and forever will breathe life into Batman.
7. Bruce Wayne is something of a family man
We all know about the long line of women standing outside the doors of Wayne Manor hoping to be noticed by the dashing young man. But over the years, through his many incarnations, Bruce has enjoyed briefly the bonds of marriage, and fatherhood at some point of the other. With Talia Al Ghul, daughter of Ra’s Al Ghul, he had an illegitimate son named Damian Wayne, who was raised by Ra’s and the League of Shadows in the DCAU production Son of Batman (2014), while in The Resurrection of Ra’s Al Ghul, his formative years were spent with the Batman. There is Helena Wayne, the legitimate daughter of Bruce and Selina Kyle (Catwoman), and in other stories, Damian Wayne, the son of Bruce and Selina. There was also the lesser known Bruce Wayne Jr., his child with an unnamed wife. Finally, there is Terry McGinnis, who was born with Bruce’s DNA through an experiment, unbeknownst to either of them, in the series Batman Beyond.
8. Bruce is kind of a teetotaller
Maybe he doesn’t like the taste, or maybe it has something to do with spending every night on the streets chasing psychopaths and murderers, but despite appearances to the contrary, the heir to the Wayne foundation is not a fan of getting intoxicated. Though he has been seen having a drink or two at the occasional socialite gatherings he’s forced to attend, it is mostly just for show. Maintaining his nighttime activities requires him to keep his body in peak physical condition and his mind even stronger. “An organized mind is a disciplined mind, Joker. And a disciplined mind is a powerful mind.” – Batman The Brave and the Bold, Ep: Emperor Joker. Batman has maintained his sobriety at all costs. Except for that one time he got hooked on venom.
9. Bruce Wayne once got hooked on Venom
In Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight, Issue #16-20, entitled Batman: Venom, after one day failing to save a little girl, our dear Dark Knight begins to take a pill form of Venom. Venom is a chemical concoction originally perfected, produced and used by Bane, one of the Bat’s greatest adversaries. Finding the effects of the Venom to be helpful to his crime-fighting skills, Batman keeps going back for more and more, unaware through the process that both Venom and these newly manufactured pills are meant to be highly addictive, like steroids on heroin (or vice versa). In a desperate moment to regain access to the drug, the Caped Crusader almost breaks his one and only rule. But the Dark Knight will always be our hero. He fought through it, kicked the habit, and saved the day. No further spoilers.
10. Bruce Wayne is Superman’s boss
Well, part-boss. While Superman may have the whole superhuman flight advantage on the Bat, Bruce Wayne, through his company Wayne Enterprises is a part owner of the Daily Planet, along with Galaxy Communications (Morgan Edge), TransNational Enterprises (Franklin Stern), and LexCorp (Lex Luthor). This storyline is followed in the Batman: Hush comic, as well as the latest New 52 series. The Daily Planet is the largest newspaper and media conglomerate of Metropolis, home of the meek and mild-mannered Clark Kent, who is also a reporter for the Daily Planet. Unless the tights are on, it looks like our boy scout in blue may be forced to keep his head down when the debonaire man of Gotham City comes to his town. That’s definitely one for you, Bruce.