Since Bruce Wayne was generally the only person to be behind the Batman mask (with some exceptions during Knightfall) you may be wondering why there were so many Robins. The answer is because Robin, The Boy Wonder, would grow up, evolve, or otherwise leave the role for different reasons. Let’s explore some of the people who were Batman’s sidekick.
Dick Grayson was the first and the “real” Robin people often refer to. He was the one in the campy television show and in the Batman and Robin movie. After a period of time Grayson began to feel neglected and decided to go out on his own. This lead to him becoming Nigtwing, a new fan favorite everyone loves. He was also a member of the Teen Titans while being independent of Batman, which I thought was a weird decision, seeing a sidekick without his typical partner.
The second Robin was Jason Todd. His character was fleshed out after the miniseries Crisis on Infinite Earths simplified all of DC Comics. He was less intuitive and more careless, not to mention whiny. Bruce Wayne adopted him due to sympathy from his own situation and past. Todd was caught, comically, trying to steal the tires off the Batmobile. People reading the Batman comics were complaining and eventually DC left it up to the traders to vote Robin’s fate. In A Loss in the Family Joker allegedly kills Todd. However he makes a return as Red Hood in Batman Hush. This second Robin was apparently created to fulfill the missing gap of Batman’s sidekick after Dick Grayson became Nightwing.
Yet another Robin character, Tim Drake appeared at the perfect time when the 1989 Batman movie brought an abnormally high amount of interest in both Batman and Robin. Drake had his own mini-series to promote interest, and comic sales rose. Most of the costume was redesigned by Neal Adams, a has-been comic book artist that was once immensely popular in his craft and can be seen in Comic Book Confidential. Drake’s character also went back-to-basics as a detective like Batman. Later he would become the character Red Robin.
The fourth, Stephanie Brown, served as Robin for such a short amount of time that within five comic-book months, she was killed in 2004. There is not much to say about Stephanie, except that she happened to be a woman.
A fifth Robin, Damien Wayne, is actually Batman’s son. Forcibly conceived with Talia Al Ghoul, Damien has been trained by both Talia and Batman. Since Damien was trained by The League of Assassins to be brutal and violent, his father had to reverse his training to follow the rules of Batman and his methods. This is by far the most interesting version of Robin, in my opinion, since he is truly the only one able to take up the mantle of Batman after Bruce Wayne’s inevitable death. He is also the only Robin skilled in fighting from both sides of the moral fence and understands criminal violence to its fullest.
If you are a fan of Damian’s version of Robin you should read Son of Batman (Affiliate Link). It was written and illustrated by Andy Kubert who at the time ran the school that his father created called the Kubert School. There were other more minor versions of Robin throughout comic book history but they, in my opinion, are not worth mentioning and a technically complete list is probably not what you were expecting anyway.
Leave a comment and tell me which Robin was your favorite of all time.