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17 May 2010 @ 12:50 pm
Geektank: A Cave Without A Draft  
This is partly related to legacy2020, and partly a matter of general curiosity.

Back in World War II, Clark Kent volunteered for service, but failed his eye test. He was sufficiently agitated that his x-ray vision kicked in, and he wound up reading the (entirely different) eye chart in the next exam room. That popped up in the Superman newspaper strip, in February of 1942:

Bruce Wayne, on the other claw ... I have no idea what kept him out of the service. The Batman movie serial of 1943 has a line where Bruce and Dick talk about being on "special assignment" for "Uncle Sam", with the implication that said uncle knows who Batman and Robin really are, but to the best of my knowledge, nothing of the sort was ever brought up in the funny pages.

We've got the appropriate volumes of The Batman Chronicles at the store, and I suppose I could leaf through them and find out. On the other claw, it's more fun to ask the LiveJournal Hive Mind:

  1. Did the comics of the '40s ever provide an explanation for why Bruce Wayne stayed out of the service?
  2. Did any post-WWII comics throw in any retcons to answer the question?
  3. Okay, gang, what do you think? Did Bruce use his wealth to pull strings? Or did the proverbial "little man from the Draft Board" simply never drop in on Wayne Manor? Not everyone got called up, after all, and Lazy Trust Fund Playboy is exactly the kind of stereotype nobody would expect to volunteer.

(Please indicate which questions you're answering when you comment. Specific citations are preferable to hearsay, naturally.)
John "The Gneech" Robey: Alex Spazthe_gneech on May 17th, 2010 08:37 pm (UTC)
Are you kidding? Bruce Wayne was much more valuable making weapons with Wayne Industries so Uncle Sam could smash the axis!

Duh. ;P

Paka: pied crowpaka on May 17th, 2010 09:01 pm (UTC)
My negative opinion of both Batman and America's ruling classes is that, if you're going with a timeline that has Bruce alive during the 1940s, very probably;

1) Bruce was initially opposed to American involvement in WWII...

2) ... possibly because he was making some very nice money off of dealing with the Germans and...

3) ... when war did break out, one of the various Wayne Industries thing probably made book on selling materiel to the Army or USAAF. Such that of course the company's owner couldn't be called up, now, could he?
Hafochafoc on May 17th, 2010 11:16 pm (UTC)
Actually, no, he couldn't. Aircraft designers and other engineers, scientists, and others vital to the war effort were exempted. I don't think they ever say much about his day job, but I always thought Wayne was an engineer or inventor-ish sort of guy. They'd probably want him to stay home and make things that go boom.

On the other hand, in my own comment.. I think there are more obvious (if perhaps mistaken) reasons for them not to draft Wayne. All he has to do is tell them...
Hafochafoc on May 17th, 2010 11:09 pm (UTC)
"And do you have a criminal record, Mr. Wayne?"


"Answer the question, please."


"There's a 'but' in there somewhere, I think. No, but...?"

"But under another name there might be something."

"And what might there be?"

"Well... a friend of mine likes to put on a mask and tights and wander around the streets all night."

"And.. your friend was arrested?"

"Oh, no! He hangs out near Crime Alley, mostly..."

"With the working girls and.. um. In tights. Does he go alone?"

"No. He's befriended a boy who goes there with him."

"In tights too?"

"Yes. And a mask, and the cutest pair of slippers."

"I see." (Checks six or seven boxes on the form on his clipboard with VERY HEAVY RED MARKS.) "That's all. You may go now, Mr. Wayne. We'll... be in touch."
Christopher Bradleycpxbrex on May 17th, 2010 11:37 pm (UTC)
I don't know the answer to 1 or 2, but as to three . . . ? I know the answer to that one.

Bruce Wayne had about the same chance of getting drafted as Howard Hughes - which is to say "none". He would have been considered necessary to the home war effort. He wouldn't have had to dodge the draft or pull strings. In the 40s, they simply didn't draft rich people. (By the 60s, they'd started drafting rich people, but they gave them lots of outs, like Bush's famous Texas Air Guard service where he never learned to fly a plane and took a year off to party in Louisiana under the pretext of helping a family friend get elected.) Indeed, had he tried to join, big shot government dudes would talk him out of it. Who'd run Wayne Industries?!
Moonfire: pensivemoonfires on May 17th, 2010 11:49 pm (UTC)
The "vital war jobs" wasn't reserved for the rich & educated. My grandfather, with his 8th grade education and factory job, was refused enlistment (he went and volunteered) because of what his company ultimately manufactured - mess kits.
silussa on May 18th, 2010 12:31 am (UTC)
I never would have thought of that as essential, but it does make sense in the context of "for want of a nail".
silussa on May 18th, 2010 12:35 am (UTC)
Just as an interesting note, I did a google on Bruce Wayne world war 2 draft, and your post came up at the top of the list.
Moral Explorernotthebuddha on May 18th, 2010 03:08 am (UTC)
2. As far as I know, only in that they progressively retconned the timeline to make Bruce to young to server then eventually not born yet.
3a. The defense industry angle, as everyone else mentioned.
3b. The wealth and social position. In fact, Bruce might have been asked to be on the draft board.
3c. Bruce is the only remaining Wayne family member at all (see SAVING PRIVATE RYAN).