Over the years and many, many issues of Batman comic books, there have been quite a few young men (and even women) to call themselves Robin. Some are well known to the general Batman loving public, while others are unknown to the casual fan. When asking a friend if she knew who the second Robin was, she stated “there’s more than one?” And that’s coming from someone who’s fairly geeky in her own right. So today I thought I’d go through the roster of people who have fought beside Batman as Robin and talk about how they got to be in that position.
Let me start by saying, as a kid I wanted to be Robin. Who wouldn’t want to fight along side Batman, and also be the adopted son/brother of billionaire Bruce Wayne? How fun would that be? As I got older I realized how irresponsible that would be for Bruce to allow a child to fight villains like Joker and Two-Face at such a young age, but I can suspend by belief for a comic book or television show.
The first, and my favorite, Robin was of course, Dick Grayson. When he was eight years old his parents were murdered at Haley’s circus during their trapeze act. Dick was apart of the family business, the Flying Graysons, so much like Bruce, he witnessed their deaths. Feeling a bond with the young boy, Bruce would take custody of Dick as his legal ward and would eventually help Batman catch his parent’s killer, Tony Zucco. After years of being the Boy Wonder, he would eventually grow up and leave Batman’s side, unable to see himself outside of Batman’s shadow as Robin. He would become Nightwing and lead the Teen Titans, while also fighting on his own in Blüdhaven. Currently, in the New 52, he’s moved on to Chicago to fight crime.
Following in Grayson’s footsteps was Jason Todd. Todd was a street orphan who met Batman while he was trying to steel the tires from the Batmobile. After being placed in a school for trouble youths he would prove to be of use to batman by helping him catch some robbers. Batman would accept him as his side-kick and began training him. Because readers didn’t enjoy this encarnation of Robin the writers created a phone number for fans to call asking them to decide if he should live or die. The choice was made that he should die and in “Death in the Family” Joker brutally beat Todd with a crowbar and left him in a warehouse wired with explosives. This would not be the last we hear of Jason Todd, he would return from the dead and become the Red Hood, a ruthless vigilante, blaming Batman for letting Joker live and allowing Joker to kill him.
It would be some time before Batman would take on another side-kick after Jason’s death. Tim Drake was a fan of Batman and Robin. Using his own detective skills he was able to figure out the identities of both Batman and Nightwing. After much debate, Batman would finally take Tim on as his partner and even said that Tim would one day surpass himself as the “Greatest Detective.” Tim would also go on to co-found the team Young Justice. Currently in the New 52, he has left Batman’s side and taken on the name Red Robin and leads the Teen Titans.
Carrie Kelley would become Robin in a similar way to Tim. In Frank Miller’s “The Dark Knight Returns” the thirteen year old Kelley would be accepted as Robin by Batman after she saves his life. She only appeared in this graphic novel along with its sequel “The Dark Knight Strikes Again” but as Catgirl, still fighting as Batman’s partner. She has appeared in the New 52, not as Robin, but as Damian Wayne’s tutor.
Tim Drake’s girlfriend, Stephanie Brown was previously known as the Spoiler (stay tuned New 52 fans). When Tim resigned as Robin, she would step up to become the second female Robin. She was assumed dead after a fight with Black Mask, but her death is held in question as she was seen stalking Tim for some time after her presumed death. Until now she hasn’t been mentioned in the New 52, but that will soon change.
Finally we have Damian Wayne. The son of Bruce and Talia al Ghul, he was raised by Talia in the League of Assassins. He was left with his father, who was reluctant to allow him train as Robin. He often fights with his father, and wants to take a more violent stance against the crime in Gotham. When Batman was thought to be dead, he fought alongside Dick Grayson as he donned the cape and cowl. But when Bruce returned he went back to training with his father. He would eventually be killed by his aged-clone and Batman and the Bat-family are still mourning the loss.
I’m not an expert so I may have missed some facts, please feel free to correct me. Who was your favorite Robin? Would you want to see him/her in a movie with Batman? Who would you cast to play him/her?