Batman and Robin have been a culturally iconic duo for almost 80 years at this point. 'The Dynamic Duo' have been punching Gotham's criminals in the face ever since they first teamed up in 1940 and fans can look forward to them doing just that for many more years to come. While Bruce Wayne has (generally) always been the man beneath Batman's cowl for those eight decades, there have been a handful of young men and women who have taken up the mantle of Robin.
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This article will rank the seven most important Robin's to have appeared in DC Comics over the years, from worst to best.
7 Earth-Two Robin
DC Comics' continuity is a massive, unwieldy beast that may make you go cross-eyed if you try to fully understand it. There are countless versions of characters out there from different earths and various timelines in the multiverse, but this one existed for long enough that we reckoned it belonged on the list.
Earth-Two was created in 1961 as a method of explaining the differences in Golden Age (late 1930's to 1950) characters and the new (at the time) Silver Age characters. On this Earth, Dick Grayson used the superheroic identity of Robin into adulthood, never taking on the Nightwing identity like in modern DC continuity. A new Earth-Two Robin was then introduced in the wake of Flashpoint, but this was Helena Wayne, the daughter of Earth-Two's Batman and Catwoman. In this retcon, Earth-Two Dick Grayson was never Robin and instead he married Barbara Gordon and lived a normal life...until Darkseid's invasion caused him to learn survival skills from Ted Grant aka Catman. Yep. We've got a headache now...
6 Stephanie Brown
Stephanie Brown is the only character in the history of DC Comics who has been both Robin and Batgirl. Her main superheroic identity is Spoiler and she began fighting crime in response to her father being the low-level supervillain Cluemaster.
From 2009 to 2011 she took on the mantle of Batgirl, but this was retconned when The New 52 started, as was her earlier short period as Robin, which lasted from July to December 2004. When Tim Drake was forced by his father to stop being Robin and then Stephanie mistakenly believed Tim was cheating on her, she acted out and angrily demanded Batman train her as the new Robin. Bizarrely, he said yes, but even after months of training he didn't think she was good enough to replace Tim, so he fired her. She then tried to prove her worth to Batman by enacting one of his long-term plans to deal with Gotham's Underworld: inciting a gang war. But it went haywire and she wound up being tortured and killed by Black Mask. She was later resurrected, obviously. Because comics. But still, that's a pretty woeful tenure as The Girl Wonder...
5 Jason Todd
Though Jason Todd has come into his own in recent years as the gun-toting vigilante Red Hood, for the longest time he was simply seen as the Robin that everyone hated. In fact, the narrative was that all fans despised him so much that they voted for him to die. While it is true that his fate was decided by fans calling one of two 1-900 numbers to vote for life or death, the actual winning margin was very small; there were only 72 more votes for him to die at the hands of The Joker. Jason had initially been popular but a revamp of his origin in 1985 following Crisis On Infinite Earths started the rot. Many fans began to dislike the cocky, disrespectful and overly violent new personality he'd been given and the character never quite recovered in some eyes. His 2005 resurrection as Red Hood is proof that Jason can work in the right circumstances, and he's been a DC Universe mainstay ever since.
4 Carrie Kelley
Carrie Kelley was the first full-time female Robin in the history of Batman comics and will always hold a place in fan's hearts. She was created by Frank Miller in his seminal 1986 series Batman: The Dark Knight Returns and also appeared in its sequels Batman: The Dark Knight Strikes Again and The Dark Knight III: The Master Race. She is a 13-year-old schoolgirl who Batman saves from a group of Mutant gang members on the night of his return from retirement. She begins to idolize Batman and spends her lunch money on a Robin costume, taking to the streets to fight crime with a slingshot and firecrackers. She later plays a crucial role in tracking down and confronting The Joker. Carrie was introduced into mainline DC continuity in 2013's Batman & Robin #19 as a college student and Damian Wayne's acting teacher. As an homage to DKR, she is shown wearing a Robin costume on Halloween.
3 Damian Wayne
Damian Wayne is undoubtedly one of the best comic book characters created in the 2000's. Introduced by Grant Morrison and Andy Kubert in 2006's 'Batman and Son' storyline, Batman finds out that 10-year-old Damian is his son, born from a tryst with Talia Al Ghul during the 1987 graphic novel Son Of The Demon. It is revealed that Damian was genetically perfected and grown in an artificial womb, before being trained from birth as a warrior by the League Of Assassins.
His upbringing makes him spoiled, egotistical and violent, though over time a softer side begins to show and he rebels against his mother and grandfather Ra's Al Ghul, taking on the mantle of Robin and fighting beside his father. Damian has gone on to die and be resurrected, before taking up leadership of the Teen Titans. His sarcastic superiority coupled with his lethal capabilities have made him an incredibly compelling character and he is now an integral part of the DC Universe.
2 Dick Grayson
The original Robin and the name most associated with the character in the eyes of the mainstream, Dick Grayson is one of the greatest comic book characters of all time. He first appeared in 1940 and his origin, as a circus performer taken in by Bruce Wayne after his parents are murdered by a mobster, is iconic. It is Dick Grayson who is currently Robin in DC Universe's Titans show and it was Dick Grayson's Robin who starred in Batman Forever and Batman & Robin, as well as the classic 1960's TV series and movie. However, the reason he doesn't quite make number one on our list is because Dick is arguably better known these days, at least in comic book circles, as Nightwing. He took on his adult superheroic identity in 1984 and has forged his own story for 35 years separate from Batman. Of course, he still appears regularly in Batman-related titles and is a wonderful older brother figure for Damian and Tim, but Nightwing is very much his own entity and an enduringly popular character in his own right.
1 Tim Drake
Tim Drake, our pick for the best Robin of all time, is arguably the least well known to mainstream audiences. Everyone and their grandma knows who Dick Grayson is. Damian Wayne has been a mainstay of the current batch of DC Animated movies. Even Jason Todd/Red Hood has appeared in his own animated movie and also in Titans.
Tim Drake's only significant media appearance was in The New Batman Adventures cartoon in the 90's and the Batman Beyond: Return Of The Joker animated movie (in a very different incarnation to the comics). This is a shame, as Tim Drake is an amazing Robin and a truly beloved character to modern Batman fans.
NEXT: Robin: 5 Reasons Dick Grayson Is The Best, 5 Why It's Tim Drake, And 5 Why It's Actually Jason Todd
Tim debuted in 1989 as a teen who saw Batman going down a dark path in the wake of Jason Todd's death and deduced the Dark Knight's secret identity. He became a very modern, tech-savvy Robin whose real power was his intelligence. Dick might have been more physically gifted and Jason might have been a better fighter, but neither of them had Tim's fierce intellect. Tim was also the only Robin to have a long-running solo series; it ran from 1993 to 2009, lasting a mammoth 185 issues.