Different comic books, or movie adaptations of comic books, involving the same character (perhaps slightly different versions of them) tend to have similar origin stories.

For example, in most (all?) versions of Spider-Man, Peter Parker gains his powers when he is bitten by a radioactive spider, and then witnesses his Uncle Ben dying, leading him to learn about his responsibility in protecting and helping others.

However, the manner of the bite (for example a spider that is in a museum or a laboratory) and the manner of his Uncle's death tend to vary slightly.

However, in every version of Batman that I am aware of, the origin of Batman stems from Bruce Wayne watching his parents be murdered by a mugger or hitman at night after going to the theater.

This seems really specific. Whilst the initial encounter that he has with with bats does actually differ through different iterations of the story, are there any Batman origins that don't involve him witnessing the death of his parents to a random mugging behind a theater?

If not, is there a reason why such a specific sequence of events always occurs?

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    Of possible interest: In which Comic Book series is Batman actually Thomas Wayne?
    – phantom42
    Apr 15, 2016 at 14:04
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    @Cone_of_Silence The Wayne's weren't in watchmen. While that series did have it's roots in DC characters, the characters were different.
    – CBredlow
    Apr 15, 2016 at 17:23
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    “This seems really specific” — More specific than being bitten by a magical spider and then seeing your Uncle die? Jun 13, 2019 at 9:41
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    @PaulD.Waite I meant the aspect of getting shot by a mugger after leaving the theater. It's always Peter's uncle in the same way it's always Bruce's parents, but how Peter encounters the spider isn't necessarily consistent. It's weird that it's always a mugging after a play, not a mugging after they've left a restaurant, or that they're killed in a home invasion. I wanted to know if there was any particular significance to that part of Batman's origin story. Jun 13, 2019 at 10:09
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    @Mike.C.Ford: gotcha, I see your point. They are, of course, millionaires, so they're unlikely to be killed on their way back from the Gotham Downtown All-U-Can-Eat Ribshack and Karaoke Bar. Jun 13, 2019 at 14:42

4 Answers 4


Detective Comics Volume 1 #500 (March, 1981) involves Batman of Earth-Five, where a mugger tried to kill his parents but was stopped by a Bat-like figure. The young Bruce Wayne took up a similar mantle as Batman, but not out of revenge but out of appreciation.

Very similar but slightly different origin.

So many of the alternative worlds will undoubtedly include slightly different origins. Thomas Wayne of Flashpoint, and Bruce's older brother (Thomas jr?) from Earth 3 are two good examples.

  • Made a couple of adjustments: Earth-Five is pre-crisis, where Earth-5 is post-infinite crisis. All in all, +1.
    – Politank-Z
    Apr 15, 2016 at 19:59

Most every origin involves Batman losing his parents. The only alternate origin breaking the mold is:

  • Kirk Langstrom in Gods and Monsters
  • Azreal from Knightfall
  • Possibly Leatherwing (Nazi Batman) from Earth-10

Here's a list you can look over for more options

There is also an Elseworlds tale called Batman: I, Joker with an alternate Batman.


There are a few actually.

Batman: Holy Terror is an Elseworld's tale which takes place in an alternate world, where the US is a commonwealth nation ruled by a corrupt Theocratic government that had Thomas and Martha Wayne assassinated. Bruce didn't seek vengence as a child, but solace in the Church, and 22 later was about to take vows to become a Cleric when he finds out the truth. Only then does he become a vigilante to stop the government's ongoing plot.

In Gotham By Gaslight , its set in the 19th Century and focuses on him coming to his Batman status during the rise of Jack the Ripper. Same initiating events, but a completely different detailed origin all its own, and an interesting story.

Superman: Speeding Bullets is another one; here, baby Kal-El is sent to earth but found by a childless couple...the Waynes. They name him Bruce, and are killed in front of him one night, causing "Bruce" to use his heat vision to kill the mugger. Years later, he dons the suit and takes up the mantle of Batman.... before meeting Lois Lane, who convinces him to be a symbol of light, thus becoming Superman.

To be fair, the Gotham TV series is essentially a vastly different take on his origin story, as well.


The closest to a different origin for Bruce becoming Batman is that there is a story in which Thomas Wayne in a Halloween Costume that is a "Bat Man" stops a crime from happening. This is sometimes in and sometimes out of canon, but it's paid homage to throughout the years with some renditions of the Batcave having this costume displayed in the same display cases as the others and it is made allusion to that Thomas is the original Batman.

Likewise Bruce was at one point been the original Robin. He went out trying to learn to become a detective and teamed up with a detective who called him "robin" short for Robin Hood due to his costume. This was removed from canon though.

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