15 March 2009

New Portraits of Robin

This weekly Robin links to three new looks at the oldest young non-superpowered superhero.

First, The Black Cat has offered several new installments in the "Batman and Sons" parody. I linked to this webcomic last year. Its premise: Batman is raising all three male Robins (Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, and Tim Drake) as well as the future Batman of the TV cartoon Batman Beyond (Terry McGinnis). As a father, this Batman depends on Alfred and his own tiny, tiny reserves of emotional intelligence.

Here are a couple of panels from a page in which Tim decides to play Batman and Robin with his baby brother Terry.
I love how Terry's eyes show how well this is going over. Rest of the story.

And here's a new image of a new Robin by Frank Quitely, distributed by DC Comics to promote the upcoming Batman and Robin magazine. All signs point to this Robin being Damian, Bruce Wayne's love-hate child with Talia al Ghul.
The Batman and Robin magazine is being created by Quitely and Grant Morrison, a Scottish team who did wonderful things for All-Star Superman--including delivering it on time, something Frank Miller and Jim Lee had trouble managing with All-Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder.

In an interview at IGN, Morrison (whose earlier thoughts on Dick Grayson I quoted here) dropped this hint about his plans:

This is a very different Batman and Robin team from any that we've seen before. It's almost a reverse of the traditional dynamic, with a more light-hearted and spontaneous Batman and a scowling, badass Robin. Expect fireworks and violence.
Sounds interesting, but let's remember what happened the last time Robin was a willful, impetuous, defiant, and morally challenged young man. That was the second Jason Todd, and it ended (at least for about fifteen years) with him dying--at the request of a majority of voting Batman fans. My "Reasons for Robin" series is leading up to an argument that that was inevitable.

Will Damian have any more appeal than that Jason? Will his Batman be better able to cope? It would be delicious irony if Damian's Batman turns out to be Jason Todd, but Jason is anything but "light-hearted."

Finally, here's a link to an image of Red Robin by Francis Manapul. Red Robin was originally the name adopted by the middle-aged Dick Grayson on Earth-2. Alex Ross then used the name and designed this costume for the middle-aged Dick Grayson in one possible future of the DC Universe in Kingdom Come. Now the company's brought that costume into the DC Universe of today to sell more dolls, and is teasing fans with the mystery of who will be wearing it.

3 comments:

icon-uk said...

I cannot say enough good things about The Black Cat's strips, which are always spot on in their dissection of parent/child interactions, particularly the... unusual iterations of same viewed through the lens of the Batverse. Oh, and are also hilarious.

That, and her Terry is a source of never ending joy. When she draws him beaming, it's literally impossible not to smile back.

icon-uk said...

Oh I also meant to add that as far as I'm aware the name "Red Robin" was first used in Kingdom Come.

Do you remember any particular issues when the Earth-2 Robin ever used the name?

J. L. Bell said...

Earth-2 always confused me, and this is a good example. The grown-up Robin on Earth-2 at one point wore a costume with dark cowl, dark gloves, red tunic, actual pants. That struck me as being an inspiration for Alex Ross’s Red Robin ensemble, so I must have worked backward to think that the name “Red Robin” predated Ross as well.