13 October 2013

A Festschrift for Dick Grayson?

Soon after I started the weekly Robin, I realized that the 75th anniversary of the introduction of Dick Grayson/Robin was going to arrive in 2015. Of course, sometime when I was a lad I realized that I’d be around for the 500th anniversary of Columbus’s arrival in America, and that turned out to be a bust.

DC Comics and its fans like anniversaries of all sorts: notable years (60th!), notable issues (#500!), and even some milestones notable only to insiders (the upcoming Detective Comics, vol. 2, #27, will be special because Detective Comics, vol. 1, #27, introduced Batman, don’t you know?).

So the company probably has something planned, but will it reflect all that the character represents? I doubt it, especially since two years ago the company decided to erase from its current continuity most of the history that made Dick Grayson notable.

This weekend the medievalist behind Thoughts About Dick Grayson proposed a collective celebration in some form, perhaps including scholarly essays. There’s a tradition of that with Batman, including semi-authorized collections Batman Unauthorized, edited by Dennis O’Neil; Batman and Psychology; and Batman and Philosophy. Surely those Caped Crusader anthologies need a brightly colored companion volume!

Mary Borsellino’s Boy and Girl Wonders: Robin in Cultural Context, published in digital form through Lulu, is the only book-length study of the Robin mythos that I know of. And its focus is rather narrow, growing out of Project Girl Wonder.

Self-publishing technology makes it possible for such a volume to reach fans. Indeed, such a volume might have to be created non-commercially. In 2010 Keith Dallas, author of The Flash Companion, wrote: “DC has significantly raised its licensing fee to the point where it's now cost prohibitive to produce material like this.” But would a scholarly book require the same official authorization as that TwoMorrows volume, full of pictures of DC’s trademark characters? On the other hand, would a scholarly publisher see enough green in Robin?


Thoughts About Dick Grayson said...

Thanks for the shout out! Do you want to participate? You really should! You always write such good stuff on your blog.

Let me know if you have any advice, as I believe you know more about publishing than I do.

Let me know if you want to talk turkey (or robin, I suppose), and I will email you!

Thanks again for the mention!

J. L. Bell said...

I think it’s a nifty idea, and would be happy to help out any way I can.

I tried to add a message of support to one of your Tumblr posts, but since I don't have a Tumblr account I saw no signs that the program took any notice.