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  1. #1
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    Default Would you be open to a Bruce Wayne who ISN'T a famous public figure?

    Thinking about the the upcoming Tynion run on Batman (in which he described part of his pitch as Bruce Wayne re-etablishing himself socially in Gotham with a more grounded persona and less of the playboy facade), and how Public Bruce rarely appeared throughout King's Batman, as well as a recent thread conversation about the Wayne family business and fortune...

    What do you think? Would you be open to a Bruce Wayne who ISN'T a famous public figure? Personally, I'd be interested in seeing a Bruce that is relatively anonymous, and not an international celebrity billionaire heir/CEO playboy.

    That status is a recent development (relatively, in the long arc view) -- in the early versions, Bruce was always a man about town in Gotham, he wasn't always necessarily a famous figure. Even if there weren't precedent for it, I still would be in favor of seeing this status quo, somehow. It would require an alternate continuity, or a retcon, or maybe that's how they'll play it in the Matt Reeves film.

    Whatever form the media would take, I'm just interested in talking about & exploring the potential advantages and disadvantages of such a status quo... I would simply scale back the "prince of Gotham" angle, and instead allow Bruce more flexibility with his non-Batman life.

    Here's what would change in his backstory

    —The Wayne murders were newsworthy, but 30 years later, it would not be something people would remember; it'd be the type of tragedy that "true crime fans" would know about, not a famous event.

    —There is no family company. Thomas and Martha were millionaires, but they were "new money"... their wealth comes from Thomas having a successful career as a top surgeon.

    —Everything else basically remains the same. Alfred could be re-contextualized, or he could easily keep his current origin largely intact as Thomas's butler who raises Bruce.

    Advantages:

    —An anonymous Bruce Wayne has more flexibility to be a master of disguise during the day without literally disguising himself (like Matches Malone)... he could operate almost like a spy, simply using fake names or aliases.

    —It creates more distinction between Bruce Wayne and other "rich playboy" comic characters like Tony Stark or Green Arrow.

    —This status is more relatable to the reader/viewer. Though Bruce is privileged, he's not absurdly infinitely rich. He can afford to develop Batman's gadgets and equipment, but he has some limitations, a budget... if he blows up a Batmobile, he doesn't have thirty replacements waiting in the wings.

    —It adds tension between Bruce and the Gotham old money establishment (ie, Court of Owls).

    —It allows Bruce to pursue other careers besides "inherited CEO"

    —Since Bruce isn't famous, there's less need for him to act like a bimbo to throw people off the trail of his secret identity. He's just one of millions of Gothamites.

    —It drops the "which is the real mask?" angle, which I've always found dull and reductive, but still allows for Bruce to have psychological crises over his identity.

    —Since Bruce doesn't own and employ half of Gotham, his fight against corruption becomes even more difficult (and necessary) as Batman.

    Disadvantages:

    —It's different.

    —Comic book fans historically do not like change.

    —It's not canon.

    —Since it's not exactly like previous portrayals, this is a stupid idea.

    —Could require re-contextualizing some of Bruce's closest relationships — Alfred, Lucius, his proteges.
    Last edited by gregpersons; 12-11-2019 at 12:48 AM.

  2. #2
    ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦ Godlike13's Avatar
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    Can one be that rich and not be famous.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Godlike13 View Post
    Can one be that rich and not be famous.
    No, not with his current status as the heir apparent CEO to one of the world's largest conglomerates. You would have to scale back his wealth from billionaire to simply.... millionaire. There are plenty of millionaires/rich kids who are not famous.

  4. #4

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    I'd much rather see a Bruce who had less money, fewer connections, and less advanced technology, and was more independent and private.

    Little does DC care about what I want.

    Anyhow. I think the swelling of Bruce's bank account goes hand in hand with the swelling of the stories and the coming of Batgod. So these swellings are malignant.

