The Dark Knight has a lot of secrets his handlers at DC would rather stay buried. He’s kind of a jerk, he’s had his ups and downs, and he’s pretty much a wholesale rip-off of another pulp character from the thirties. In fact the only other character in comics who might have him beat for embarrassing skeletons in the closet may just be his sidekick. Robin The Boy Wonder, Batman’s erstwhile sidekick, has been around for nearly as long as his mentor and has managed to accumulate his own admirable collection of awful clandestine milestones. Right now the weird history of the prototypical sidekick is being delved into with the Robin Rises storyline, where Batman tries to figure out what the deal is with his clone son Damian, previously presumed dead but now somehow not? And what’s going on with Dick Grayson, the original Boy Wonder, who also appears to be dead? Comixology have currently got a Robin 101 sale going on to help get you up to speed with the character’s history, but even with all that, you won’t be getting the full story. What are the parts of Robin that remain unexplored (oo-er)? What are the aspects of the Boy Wonder which have been left back in the mists of time, abandoned like an injured soldier dragging the rest of the squad down? Why did anybody think it was appropriate for a kid sidekick to flounce around in hot pants and green booties? We will go over all this and more amongst our ten things DC wants you to forget about Robin.
10. His Movie Incarnations
The Boy Wonder has a tricky relationship with the big screen. Burt Ward’s sidekick from the campy sixties TV show is about as good as we’ve gotten with movie Robins so far, with the other two proper depictions leaving a little to be desired. Chris O’Donnell had the distinct misfortune of playing Batman’s second-in-command for his war on crime for the Joel Schumacher films, which took the gothic weirdness of Tim Burton’s first two Dark Knight flicks and turned them into a cringy pop art mess of wildly contrasting tones. And bat nipples, which have become a cultural meme all their own, separate from the cinematic abominations which sired them. In Batman Forever and Batman & Robin Dick Grayson appears as a grown up, which on the one hand makes his adoption by Bruce Wayne less weird (not got a thing for training kids up to be vigilantes) and also a lot weirder (why does an adult need to be adopted). Also he uses martial arts to sort out the laundry, which is really stupid. The only thing worse than that would be if you’d promised not to introduce Robin in your films, only to do so with a twist ending about a character’s real name which is really, really stupid. It’s also what Christopher Nolan did with the reveal that Detective John Blake, played by Joseph Gordon Levitt in the Dark Knight Rises, was actually called Robin. Neither version has really informed the comic book character. Which is good, because it would be hella creepy if Damian Wayne’s nipples were visible through his costume. In fact we would be surprised if we saw Robin in a film again for a while, however, which might change things; he was noticeably absent from the Burton films, and thus didn’t appear in the comics for a spell. He doesn’t look to be part of Superman V Batman: Dawn Of Justice, either, which would suit the current absence of a sidekick in the Batman books.