After tireless investigation, this reporter has at last found out Batman's secret identity. The caped crusader who keeps Gothamites safe doesn't stalk the alleys of the city full time. By day he's well-known billionaire playboy Bruno Díaz!
Ah, the things you learn when you idly change the language settings on your DVDs. For example, a long time back I was settling into nostalgia and watching a few episodes of Batman: The Animated Series from the 1990s. As I was playing around with the audio settings, I noticed something strange when I flipped the subtitles to Spanish. The characters started talking about a guy named Bruno. Who was that?
Although all of the English-speaking world knows Batman as billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne, in Spanish-speaking Latin America his name is Bruno Díaz. Some sources say that it's different in comics sold in Spain — Spanish readers, please let us know! Other characters have undergone the same name change. Richard Grayson has become Ricardo Tapia. The Gordon family has had their last names changed to Fierro, and James Gordon has the slightly different first name of Jaime. Jason Todd is unrecognizable as Raul Zeas. Vicky Vale has at least kept her alliteration with Rita Rios.
The Batman Family seems to have gotten the majority of the name changes. Clark Kent is Superman, in both English and Spanish comics. (Although Villachica, or Smallville, watchers have probably have had to watch him romance Lina Luna instead of Lana Lane.) Hal Jordan has his first name slightly changed to Raul. And Dinah Lance has her last name changed to Rios, which I was disappointed to find out did not mean "Lance," since Oliverio Reina's last name means Queen in English.
The reason for the changes seems to be a straightforward change in the 1950s, when the comics were brought to the Latin American market. The names were changed to appeal to kids and make them less foreign-seeming. As time went on, the properties kept going and the names stuck, which is why Batman's secret identity has yet another secret identity.
I have to say, now that DC is bringing back the multiverse, again, for the first time, I would love to see Bruno Diaz and Bruce Wayne meeting up across some dimensional divide. On the other hand, I would hate for the translators' head to explode.
Top Image: Gotham Knights #32
There's a more complete list of names here.