    I'd prefer a comic that was more about a wealthy but not mega-rich, fairly solitary costumed crime fighter who runs around rooftops, alleys, and sewers, solving mysteries and beating up (and getting beaten up by) his rogues, and does not have a small army of likeminded working with him. I'd also like shorter stories that made better use of the rogues gallery. (I love the Joker, but omg send out the clowns.) Alan Grant's first Ratcatcher story line from the late eighties is basically a perfect Batman story to me. It's of a kind that has gotten nigh impossible to tell since BIGNESS is all the rage. Bruce's public life is symptomatic of that bias in favor of the epic.

  5. #5
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    Technically that would be just a return to it was in the Golden and Silver Age.

  6. #6
    Astonishing Member CPSparkles's Avatar
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    So how does Bruce fund Batman and his small army? Thomas the surgeon couldn't have left enough for all that or for Bruce to fund his and the batfamily's ops with inheritance alone. He needs a steady stream of income.

    Part of Batman is that he isn't so stupid as to think that punching alone makes a difference. Fighting crime and the success of his oath/mission means also tackling the social and economic factors at the root. The Bruce Wayne side takes care of this part along with WF. They are benefactors and forces for good in Gotham.

    The WF requires money and by it's nature very public.

    The gadgets and toys are now part of the character. It doesn't make sense stripping elements that make up the current character [the height of it success] to take it back to how it used to be when it was less popular and less successful

    Those swelling might be seen as malignant by some but factually they are value adding.

    The playboy side isn't really necessary and is rarely a thing in comics
    Last edited by CPSparkles; 12-11-2019 at 01:54 AM.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by CPSparkles View Post
    So how does Bruce fund Batman and his small army? Thomas the surgeon couldn't have left enough for all that or for Bruce to fund his and the batfamily's ops with inheritance alone. He needs a steady stream of income.

    Part of Batman is that he isn't so stupid as to think that punching alone makes a difference. Fighting crime and the success of his oath/mission means also tackling the social and economic factors at the root. The Bruce Wayne side takes care of this part along with WF. They are benefactors and forces for good in Gotham.

    The WF requires money and by it's nature very public.

    The gadgets and toys are now part of the character. It doesn't make sense stripping elements that make up the current character [the height of it success] to take it back to how it used to be when it was less popular and less successful

    Those swelling might be seen as malignant by some but factually they are value adding.

    The playboy side isn't really necessary and is rarely a thing in comics
    The gadgets/toys could easily remain, as could Bruce's efforts to help Gotham economically. But in a stripped back version, the story would put Bruce in a position where he has to be much more hands-on with both. He can't just write a check.

    He'd need to directly engineer the gadgets/toys. He does this to a degree in some stories already. And he doesn't need to be a genius inventor like Peter Parker (even though Bruce already is basically) -- it's an opportunity to weave Lucius Fox into the story more. Rather than it being a CFO giving his boss some off-record war machines, it's a little more like they're entrepreneurs creating prototypes in the garage with the goal of creating a non-lethal crime fighter who isn't corrupted like the GCPD is.

    Similarly, I'd be interested in seeing Bruce actually build up a company or foundation if he is to have it, rather than just automatically having it. It's why in the OP I suggest removing the "family business" aspect of Wayne Enterprises/Foundation as a legacy enterprise.

    Instead, perhaps Bruce and Lucius could create these companies themselves. And, because they're heroic do-gooders, they are incredibly charitable, which makes it difficult to keep the company profitable without falling into corruption. It forces Bruce to make difficult decisions, which is obviously what you want in a story.

    The short of it is -- we could see the character earn these things, rather than just automatically having them. It opens a lot of previously unexplored challenges and directions for the characters.
    Last edited by gregpersons; 12-11-2019 at 03:52 AM.

  8. #8
    Astonishing Member Restingvoice's Avatar
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    We still need a lot of his money to fund the League. That Satelite isn't something a starter businessman can do. Unless everyone's cool with using The Fortress of Solitude since both Atlantis and Themyscira aren't friendly to outsiders.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnpeelgothisgun View Post
    I'd much rather see a Bruce who had less money, fewer connections, and less advanced technology, and was more independent and private.

