Batman and Robins: The History of the Many Characters Who Took up the Mantle of Robin

Photo Credit: Photo Credit: DC Comics
May 7th, 2014

Robin, the masked sidekick of Batman, is one of the most recognizable comic book characters in existence. Although audiences unfamiliar with the comic books believe Robin to be one person, dedicated fans know that there have been at least five comic book characters who served justice alongside Bruce Wayne. Although some of their histories have been slightly altered in different offshoots of the "Batman" comic series, their personalities, overall stories and important role as Robin continue to affect the Batman universe.


Photo Credit: DC Comics
Dick Grayson

Dick Grayson was the original Robin, and many comic book fans also regard him as the best character that ever filled the sidekick's shoes. When he was a small boy, Grayson was an acrobat who performed with his parents in a circus, and they were known as the Flying Graysons. When his parents were murdered, Batman investigated the case, and, as Bruce Wayne, he took the child into his custody. Dick soon showed an interest in crime fighting, and Batman created the signature Robin costume, taking him as a sidekick. Dick Grayson appeared in the "Batman" comics from 1940 to 1969, and he was known as the Boy Wonder. After graduating from high school, he became the Teen Wonder in the 1970s and 1980s. In the late 1980s, Grayson became a member of The New Teen Titans, taking on the identity of Nightwing. Although this remained his career, he continued to make occasional appearances in the "Batman" comics.


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Jason Todd

Todd was originally a circus boy whose parents were murdered, much like Grayson, but DC Comics changed his backstory after the mini-series "Crisis on Infinite Earths," which altered reality in the Batman universe. Jason Todd tried to steal tires from the Batmobile, and Batman had him sent to a reform school. After Grayson left to fight crime with the Teen Titans, Todd helped Batman catch a band of criminals, and he was later offered the position of Robin. In 1988, DC Comics asked readers if Todd should be killed after seeing that fans were unable to bond with the rebellious youth. In "A Death in the Family," Jason Todd was killed by the Joker, although he was eventually brought back to life as the Red Hood and has been making brief appearances in the comics since then.


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Tim Drake

In the 1990s, DC Comics introduced yet another Robin with Tim Drake, a skilled wannabe detective who had been following the lives of Batman and Grayson since the death of Grayson's parents. In the 1989 issue "Batman #436," Drake made his first appearance in a flashback, and he was soon given the role of Robin, complete with a new costume that included full leggings. Drake had his own comic book series as Robin, and he later co-founded Young Justice, a new superhero team to replace Grayson's Teen Titans. He led this group until 2009, returning to his role as Robin after the events in "Batman R.I.P." Drake is now serving up justice under the identity of Red Robin.


stephanie-brown-robin.pngPhoto Credit: DC Comics

Stephanie Brown

After Tim Drake resigned from the role of Robin, his girlfriend Stephanie Brown offered to serve in his place. She had already been fighting crime as the Spoiler, and in 2004, she had become the new Robin. However, she failed to follow Batman's orders on several occasions, and she was subsequently relieved of her duties. When she stole Batman's plans for criminal justice and set them into play, a terrible gang war ensued, and she was eventually killed. However, it was later learned that her death was faked, and in 2009, she became Batgirl.


Photo Credit: DC Comics

Damian Wayne

Introduced in 2006, Damian Wayne is the son of Bruce Wayne and Talia Al Ghul, and Batman only becomes aware of his child's existence when the boy is unexpectedly left in his care. Damian Wayne, the grandchild of terrorist Ra's Al Ghul, has no problem with killing, unlike his father. The two have a troubled relationship, but after Batman saves Damian from being possessed by his grandfather's spirit, they share an inseparable bond. He later leaves his son under the care of Alfred and Dick Grayson. In "Battle for the Cowl," a fight erupts involving Grayson, Damian, Drake and Todd. In the end, Grayson temporarily takes up the mantle as the new Batman, and he gives the role of Robin to Damian.

The complex universe of Batman introduces a number of interesting characters who become Robin at one point or another. For some, Grayson is the only Robin, while for others, Drake filled the role best. Regardless of which Robin fans prefer, it is clear that each of these unique characters has greatly influenced the world of Batman.