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SYFY WIRE Behind the Panel

Why Robin is the greatest superhero sidekick of all time

By Mike Avila

This year marks the 80th anniversary of Batman's sidekick, Robin. However, the Boy Wonder has done far more than ride on the Dark Knight's coattails. Bill Finger and Jerry Robinson, with Bob Kane, created Dick Grayson/Robin as the ultimate reader surrogate for Batman, but they couldn't have known that Robin would spread his wings and eventually chart his own legend.

That's one of the key reasons that Robin has endured long after most of the other sidekicks faded away into the background. Robin evolved over time, and he even entered adulthood while leading the Teen Titans. Dick was simply too old to be running around in Robin's tights anymore, so he became Nightwing, and Jason Todd was introduced as the second Robin in the '80s. 

Ironically, the greatest thing that Jason ever did for Robin's legacy was dying at the hands of the Joker. Jason was the black sheep rebel of the Bat-family, but Bruce Wayne simply wasn't the same after his death. That's why Tim Drake immediately took hold with readers. He was a teenager who figured out Bruce's secret and successfully argued that Batman needed a Robin to remind him of who and what he's fighting for. 

Two other Robins have followed in continuity: Stephanie Brown and Damian Wayne, Bruce's biological son. Although Stephanie's stint as Robin was marred by her untimely death, that demise was subsequently retconned and she became the next Batgirl. As for Damian, he's an even bigger headache for Bruce than Jason ever was. But all of the Robins are members of Batman's extended family, even if Bruce doesn't always acknowledge what they mean to him.

The Robins represent the past, present, and future of Gotham City. And they've become so popular that even alternate world Robins like The Dark Knight Returns' Carrie Kelly have transformed into icons. And as long as there's a Batman, he'll always have a Robin by his side.

For more about the history of Robin, check out the latest episode of SYFY WIRE's Behind the Panel!