A Very Old Picture Casts Doubt on the Origins of Batman

by Eric Lee
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An old picture of a bearded masked man with pointy bat ears recently took the internet by storm with the claim that it is the actual true inspiration behind the origins of Batman.

The photo and new “origin” were provided by a man named Jake Shearer on the “Travel Scotland Goals Group” Facebook group.

According to Shearer, the man in the picture is named “Wayne Bruce (descendant of Robert the Bruce).”  Allegedly, Wayne Bruce wore the mask to beat criminals in 1880’s Scotland. 

Little know[n] fact that Scotsman Wayne Bruce (descendant of Robert the Bruce) was the inspiration for The Batman Comics. Wayne who would wear a disguise and used his inheritance to take on criminals in the 1880s, this is also why Glasgow was used to depict Gotham in the Batman films as a homage to the true origin story.”

Naturally, a claim of a real-life Batman in the 19th Century will make something go viral. It is unclear how convinced the internet was of such claims, with many commenters making jokes about a Scottish Batman.

Will the Real Batman Please Stand Up?

To convolute matters even more, some X (formerly Twitter) commenters made a claim that the photo is not Wayne Bruce, but actually a man named Bill Smith. Reportedly, Smith was a butcher who caught someone stealing from him and hunted down the criminals.

Even more research went into the photo, which seems to have originated from multiple sources. It seems that the image was first spotted in a Reddit post in 2017. It was later seen in a Bandcamp profile picture.

Additionally, the photo seems to have originated from Foto Marvellini., the site creators Andrea and Carlo Marvellini confirmed that the photo was a print made in 2012.

The site is a photography project that specializes in making old-timey photos. A brief perusing of the site shows similar images of things that definitely did not exist in the 19th Century. Images include old-style Hispanic Batman, an 1800s woman who somehow has the Batman Returns Catwoman mask on her, and a mustached Captain America.

Batman: The Scottish Connection

So there you go. Obviously, the internet is full of wild claims and misinformation that should be taken with a grain of salt, but most Bat fans know that Bob Kane and Bill Finger took multiple inspirations to create Batman. This includes Zorro, The Shadow, and Leonardo DaVinci’s flying machine drawings.

While the Scottish Batman photo and its “origin story” is fake, it is laced with some strange truths that not even the internet was aware of. Within DC canon, it was established in 1998’s Batman: The Scottish Connection by Alan Grant and Frank Quietly that Bruce Wayne’s ancestors were indeed from Scotland. Now that’s a piece of Batman trivia that’s actually true.

Source: snopes.com – Origins of Batman

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