Dr. Thomas Wayne was a respected surgeon in Gotham City (after honing his medical skills in the Army) . He inherited his family's ancestral home, Wayne Manor, and (with his brother Philip) took charge of the family business, Wayne Enterprises. A philanthropist, Thomas Wayne also established the charitable Wayne Foundation. In his spare time, he conducted occult experiments in restoring the dead to life.
Thomas and Martha Wayne had two sons, Thomas Jr. and Bruce. Thomas Jr. was more introverted, while Bruce was far more excitable and extroverted than his brother. One night when Bruce was a young child, his family attended a costume fundraiser. The theme of the party was "Flying Creatures". Thomas Wayne decided to masquerade as a bat, and wore a costume consisting of a pointed mask, and large, dark blue scalloped wings. The impressionable Bruce admired his father's outfit and openly asked if one day he might be able to wear such a fearsome costume. Thomas told Bruce he would save the costume for Bruce to wear when he grew up, at the time having no idea how prophetic the innocent question truly was. 
During the party, Thomas's 'Bat-Man' costume won him first prize. Shortly after, several gangsters raided the mansion and recognized that Wayne was a physician. Kidnapping him, they brought him to an old warehouse where he was to perform emergency surgery on mob boss Lew Moxon who had been suffering from a serious gunshot wound.
Wayne knew that once he removed the bullet from Moxon's body, the gangster would likely kill him. Instead of performing the surgery, Thomas dove into the gangsters and managed to apprehend every one of them. He then called the police and handed the thugs over to a young police lieutenant named James Gordon. The courts sentenced Moxon to ten years in prison.
Moxon only served a few years in jail and upon release, decided to pay a visit to Thomas Wayne. With a menacing sneer, he glibly told Wayne that he would find a way to get even with him – even if he had to use somebody else to do his dirty work.
A few weeks later, Thomas, Martha and young Bruce were walking home from a night out at the movies. A mugger named Joe Chill emerged from the shadows of Park Row and threatened them with a gun, demanding money. Thomas tried to fight back, but Chill shot him directly in the chest, killing him. He then turned his gun on Martha and viciously ended her life as well. Bruce stared on in horror as his parents lay dead beside him. Chill turned on his heel and ran from the alleyway, leaving Bruce beside the bodies of his father and mother.
The boys' uncle Philip, Thomas's brother, took custody of the two, placing Thomas Jr. into a mental institution as Bruce's brother had had a complete emotional collapse following the event. Bruce would turn his obvious energies into a longstanding anger that would drive him to seek vengeance on every criminal everywhere as the Batman. The Wayne brothers would not meet again until far later in their adult lives where personal tragedy resulting from criminals would again befall them, ending in Thomas Jr.'s death.
- This version of Thomas Wayne, including all history and corresponding appearances, was erased from existence following the collapse of the original Multiverse in the 1985–86 Crisis on Infinite Earths limited series. Even though versions of the character may have since appeared, this information does not apply to those versions.
- 61 Appearances of Thomas Wayne (Earth-One)
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- Character Gallery: Thomas Wayne (Earth-One)