80th Anniversary Tribute to Robin, the Boy Wonder

On this day in 1940, Robin, the Boy Wonder was first introduced to the world in Detective Comics #38. While he may not be carrying the Robin mantel anymore, Dick Grayson is still fighting the bad guys 80 years later.

There have been several boys and girls to wear the Robin uniform over the past 80 years, but Dick Grayson will always hold a special place in my heart. This is my tribute to him.

For as long as I can remember, I was always a Batman fan. But as much as I liked Batman, I always liked Robin more. My first introduction to the Dynamic Duo was the 1960s live-action TV show. I can’t remember how old I was when my brother and I first started watching the show, but I do remember my brother being so young that he didn’t pronounce Batman properly. He called him “Matt-man.”

I’m not exactly sure what drew me to Robin over Batman back then, but it may have been how enthusiastic and over-the-top, yet perfect for the character of Robin that actor Burt Ward was. I’m also fairly sure his version of Robin was my first childhood crush. (Should I have admitted that?) All I know is that it has established an ongoing pattern for me.

I’ve watched several Batman series over the years including Batman: The Animated Series and The Batman. I have all of the seasons of both shows on DVD, not including the first seasons that only contained Batman. My brother is not so impressed, but to me, Batman is always better when Robin is with him.

I didn’t start reading comics until after college. I’m sure to no one’s surprise, the first comic I purchased and read was Nightwing #146, and I continued reading through the end of the series. I stuck with Nightwing through the New 52 and read some of the Grayson comics. (This is where Dick was an undercover spy and was not donning the Nightwing uniform for a time).

I recently picked up the Nightwing comic again now that it looks like the Ric Grayson storyline is starting to wind down. For those who are unfamiliar, Nightwing was shot in the head by KGbeast and lost most of his memories due to the Court of Owls interference. I’m hoping current Nightwing writer, Dan Jurgens will not drag the story on for too much longer and that we will soon have Dick Grayson back as Nightwing in the comics.

So what exactly does Dick Grayson mean to me and why is he such an influential and important character? When Robin was first created he was meant to be there for children to relate to. It may have been hard for them to relate to Batman because he was an adult. But Robin was relatable. They could be Robin and fight alongside Batman!

As the second Robin, Jason, once said, “Being Robin makes you magic!”

Robin is the light to Batman’s dark. He is often used in comics, movies, and TV shows to provide humor and at times explain things to younger members of the audience. As the third Robin, Tim Drake, said, “Batman needs Robin.” Robin keeps Batman from going too far when fighting criminals. He not only assists Robin as his partner but helps to keep him in line.

Most importantly, what Dick Grayson’s Robin especially illustrates best is that Robin is a right of passage. Robin is a legacy, but you don’t have to stay there. You can grow beyond Robin and become a hero in your own right like Dick did when he became Nightwing, Jason when he became Red Hood, and Tim when he became Red Robin and later Drake.

That is the main reason why I think Robin is so important. He’s there for Batman, but he gets to grow up and become a hero in his own right. He doesn’t completely leave Batman behind, but he no longer lives in his shadow. Robin doesn’t give up, Robin is magic, and Robin is someone who all of us can relate to in some way.

Happy 80th anniversary to Robin, the Boy Wonder!

Who is your favorite Robin and what does Robin mean to you? Please share in the comments!

Author: Jessica Rae

Jessica has a BA in music with an emphasis in voice and spends her day typesetting, editing, writing, and moderating webinars. Jessica primarily reviews anime and comic book series. She also offers insights on various movies, books, games, and other geeky topics.


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