Much has been written already about Batman here at Comic Basics, which is not surprising considering that he is one of the most iconic comic book characters ever written. We’ve touched upon his superhuman feats, despite him not possessing any superhuman abilities. We’ve also written about his intelligence and his and his legendary prep time that allows him to win just about any match-up with enough time given to prepare himself, but one aspect of Batman’s character continues to be largely unexplored, his seemingly dark, brooding, and antisocial personality which led many fans to believe that Batman is autistic. Due to that, we’ve decided to explore this theory in a bit more detail to see whether there is true to this.
Batman is not autistic. At least, this has never been officially confirmed by his creators. Still, despite Batman’s lack of an official diagnosis, he does have some traits of people who are on the spectrum. Notably, he can be obsessive about things and does appear to be withdrawn and antisocial at times. This doesn’t mean that he is autistic, however, as these traits are often associated with people that carry great emotional trauma and intelligence, both things that Batman is famous for.
Now that we’ve covered that Batman is not autistic, it’s time to explain or rather explore why. If you’re interested in more, stay with us and keep reading!
Batman shares some personality traits with people on the spectrum
Autism is a disorder with many faces and can manifest itself through a variety of symptoms. Sometimes they are obvious, and sometimes people simply live their lives with quirks unique to them, not even realizing they are on the spectrum until they discover by accident or someone close to them points out that they might be autistic. This is why it’s hard to self-diagnose, and it’s even harder to diagnose a fictional character.
Let’s take into account the most common signs of autism. We can notice that the list mostly includes obsessive behavior, difficulty navigating social situations, difficulty communicating and expressing your emotions and sticking to some routines that, while they seem unimportant to others, appear to be vital in keeping people on the spectrum stable.
I am by no means an expert on autism, but it appears that Bruce Wayne indeed displays some of these signs.
He is obsessive when planning his battle strategy, which propelled him to the hall of fame when it comes to master strategists in the DC Universe. He seems to avoid social interactions, preferring to brood in silence, alone. He is incredibly smart and focused on specific things when he needs to be. And he can, in some instances, appear to be very neurotic and nervous. But does this mean that Batman has autism? No, he is simply a very well-written character.
His flawed personality and quirks are what make him so relatable to the general public, as well as his lack of apparent superpowers. Batman is probably the only character in comic books that always has a chance, at least in theory, to defeat a vastly more powerful character, all thanks to his planning and obsession with keeping up with his moral code.
Batman doesn’t have autism, but he does have PTSD
One of the most defining things when it comes to Batman’s character is the trauma and emotional baggage that he has carried ever since he was a young boy. His origin story is one of the most famous in the world of comics, and by now, everyone is aware that Thomas and Martha Wayne died when Bruce was only around eight years old. They were killed by a criminal going under the name Joe Chill, and Bruce never managed to make peace with it.
He even attempted suicide at one point but ultimately refused to let his fears and pain rule his life. This is only in theory, however, as ever since that fateful evening, Batman’s life has been ruled by that fear and by that burning vengeance.
Batman is obsessive because he has to be. He is a non-superpowered human taking up arms against cosmic beings such as Darkseid. He needs to “plan” things as if his life depends on it because it truly does. He doesn’t have a healing factor or diamond-hard skin. He needs to take every extra precaution to ensure his survival and that he gets to keep on fighting one more day.
Batman is antisocial because he has trouble communicating his emotions, which is directly related to his trauma. There’s simply too much baggage involved. Pair this with the fact that he must always keep his identity hidden. It makes keeping relationships and friendships afloat kind of hard.
Bruce intentionally avoids forming normal relationships, not because he doesn’t know how, but because he knows that it might be used against him and he can bring people he cares about in danger. He can never truly open up about things, at least to someone who doesn’t share his secret lifestyle. Batman has had numerous love interests over the years, and they always end up as messy affairs.
In the context of Batman’s alleged lack of social skills, let’s not forget that he is an extremely wealthy businessman and a playboy. He knows his way around social interactions. He just chooses not to socialize with people.
Despite all of his flaws, Batman does uphold his moral code at all times and navigates his crime-fighting with relative easy thanks to his wits.
Even though he shares some traits with people on the spectrum, he was never confirmed to be autistic, and not that many signs point in that direction, to be honest, especially if you take his past trauma into consideration.
What do you think about Batman’s autistic traits? Let us know in the comments below!