Saturday, November 8, 2008

Remember the "New" Teen Titans: Robin = Nightwing

I heard some terrific news today [see bottom] and it reminded me that I never finished my fond look back at the membership of one of the most beloved 1980's super teams, so lets knock the last few of these out of the park starting today with Robin (Richard "Dick" Grayson), who was created by Bob Kane, writer Bill Finger and artist Jerry Robinson, he first appeared in Detective Comics #38 (May 1940).

The youngest in a family of acrobats known as the "Flying Graysons", Dick had witnessed a mafia boss murder his parents while attempting to extort money from the circus that employed them. Bruce Wayne (secretly the superhero, The Batman) took him in as his legal ward after their deaths. Dick used his Olympic-level athletic skills to become Bruce’s sidekick and adopted the costumed role of Robin the Boy Wonder. Throughout Dick's adolescence, Batman and Robin were inseparable.

1964s The Brave and the Bold #54, first introduced the concept of a junior version of the Justice League of America (an all-star superhero team that included Batman). The team was led by Robin, along with two other teenage sidekicks, Aqualad and Kid Flash, to stop the menace of Mr. Twister. Later, these three joined forces with Speedy and Wonder Girl to free their mentors in the JLA from a mind-controlled thrall. They decided to christen themselves, The Teen Titans. By virtue of his tactical skills (gleaned from years with Batman), Robin was recognized as natural leader before these original Titans disbanded some years later.

Afterward, Robin continued his adventures with Batman, and also began studying law at Hudson University. However as Dick eventually lost interest in his studies, he started to take on individual missions, and found himself to be a capable solo crime-fighter. Shortly afterward, the mysterious Raven summoned Dick Grayson and several other young heroes to form a new group of Titans. Robin swiftly assumed leadership, and moved out of the shadow of his mentor. As Dick grew older and spent more time as the leader of the reformed New Teen Titans, he decided to take on the identity of Nightwing to assert his independence. His Nightwing persona was created by writer Marv Wolfman and artist George PĂ©rez, and first appeared in Tales of the New Teen Titans #44 (July 1984). As Nightwing, Dick Grayson continued to lead the Titans.

The "parting" between Dick and Bruce was entirely amicable. Dick voluntarily passed the mantle of Robin over to Jason Todd, in a memorable scene where he stated that "Robin will always be the second part of Batman and..." The Batman gave every impression of being pleased with his former ward's coming of age, and maintained this attitude until a later post-Crisis on Infinite Earths series retcon that rewrote the origin of Jason Todd (another teenage hero who filled the role of Robin) and the circumstances of Dick's departure from the role.

[On a positive note]: Warner Bro. Pictures Group has wisely chosen to kill the proposed CW Network television series, "The Graysons" which would have followed the life of a younger Robin the Boy Wonder before he met The Batman. Despite having previously announced development on the series, the studios new statement says that the show never had 100% clearance. This is how truly bad ideas die! (Thank god!)

1 comment:

joe ackerman said...

amen! the last thing I need on my tv is something else to avoid. who on earth ever thought that the idea of a Robin series without Batman & Robin in it would be a good idea? ridiculous. Smallville's bad enough, for crying out loud, and I can't even begin to adequately articulate my disdain for Smallville.

isn't the regular series of Nightwing now being cancelled? along with both the Robin and Birds of Prey series? something to do with the R.I.P thing. . .