Courtesy Ancestry; Inset:Warner Bros.
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March 17, 2016 08:05 PM

Batman and Superman: fictional superheroes or military men and farm laborers?

Ahead of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice‘s big debut at the box office, Ancestry dug deep into 17 billion historical records to find the namesakes of DC Comics’ iconic characters.

Turns out, Superman – who is portrayed by Henry Cavill in Dawn of Justice – shares an earth name with an American military captain.

Ben Affleck as Batman and Henry Cavill as Superman
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures/ TM & DC Comics

The real Clark Kent was born in 1798 in Newberry, Vermont, to Martha – the name of fictional Kal-El’s adoptive mother. Want to visit the son of Jor-El? He’s buried in the city’s Oxbow Cemetery.

As for the Man of Steel’s lady love Lois Lane? She was married to an American who registered for the World War II draft. His boss Perry White also wasn’t actually in the newspaper business – Ancestry tracked him to a jail in 1858.

Lois Lane's husband's WWII registration card
Courtesy Ancestry

Kent’s foe in the Zack Snyder-directed blockbuster (portrayed by Ben Affleck) doesn’t share much in common with his true-to-life counterpart. While Bruce Wayne is a billionaire, the man who originally claimed his moniker was a farm laborer in 1940s Arkansas. Living with wife Louise, a laundress, Mr. Wayne was quite removed from Gotham City.

The actual man bearing Wayne’s father’s name fared a little better than the Caped Crusader’s, regardless. Thomas Wayne of England lived until age 95 and certainly did not meet a tragic, untimely demise like his fictional counterpart, who was gunned down in front a young Bruce.

Harvey Dent's names in jail records
Courtesy Ancestry
Historical documents featuring the real Alfred Penny
Courtesy Ancestry

Other discoveries from the world of Gotham included an Alfred Penny (not quite “Pennyworth,” sure, like Batman’s loyal butler), who left Southampton for New York in 1953, and an Alexander Luther who served in the US Marine Corps from 1935-1956.

And good ‘ol Two-Face (the villainous alter-ego of Harvey Dent)? Well his historical counterpart too walked on the dark side. A Harvey Dent appeared in the U.K. Criminal Registers more than once, and spent three months in prison around 1850.

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In the upcoming movie, Bryce Wayne wages a personal war against Superman over the destruction of Metropolis – a vendetta further exacerbated by notoriously meddlesome Lex Luthor – a little more exciting than an Arkansas farmer’s plight.

Batman v Superman hits theaters March 25.

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