Father of Bruce Wayne, Thomas Wayne inherited the Wayne family fortune and became a gifted surgeon and renowned philanthropist in Gotham City. He once, coincidentally, dressed in a bat-themed costume for a masquerade ball.
Thomas Wayne was created by Bob Kane, Bill Finger and Gardner Fox to facilitate the origin of Batman.
Golden Age / Earth-Two
During the Golden Age, Thomas Wayne played a less lucrative part in Batman's origin other than the fact that his murder propelled Bruce into becoming Batman. He first appeared in Detective Comics #33 November 1939. In the story,Thomas and Martha were exiting a theater when a mugger named Joe Chill stopped them. Thomas tried to protect his wife and son when the Chill shot him.
The shock of seeing her husband die gave Martha Wayne a heart attack and she died with him. Years later, Chill would become a racketeer, transporting wanted criminals across the state lines. Batman reveals his identity to Chill accusing him of murdering his parents. Shocked that he was the one responsible for the creation of Batman, Chill ran to his men in the garage. When they found out that Chill is responsible for the creation of the Batman, they shot him dead.
Silver Age / Earth-One
During the Silver Age, Thomas Wayne's character was further developed and tied to Batman's origins. Dr. Thomas Wayne wore a bat themed costume for a party, where he took first place for the best costume. Shortly thereafter, two gangsters kidnap him and take him to their boss, Lew Moxon, who was shot during a bank heist and wants Thomas to remove the bullet. Thomas knew that if he removed the bullet, Moxon would kill him, so he took the only chance he had and kicked Moxon's chair, causing Moxon to fall to the ground. He then attacked the two remaining thugs, who the police found out cold when they arrived.
Lew Moxon was arrested and, in one of the shortest trials in Gotham's history, sentenced to ten years in prison. Later, Moxon would resurface and vow revenge on Wayne. To accomplish this, he hired Joe Chill to pretend to be a mugger and kill Thomas and his wife Martha so that young Bruce would testify that his parents were killed by a mugger.
Years later, when Bruce was thinking of becoming a symbol to strike terror into the hearts of criminals, a bat flew through his window. Seeing the bat reminded Bruce of his father wearing the bat costume, so he designed a similar costume and became the Batman. Batman would eventually find Joe Chill and, similar to the earlier stories, Chill was killed by his own men when they realized his role in Batman's creation. As Chill died, Batman told him: " It was not Batman that finished you, it was Bruce Wayne". Sometime later, Batman discovers that it was really Lew Moxon who was responsible for his parents murder and tracks him down, but It is revealed that Moxon suffered amnesia due to an accident some time after the Wayne's death. Because Batman's suit was torn during a fight, Robin suggests that he wears his father's bat costume instead. Wearing his father's costume, Batman confronts Moxon, who runs away frightened onto street where a truck hits and kills him.
Modern Age / New Earth
After the Crisis on Infinite Earths, much of the DC universe was retconned. In the new origin, Bruce, then age four, fell down a fissure (or a well) that led to what would one day become the Batcave. Thomas rescued his son, but Bruce was already traumatized by bats that had been living in the cave. Later, when Bruce was eight, his parents took him to see the Mark of Zorro. Unfortunately, when they were returning from the theater, a mugger stops them and kills Thomas and his wife.
In the Secret Origins of The Batman, Batman says that he may have trained years to become the World's Greatest Detective and hunted down all those super villains, but he couldn't find a two bit gun man. Batman also says that he hasn't visited his parents grave ever since he captured Chill, but knows they will always be with him in his spirit.
The New 52 / Prime Earth
In The New 52, Thomas origin similar to the Golden Age version Thomas. Thomas and his wife Martha left the theater with their son Bruce. They walk down a dark alley when they are stopped by robber named Joe Chill. Chill has a gun pointing at them, Thomas tried to protect his family. Then Chill shots Thomas and Martha, killing the both of them.
Major Story Arcs
Modern Age / New Earth:
The Long Halloween
For further details: Long Halloween
It was revealed that crime boss Vincent came to Thomas Wayne to operate on his son Carmine Falcone, who had been shot during a gang fight. Thomas wanted to take him to a hospital, but Vincent disagreed, so he performed the surgery in a dining room. After the surgery, Thomas was offered a reward for saving Carmine Falcone but refused, saying that "to a doctor, a patient is a patient."
Meanwhile, young Bruce watched all this from behind. After it was revealed that Carmine Falcone was behind the holiday killings, Bruce wonders if Gotham would be better off if Thomas hadn't saved Falcone's life.
Death and Maidens
In this storyline, Ra's Al Ghul offers Batman a chance to talk to his parents. Batman, hesitant at first, swallows an elixir and believes that he is speaking to his parents. Surprisingly though, both his parents disapprove of Bruce's costumed crusade, believing that Bruce had sacrificed too much and his chance of happiness by becoming Batman. As they leave, both of them assured him that the lessening of his grief does not mean he (Bruce) no longer cares for them. After his experience, Bruce realizes that he is Batman only because he chooses to be, not because he has to be.
