Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Well, a bird actually, it's Robin!

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For years now, YEARS, I’ve endured endless ridicule over the fact that I think Robin is a badass.  However, I’m not going to act as though the character has not been completely destroyed by pop culture.  The Joel Schumacher movies certainly did the character no favors, and with both Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale openly discussing how they’ll never include the character in their ‘serious’ Batman saga, it looks like Robin will continue to be shunted by major cultural platforms outside of published comics.

What don't you fucking understand!? No Robin!

Robin was always fascinating to me because I could  be Robin.  There is only one Batman, or Superman, or Wonder Woman, but Robin is something more like the Dread Pirate Roberts from The Princess Bride, a role filled as needed by the most suitable replacement, namely (in my imagination), me.  From Dick Grayson to Jason Todd to Tim Drake as well as alternate universe Robins, like in Frank Miller’s “The Dark Knight Returns”, the options for new Robins are endless.  I have black hair, I have blue eyes.  All that’s missing is living in the right city, slightly improved cardio, and going through that one pivotal moment that changes everything.

Gotta have nice stems to be Robin.

In recent years Robin has suffered from the inevitable gay joke.  Har har, isn’t it funny to imagine Batman and Robin as lovers?  Well, now that you mention it? No.  It’s not really funny, it’s sort of never been funny, just a go to insult.  The relationship of Bruce Wayne and Robin has never been one of romance or father/son.  It’s a mentor relationship, a big brother.

But take Robin at face value, and you’ll see the depth of the character.  They’re all gifted athletically, like Batman, suffered intense childhood traumas, like Batman, and have a knack for detection and crime-fighting.  Like Batman!  There’s a reason the Dynamic Duo exists in our linguistic cultural lexicon.  It’s not because Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen were really good.  It’s not because Simon & Garfunkel harmonized well.  It’s thanks to Robin.


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It’s encouraging that the upcoming release of Arkham City will include Robin as a playable character and from the looks of it, it seems like the most legit Robin in a videogame yet (though they did have to give that lame buzzcut).  Here’s hoping that the tide begins to turn on this cool character.

Robin in Arkham City

GTLFC: Gym, Tan, Laundry, Fight Crime

7 replies
  1. SvenTS
    SvenTS says:

    I’ve never been a huge Robin fan but I’ve never understood the abject derision he seems to get amongst comic fans.

    My only problem with the character is, from the admittedly limited amount of Batman I’ve read, that it seems he is rarely integral to the plot unless it is clearly broadcast as being a ‘Robin Storyarc’. That, of course, is not a flaw of the character but of writers seeming to throw him in as an afterthought. This might not be as universal as it feels to me but it just seems to be the case no matter what year I’ve picked up some to read. Robins rarely seem to get their due until they’re no longer Robin.

    Reply
  2. DukeKataron
    DukeKataron says:

    I personally have never really gotten into the character of Robin, but mostly because he seems unimportant when standing right next to Batman. I mean, on his own he seems pretty cool, but that’s like taking that guy you think is awesome and putting him next to Chuck Norris. He will pale in comparison.

    Although the IDEA of Robin is pretty neat, and the fact that they’ve all gone on to be badasses themselves is a testament to the Batman training program. Dick Grayson becomes Nightwing, Jason Todd…Well, that bitch goes evil, but when he does it? Still badass. Tim Drake becomes Red Robin, which sounds lame, but he seems pretty badass. Then there’s your Stephanie Brown which I am not going to get into because that shit is confusing, but I guess she died and then was Batgirl for a while.

    And then there’s Damian Wayne, who is the only character to have not had the chance to move out of the spotlight of his mentor/father and fight crime on his own. And this is the only time I’ve liked Robin as a character next to Batman, because he’s the polar opposite of him. It makes the character more interesting, the interactions with Batman are great. The fact that it took the mentor thing further and made it a father thing honestly just fascinates me. I think he’s the best thing that happened to the character in a long time. Plus, the little bastard (haha, literally!) is hilarious. I think he’s the only Robin that would fit into the Nolan/Bale Batman world. Related note, I heard that this might be Nolan’s last Batman movie coming up. Which, if he’s holding off Robin, might mean that that could come up. Also, he was one of the people holding back the idea of any sort of Justice League thing. So there’s that. Might have just been a rumour, I dunno.

    Oh, and I -loved- Robin in the Teen Titans. Which I think is again because he’s not next to the ultimate badass that is Batman.

    Come to think of it, since they hit the reset switch on the entire DC universe, I have no idea who the current Robin is, or even if there is one yet.

    Reply
    • SvenTS
      SvenTS says:

      It wasn’t quite a reset switch depending on the book you’re reading – more of a ‘let’s mess junk up switch’. In the Batman and Robin title Robin is still Damien.

      From the way some of the other Bat title are running they seem to be either at different points in the timeline or (my pet theory) different universes entirely – so they may still have other Robins.

      Reply
  3. ThunderCaya
    ThunderCaya says:

    I never knew just how many Robins there were! I knew about Dick Grayson, and Tim Drake, but then I found a drawing in deviantArt showing ever single Robin ever. Wow. I like Teen Titans cartoon Robin best. I ship him with Starfire forever.

    Reply
    • SvenTS
      SvenTS says:

      Then especially don’t check out Red Hood and the Outlaws (not that I would recommend it anyways – even without the horrific remaking of the characters it’s just crap writing)

      Reply

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