It’s been a while, but I’m ready to finish this series. First up: Robin!
Batman’s junior partner, Robin, has been around almost as long as the Caped Crusader. Introduced in 1940, just a year after Batman’s debut, Robin was created to lighten the dark tone of Batman’s stories and appeal to young readers. He was the first young sidekick of a comic book hero, but because of his instant popularity, he was not the last. Soon, it seemed, almost every hero was adopting a “young ward”.
Eventually, the propriety of these relationships would be questioned—most famously in Seduction of the Innocent by Fredric Wertham in the mid-1950s. Wertham asserted, among other things, that Batman and Robin were gay. The book led directly to Congressional hearings on the content of comic books and the creation of a regulatory association, the Comics Code Authority.
After the uproar, an effort was made to romantically link the Dynamic Duo with women, but the resulting stories were often just as awkward and campy as the ones that caused all the fuss in the first place.
If you’re like me, the name and costume for Robin never made sense. It seemed weird he wasn’t Batboy or something along those lines. As it turns out, he wasn’t named after a bird but inspired by Robin Hood. That still doesn’t explain the impractical pantsless look though. I guess if you’ve got the legs, you might as well show them off.
Illustrating one playing card a day using characters found between 1957-1967 in DC Comics. Tomorrow: Aquagirl!