Thomas Wayne

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Thomas Wayne
Publication information
PublisherDC Comics
First appearanceDetective Comics #33 (November 1939)
Created byBob Kane
Bill Finger [1]
Gardner Fox[1]
In-story information
Full nameThomas Wayne
Team affiliationsWayne Enterprises
Supporting character ofBatman
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Thomas Wayne
Publication information
PublisherDC Comics
First appearanceDetective Comics #33 (November 1939)
Created byBob Kane
Bill Finger [1]
Gardner Fox[1]
In-story information
Full nameThomas Wayne
Team affiliationsWayne Enterprises
Supporting character ofBatman

Thomas Wayne is a fictional character in the Batman series of comic books. Dr. Thomas Wayne was the father of Bruce Wayne, and husband of Martha Wayne, as well as a gifted surgeon and philanthropist. He was also the inheritor of the Wayne family fortune, which was built through industry and real estate by previous generations.

He is first introduced in Detective Comics #33 (November 1939) in the first exposition of Batman's origin story. In the story, he and his wife are murdered by a mugger as young Bruce looks on helplessly. This trauma influences Bruce to become Batman when he grows up.[2] Decades after he was murdered, the character of Thomas Wayne would play a major role in Geoff Johns' Flashpoint crossover series.


Fictional character background

Thomas Wayne is seldom shown outside of Bruce Wayne's and Alfred Pennyworth's memories of him, and often through Bruce's dreams and nightmares. He is frequently depicted as looking very much like Bruce Wayne, but sporting a thick mustache.

A notable occurrence in Thomas Wayne's biography was when Bruce fell through a fissure on the Wayne property, into what would one day become the Batcave (sometimes the fissure is replaced with an abandoned well). Thomas Wayne eventually rescued his terrified son from the cave.

Thomas Wayne's role in his son's future vigilante career is expanded upon in The First Batman, a Silver Age tale which reveals that Dr. Wayne attacked and defeated hoodlums while dressed like a "Bat-Man" for a masquerade ball. According to the story, Thomas Wayne's actions resulted in crime boss Lew Moxon being imprisoned; ten years later, Moxon orders Joe Chill to murder Dr. Wayne. When Batman realizes Moxon ordered his parents killed, he confronts Moxon, who now suffers from amnesia and thus has no memory of Thomas Wayne. When Batman's costume is torn, he wears his father's in order to frighten Moxon. Sure enough, the costume restores Moxon's memory; the former crime boss panics, believing that he is being attacked by Thomas Wayne's ghost, and flees into the streets where he is struck and killed by a truck. These events were retold in the 1980 miniseries The Untold Legend of the Batman. Following the Crisis on Infinite Earths, Dr. Wayne as the "First Batman" was retconned - he instead attended the masquerade ball as Zorro. This was retconned once more in the pages of Superman/Batman, where Superman, hoping to reverse some universe-altering change in the time streams, lands in a version of Gotham City in which Thomas never died, finding him giving out Halloween candy in the original Batman costume.

In many of the modern interpretations of the character, such as those by Frank Miller and Jeph Loeb, Thomas is portrayed as having been a distant, stern father, bestowing kindness and generosity on his patients rather than his son.

Thomas Wayne was once suspected to be the father of Bane, a man who, in the Knightfall story arc, breaks his son's back; however, DNA testing proved this to be false, and Bane's real father was recently revealed to be King Snake.

It is revealed in Batman: The Long Halloween that, shortly before his murder, Thomas Wayne saved the life of gangster Carmine Falcone. Falcone's father, Vincent, came to Wayne Manor and begged Thomas to save his dying son, who had been shot in a gangfight by rival gangster Luigi Maroni. Thomas wanted to take the younger Falcone to the hospital, but Vincent insisted that nobody know about the shooting; the surgery was thus performed in the dining room with Alfred assisting. After saving Carmine Falcone's life, he was offered a reward or favor but refused to accept any form of payment. Unbeknownst to Thomas, young Bruce watched this all in silence from afar. Years later, Bruce contemplates whether Gotham would have been better off had his father let Falcone die, to which Alfred explains that he would have helped anyone in need.

