GeekGround Why has DC made Thomas Wayne evil?

10/11/19 8:16 AM
1/1/01
Posts: 47915
paw comments: I didn't know about most of this, and found it pretty shocking. YMMV
 
From https://www.bleedingcool.com/2019/10/11/batman-thomas-wayne-meanie/
 
Batman’s dad Thomas Wayne is a bad guy now. He didn’t used to be. He was the kind doctor and philanthopist who taught his son to be charitable and benevolent. Suddenly, he’s a villain in nearly every new story. What’s going on?
 
Thomas Wayne was the benevolent, beloved father of Bruce Wayne. He was a doctor who did charitable work. His son Bruce becomes Batman after Thomas and his wife Martha are shot dead by a random mugger. That’s what kicks off the whole Batman story.
 
Since 1939, Thomas and Martha Wayne were just ciphers. They had no personalities. Readers just assumed they were good people who became victims of crime. They were the plot device whose deaths traumatized their son into dressing up like a bat to beat up criminals at night.
 
This started with Geoff Johns’ Flashpoint where Thomas Wayne became Murderous Batman after his son Bruce was gunned down in a mugging. Never mind that it makes no sense for Thomas Wayne to become Batman. Bruce became Batman because that is the childish fantasy of a traumatised child. Thomas Wayne was an adult – and a doctor – and there was never any reason he would dress up as a bat. You don’t need to dress up as a bat to shoot criminals.
 
Then in the Telltale Batman games, Bruce discovers Thomas Wayne was  a gangster who profited off crime in Gotham. He did deals with the city’s crimelords and corrupt politicians to keep a base of power and wealth. In the Black Label comic Batman: Damned, Bruce Wayne relives the trauma of realising Thomas Wayne cheated on his wife.
 
Now, on top of Tom King bringing back Flashpoint Batman That Makes No Sense, we have the the Joker movie. Here, Thomas Wayne is a full-on rich scumbag. He’s smug, entitled and condescending to the poor. He runs for mayor under the assumption that he would win because he thinks he deserves it. The movie features the fullest depiction of Thomas Wayne as an utter creep.
 
Is This Just The Rise of the Rich Meanie?
Is this part of the social backlash against the 1%? Are the (male) writers playing out their daddy issues on Thomas Wayne? Or is it a combination of both? Is it a cheap “dad was a dick” trope to claim emotional depth in writing?
10/11/19 8:27 AM
8/20/16
Posts: 518

WTF? Anyone who thinks this is symptomatic of some kind of backlash against the rich is a fucking incel writing manifestos on the internet.

 

They brought back Superman's dad as a villain, too.

 

It's called shitty writing.

Edited: 10/11/19 9:25 AM
1/1/01
Posts: 47916
blabbermouth - 

WTF? Anyone who thinks this is symptomatic of some kind of backlash against the rich is a fucking incel writing manifestos on the internet.

 

They brought back Superman's dad as a villain, too.

 

It's called shitty writing.

 

I'll be honest...I had to look up the word in bold because I didn't know what it meant.

I completely agree it's poor writing, but I can't help of think of the Ian Flemming quote, "Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action."

The article points out three portrayals of Thomas as evil, across three different media. Seems like a pattern. Is it cause for concern? 

 

10/11/19 9:48 AM
11/15/05
Posts: 4332

Flashpoint batman is definitely a villain in tom kings horrible run. His motivation is piss poor and the writing has been a convoluted mess.

 

They have been doing this for a while now making thomas less than the Gotham hero. It shows writers dont get batman. Thomas and Martha showed Bruce how to be a good and giving person. That Gotham was worth fighting for. Now thomas is a cheat, a criminal,  or down right murdering psycho. 

 

Please let someone who actually knows batman write a good story. Damned was decent despite the batcock thing. Not good but decent.

10/11/19 9:48 AM
8/20/16
Posts: 519

"Seems like a pattern. Is it cause for concern?"

 

Of course it's fucking not.

 

You're saying we should be concerned about what it says about society's hypothetical backlash against the rich because wealthy Thomas Wayne is portrayed as evil in a BATMAN COMIC (Batman being a character who glorifies wealth and only exists due to the graciousness of his wealth)?

