Robin (DC Comics)

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Character
Name: Robin
Occupation: superhero
Relationships: Bruce Wayne (mentor)
Fandom: DC Comics / Batman / Teen Titans / Young Justice
Other:
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Robin is a superhero secret identity filled by several characters at different points in DC Comics canon. Robin is best known as Batman's sidekick, but Robins also appear as members of the Teen Titans and Young Justice. All the Robins from the animated shows have slightly different origin stories - and sometimes notably different skillsets and personalities - from the Robins in the comics.

Incarnations

Robin I: Dick Grayson

Main article: Dick Grayson

Dick Grayson was the original Robin, first appearing in Detective Comics #38 (April 1940). Because of this, he has been involved in every retcon of the DC Universe, and his age and many other canon details vary based on the timeline/continuity. His origin does not change: He was part of the "Flying Graysons" acrobat family at Haley's Circus, and his parents died tragically during a performance. He was adopted by Bruce Wayne and later became Batman's sidekick, Robin. In most timelines, his parents' death was a murder, a mob "warning" to the circus owner. At some point, Dick was shown to have Romani relatives, and much of today's fandom community accepts him as Roma.

Dick is canonically sexy with an amazingly attractive ass, and this detail makes its way into many fanworks, in both fic and art. As Robin, before he became Nightwing, he was often paired with Bruce Wayne, Roy Harper, Superman, and Deathstroke, in addition to his canon het love interests of Starfire and Donna Troy.

Robin II: Jason Todd

Main article: Jason Todd

Jason's history changed drastically with the first Crisis on Infinite Earths comics crossover event. Before that, he had an origin story similar to Dick's: he was from a circus acrobat family; his parents died; Bruce took him in. He became Bruce's sidekick without a name while Dick was Robin with the Teen Titans, until Dick changed to Nightwing and gave Jason his old Robin uniform. Post-Crisis, his history was rewritten entirely: He was a street kid who stole tires from the Batmobile while Batman was mourning his parents' death in Crime Alley. On return, Batman found a teenager boosting his tires and laughed out loud... then kidnapped Jason, brought him home, and eventually adopted him.

Many fanworks about Jason mention his time on the street: hookerfic is common, along with him having various street skills. Fandom also explores whether he committed a murder during his time as Robin, and whether that was the beginning of his falling out with Bruce. He is often portrayed as having a strong friendship or being friends-with-benefits with Roy Harper. He's also paired with Dick, Bruce, and Talia (which later became canon), and is sometimes show as lusting after Stephanie Brown, who basically won't speak to him.

Robin III: Tim Drake

Main article: Tim Drake

Tim's origin also went through major changes as DC adjusted their timeline in order to de-age Bruce Wayne. Originally, he was brought in after Jason's death. He had been at the circus as a very young child on the day Dick's parents died, and the event struck him so hard that he became obsessed with Batman and Robin. He saw a news clip about Robin that showed him doing an acrobatic maneuver that only Dick Grayson could do, and figured out both their identities from that. When Batman went rogue after Jason's death, Tim approached him, saying, "Batman needs a Robin." While Bruce resisted at first, he was eventually brought in for training.

Many fanworks about Tim focus on him believing he is the unwanted, unworthy Robin who had to fight his way in, instead of being chosen. He's canonically the best Robin at detective work and hacking, so he's often shown as a super-hacker, and one of the few characters who can successfully lie to Batman.

Fanworks also explore his angst over his relationship with his emotionally distant bio-parents, his obsession with Jason Todd, and his early crush on Dick. He's also paired with Bruce, Superboy much more than Superman, Lex Luthor, Roy, Impulse, Stephanie, and Cass Cain.

Robin IV: Stephanie Brown

Main article: Stephanie Brown

Not always considered a "real" Robin. (See Robin or Not?) Steph was brought in when Tim quit over one of Bruce's many deceptions and mind games. After her short stretch as Robin, Tim returned to the role. Steph is often the "forgotten Robin" - after the DC "Nu 52" reboot, she was removed entirely from the timeline, which many fans found offensive and sexist. In her original timeline, she was first Spoiler, then Robin, and later became Batgirl.

She's often paired with Cass Cain when Cass was Batgirl; they are canonically good friends. She was Tim Drake's girlfriend, so that gets explored in fic as well. She's occasionally paired with Bruce, Dick, Jason, and Superman, but not as much as other Robins.

Robin V: Damian Wayne

Main article: Damian Wayne

Damian is Bruce's biological son with Talia al Ghul, the product of a drugged rape that Bruce may not have remembered. He was trained by the League of Assassins but eventually quit them and showed up in Gotham, demanding to be part of his father's life. He is haughty and arrogant; in fanfic, this is often portrayed as a sign of his insecurity and fear of rejection. He has canonically adopted several pets, and even more in fanworks.

Damian is often paired with Dick who was Batman while he was first Robin. He has a tense relationship with Tim, which is more likely to be shown as non-con in one direction or the other than as a "healthy" relationship. Damian's young age (he's 10 when he shows up; has only recently reached 13 in the comics) inspires a lot of wank about whether it's okay to ship him at all, even aged up.

Other Robins

  • Duke Thomas
  • Harper Row - not actually a Robin, but shown dressed as one on a cover at one point; a different Batman sidekick
  • Robin the Toy Wonder - from the Robin One Million comic

Teen Titans

In the Teen Titans TV series, Robin stayed in costume most of the time so initially it was unclear whether he was supposed to be Dick or Tim, but later references show him as Dick Grayson, though the continuity is different. Many headcanon him as Dick.

In Fandom

Shipping current/former Robins with each other is commonly called Robincest. This became even more common after a time-travel episode in the comics that had young Dick Grayson meeting the current Tim Drake Robin. Though none of the characters are related by blood, they are often considered part of a Batfamily.

Relationship with Superman

Many fics explore Robin's relationship with Superman, either as a platonic friendship where the two optimists make fun of the dour and grumpy Batman, or as slash. Some slash fans headcanon is that Dick's first sexual relationship was with Clark.

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