13 July 2008

“Come On, Dad...You’re Suppose to Be the Batman.”

The best Robin work of the month didn't actually come from DC Comics. Rather, July 2008 is proving to be stellar for Webcomics about Fatherhood featuring Robin. Of course, every month should be good for that topic, but unaccountably they haven't appeared until now.

My first example is James Kochalka's single-panel "Robin and the Brain Cult," documenting a nightmare he'd had. Is it possible that a dream about looking after one's young son while dressed as Robin is a metaphor for feeling like a boy trying to do a man's job? And are there conflicted feelings apparent in saying both how "there’s hardly anything more ridiculous than Robin," and that one would "love to write a full length Robin adventure about his battle against the Brain Cult"?

Moving on, the best Robin parody I've seen in a long time was "Batman and Sons: Back to the Cave," credited to "The Black Cat (JM)" (or perhaps "The-BlackCat"). The drawing above is a preview.

The inspiration for this comic came from DC's own Tiny Titans magazine, which shows the young superheroes in early grade school. (Think Muppet Babies, with superpowers.) In one vignette, other kids tease Robin because he has no special powers and is therefore, they say, just a sidekick--but then he gets to ride home in the Batmobile! Another panel shows three little boy Robins strapped into one back seat.

Taking off from that panel, The Black Cat (JM) has put all three young Boy Wonders in Batman's family at the same time, and for good measure added a baby version of Terry McGinnis, the future Batman from the Batman Beyond TV show. Confused yet? Don't worry. There are plenty of references and in-jokes for fans, but all that really matters is that this version of Batman is a single dad with four sons--and all his usual hangups.

Click on the "Batman and Sons" image here for a full-sized version, and then on the links below that image for subsequent pages. Or you can read the whole sequence through LiveJournal.

(ADDENDUM: And, with the movie on its way, the webcomics keep coming. Here’s Least I Could Do, by Ryan Sohmer and Lar Desouza. No Robin, though.)

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