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  1. #1
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    Default Thomas Wayne: kindly doctor or abusive billionaire?

    I always believed that Thomas Wayne was mainly a doctor who took care of people in need. He may have come from a rich family and he might have amassed a small fortune before his death. But I assumed it was Bruce Wayne who turned those millions into billions. Thomas was too concerned with looking after people to worry about increasing his fortune. And the thing that Bruce got from his parents was their humanity, their sense of social responsibilty for the weak, the afflicted and the oppressed.

    But over the years a different version of Thomas Wayne has emerged, where his profession as a doctor has been undermined by his position as a wealthy elite. That runs counter to how I always viewed the character. Yet the portrait of Wayne as a corrupt fat-cat and an abusive father has gained a lot of support from the fans and the writers.

    What do others think is the best version of Thomas Wayne?
    I read the news today oh boy

  2. #2
    Incredible Member charliehustle415's Avatar
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    If I'm remembering correctly in Morrison's run it was explained the Waynes had old money and this was further explored in The Return of Bruce Wayne.

    I like to think he became a doctor to give back to his community because he had that option; this in turn informed Bruce to be a good person.

    I also love his characterization in Batman Begins.

  3. #3
    Astonishing Member David Walton's Avatar
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    I definitely prefer to think of Thomas Wayne as an inherently decent human being who wanted to give back to his community, and along with Martha passed those values down to his son.

    I buy into the idea that Thomas had relatively normal faults, like maybe he was a bit harsh and expected a lot from Bruce. It's likely they would have butted heads if he'd been alive when Bruce hit his teen years.

  4. #4
    Astonishing Member David Walton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by charliehustle415 View Post
    If I'm remembering correctly in Morrison's run it was explained the Waynes had old money and this was further explored in The Return of Bruce Wayne.

    I like to think he became a doctor to give back to his community because he had that option; this in turn informed Bruce to be a good person.

    I also love his characterization in Batman Begins.
    I had always thought of the Wayne fortune as old money, and I seem to recall this being implied in stories during the 90s too. I have a vague recollection that Wayne Manor was involved in the Underground Railroad.

  5. #5
    Incredible Member charliehustle415's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Walton View Post
    I had always thought of the Wayne fortune as old money, and I seem to recall this being implied in stories during the 90s too. I have a vague recollection that Wayne Manor was involved in the Underground Railroad.
    Yeah totally, even in Snyder's Gates of Gotham he explores the Wayne's roots in Gotham as well as its expansion.

    Morrison tied the Waynes to colonial times, the indigenous tribe Miagani, and the underground railroad.

    I think the film Joker depicts Thomas like that simply because of the times we live in, and Thomas Wayne from Flashpoint is like that because of what happened to his family.

  6. #6
    Extraordinary Member Jackalope89's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by charliehustle415 View Post
    Yeah totally, even in Snyder's Gates of Gotham he explores the Wayne's roots in Gotham as well as its expansion.

    Morrison tied the Waynes to colonial times, the indigenous tribe Miagani, and the underground railroad.

    I think the film Joker depicts Thomas like that simply because of the times we live in, and Thomas Wayne from Flashpoint is like that because of what happened to his family.
    And Thomas Wayne in the Batman comics now?

  7. #7
    Incredible Member charliehustle415's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jackalope89 View Post
    And Thomas Wayne in the Batman comics now?
    King has only been dealing with the Flashpoint version; I don't know if any other writer has been dealing with Thomas Wayne

  8. #8
    Extraordinary Member Jackalope89's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by charliehustle415 View Post
    King has only been dealing with the Flashpoint version; I don't know if any other writer has been dealing with Thomas Wayne
    Well, in Flashpoint, Thomas gave some parting words to Bruce and Barry. The Thomas now, has enlisted some of Gotham's worst and manipulated others (like Gotham Girl) to break his son and grandson mentally. Not to mention murdering Alfred.

  9. #9
    Mighty Member Tzigone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Kelly View Post
    I always believed that Thomas Wayne was mainly a doctor who took care of people in need. He may have come from a rich family and he might have amassed a small fortune before his death. But I assumed it was Bruce Wayne who turned those millions into billions. Thomas was too concerned with looking after people to worry about increasing his fortune. And the thing that Bruce got from his parents was their humanity, their sense of social responsibilty for the weak, the afflicted and the oppressed.

    But over the years a different version of Thomas Wayne has emerged, where his profession as a doctor has been undermined by his position as a wealthy elite. That runs counter to how I always viewed the character. Yet the portrait of Wayne as a corrupt fat-cat and an abusive father has gained a lot of support from the fans and the writers.

    What do others think is the best version of Thomas Wayne?
    I definitely prefer the kindly doctor. I am sick to death of good characters being turned bad. Seems to especially happen to parents (Jor-El, Zor-El, Allura, Thomas Wayne, Bob/Ruby West, Sardath, and even the Ira/William West change). I didn't like it the first time, and dislike it more every time I see it. I hate the destruction of the idea that there can be just generally good people, and that they can ever have just generally good families. That personal misery is necessary for good stories/characters.

