The image of Batman and Robin as a crimefighting partnership is iconic in pop culture. Even the succession of Robins over the years has reinforced the Dynamic Duo’s appeal. Each Robin has had his or her own solo adventures, but each shared a unique bond with Batman. However, even though the current Robin is Batman’s own child, these days we rarely see the two busting bad guys together. In fact, in the Rebirth era we’re seeing a number of mentor-protegé relationships in DC’s superhero books.
We’re just not seeing the one which started it all.
Therefore, particularly in light of everything else going on in the Wayne family, we’re asking nicely about when we might see more of Batman and Robin, together again.
A Perpetual Pair
The original Dynamic Duo of Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson shared adventures consistently for almost 30 years, from Dick/Robin’s April 1940 debut (Detective Comics #38, by Bill Finger, Bob Kane and Jerry Robinson) until Dick left Wayne Manor for college in December 1969’s Batman #217. From February 1947 to July 1952 Robin had a feature in Star-Spangled Comics (issues #65-130), and when Dick went to college his solo adventures resumed. Throughout the 1970s and into the ’80s Dick appeared regularly in the Bat-books, mostly either in backup features and/or as part of anthologies like the oversized Detective Comics. For some 14 years he teamed up with Batgirl in Batman Family and Detective, led the Teen Titans, and worked the occasional case with Batman.
The classic cover of Batman #9 (February-March 1942), pencilled by Fred Ray and inked by Jerry Robinson
However, a combination of Dick’s young adulthood and editorial logistics compelled Gerry Conway and Don Newton to create Jason Todd for March 1983’s Batman #357. He became Robin about a year later, in February 1984’s Batman #368. Since Dick was attached firmly to the Titans, Jason would be a “dedicated” Robin who wasn’t thinking about why he dropped out of college or how long he’d have to wear green chainmail shorts. Unfortunately, Jason didn’t seem to work either as a younger version of Dick or a cynical ex-street urchin; and (guided by an infamous reader poll) the Joker murdered the second Robin in Holiday 1988’s Batman #428.
The third Robin came into the role with a very metatextual mission. Tim Drake (who first appeared in August 1989’s Batman #436, by Marv Wolfman and Pat Broderick) had not only figured out Batman and Robin’s secret identities, he was on a mission to save Batman from himself. Tim first put on the Robin costume in December 1989’s Batman #442, but then spent the next year training in the Batcave. For his efforts Tim got a redesigned Robin outfit (in December 1990’s Batman #457) and a series of miniseries which established that he could hold his own against everyone from evil martial artists to the Joker himself. Regardless, Tim didn’t stray too far from Batman’s side, despite having his own solo series (1993-2009) and joining Young Justice and the Teen Titans. Tim went through a brief retirement himself, during which Batman recruited Tim’s once-and-future girlfriend Stephanie “Spoiler” Brown to be the fourth Robin.
Writer Grant Morrison and penciller Andy Kubert introduced Damian Wayne (in September 2006’s Batman #655) as Bruce’s crimefighting heir. However, it took Bruce’s disappearance for a cast reshuffling to open up the Robin position. With Dick as Batman III and Tim as Red Robin, Damian became Robin V in July 2009’s Battle for the Cowl issue #3. This set the stage for the new Dynamic Duo and their own ongoing series, Morrison and Frank Quitely’s Batman and Robin (debuting in August 2009). Not surprisingly, this series and its New 52 successor were all about Damian’s relationship; first with Dick and, after the New 52 relaunch, with Bruce. Morrison and a host of artists also explored Damian’s heritage in Batman Incorporated, but B&R was more focused on the little miscreant. Even after Morrison and Chris Burnham killed Damian in April 2013’s Batman Incorporated issue #9, Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason focused B&R on bringing him back to life. Batman And Robin ran for almost six years, from August 2009 to May 2015.
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