The month of May marks the 83th anniversary of Batman’s introduction to the world. The Caped Crusader has been connected to Scotland from his creation up till the present.
Batman first appeared in Detective Comics in May 1939. Society knew him as Bruce Wayne, a wealthy playboy who had inherited Wayne Industries. His secret identity saw him fight crime at night in the streets of Gotham City. The name for his public persona was inspired by two great warriors from history – Robert the Bruce and Anthony Wayne.
Batman’s creators chose the affiliation with the King of Scots because they thought it would be appropriate for him to be a descendant of a noble family with a heroic background. Robert the Bruce was King from 1306 until his death in 1329. He was instrumental in the country’s quest for sovereignty in the First War of Scottish Independence. His victory over the English army at The Battle of Bannockburn is a landmark in Scottish history.
“Mad” Anthony Wayne was the inspiration for the character’s surname. Wayne was an officer in the colonial army during the American Revolution. He became a brigadier general after leading troops in several successful battles against the British. He later made the move to politics and was one of the delegates who ratified the US Constitution.
Wayne earned his nickname for his aggressive style of fighting. In a particularly bold move during the Battle of Stony Point, he led his forces in a surprise attack using only bayonets and the cover the darkness. The British held what was believed to be an impregnable position but Wayne defeated them in 30-minutes with minimal losses.
The most recent movie in the Batman franchise was released earlier this year. Scotland was one of the main shooting locations with Glasgow providing the background for Gotham City. Scenes were filmed at Glasgow Cathedral, the Bridge of Sighs, and the Necropolis cemetery as per the motorcycle image above.
Batman has become a global phenomenon since his introduction in 1939. Let’s hope his Scottish DNA continues to serve him well!