 

That is fucking insanity, guvnor. When you look at all the rich characters who have been portrayed as good and evil over the years, but single out Thomas Wayne as a symbol of society biting back at the 1% in looming real-world social upheaval... well, those are the thoughts of, at best, an uncritical thinker or, at worst, a fucking lunatic, desperatly trying to prove his pet thesis.

 

Edited: 10/11/19 10:27 AM
1/1/01
Posts: 47918
blabbermouth - 

"Seems like a pattern. Is it cause for concern?"

 

Of course it's fucking not.

 

You're saying we should be concerned about what it says about society's hypothetical backlash against the rich because wealthy Thomas Wayne is portrayed as evil in a BATMAN COMIC (Batman being a character who glorifies wealth and only exists due to the graciousness of his wealth)?

 

That is fucking insanity, guvnor. When you look at all the rich characters who have been portrayed as good and evil over the years, but single out Thomas Wayne as a symbol of society biting back at the 1% in looming real-world social upheaval... well, those are the thoughts of, at best, an uncritical thinker or, at worst, a fucking lunatic, desperatly trying to prove his pet thesis.

 

 

For the sake of clarity, let me be clear: I don't care about the author's assertions about wealth, economics, race, or any of those real world things. I only care about Thomas Wayne, a fictional character in the DCU. That's it. (Well, more on this a bit later)

 

Lots of things happen once in comics that other writers quickly ignore/forget. For example, Wolverine's healing factor being the result of Wolverine having to fight (and win) against an angel to return to life. That happened and was (correctly, imo) ignored. Other things, like Hank Pym being an abusive husband, seem to stick with the character forever. Continuity is built on writers continuing with someone else's ideas, and I guarantee someone will take the idea that Thomas Wayne was horrible human being, and try to incorporate it into a future story. If it happens enough times, that viewpoint will be canon and "everyone" will just "know" that Thomas Wayne was a horrible human being.

 

I'm not really worried about that for a few reasons:

1. I don't really read DC right now, so it's not that I'm not concerned, it's more like I just don't care. (Which seems like a horrible thing to say, but there it is)

2. I don't believe DC has continuity nor will they any time soon. This is one of the big reasons I'm not reading DC right now as without continuity it's hard for me to feel like any of the stories matter.

3. Flashpoint was an "elseworlds" story, so to my way of thinking, it doesn't really count.

4. I care more about comics than about DC films or video games.

That said, I haven't played the Batman video games and I haven't seen Joker - both of which should have a much, much bigger audience impact that a comic book. As I understand it, millions of people see movies and play video games, but only thousands read comic books.  So maybe I should be more concerned.

One final note - the author of the article claiming these new portrayls of Thomas Wayne having all these real world implications, etc, etc.. is why we can't have nice things. Not everything is about politics and I think you're right when you say those are the thoughts of, at best, an uncritical thinker or, at worst, a fucking lunatic, desperatly trying to prove his pet thesis.

 

10/11/19 2:38 PM
3/7/05
Posts: 31449
Ummm no, and no, and no again. Did I mention no? Can someone please explain to these writers that simple contradiction is NOT a clever re-imagining?

Maybe try this take, Thomas Wayne always intended for his son to be a crime fighter. Insert ideas about Tom training a young Bruce to fight, instilling in him the idea of justice at any cost. Planting the seeds of what became Batman. See that changes Thomas Wayne, tilts the view of Batman a little WITHOUT trampling on what the story is and what the characters are.
10/16/19 11:59 PM
2/4/07
Posts: 30358
I think it's a symptom of a character being around for 80 years with multiple monthly books, multiple TV series, movies, video games, and whatever else. What angles are left to explore? What if Thomas Wayne was bad? What if Martha Wayne was a former call girl? What if Alfred is secretly Bruce's Dad? What if Thomas and Alfred were secretly gay lovers and Martha was his beard? What if Thomas and Alfred were gay, but only because the Joker went into the past and sprayed them with a gay ray to prevent Batman was being born, but Batman went back into time and fucked his mom, becoming his own father?