Batman’s Secret Medieval Origins


Here’s an interesting tidbit I came across today. According to Bob Kane, he and collaborator Bill Finger gave Batman the first name “Bruce” after medieval Scottish king Robert the Bruce.* As reported in Kane’s autobiography, Batman and Me:

Bruce Wayne’s first name came from Robert Bruce, the Scottish patriot. Wayne, being a playboy, was a man of gentry. [Then,] I searched for a name that would suggest colonialism. I tried Adams, Hancock … then I thought of Mad Anthony Wayne.

I’m always skeptical of such after-the-fact pedigrees for pop culture artifacts, and this one, to me, has all the hallmarks of retroactive aggrandizement. But I’ll take it as a handy fact to have in reserve for cocktail parties. Then I’ll launch into my Tarantino-esque riff on how the batarang was likewise inspired by the story of how after Robert Bruce’s death, his buddy the Black Douglas took his (the Bruce’s) heart on crusade with him and threw it at the infidels shouting, “Fly, brave heart, fly!”***

Now, if I could only figure out the secret hidden medieval story behind DC’s Green Arrow, I’d be golden.

*You know, the guy from Braveheart that wasn’t Mel Gibson or the guy from The Prisoner.
**Giving rise to the title for the movie mentioned in footnote *, above.

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