31 August 2008

Robin the Half-Bat Superhero

This weekly Robin is brought to us courtesy of my godson, whom I was visiting last weekend. Godson drew this comic book for his younger cousin, and kindly allowed me to share it. Since godson is only seven and a half, his draftsmanship and lettering have room to improve, so I've recreated the script to make sure the story's clear.


TITLE: Robin the half-bat superhero vs. Mouse Man

Big picture of Robin flaring the black wings growing from his arms and shins. Mouse Man voices his displeasure in one lower corner.

MOUSE MAN: sqek!



Long shot of Robin soaring over cityscape on his batwings. Far below, we catch a glimpse of Mouse Man.


Medium-length view. Holding a set of handcuffs, Robin swoops down on Mouse Man.


Closeup of Mouse Man in handcuffs.


Pull back to show Mouse Man behind bars.
And there, naturally, the story ends. Since that might have seemed a bit short to the publisher, the artist also provided a maze captioned "Get Robin through the map to the body."

You might assume that godson's interest in Robin is evidence of the moral guidance of his godfather. But no, I'm still rather lackadaisical in that department. Godson's uncle had supplied Superman and Batman collections from the 1940s, '50s, '60s, and '70s, as well as a DVD of Challenge of the Superfriends. There was thus a plethora of DC Comics and Hanna-Barbera heroes to take inspiration from, and the kids played at being Wonder Woman, Batman, Aquaman, Wonder Man, and unnamed ninjas. On a day I set aside for writing, my most productive act was to point out that if godson wanted a yellow cape there was a set of yellow towels in the linen closet.

With all those models to choose from, when godson created his own comic-book hero he nonetheless chose to start with Robin. He didn't write a story for Batman's sidekick, he assured me, but for a half-bat superhero who just happens to be named Robin. I nevertheless suspect that the character is derivative enough that we might yet receive a call from DC's lawyers.

Like young Alex Ross, godson was drawn to Robin. I posit that a young, non-superpowered costumed hero fighting alongside the grown-ups has an inherent appeal for many younger readers. Not for all, as the example of Jules Feiffer shows (or perhaps Feiffer, born in 1929, was already past the crucial age when Robin appeared in 1940). I'll return to this when I eventually get around to my "reasons for Robin" postings.


Jay said...

Hey, at least this story was easier to follow than most DC stories these days...

Bill S. said...

I love it when kids make their own comics! I especially like it when they (in this case kind of) make up their own heroes.

I feel a bit sorry for Mouse Man, though...

J. L. Bell said...

But Mouse Man is bad!

You can see it in his whiskers.

Anonymous said...

All things considered his draftsmanship and and approach to narrative is pretty darned impressive. A talent to watch for the future to be sure! :)