Robin: The Sidekick's Surprising History as a Solo Comic Book Hero

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It's not easy being the younger half of a Dynamic Duo that includes the legendary Batman. While Dick Grayson's relationship with Bruce started out great, tensions grew between the first Robin and the Dark Knight, and Dick struck out on his own, which is something that each Robin after Dick has done. This has led to most Robins going on to have their own adventures in their own series too.

Batman has trained a few Robins, with Jason Todd following shortly after Dick quit the dynamic duo in Teen Titans #39. Unfortunately, Todd didn't have much of a career as Robin before his death at the hands of the Joker, so he didn't have many solo outings before he adopted the Red Hood persona. Batman went solo himself for a few years until Tim Drake decided the Batman needed a Robin and took on the role. He would work alongside Batman for years until the appearance of Bruce Wayne's son, Damian Wayne, who took the role of Robin as his birthright before he too started adventuring on his own. Now, we're taking a closer look at what these Robins got up to when they weren't working with the Batman.

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RELATED: Detective Comics #1000 Confirms Dick Grayson Is the Most Important Robin


Following Dick Grayson's debut, Batman was rarely seen without his Robin, however, the reverse wasn't always true. Starting in 1947, the solo adventures of Robin were published in the pages of Star Spangled Comics. Robin's adventures in that series along, with his continuing adventures with Batman, gave him more Golden Age appearances than the Dark Knight. These classic Golden Age style stories that featured mostly gangsters or one-off villains, though a few early Gotham Rogues like Mr. Zero/Mr. Freeze would also appear.

Dick would also join his fellow sidekicks on the Teen Titans in the '60s, and the series would become one of DC Comics' biggest hits in the '80s. It was partly due to his commitment to the Titans that caused a rift between Batman, and he was forced to quit as Robin to later become the well-respected hero known as Nightwing. Starting in the '90s, Nightwing would go on to have his own comic series, which is still being published today, as well as feature on a number of teams including the Titans, Outsiders, and even the Justice League.


Tim Drake was actually the first Robin to receive his very own self-titled series in 1991, which would launch a few mini-series until he received his own ongoing in 1994. Drake's early mini-series would flesh out some of his training with Lady Shiva, establish his own background characters and reintroduce the Huntress character to the Bat-Family while also putting Drake up against the Joker. who killed his predecessor. Robin's ongoing series launched during "Knightfall," a period when Bruce Wayne wasn't even Batman, which gave Robin room to breathe as his own hero for a while.

RELATED: DC's Young Justice Unveils Tim Drake's Brand New Costume

Robin's ongoing would eventually start running together with the other Bat-titles in the various big events, but Tim would also find himself on his own version of the Teen Titans, which became known as Young Justice. The team of friends would eventually grow to include a number of other next-generation DC heroes before the team met with disaster. Tim and some of his friends from Young Justice would then go on to form a new iteration of the Teen Titans, which Tim would work alongside until he too left Robin behind to become Red Robin. Tim recently joined the reformed Young Justice where he took a new codename.


Damian Wayne's Robin

Damian was raised in secret away from his father with his mother Talia al Ghul, where he grew up under his grandfather Ra's al Ghul's guidance. Damian's upbringing and training separate him from the other Robins and brings him closer to his father, the Batman, both in ability and disposition. While Damian still works alongside Bruce when needed, he is very much a solo hero at this point, with his first solo title exploring his resurrection and relationships with his parents, his prized animal collection and the other superhero elements of the DC Universe.

Damian would also go on to join, and then form his own version of the Teen Titans, fulfilling a long-standing tradition first started by Dick Grayson. However, Damian's leadership of the Teen Titans is completely different than Dick or Tim before him, so most of the team's adventures seem to revolve around having to deal with Damian's unique personality while they carry out various clandestine missions that are way too dangerous for teenagers.

KEEP READING: Batman and Robin Eternal: How the Crossover Rewrote DC History

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