In Superman/Batman #50, it is revealed that, while on a drive with a pregnant Martha, Thomas witnessed a strange object fall to Earth. As he inspects it, Thomas' consciousness is transported to Krypton, and presented in a holographic form. There, he encounters Jor-El, who wishes to know what kind of a world Earth is, as it is one of many possible candidates for him to send his son, Kal-El, to. Thomas tells Jor-El that the people of Earth aren't perfect, but are essentially a good and kind race, who would raise the child right, convincing Jor-El to send Kal-El there. Upon returning to his body, Thomas uses the technology in the Kryptonian probe to revitalize a failing Wayne Enterprises. Years later, the alien technology would be the basis of much of Batman's crimefighting technology. Thomas recorded his encounter in a diary, which was discovered by Bruce in the present day.


When exiting a theatre, Thomas and Martha Wayne are murdered by a mugger right in front of their son, Bruce. This tragedy shocks Gotham, leads to Park Row (the street where it occurred) being labeled Crime Alley, and most importantly, serves as the motivation for Bruce one day becoming Batman.

Due to the many writers who have worked on Batman stories, and constant references due to the central importance of the murder to the Batman mythos, many of the factors concerning the event have varied.

Interestingly, Batman #430, which portrays the aftermath of Jason Todd's death, includes a scene in which Thomas Wayne was having trouble with some investments, and was going to sell short. Bruce thought that he needed some exercise to take his mind off of it and so offered to play catch with him, but Thomas angrily said no, striking him across the face. A hurt and resentful Bruce declares to his mother that he wished Thomas were dead. In an ironic twist of fate, Bruce's parents would be murdered that night.

Batman: Dark Victory asserts that the Wayne murders were the main cause of much of the corruption and crime in Gotham City; once it became clear that even wealthy, important people could be murdered so easily, citizens began to lose faith in the police, and the police themselves started to lose faith in their importance, leading to corruption within the force.

Consistent elements have included Thomas Wayne being murdered by a pistol, and Martha Wayne's pearl necklace being torn, with the pearls falling into the gutter. In comic continuity, the murder took place at 10:47 p.m.[citation needed] (the Batcave is accessed by Batman through his manor by turning the hands of a grandfather clock to this time), on the 26th of June.[3]

Thomas and Martha Wayne are notable as two comic book characters who have remained dead. Since his death, Thomas Wayne has only appeared in the Batman series in flashback and in the occasional out-of-body experience or hallucination. His most significant appearance in this latter category is in the miniseries Batman: Death and the Maidens by Greg Rucka. In this story, Batman ingests an elixir given to him by his enemy, Ra's al Ghul, and believes he is having a conversation with his dead parents. Interestingly, both Thomas and Martha disapprove of their son's costumed crusade, but Thomas admits that he merely disapproves of what being Batman has cost his son rather than actually disliking the concept itself. As she and Thomas depart, however, they assure Bruce that just because the passing of time has lessened his grief does not mean that he no longer cares for them, and, as a result, Bruce is able to accept that he is Batman because he chooses to be, not because he has to be.

In the alternative timeline of Flashpoint, where Bruce died instead of Thomas and Martha, causing Thomas Wayne to become Batman and Martha the Joker, the alternative versions of the characters share the same point of view of their post-mortem counterparts in Death and the Maidens: while Thomas Wayne, despite knowing the burden Batman put on himself, shows to be proud of the sacrifices his son did in the correct timeline (having Flash bring a letter to his alternate-timeline son), Martha is further driven mad with grief and sadness, killing herself because she's unable to accept the suffering Bruce would be fated to bear.

Alleged double life

During Batman R.I.P., it is alleged that Thomas and Martha Wayne were leading a double life, secretly partaking in criminal endeavors, drug abuse and orgies while presenting a façade of respectability to the outside world. The alleged evidence is revealed to be doctored in the aftermath of the storyline, however.

Doctor Simon Hurt, head of The Black Glove and the mastermind behind Batman R.I.P., actually claims to be Thomas Wayne to both Bruce and Alfred Pennyworth. Although both of them rebuke him without hesitation, Hurt never explicitly drops the claim.

In the ongoing follow-up series, Batman & Robin, it is suggested that some, if not all, of these allegations have begun to circulate around Gotham; Dick Grayson and Damian Wayne attend a high society function where a few party guests vaguely mention the existence of rumors surrounding the family, and Dick tries to tie Bruce's absence from the public eye with being occupied with clearing his family's reputation.[4] Matters come to a head when Hurt returns to the city, claiming to be Thomas Wayne in order to take control of Wayne Manor and establish himself as the new Batman, but Grayson and Damian outsmart him.

