Thursday, June 01, 2017

There Is No Hope in Crime Alley, Night 1: You may not have known this, but Bruce Wayne's parents were shot

Now, you may not be aware of this, as it's seldom mentioned in the comics, animated cartoons, or movies...but didja know that Bruce Wayne's parents were killed when he was a young boy? I know, right! It surprised me as much as it does you. That actually goes a long way towards defining his personality and his crimefighting techniques. Hey, maybe that's why he doesn't use a gun!

Actually, if I might be serious for just a moment (clears throat, adjusts necktie, pops monocle back in), the brutal shooting of Thomas and Martha Kent Wayne has been depicted and examined many, many times in the funny books. How can I tell? Because I've been doing a "There Is No Hope in Crime Alley" feature ever June since 2012. (Here's 20122013201420152016) And the series has gotten so extensive that I actually had to start keeping an Excel spreadsheet list to ensure I don't repeat panels from year to year. That has happened a few times, but not a lot: there's quite a bit of fictional history and a huge number of comic books in which the tragic death of the Waynes has been depicted — sometimes with dramatically different effects over the past 78 years.

Well, I say 78 years, but thanks to the sliding scale of DC Universe time, Bruce's parents died twenty-five years ago. The same year Queen Hippolyta got out her Play-Doh and made herself a little star-spangled Amazon baby! (Yeah, I wanna see the Snopes page on that feat, too). That means the year Diana turned twenty-five, Bruce Wayne had been twenty-five years without his parents. I'm guessing that really put the damper on Diana's big birthday bash up on the JLA satellite, 22,300 miles above the Earth. If you ignore sliding time, that means the Waynes got shot in 1992, so the movie they were probably seeing and inspired Bruce in his decision to become a caped crimefighter was 1992's Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Other probable '92 movie suspects include: Under Siege, Patriot Games, 3 Ninjas, or Captain Ron. Apparently to restore the original concept of the Waynes' movie night out, we'll have to wait until 2023, twenty-five years after the release of Antonio Banderas's The Mask of Zorro.

So let's kick off 2017's "There Is No Hope in Crime Alley" by reminding you that the death of Bruce Wayne's parents is so vital to his history that it's in the drop-colored background to the Who's Who entry for both Batman I of Earth-2 and Batman II of Earth-1! Yes, DC history is just that confusing!

Entries for "Batman I" (top) and "Batman II" (bottom) from Who's Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe (1985 series) #2 (April 1985); text by Len Wein, Marv Wolfman, Mike W. Barr, and Gary Cohn; pencils and inks by Dave Gibbons (Batman I) and Dick Giordano (Batman II); colors by Helen Vesik, Shelly Eiber, Tatjana Wood, and Bob LeRose

1 comment:

Blam said...

I wonder if Lew Moxon invested in Flexographic printing, 'cause those colors are murder on my eyes.