Powers and Abilities
In both the Pre-Flashpoint, Flashpoint, and Post-Flashpoint timelines, Thomas Wayne is an accomplished physician and skilled surgeon. It is said that he is responsible for saving thousands of lives personally. Bruce speaking of his father states at one point: "My father saved the lives of over four thousand people, one at a time… with his bare hands and his mind." In the Flashpoint timeline, it is shown that he is able to treat and care for deadly injuries, such as Barry's third degree burns over seventy five percent of his body, with minimal medical equipment. Also in the Flashpoint Timeline, Thomas Wayne additionally uses his medical expertise to his advantage for combat purposes. For example in his confrontation with Barry Allen who had previously lost his powers, Thomas is shown capable of applying pressure points and breaking Barry's finger and nearly breaking Barry's arm simply to gain information. Additionally, Thomas coats some of his batarangs with a substance known as Etomidate, a drug used by Medical professionals which has anesthetic and amnestic properties and hypnotic effects.
When he assumes the role of Batman in alternate universes, it is said than Thomas has similar level of tactical genius than Bruce. In the post-flasphpoint reality of Earth 2 Thomas's abilities seem to be equivalent to those of his Flashpoint counterpart.
Equipment and Vehicles
As a civil Thomas Wayne have all the access to the resources of the Wayne industires he can afford. He also count with a limo usually driven by his personal servant, Alfred Pennyworth.
In the Flashpoint timeline, Thomas Wayne have a similar acces to the same resources than Bruce as Batman, but relies more on his own Oracle, Selina Kyle.
On Earth-2 Thomas as Batman is shown to be a little bit more high tech, demonstrating a computer built into his Cowl in addition to a wrist mounted gun similiar to that of Deadshot's that are seen firing explosive pellets and a grappling hook. His batsuit also appears to be more armored as he is shown as being able to withstand a gunshot to the head and seems to be able to match the super strength of Red Tornado, much to her astonisment.
In most alternate versions, Thomas Wayne always repeats his role at Batman origin, by dying along his wife, triggering Bruce destiny, with small differences:
In the elseworld Superman: Red Son, the unnamed parents of Batman are gunned down in their homes by the Russian government for printing anti-communist contraband. This leads their son to grow up determined to overthrow the Russian Government, much like Bruce Wayne's fight against crime.
JLA: Secret Society of the Superheroes
In the elseworld Secret Society of Superheroes, Thomas Wayne was member of a Kryptonian Order, a society of superheroes who acted in secret, acting as their resident Batman. However, he ended being killed when he disagreed with certain politics of the Order, leaving his death as a mystery to resolve for his son Bruce, who had become a FBI investigator.
In other alternate stories, Thomas took a different role in the Batman mythos:
In the elseworld JLA: Destiny, Thomas Wayne survived the gunning in Crime Alley, but his wife and son died. Motivated by this tragedy, Thomas founded the Justice League of Gotham, which reunited several costumed vigilantes trained to prevent crime. When superhumans started to appears Thomas tried to include several of them on the team, but the differences were to wide to make them operate efficientely as a unit, make them a liability for their operations.
In JLA: Earth 2 the Anti-Matter Universe, The Waynes had two sons. Bruce Wayne and Thomas Wayne Jr. When Bruce and Martha were murdered by a crooked cop because Thomas Sr. refused to comply, Thomas Jr. grew up to be Owlman, vowing to get revenge on Earth two's so called justice system. Thomas Sr. became the commissioner of the Gotham City Police department in his quest to stop his son.
For further details: Flashpoint
In the alternate reality known as the Flashpoint timeline, Thomas and Martha Wayne weren't gunned down by Joe Chill, but it was Bruce who died in crime alley that fateful nigh. The trauma of that event pushed Thomas Wayne to asume the mantle of Batman, without qualms about killing, meanwhile his wife fell into madness and became the Joker of that reality.
After helping Barry Allen to restore the original timeline, the Flashpoint Batman survived the aparent destruction of his timeline during the Button arc. But by arriving at the main reality, he allied himself with Bane to destroy Bruce, dissapointed on him because he still had chose to be Batman, depiste (Flashpoint) Thomas asking him to quit to the cape. When the main universe Batman defeated Bane and the Flashpoint Batman, he dissapered only to be discoverd in earth 23 by Justice Incarnate.
For further details, see the Flashpoint Batman page.
