It may have been conscious or subconscious. It may have just ended up developing that way. However, there are abundant similarities between the fictional character of Bruce Wayne and the very real President of the United States Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt. Some of them may have been intentional upon Batman’s creation, but others seemingly developed on their own over time. At any rate, check out the almost eerie similarities between the two.
10. Prodigies and Children In The Service
Examine the rather eerie parallel on this one. Theodore Roosevelt had four sons. They were Theodore Roosevelt Jr., Archibald Roosevelt, Kermit Roosevelt, and Quentin Roosevelt. All four of Roosevelt’s sons served in military service. Bruce Wayne had four young men who held the mantle of Robin. They are Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, Tim Drake, and Damian Wayne. The odd parallel beyond that? They each lost one while they were in uniform. Quentin Roosevelt was killed during service in World War I. Jason Todd was killed by the Joker while still acting as Robin. In Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, Bruce Wayne refers to both Jason Todd as well as the Carrie Kelly Robin as ‘good soldier.’ If you want to get overly technical, then you could also mention either Kelly or Stephanie Brown as Robin. Roosevelt also had two daughters. Their names were Alice and Ethel. So during the course of his lifetime, Bruce Wayne’s Robins match Roosevelt’s children in number and gender.
9. They Are Both Noted Hunters
When Batman first met Ras Al’ Ghul in Batman #232, he climbs a mountain and combats a ‘trained leopard.’ Eventually, Wayne proves himself by meeting Al’ Ghul in combat. Roosevelt took a noted African safari in 1909 which consisted of traveling, mountain climbing, as well as hunting all sorts of wild and exotic animals. Roosevelt was also a soldier as well as man hunter during the Spanish/American War. Wayne, in his role as Batman, is not only a hunter of men but also of several hybrid man/animals such as Man Bat and Killer Croc.
8. World Travelers As Young Men
A young Theodore Roosevelt was educated by private tutors. Roosevelt also spent extensive time traveling and learning both Europe as well as the Middle East. Early on, Roosevelt picked up hunting as well as fighting techniques. This is not completely dissimilar from Bruce Wayne’s early journey. Wayne learned from noted fighters, detectives, ninjas, and magicians. The journeys of Roosevelt as well as Wayne even seemed to overlap the same general areas. The Mark of Zorro starring Douglas Fairbanks is largely reported to be the movie which Bruce Wayne was watching when his parents were shot in crime alley. This would put Wayne almost exactly a generation after Roosevelt. Roosevelt died one year before The Mark of Zorro was released.
7. The Hero As A Symbol
In 1895, Theodore Roosevelt and Henry Cabot Lodge collaborated on Hero Tales From American History. It would be one of over twenty books which Roosevelt would write during the course of his lifetime. Hero Tales was aimed at a younger generation of readers to inspire them with real tales of heroism. Early on, Bruce Wayne realized the importance of the hero as symbol and a story rather than a man. A man can be beaten or destroyed, however someone else could take on the mantle of a symbol. It was not necessarily the criminals that Batman was putting away, but rather the fact that there was a Batman there to do it. In that way, Batman inspires others to acts of heroism. That is exactly the point that Roosevelt and Lodge were trying to make in Hero Tales.
6. Both Are From New York City/Gotham City
Gotham City is generally acknowledged to be New York City from the 1930’s – 1940’s. Bruce Wayne is widely known to be a native son of Gotham. In much the same way, Roosevelt was also a native son of New York City. New York City, to this day, is often referred as Gotham. Wayne and Roosevelt would not have been both been brought up in the same city but they would have also been familiar with the same turn of the century landmarks in New York/Gotham.
5. Both Were Born Into Wealthy Families
Theodore Roosevelt’s father Theodore Roosevelt Sr. was already well to do when Theodore was born. Roosevelt Sr. was a fourth generation New Yorker and ran his family’s plate glass business. Even though Roosevelt would become to be known as a rugged environmentalist, he was actually born into a relative lap of luxury. In an interesting parallel, Roosevelt Sr. was also a noted humanitarian and philanthropist. Bruce Wayne was similarly born into wealth. Wayne’s father was a doctor as well as a socialite. Thomas Wayne also founded the Wayne Foundation. The Wayne Foundation is noted for its philanthropy as well as its humanitarian efforts.
4. The “Anne Hathaway” Connection
You can actually closely match the name “Anne Hathaway” to Theodore Roosevelt. Roosevelt had an older sister named Anna who was also known as Bamie. Interestingly enough. Roosevelt’s first wife was named Alice Hathaway Lee. It is a relatively small bit of trivia, but you can actually derive the name Ann Hathaway from two of the most important women in Theodore Roosevelt’s life. Naturally, the Bruce Wayne connection on this is that the actress Anne Hathaway was chosen to play Catwoman in the 2012 movie The Dark Knight Rises.
3. They Were Both Effective Crime Fighters
Bruce Wayne may have had a utility belt, but Roosevelt used the Sherman Anti-Trust Act to speak softly while carrying a big stick. The legislation, passed in 1890, gave the Justice Department the power to break up monopolies. In 1904, Roosevelt used the power of the Anti-Trust Act to bust up Northern Securities company. Northern securities was a cadre of oil barons pooling power, which Michael Moore would have called out in a documenary. Scarily, Moore would have been right.
2. They Both Lost Two Family Members On The Same Day
Theodore Roosevelt’s first wife Alice as well as his mother, named Martha, died on the same day. The day was February 14th, 1884, Valentine’s Day. Compounding the tragedy even more, Alice died of complications of a kidney disease after giving birth to their first and only child together, a girl. Bruce Wayne’s mother, also named Martha, as well as his father Thomas were killed in a double homicide. At the time of his wife and mother’s death, Roosevelt’s father Theodore Roosevelt Sr. had also already passed away. Both knew what it was to suffer two devastating tragedies on the same day.
1. Both Worked Through Gunshots
For Batman, being shot is simply an occupational hazard. However, for a candidate on a campaign stop, being shot at close range is a little bit more uncommon. On October 14th, 1912 (before a campaign address), Roosevelt was shot in the chest at close range by shopkeeper John Schrank in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Famously, Roosevelt went on to give the speech. At one point, Roosevelt pulled out the bloody manuscript declaring “You see, it takes more than one bullet to kill a Bull Moose.” The bullet was still in Roosevelt’s chest. Roosevelt was rushed to the hospital after the event. It was one of the defining moments in the legend of a larger than life superhero.