It is hinted at during the course of the Batman and Robin series that Simon Hurt's actual identity is Thomas Wayne, albeit one from the 17th century who was a 'black sheep' of the Wayne family and prolongs his life through occult rituals. The Return of Bruce Wayne miniseries and its fallout Bruce Wayne: The Road Home cements Hurt's status as the elder Thomas Wayne from the Puritan Ages, driven insane by his meeting with Barbatos, the Hyper-Adapter sent through time along with Bruce Wayne to ensure the effectiveness of Darkseid's "Omega Sanction".

Other versions

Batman: Castle of the Bat

In Batman: Castle of the Bat, Doctor Bruce Wayne discovers the preserved brain of his father deep below the research university he works at. He steals this and other body parts in a desperate attempt to revive his beloved father from death. This doesn't work out well due to various factors outside his control but the part of the creature that still recognizes and loves his son does it's best to help Bruce escape his enemies.[5]

Batman: Dark Knight Dynasty

In Batman: Dark Knight Dynasty, Thomas and Martha are saved from death when 'Valentin Sinclair'- really Vandal Savage, who in this reality has a long-standing interest and admiration for the Wayne family despite the fact that they often end up opposing him when they learn about his plans- scared off Joe Chill, Sinclair becoming a partner in Wayne Enterprises, only for Sinclair to have them killed when they threaten to expose his plan to divert a meteor that gave him his powers back to Earth so that he can study it. Their deaths- triggered by Sinclair's fear-inducing henchman Scarecrone causing them to remember the mugging, driving them to flee Chill by running off their balcony- prompt Bruce to become Batman to investigate, Gordon having written their deaths off as an accident and Bruce unwilling to investigate himself because of the risk to his new wife, Julie Madison.

Batman: Earth One

In the graphic novel written by Geoff Johns and art by Gary Frank, Batman: Earth One, Thomas was a physician who had run for mayor against Oswald Cobblepot. Cobblepot had attempted to arrange his opponent's murder during the latter's outing to a movie with his family, but a mugger got to them first and killed Thomas and his wife.


Thomas and Martha Wayne as Batman and the Joker of the Flashpoint universe. Art by Dave Johnson.

In the Flashpoint event, Thomas Wayne rather than Bruce appears as Batman. Thomas is shown to have Joe Chill's gun in the Batcave's trophy display, from when he killed Chill in a brutal beating. Thomas is more violent than Bruce and willing to kill to achieve his goals, as shown when he throws a young villain named Yo-Yo off a rooftop after she refuses to cooperate with him to stop the Joker. When Barry Allen enters the cave, Thomas attacks him, but is surprised to hear Barry call him Bruce.[6] Allen reveals to the elder Wayne that the timeline has been altered. Thomas stops fighting and asks him the details of his son's life after his own death. Willing to change history and ready to sacrifice his life to restore his son's, Thomas helps Barry build a device to recreate the accident that gave Barry his speed.[7]

Wayne is the subject of the mini-series, Flashpoint: Batman - Knight of Vengeance, written by Brian Azzarello and drawn by Eduardo Risso, in a story set in after Wayne's first attempt to restore Barry's powers. Azzarello stated that Thomas Wayne does not care about crime outside Gotham and that he funds his war on crime with his successful casinos.[8] Thomas works with James Gordon, the chief of Gotham's privatized police, who appears to be aware of his identity. Oswald Cobbelpot appears as his security chief, mainly handling the casinos while Thomas fights crime. The local judge Harvey Dent is distressed when his twin children are kidnapped by the Joker, causing him to threaten Wayne with legal action.[9][clarification needed] Gordon calls Batman and tries to convince him that he does not have to fight villains alone. Later, Batman is shocked when the Joker sends him footage of Gordon dying at the criminal's hands. Batman finds Joker in old Wayne Manor and revealing that Joker's identity as Martha Wayne.[10] The death of their son and resulting breakdown created their current enmity. After Batman saves one of Dent's children, who had accidentally been shot by Gordon during his rescue attempt, he resumes pursuing Martha. In the final battle, Thomas reveals his recent discovery that they were supposed to die that night at Crime Alley and how they are alive now. Thomas promises her that he will do whatever it takes to bring their son back, despite it costing him and Martha their lives. The revelations apparently restore Martha's mental stability and she seemingly reconciles with Thomas, but when Martha asks her husband what Bruce becomes after their death, Thomas reveals that their son would become Batman. Martha becomes hysterical, flees from Thomas and falls to her death through the same hole that Bruce once fell into as a child.[11]

After a second attempt successfully restores the Flash's powers, Batman works with him to rally a team to oppose Thawne's changes to history. Thomas contacts Cyborg for help in tracking down "Project: Superman", the government branch responsible for raising Kal-El, only to be disappointed at Kal-El's frail appearance. Kal-El's powers manifest as he is exposed to sunlight and he flies away.[12]

