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Comic Legends: Neal Adams' First Attempt at Changing Robin's Costume

Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the seven hundred and thirty-seventh installment where we examine comic book legends and whether they are true or false.

As usual, there will be three posts, one for each of the (very late) weekly three legends. This time, it's a Dick Grayson-themed week!

NOTE: If my Twitter page hits 5,000 followers, I'll do a bonus edition of Comic Book Legends Revealed that week. Great deal, right? So go follow my Twitter page, Brian_Cronin!

COMIC LEGEND:

Neal Adams and Mike Friedrich tried to introduce a new Robin costume in the early 1970s

STATUS:

True

As you may or may not know, Neal Adams did the amazing design of Tim Drake's costume when Tim became the third Robin in the early 1990s...

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However, Neal apparently almost had a new costume for Robin TWENTY YEARS before Tim Drake debuted!

In Justice League of America #92 (by Mike Friedrich, Dick Dillin and Joe Giella), the Justice League had one of their regular team-ups with the Justice Society of America and this time around, Robin from Earth-One (the "main" Robin) came over to team-up with his older Earth-Two self (who was, at the time, wearing a costume that was a mixture of Batman's costume with Robin's costume, as the original Batman had retired from crimefighting and the adult Robin was Gotham's main defender)...

Robin's costume was torn, so he Earth-Two's Robin lends him a costume that he had considered wearing himself...

He notes that it was designed by a costume designer named "Neal Adams," wink wink nudge nudge.

The costume had aerodynamic potential...

Eventually, Robin realizes that the aliens they are fighting are not what they seem...

At the end of the issue, the editor asks the readers if they'd like Robin to keep this costume...

He did not.

As it turns out, though, this new costume was part of a pitch by writer Mike Friedrich (and Neal Adams) to give Robin a new costume back then!

Friedrich delivered the information in Roy Thomas' All Star Companion Volume 3 for TwoMorrows (which my buddy Kurt Mitchell also worked on)...

"I remember that I got a chance to bring Solomon Grundy back, and to deal with a little pet peeve of mine, which was the awful costume that [the Earth-One] Robin wore. As a big Batman fan I was lobbying behind the scenes to try to get that costume changed. Hanging out at the DC offices with Neal Adams, he and I would talk about various things, and one of them was how out of date and embarrassing the thirty-year-old Robin costume was. Neal, in one of his moments of inspiration, had designed a brand new Robin costume. We had presented it to DC, and they had decided not to use it. But I was able to get permission to use the Adams design on the Earth-Two Robin. As far as I know, the only time it appeared was in that single story. It took another 15-20 years before DC finally got around to changing Robin's outfit."

Actually, Earth-Two Robin ended up adopting that costume full-time and wore it until he died during Crisis on Infinite Earths...

Imagine how different things would have been had Robin adopted that costume back then! Would Robin have never become Nightwing if he already had an "adult" costume a decade or so earlier?

Thanks to Mike Friedrich for the information!

Check out some other comic book movie legends from Legends Revealed:

1. Was Spock Originally Going to Have Red Skin on Star Trek?

2. Did Paul McCartney Have a Hidden Message in an Episode of The Simpsons?

3. Was Cinderella’s Castle at Disney World Designed to Have a Secret Apartment Inside for Walt Disney?

4. Did a Mute Man Speak for the First Time in Over Five Years After Riding the Cyclone?

Check back soon for part 2 of this week's (very late) legends!

And remember, if you have a legend that you're curious about, drop me a line at either brianc@cbr.com or cronb01@aol.com!

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