By: Patrick Byrnes, Staff Member of the Passaic County Department of Cultural & Historic Affairs
Today is #BatmanDay, celebrating everyone's favorite 'dark knight'! We're taking the opportunity to explore the connections between Bruce Wayne and Wayne Township.
In the 1930s, Bob Kane and Bill Finger collaborated to create "The Batman." Finger developed the ideas into the Batman we know today, transforming the domino mask to a cowl and giving him a cape and gloves, while Kane created the fundamental design. Finger, named Bruce Wayne the alter ego of Batman after “Mad” Anthony Wayne.
The name Wayne was derived from the American Revolutionary War brigade general Anthony Wayne. During the Revolutionary War, he commanded multiple engagements. Wayne was highly decorated for his actions throughout the battle, and he was promoted to commanding officer by George Washington. He earned the nickname "Mad Anthony Wayne" because he was a fearless combatant and leader.
Finger later wrote “Bruce Wayne’s first name came from Robert the Bruce, the Scottish patriot. Wayne, being a playboy, was a man of gentry. I searched for a name that would suggest colonialism. I tried Adams, Hancock … then I thought of Mad Anthony Wayne.”
In fact, in the DC Comics universe, a fictionalized version of Anthony Wayne appears as an ancestor of Bruce Wayne. Wayne appears in "World's Finest" #186 and 187 where an anonymously donated bust of Mad Anthony Wayne, bears a striking resemblance to Bruce Wayne. When the bust is crushed into bits, Batman summons Superman to reassemble it, and they are both surprised to discover that the bust resembles Batman after all the pieces were reassembled.
Superman and Batman decide to solve the mystery by traveling back in time to the American Revolution. When the heroes arrive, they are confronted by Anthony Wayne, who believes they are foes.
Also, in the comics, General Wayne was given the land on which Wayne Manor is built as a reward for his service during the Revolutionary War.
When the township of Wayne was established in 1847 it too was named after the famous “Mad” Anthony Wayne.
The Wayne Museum operates under a shared services agreement between the Township of Wayne and the County of Passaic. The County manages and operates the Wayne Museum on the Township’s behalf through the County’s Department of Cultural & Historic Affairs.