    I tend to think of the Waynes as oldish money (maybe industrial revolution), but that Thomas was a doctor and not involved with the business. The businesses practices of the family historically being pretty much as innocent/corrupt as most, and mostly law-abiding. I prefer Bruce as much less rich than he's been portrayed in recent years. Rich, yes, just not that rich. He absolutely should not be build-a-moon-base rich to me (really, the price is too high for any one person, Bruce or other, though I guess it might be cheaper in DC-verse due to alien tech). I also don't like how the money has been used as a fix-it or in ways that obligate other heroes to him (even unknowingly, as in case of Jaime in 2006 Blue Beetle series). Like in the 1980s, Dayton was the 6th richest man in the world, and that was way outside Dick's familiarity-zone.
    Last edited by Tzigone; 11-22-2019 at 01:47 PM.

  10. #10
    Astonishing Member David Walton's Avatar
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    As far as I know, the first less-than-favorable depiction of Thomas Wayne was Jim Starlin's "Fatal Wish" (Batman #430). Thomas, stressed out over bad investments, actually strikes Bruce when he asks him to play catch. Bruce says he wishes Thomas was dead, they reconcile a bit later, and he takes Bruce to see THE MARK OF ZORRO as an apology.

  11. #11
    Astonishing Member David Walton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by charliehustle415 View Post
    Yeah totally, even in Snyder's Gates of Gotham he explores the Wayne's roots in Gotham as well as its expansion.

    Morrison tied the Waynes to colonial times, the indigenous tribe Miagani, and the underground railroad.
    I want to say the underground railroad ties were mentioned a few time in the 90s. It makes sense the Waynes have an extensive history in Gotham and Wayne Manor has always seemed like an old money kind of estate.

  12. #12
    Mighty Member Tzigone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Walton View Post
    I want to say the underground railroad ties were mentioned a few time in the 90s. It makes sense the Waynes have an extensive history in Gotham and Wayne Manor has always seemed like an old money kind of estate.
    Did it seem like an "old money estate" in the 1940s or just like a 30 year-old house of a rich family? Just trying to figure what the perception of it was back then. Certainly it's been generations old for a long time now. The wiki tells me in 'Tec 205 (March 1954), Bruce is said to have bought the house as an adult. I know that it was his "ancestral home" in the early 1980s when Bruce moves back there. When is the first time we got a really good look at it? And the first outside view?

    Now, I'm also thinking of a time when Jim Gordon had a screening room in his home.

  13. #13
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    In the 1950s, it was pretty much established that the Wayne family had multiple generations of scions with high social standing. But in my head canon, Thomas was cut off by his elders because he chose medicine over going into the family business. In some stories, Thomas and Martha seem to be living perfectly middle class lives and Bruce is not a spoiled rich kid. I imagine that Thomas was a medical pioneer and developed medical technologies that turned out to be highly valuable, but he died soon after and this was his legacy for Bruce. From that Wayne Tech was born.
    I read the news today oh boy

  14. #14
    Mighty Member Tzigone's Avatar
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    In the 1950s, it was pretty much established that the Wayne family had multiple generations of scions with high social standing. But in my head canon, Thomas was cut off by his elders because he chose medicine over going into the family business.
    I don't like that someone has to be bad (cut him off). Nor does it really make sense, given Silas Wayne's attitude. Or Agatha's (though I guess she could have been from other side of the family). Of course, I don't think any Wayne businesses showed up until the 1950s and Wayne Enterprises not until the 1970s. But I have some head-canons flatly contradicted by (some versions) of canon, myself. I like to pick-and-choose eras/characterizations and there are definitely some I completely disregard.


    In some stories, Thomas and Martha seem to be living perfectly middle class lives and Bruce is not a spoiled rich kid.
    I am interested in which issues show Martha and Thomas as middle class (save perhaps that Superboy story where they were alive when Bruce was a teenager).

    When did the "spoiled rich kid" thing even show up? He was a rich man's son from the beginning, but I can't think of any early stories that indicate Bruce was generally spoiled or poorly behaved. I always assumed that was a post-COIE (or late pre-COIE) thing, but I really don't know.
    Last edited by Tzigone; 11-22-2019 at 03:17 PM.

  15. #15
    Extraordinary Member SiegePerilous02's Avatar
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    Kindly doctor billionaire who (along with Martha) imparted his values onto his son.

    I don't think Thomas needs to be made into an unsympathetic character because he's rich. That's a very modern, cynical view. He can come from old money and be a genuinely good person, it's hardly the most unrealistic thing in the DCU. I don't really care for the depiction of Thomas in Joker, but at least with that we can think of it as Arthur's distorted recollection as an unreliable narrator

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