Updated: January 28, 2017
BURT WARD PHOTO GALLERY #05
Batman and Dick Grayson as Robin reinterpreted by painter Alex Ross. Based on the cover to Batman #9 by Jack Burnley.
Detective Comics #38 (April 1940)
Bob Kane, Bill Finger (writers)
Jerry Robinson (art)
Robin is the name of several fictional characters appearing in comic books published by DC Comics, originally created by Bob Kane, Bill Finger and Jerry Robinson, as a junior counterpart to DC Comics superhero Batman. The team of Batman and Robin is commonly referred to as the Dynamic Duo or the Caped Crusaders.
The character's first incarnation Dick Grayson debuted in Detective Comics #38 (April 1940). Conceived as a vehicle to attract young readership, Robin garnered overwhelmingly positive critical reception, doubling the sales of the Batman related comic books. The early adventures of Robin included Star Spangled Comics #65–130 (1947–1952), which was the character's first solo feature. Robin made regular appearances in Batman related comic books and other DC Comics publications from 1940 through the early 1980s until the character set aside the Robin identity and became the independent superhero Nightwing.
Afterwards, the character's second incarnation Jason Todd debuted in Batman #357 (1983). This Robin made regular appearances in Batman related comic books until 1988, when the character was murdered by the Joker in A Death in the Family (1989). Jason would later find himself alive after a reality changing incident, eventually becoming the Red Hood.
The premiere Robin limited series was published in 1991 which featured the character's third incarnation Tim Drake training to earn the role of Batman's junior partner. Following two successful sequels, the monthly Robin ongoing series began in 1993 and ended in early 2009, which also helped his transition from sidekick to a superhero in his own right.
The fourth Robin incarnation was established DC Comics character Stephanie Brown and thus the first in-continuity female version of the character. But shortly after her acquisition of the Robin mantle, she was stripped of the identity by Batman and was apparently killed by the supervillain Black Mask in the crossover Batman: War Games (2004). It has since been revealed that her death was a ruse and she eventually returned to resume her previous identity before becoming the sixth Batgirl. She was later retconned out of existence as part of the The New 52 and is currently discounted as both Robin and Batgirl.
In the final issue of Battle for the Cowl, Damian Wayne (Bruce Wayne's son) becomes the new Robin. In the wake of The New 52, Tim Drake later takes on the identity of Red Robin, Jason Todd still operates as the Red Hood, Dick Grayson reclaims his role as Nightwing and the status of Stephanie Brown is unknown. After Damian is killed in a 2013 comic, the position of Robin becomes vacant.
In The New 52's Earth 2 alternate universe continuity of Worlds Finest, Batman and Catwoman married, and their daughter Helena Wayne was that universe's Robin, until her father died at the hands of an invasion force from Apokolips-2, along with that universe's Superman and Wonder Woman. Helena is currently exiled on Earth 0, along with Power Girl, and has adopted a new persona as Huntress.
Fictional character biography:
About a year after Batman's debut, Batman creators Bob Kane and Bill Finger introduced Robin the Boy Wonder in Detective Comics #38 (1940). The name "Robin the Boy Wonder" and the medieval look of the original costume were inspired by The Adventures of Robin Hood. Robinson noted he "came up with Robin Hood because The Adventures of Robin Hood were boyhood favorites of mine. I had been given a Robin Hood book illustrated by N. C. Wyeth ... and that's what I quickly sketched out when I suggested the name Robin Hood, which they seemed to like, and then showed them the costume. And if you look at it, it's Wyeth's costume, from my memory, because I didn't have the book to look at." (Some later accounts of Robin's origin have stated that the name comes from the American robin bird, not from Robin Hood, Frank Miller's All Star Batman and Robin being a notable exception; sometimes both sources are credited, as in Len Wein's The Untold Legend of the Batman.) Although Robin is best known as Batman's sidekick, the Robins have also been members of the superhero group the Teen Titans - with the original Robin, Dick Grayson, as a founding member and the group's leader and with Tim Drake as the team leader as of 2012.
In Batman stories the character of Robin was intended to be the Batman's Watson: Bill Finger, writer for many early Batman adventures, wrote:
"Robin was an outgrowth of a conversation I had with Bob. As I said, Batman was a combination of Douglas Fairbanks and Sherlock Holmes. Holmes had his Watson. The thing that bothered me was that Batman didn't have anyone to talk to, and it got a little tiresome always having him thinking. I found that as I went along Batman needed a Watson to talk to. That's how Robin came to be. Bob called me over and said he was going to put a boy in the strip to identify with Batman. I thought it was a great idea."