Robin At 80!

Holy ageless character! In terms of an iconic comic book character, Robin is up there with Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman. Most of the people I know their first exposure […]

Holy ageless character!

In terms of an iconic comic book character, Robin is up there with Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman. Most of the people I know their first exposure to Robin was Burt Ward in the old Batman TV show. But there is more to this character than what meets the eye. Robin is a legacy that has been carried by many people and not just one person.

When Robin was created, it was a way to get younger readers to read the Batman comics books. He was originally conceived to be Batman’s “Watson”, but Robin evolved into a must more different character.

So let’s take a look at all the Robins!

DICK GRAYSON

Dick first burst into comics in Detective Comics #38 (April 1940).

Created by Bob Kane, Bill Finger, and Jerry Robinson, he was the youngest member of the trapeze circus act the Flying Graysons. When his parents are killed, Dick is taken in by Bruce Wayne. Bruce makes Dick his ward and trains him to become his partner Robin. Dick as Robin was light to Batman’s darkness. Using humor to distract his foe as opposed to very grim Batman. Dick would follow Batman’s orders, but as he grew older, he started to feel less like a partner and more like a sidekick. During this time, he would team up with his peers and form the Teen Titans. It was during the second incarnation of the Teen Titans, Dick quit being Robin and adopted the identity, Nightwing. As Nightwing, Dick has become one of the most trusted and respected heroes of the DC Universe. In some cases, even more than Superman.

DICK GRAYSON – EARTH 2

But what if Dick never gave up being Robin? We got a chance to see that, thanks to the Multiverse. On Earth 2, time moved more “naturally”. Where the superheroes of the Golden Age, were old men and women. This Dick Grayson decided to keep the identity of Robin. Created by Gardner Fox and Mike Sekowsky, this Robin 1st appears in Justice Leauge of America #55 (1967). As an adult, his first costume was a mashup of Batman and Robin’s costumes. His second costume, designed by comic creator Neal Adams, ended up becoming more of his iconic look. Dick would go on to be a member of the Justice Society of America. Unfornatually he was killed in the Crisis on Infinite Earths.

JASON TODD

Jason Todd was created by Gerry Conway and Don Newton and first appeared in Batman #357 (March 1983). Dick was still Robin at the time, and Jason’s background mirrored Dick’s. Jason was a member of a family trapeze act, his parents were killed, and he became Bruce’s ward. The only real difference was Jason was red-haired.

When he took up the mantle of Robin, he dyed his hair black. Fans were not happy, so when the Crisis happened, it gave writer Denny O’Neil a chance to rewrite Jason’s backstory. Jason was now a young street orphan who meets Batman while stealing the tires off of the Batmobile. Batman decides to train Jason as Robin so he doesn’t end up a criminal. At first, Jason follows orders but eventually becomes more brutal and brash. The fans didn’t like that either, so DC Comics gave them a choice. In the “A Death In The Family” storyline, Joker viciously beat Jason, and DC Comics set up 900 # for fans to decide his fate. Jason’s death won by a slim margin, so he died. But this is comics and no one stays dead. Jason is eventually reborn due to reality being altered and a dip in the Lazarus Pit. Angered by the fact Batman let Joker live, Jason takes up the identity of the Red Hood. The Red Hood is more of an anti-hero who is willing to use any method, including shooting criminals.

TIM DRAKE

Tim Drake first appeared in Batman #436 (August 1989). Created by Marv Wolfman and Pat Broderick, Tim was at the circus when Dick’s parents were killed. Using detective skills, he was able to figure out that Dick was Robin and Bruce was Batman. He also noticed how reckless Batman became since the loss of Jason. Tim tried to convince Dick to become Robin again, but when Dick refused, Tim donned the costume. Reluctant at first, Bruce eventfully accepted Tim as Robin. Bruce was reluctant at first, but seeing Tim’s detective prowess, he fully trained him to become Robin. As Robin, Tim wore a newly designed costume, created by Neal Adams once again. Tim would eventually take up the name Red Robin and recently he goes by Drake

DAMIAN WAYNE

Damian is the biological son of Bruce and Talia, the daughter of Ra’s Al Ghul. He was created by Grant Morrison and Andy Kubert and first appeared in Batman #655 (September 2006). Though the original concept of Batman’s son was supposed to be an out of continuity story from Batman: Son of the Demon. Damian was born from a night of passion between Bruce and Talia. He was then genetically perfected and grown in an artificial womb and trained by the League of Assasins. Initially intended to be used as a tool against Batman, Damian ends up siding with his father. When Bruce is thought to be dead, Dick takes up the mantle of Batman, and Damian becomes his Robin. When Bruce finally returns, Dick goes back to being Nightwing and Damian partners with his father.

Those are the main Robins, but there are few others with have been Robin with a little less notoriety:

STEPHANIE BROWN

Stephanie became the vigilante the Spoiler in an attempt to stop her father, the villain Cluemaster. Created by Chuck Dixon and Tom Lyle, she first appeared in Detective Comics #647 (June 1992). She also became the girlfriend of Tim. Her time as Robin was short. Tim was grounded by his father not to be Robin, so Stephanie took up the mantle. Batman decides to train her as Robin but eventually fires her for not listening to his orders. She would return to her spoiler identity.

WE ARE ROBIN

At the time, Robin was missing, so the teenagers of Gotham City decided to do something and help out their city by forming gangs of Robins. The kids help out any way they can. One of the more notable ones is Duke Thomas, who ends up becoming part of the Batman family as the hero known as the Signal.

CARRIE KELLY

Technically the first female Robin. Carrie was created by Frank Miller, Lynn Varley, and Klaus Janson, and is part of an out of continuity story called The Dark Knight Returns from 1986. The story takes place in the future where Bruce is 55 years old and has retired from Batman. When Bruce realizes there is still a need for Batman, one of the people he first saves is Carrie. Carrie is inspired by Batman and takes on the role of Robin. Batman quickly accepts Carrie and trains her. Eventually, Carrie becomes Catgirl and then Batwoman. Carrie has definitely left an impact on fans.

So there you have it. All the Robins! 80 years of the Boy (sometimes Girl) Wonder. From Dick to Damian and everyone in between.

Who’s your favorite Robin?

 

 

Brian Isaacs - Executive Editor / Publisher

About Brian Isaacs - Executive Editor / Publisher

An avid comic collector/reader for over 40 years and self-proclaimed professor of comicology, Brian original started up the site Pendragon's Post to share his voice. Well that voice has been shared, and evolved into The Fanboy Factor. Brian is an advocate for remembering comic roots, and that we don't forget what was created in the past, and encourage everyone to read it as well. When not swimming in geek culture, he can be seen corrupting..introducing his young son to comics, much to his wife's chagrin.