Robin

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Burt Ward TV Robin
Burt Ward TV Robin

Robin is a character in the DC universe. Robin has been a fixture in the Batman comic books since Dick Grayson's first appearance as Robin in 1940. Several different youths have appeared as Robin.

The early adventures of Robin included Star Spangled Comics #65-130 (1947-1952), his first solo feature. The first Robin limited series was published in 1991, featuring Tim Drake's training to become the third Robin. Following two successful sequels, the monthly Robin ongoing series began in 1993 and is still published to this day.

The team of Batman and Robin is sometimes referred to as the Dynamic Duo or the Caped Crusaders.

Contents

Character history

About a year after Batman's debut, Batman creators Bob Kane and Bill Finger introduced Robin the Boy Wonder in Detective Comics #38 (1940). The name "Robin the Boy Wonder" and the medieval look of the original costume were inspired by The Adventures of Robin Hood. Robinson noted he "came up with Robin because The Adventures of Robin Hood were boyhood favorites of mine. I had been given a Robin Hood book illustrated by N. C. Wyeth... and that's what I quickly sketched out when I suggested the name Robin, which they seemed to like, and then showed them the costume. And if you look at it, it's Wyeth's costume, from my memory, because I didn't have the book to look at."The Comics Journal #271 (Later re-tellings of Robin's origin have instead often said the name comes from the American robin bird, not Robin Hood,Template:Comic book reference Frank Miller's All Star Batman and Robin being a notable exception.) Although Robin is best known as Batman's sidekick, three Robins have also been members of the superhero group the Teen Titans and Outsiders with the original Robin, Dick Grayson, being a founding member and the group's leader. The following fictional characters have donned the Robin costume at various times in the main DC Comics universe continuity:

Cover to Detective Comics #38 (1940), art by Bob Kane and Jerry Robinson.
Cover to Detective Comics #38 (1940), art by Bob Kane and Jerry Robinson.

Dick Grayson

Template:Main Dick Grayson was an eight-year-old acrobat, the youngest of a family act called the "Flying Graysons". A gangster named Boss Zucco (loosely based on actor Edward G. Robinson's Little Caesar character) had been extorting money from the circus and killed Grayson's parents, John and Mary, by sabotaging their trapeze equipment as a warning against defiance. Batman investigated the crime and, as his alter ego millionaire Bruce Wayne, had Dick put under his custody as a legal ward (later adopting him as his son). Batman rigorously trained the boy, teaching him physical, fighting and detective skills. Together they investigated Zucco and collected the evidence needed to bring him to justice. From his debut appearance in 1940 through 1969, Robin was known as the Boy Wonder. However, as he grew up, graduated from high school and enrolled in Hudson University, Robin continued his career as the Teen Wonder, from 1970 into the early 1980s. The character was re-discovered by a new generation of fans during the 1980s because of the success of The New Teen Titans, in which he left Batman's shadow entirely to assume the identity of Nightwing.

Jason Todd

Cover to Batman #424 (October 1988), pencils by Mark Bright.
Cover to Batman #424 (October 1988), pencils by Mark Bright.

See Jason Todd

DC was initially hesitant to turn Grayson into Nightwing and to replace him with a new Robin. To minimize the change, they made the new Robin, Jason Peter Todd, who first appeared in Batman #357 (1983), almost indistinguishable from a young Grayson. Jason Todd was also the son of circus acrobats, killed by a criminal (this time the Batman adversary Killer Croc), and adopted by Bruce Wayne. In this incarnation, he was red-haired and unfailingly cheerful, and wore his circus costume to fight crime until Dick Grayson presented him with a Robin suit of his own. At that point, he dyed his hair black. After the mini-series Crisis on Infinite Earths, much of DC Comics continuity was rebooted. Dick Grayson's origin, years with Batman and growth into Nightwing remained essentially unchanged, but Todd's character was completely revised. He was now a black-haired street orphan who first encountered Batman when he attempted to steal tires from the Batmobile. Batman saw to it that he was placed in a school for troubled youths. Weeks later, after Dick Grayson became Nightwing and Todd proved his crime-fighting worth by helping Batman catch a gang of thieves, Batman offered Todd the position as Robin. Readers never truly bonded with Todd and, in 1988, DC made the controversial decision to poll readers using a 1-900 number as to whether or not Todd should be killed. The event received more attention in the mainstream media than any other comic book event before it. Some outside the comic book community mistakenly thought that DC was considering killing Dick Grayson, not realizing he had been replaced. Readers voted "yes" by a small margin (5,343 to 5,271) and Todd was subsequently murdered by the Joker in the A Death in the Family storyline, in which the psychopath beat the youngster severely with a crowbar, and left him in a warehouse rigged with a bomb. Jason Todd later returned as the new Red Hood (the original alias of the Joker) when he was brought back to life due to reality being altered. A year after the events of Infinite Crisis, Todd appeared posing as Nightwing, but subsequently returned to his Red Hood persona.

Tim Drake

Cover to Robin #0 (October 1994), art by Tom Grummett.
Cover to Robin #0 (October 1994), art by Tom Grummett.