    Little does DC care about what I want.

    Anyhow. I think the swelling of Bruce's bank account goes hand in hand with the swelling of the stories and the coming of Batgod. So these swellings are malignant.

    I'd prefer a comic that was more about a wealthy but not mega-rich, fairly solitary costumed crime fighter who runs around rooftops, alleys, and sewers, solving mysteries and beating up (and getting beaten up by) his rogues, and does not have a small army of likeminded working with him. I'd also like shorter stories that made better use of the rogues gallery. (I love the Joker, but omg send out the clowns.) Alan Grant's first Ratcatcher story line from the late eighties is basically a perfect Batman story to me. It's of a kind that has gotten nigh impossible to tell since BIGNESS is all the rage. Bruce's public life is symptomatic of that bias in favor of the epic.
    Our preferences are largely in sync, although I like Batman having a team... but I would prefer to see the Bat Family contextualized as more of a "team" than a "family." I like that they are close and familial, a found family, but literalizing the family dynamic isn't actually necessary. It starts getting problematic when Bruce is a legal adopted guardian, and also their vigilante mentor... IMO, the (original) origins for Tim Drake and Barbara Gordon are the right direction -- they are inspired by Batman and want to join the crusade.

    It's been 20+ years of "Batman is a dysfunctional, borderline abusive father figure to his sidekicks who he is reluctant to accept." Instead, I'd love to see "Batman is a flawed and eccentric but generous mentor. He knows he became Batman by spending a decade training as a pupil under various masters in crime-fighting. He understands the importance of teaching his skills to other worthy pupils to achieve his goal of creating a lasting symbol of hope in Gotham."

    Especially after King's run, I'm personally just tapped out on "Bruce's father/Bruce as a father" ... there are other themes and dynamics available!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Restingvoice View Post
    We still need a lot of his money to fund the League. That Satelite isn't something a starter businessman can do. Unless everyone's cool with using The Fortress of Solitude since both Atlantis and Themyscira aren't friendly to outsiders.
    Yeah, I'd be quite happy to have that aspect removed from Bruce, where he's the deep-pocket benefactor to everyone. Especially on that scale. For one, it's too similar to Tony and the Avengers (regardless of who was first), and it just... for me, that amount of money for Batman is like when people talk about Superman being overpowered. It's too many advantages. It makes things too easy.

    I don't have any immediate pitch on where the Justice League's funding could come from. Maybe they just meet in the Cave. Maybe they have a public office Hall of Justice, and the Justice League is something created by Superman in conjunction with the United Nations as a way to be held accountable yet remain independent.

    Or, I'm sure there's a more creative way to explain it... okay here's one pitch— Lex Luthor funds the Justice League, at least initially, trying to control Superman by being his boss. There's some conflict!

  11. #11
    Astonishing Member Tzigone's Avatar
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    That status is a recent development (relatively, in the long arc view) -- in the early versions, Bruce was always a man about town in Gotham, he wasn't always necessarily a famous figure. Even if there weren't precedent for it, I still would be in favor of seeing this status quo, somehow. It would require an alternate continuity, or a retcon, or maybe that's how they'll play it in the Matt Reeves film.
    I definitely prefer not as a famous, and have posted on it before. This may be a touch more famous than you are for, I'm not sure.

    Yeah, I'd be quite happy to have that aspect removed from Bruce, where he's the deep-pocket benefactor to everyone. Especially on that scale. For one, it's too similar to Tony and the Avengers (regardless of who was first), and it just... for me, that amount of money for Batman is like when people talk about Superman being overpowered. It's too many advantages. It makes things too easy.
    I nevert though of Tony, but I do think Bruce is too rich. I don't really care if Thomas or Martha are new money - I just don't want Bruce so unbelievably rich. No one should be moon-base rich. Overpowered is a thing - to me, I don't like the way the money sort of creates an obligation to Bruce, it makes other characters "owe" him, even if if they don't know about it. Him buying the DP, Lois and Clark's apartment, or even saving Jaime's father's business of rebuilding the home are bothersome to me, which I've mentioned before.