In the post-Flashpoint reality of Earth-2, Thomas Wayne appears as the new Batman somehow alive in as of yet unexplained circumstances six years after his sons death. While Al Pratt is investigating possible Apokolips activity Thomas follows him and saves him from some of Brainwave's goons. Later he tracks down a Spanish terrorist named Mister Icicle and interrogates him about Kanto. Icicle leads him to Hawkgirl before Thomas shoots him in the chest. After Brutaal kills Steppenwolf and terrorizes the World Army, Batman breaks into the what was formerly known as Arkham Asylum and is now a military base with a basement full of stasis pods, with the intent to free some of most dangerous prisoners in order to defeat Superman. He intercepted by Sonia Sato and Red Tornado who do their best to defeat him to no avail as he successfully frees the mysterious Aquawoman and a now technokinetic Jimmy Olsen. When Olsen reveals a Parademon attack the four depart for battle but Batman manages to free one last prisoner by shooting five rounds into the Joker's frozen body.
He reveals to Red Tornado that he is in fact, the late Bruce Wayne's father, and was working for the Falcone crime family before having a bad falling-out. In the same murder that inspired Bruce to become Batman from a now hit man Joe Chill, Thomas secretly survived, having a friend cover up his tracks and let everyone know that he was "dead," but he was building up revenge against the Falcones. Stealing the drug Miraclo from Rex Mason (Metamorpho) he obtained superpowers for an hour. When Bruce, growing up, discovered this, he disowned Thomas. After Bruce's death in the Apokoliptian invasion from Darkseid, Thomas again comes out of hiding and with the drug Miraclo, takes up his son's legacy and becomes Batman in his absence. Recently he has been fighting off those attacks.
Though the invasion has seemed pointless and inevitable his miraclo has helped Thomas tremendously. He and his teammates barely escaped the grasp of Darkseid and were transported by Telos to the planet where Convergence is taking place. Telos is Brainiacs caretaker to the many cities hes stolen through out the multiverse. In Convergence #2 he is seen speaking with a version of Batman that is still unclear. They realize that the person standing infront of them is a version of the person that was killed and was the very reason that led to the path of the cape and cowl.
Thomas appears in a flashback in the Super Friends episode "The Fear," voiced by Paul Kirby.
Batman: The Animated Series
He also made appearances in the DC Animated Universe in several episodes of Batman: The Animated Series, voiced by Richard Moll and Kevin Conroy (the latter of whom also voiced Bruce).
Thomas appears in the Justice League Unlimitedepisode "For the Man Who Has Everything," voiced again by Kevin Conroy.
Thomas appears in The Batman.
Batman: The Brave and the Bold
In the Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode "Chill of the Night!", Thomas was voiced by former 60s Batman star Adam West.
Beware the Batman
Thomas appears in Beware the Batman, voiced byAnthony Michael Ruivivar (who also voiced Bruce).
Grayson McCouch plays Thomas Wayne in the pilot episode for the FOX TV series Gotham. The aftermath of his murder drives much of the plot for the rest of the series.
Thomas Wayne appears in Pennyworth, portrayed by Ben Aldridge. This version of the character has a background as a CIA agent.
- Thomas Wayne appears in a flashback in Batman (1989), played by David Braxt. In contrast to the comics, he and Martha are killed by Jack Napier, the man who later goes on to become the Joker.
- Batman Forever (1995) features an additional flashback to the murder of the Waynes, with Thomas played by Michael Scranton.
- In the first film of The Dark Knight Trilogy, Batman Begins (2005) director by Christopher Nolan. Thomas Wayne is portrayed by actor Linus Roache. In this adaptation, Thomas is a successful doctor and influential CEO in Gotham City creating great progress as well as being a caring father. Thomas truly loves his son Bruce and teaches him that people fall, so that they can pick themselves back up. Bruce idolizes Thomas and sees his father as his greatest hero. One fateful night, Thomas, his wife Martha, and Bruce attend an Opera, but when Bruce becomes frightened by the "bat" actors, Thomas makes the decision to leave the show early through a back alley. The trio is approached by a mugger named Joe Chill who goes on to gun down Thomas and Martha in front of their son. Bruce is devastated by his parents death and everything is set into motion for him to eventually become the Batman.
- The opening scene of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice features a flashback to the murder of of Thomas and Martha Wayne, with Thomas portrayed by Walking Dead star Jeffrey Dean Morgan in a cameo.
- Thomas Wayne is a major character in Joker (2019), portrayed by Brett Cullen. This version of the character is far less sympathetic than prior incarnations, and is depicted as a greedy and elitist business tycoon in the vein of Donald Trump. It is suggested that that Thomas may be the biological father of Arthur Fleck (the man who goes on to become the Joker), though Thomas disputes this, claiming Arthur's mother was delusional. At the close of the film, he and Martha are gunned down by one of the rioters inspired by Arthur's uprising.
- Thomas Wayne was featured in the HeroClix figure game as both Flashpoint Batman and Earth-2 Batman. For more Flashpoint Batman merchandise, see the Flashpoint Batman page.
- DC Collectibles produced a figure of Thomas Wayne as Earth-2 Batman.