DC Comics was left uncertain about readers' decision to kill Todd, wondering if they felt Batman should be a lone vigilante, disliked Todd specifically, or just wanted to see if DC would actually kill the character. In addition, the 1989 Batman film did not feature Robin, giving DC a reason to keep him out of the comic book series for marketing purposes. Regardless, Batman editor Denny O'Neil introduced a new Robin. The third Robin, Timothy Drake, first appeared in a flashback in Batman #436 (1989). Drake was a young boy who had followed the adventures of Batman and Robin ever since witnessing the murder of the Flying Graysons. This served to connect Drake to Grayson, establishing a link that DC hoped would help readers accept this new Robin. Drake surmised their secret identities with his amateur but instinctive detective skills and followed their careers closely. Tim has stated on numerous occasions that he wishes to become "The World's Greatest Detective," a title currently belonging to the Dark Knight. Batman himself has stated that one day Drake will surpass him as a detective. Despite his combat skills not being the match of Grayson's (although there are some similarity in that they are far superior to Todd's when he was Robin), his detective skills more than make up for this. In addition, Batman supplied him with a new armored costume which included full leggings to give Drake improved protection. Tim was introduced as a happy medium between the first two Robins in that, from the readers' point of view, he is neither overly well behaved like Dick Grayson nor overly impudent like Jason Todd. Apparently, the compromise was successful with readers, as Drake is the first Robin to have his own comic book series. Tim Drake, as Robin, went on to join the Teen Titans based in San Francisco later in his crime fighting career.

Stephanie Brown

Stephanie Brown, Tim Drake's girlfriend and the costumed adventurer previously known as the Spoiler, volunteered for the role of Robin upon Tim's resignation. Batman fired the Girl Wonder for not obeying his orders to the letter. While trying to prove her worthiness, Brown inadvertently set off a gang war on the streets of Gotham. While trying to help end the war, Brown was captured and tortured by the lunatic crime boss Black Mask. She managed to escape but died shortly after due to the severity of her injuries. Tim Drake keeps a memorial for her in his caved hideout underneath Titans Tower in San Francisco.

Alternate versions

Bruce Wayne

A Batman story from the 1950s featured the young Bruce Wayne assuming the identity of Robin, complete with the original costume, in order to learn the basics of detective work from a famous detective named Harvey Harris. This story was later revised in the 1980s to edit out any reference to Bruce Wayne having ever called himself "Robin" or worn any costume before he finally donned his Batman costume as an adult. John Byrne later worked this aspect into his non-canonical story Superman & Batman: Generations.

Post-Crisis, there was one instance in continuity when Bruce Wayne adopted the Robin persona. In Batboy & Robin, a tie-in special to the DC Comics storyline Sins of Youth, Bruce and Tim Drake, the third Robin, had their ages magically switched. In an effort to keep up the illusion of Batman, Bruce had Tim adopt the Batman identity while he is forced to be Robin.

Earth-Two Dick Grayson

Pre-Crisis Earth-Two Robin.
Pre-Crisis Earth-Two Robin.

On Earth-Two, home of the Golden Age version of DC's superheroes, Grayson continued to be Robin even as adult, having no successors, and even after Batman's death. His allies included the All-Star Squadron along with Batwoman and Flamebird. He eventually became a member of the Justice Society of America.

During his later years, he adopted a more Batman-like look for a time, and by the 1960s had become a lawyer and the ambassador to South Africa. Although in semi-retirement, he was called back to active duty when he rejoined the Justice Society during the period when Power Girl and Star-Spangled Kid also assisted them.

He died during the 1985 miniseries Crisis on Infinite Earths, in which the DC Multiverse was reduced to one universe, and this version of Grayson, as well as the Earth-Two Batman, were deemed never to have existed.

52

The New Earth-2 Robin from 52 Week 52.
The New Earth-2 Robin from 52 Week 52.

In the final issue of 52, a new Multiverse is revealed, originally consisting of 52 identical realities. Among the parallel realities shown is one designated "Earth-2." As a result of Mister Mind "eating" aspects of this reality, it takes on visual aspects similar to the pre-Crisis Earth-2, including Robin among other Justice Society of America characters. The names of the characters and the team are not mentioned in the panel in which they appear, but the Robin is visually similar to the Dick Grayson Robin of the pre-Crisis Earth-2 Because Grayson, Todd, and Drake are all black-haired Caucasians, it is not possible to assign an alter ego based on the single image.


The first Robin miniseries was printed in 1992 following Tim Drake's debut as Robin. The series centered around Tim's continued training and set up villains linked to the character. It was followed up by another series Robin II: Joker's Wild which pitted Tim against his predecessor's murderer the Joker. With Batman out of town, it was up to Tim and Alfred to end the Joker's latest crime spree. A final miniseries, Robin III: Cry of Huntress wrapped up the trilogy, teaming Tim with the Huntress. In 1994, the success of the three miniseries led to the ongoing Robin series which is still published to this day.

The ongoing Robin series has taken part in a number of crossovers with other comics, especially Batman and related series. These include:

  • Robin #1: Knightquest: The Crusade.
  • Robin #7: Knightquest: The Search.
  • Robin #8: Knightsend
  • Robin #9: Knightfall: Aftermath.
  • Robin #10 - 13: Prodigal.
  • Robin #14: Trokia.
  • Robin #27 - 28: Batman: Contagion.
  • Robin #32 - 33: Batman: Legacy.
  • Robin #52 - 53: Batman: Cataclysm.
  • Robin #67 - 73: Batman: No Man's Land.
  • Robin #86: Batman: Officer Down

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