    In regards to Playboy facade, I've said before I hate Brucie, but I am not more fond of the "alpha Bruce" presented for the new run, where normal people are routinely intimidated by or scared of him. Neither is appropriately grounded to me. I want a more "real" Bruce being Bruce, even if he does play up the socialite a bit, and I don't want real Bruce to be a force that dominates all those around him (have had issues with that for quite while) or just (as some descriptions seemed) like he's Batman out of costume (completely devoted to cleaning up Gotham with nothing else going on) as well as in. More consumed by his mission and with no real life outside it. I wanted actual friends and life outside the cape.
    Last edited by Tzigone; 12-11-2019 at 05:19 AM.

  12. #12
    Uncanny King-Kamalu lemonpeace's Avatar
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    Bruce is old money, a 1%er, that's as intrinsic to his story as his bat ears; take away his public persona and/or his old money heritage and you might as well has a different character.
    SIGNAL/Duke Thomas is the Midnight Sun of Gotham(respect thread)

    Martin to Malcolm: militant Professor X is kinda the wave right now

    DC: Batman & The Outsiders, Teen Titans, Suicide Squad, The Flash, Justice League Odyssey, Far Sector, Red Hood: Outlaws

    Marvel: Immortal Hulk, Miles Morales: Spiderman, Black Panther, X-Men (2019), Venom, X-Force, Hellions, Giant Sized X-Men

    Anticipated titles: John Ridley IV's Batman w/Luke Fox, Love Army*, The Other History of DC*, X of Swords

  13. #13
    Astonishing Member Tzigone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lemonpeace View Post
    Bruce is old money, a 1%er, that's as intrinsic to his story as his bat ears; take away his public persona and/or his old money heritage and you might as well has a different character.
    I disagree. He was not necessarily old money to start - Thomas made the money seemed to be the implication in the early days (or, at least, there was no implication that he did not). Certainly Bruce inherited money, though. But in the late 1950s (Batman 120) there doesn't seem to be an indication of long generations of wealth. It wasn't until the 1970s that the company really existed in the comics (there was a mention of Wayne Steel earlier), and Wayne Manor was a home that Bruce purchased as an adult and not established as family-property until the 1980s, so far as I'm aware.

    I support Bruce being a 1%er - it's top 5 (or 50) in the world I have an issue with. In 1974, the company was worth 27.4 million dollars (inflation-adjusted, it’d still only be worth 107 million to 240 million - depends on measure used like prestige value, real price, etc.). In the 1980s, it was referenced how Gar's adoptive father was rich so far beyond what Bruce was. I am perfectly okay with Bruce being rich. But not not nearly as rich as he currently depicted in comics. Which is way richer than even the richest person in the world today. I would probably set a $500,000,000 minimum (if I wanted him to live solely off proceeds and not touch principal - could be less otherwise or if he has income from business), even if it's way more than he used to have, because I'm used to him being very rich. I could go for up to 2 billion, even. Maybe slightly higher to crack the Forbes 400. But that's about my limit, in terms of personal wealth.

    I do think Bruce needs to be wealthy, and to have inherited wealth. I don't think it matters if his parents made the money or grandparents or great great great great great grandparents did. And I absolutely, definitely don't think he needs to be famous. There are lots of rich people that the public couldn't name and even more they couldn't identify by photo.

    Googled for 50 richest people in the world and I didn't know half the names, and half the ones I did know, I couldn't identify in a lineup.
    Last edited by Tzigone; 12-11-2019 at 07:04 AM.

  14. #14

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    Its worth experimenting in an Elseworld or a reboot.

  15. #15
    Astonishing Member batnbreakfast's Avatar
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    There should be a story of a breaking and entering in Wayne Manor (famous for its antiques, art and cash)... ending with the criminals in a mental hospital

    The line Bruce is so rich its a superpower always bugged me. Yes to 3 Batmobiles, no to 20 or a rocket, ship, plane.

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