23 February 2014

Neal Adams on Robinson’s Robin

In the third part of Kevin Smith’s podcast interview with artist Neal Adams, Smith asks whom Adams sees as the creator of Batman. Earlier in the conversation Adams mentioned both Bob Kane and Bill Finger, and he didn’t evince a lot of respect for either man. Rather, he says, he sees Batman as a collective creation, not any one person’s character.

But Adams goes on to say:
I think of Robin as Jerry Robinson’s, for sure. That bouncy…Robin that I put in Batman: Odyssey. Like, I have Man-Bat right at the beginning of the story. . . . Man-Bat comes into the cave and just grabs Robin and starts flipping him up into the rafters. And so they fight up in the rafters, but while they’re fighting Robin is talking to Batman, and Batman is talking to Robin.

And for Robin, that’s great. First of all, he’s hearing from his mentor,…and yet he’s flying around in the top of the cave…with Man-Bat, and they’re spinning on stuff and doing all this shit. That’s Jerry Robinson’s Robin to me. He doesn’t stand there and have a conversation, boy, if he can be up in the rafters and spinning around. That’s Robin. And I love that Robin.
That said, Adams dressed the Dick Grayson in Batman: Odyssey in the costume he’d designed for Tim Drake back in 1989 or so, rather than in Robinson’s costume. There are limits, after all. Or maybe royalties.

Adams and Robinson were both crusaders during the 1970s fight for creators’ rights. In the middle third of Smith’s interview Adams described how they teamed up to win recognition and pensions for Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, as shown above. (Robinson is on the right, pre-toupée. Adams is the young man.) So I suspect Adams saw Robinson as standing out from the collective a bit.

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