After escaping Project Superman with the help of Element Woman, Flash's memories change more drastically, forcing Batman to attempt to prevent the speedster's memories from altering. Wayne injects him with a drug that slows down electrical activity in the brain. When Barry finds out that Hal Jordan died attempting to stop the War, Flash elects to try to save this altered world, since there is no guarantee that they could defeat Professor Zoom in the original world. Thomas joins Flash as the group heads to New Themyscira in Batman's plane and are joined by Enchantress. Wonder Woman and Aquaman are fighting one on one until the team arrives. The battle seems to be in their favor until Billy Batson dies and Professor Zoom reveals himself.[13] Batman stabs him in the back using an Amazon's sword and learns that altered timeline was actually created by Flash as part of an attempt to save his mother. Before he acts on this new information, Thomas is fatally wounded by the Enchantress. Before Flash attempts to restore the old world, Thomas thanks him and gives him a letter to Bruce. Thomas is eager to reunite with his wife in death. After the Flash apparently restores the timeline, he gives Bruce the letter, telling Bruce that he could not have restored history without Thomas's help.[14]

The letter encourages Bruce to move on from his childhood tragedy, as well as encouraging him to pursue a closer relationship with his son Damian Wayne.[15] It becomes a part of the Batcave's display dedicated to the memory of his parents.[16] However, despite Bruce's attempts to follow his father's encouragement, Damian is later killed battling his own clone, leaving Bruce suffers as Thomas had in Flashpoint.[17][18]

JLA: Earth 2

In JLA: Earth 2 by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely, the Thomas Wayne of the antimatter universe is the father of the supervillain Owlman. Like his original counterpart, he married Martha Kane and fathered Bruce Wayne. However, this version also had a second child, Thomas Wayne Jr. After Martha and Bruce are gunned down by a crooked policeman when Thomas Sr. refused to accompany him for questioning (when Thomas Wayne performed an "illegal medical operation."), Thomas Jr. becomes Owlman to get revenge on the justice system. It is later revealed that Thomas Wayne Sr. is currently acting as commissioner of the Gotham City Police Department, seeking to bring his son to justice with the help of a cadre of idealistic officers. Owlman finds it his goal to "punish" his father for letting his mother and brother die.[19]

Superman: Red Son

In Mark Millar's Superman: Red Son, the parents of Batman (never named) are anti-communist protesters in the Soviet Union. They are executed in their home by NKVD Commissar Pyotr Roslov for printing and distributing anti-communist pamphlets. Their son witnesses the murders and attempts to overthrow the Communist Party of the Soviet Union when he is an adult.[20]

In other media



Video games



  1. ^ a b Gardner Fox, Finger, Bill (w), Kane, Bob (p). "The Legend of the Batman - Who He is, and How he Came to Be" Detective Comics 33: 1, 2/1 - 8 (November 1939), DC Comics
  2. ^ Beatty, Scott (2008). "Batman". In Dougall, Alastair. The DC Comics Encyclopedia. London: Dorling Kindersley. pp. 40–44. ISBN 0-7566-4119-5.
  3. ^ Batman Special #1 (June 1984)
  4. ^ Batman & Robin (vol. 1) #4 (November 2009)
  5. ^ Castle of the Bat (November 1994)
  6. ^ Flashpoint #1 (May 2011)
  7. ^ Flashpoint #2 (June 2011)
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^ Flashpoint: Batman – Knight of Vengeance #1 (June 2011)
  10. ^ Flashpoint: Batman – Knight of Vengeance #2 (July 2011)
  11. ^ Flashpoint: Batman – Knight of Vengeance #3 (August 2011)
  12. ^ Flashpoint #3 (July 2011)
  13. ^ Flashpoint #4 (August 2011)
  14. ^ Flashpoint #5 (August 2011)
  15. ^ Batman & Robin (vol. 2) #1 (September 2011)
  16. ^ Justice League (vol. 2) #9 (May 2012)
  17. ^ "DC killing off Batman’s 'Boy Wonder' Damian Wayne in new comic book". New York Post. Retrieved 27 February 2013.
  18. ^ "Batman's side-kick Robin to be killed off in next DC Comics issue". CBS News. Retrieved 27 February 2013.
  19. ^ JLA: Earth 2 (2000)
  20. ^ Superman: Red Son #1-3 (June–August 2003)