DC's Teen Titans have been around for 55 years, but one of the franchise's biggest contributions to comics is the way that it impacted Batman and Robin. During writer Marv Wolfman and artist George Perez's seminal run on The New Teen Titans, they did the unthinkable: they allowed Dick Grayson to grow up and ditch his Robin costume before forging his own heroic persona as Nightwing.
In part, this previously unprecedented status quo change came because Wolfman was so tired of the way Robin had been depicted for decades.
“I had been a Batman fan, but my problem with Robin was that he was always portrayed in the Batman book as this young kid who told bad puns and was usually captured so Batman would have to save him,” recalled Wolfman. "I was just not interested in telling any stories like that. And George wasn't interested in any of that either. We wanted to tell stories about people."
"So we started to age Dick Grayson from maybe 16 to 19," added Wolfman. "And [there's] a massive difference in how you act, how you react to people, how you live and how you develop your life. What I wanted to show, and what George and I settled on was trying to come up with a way to show him growing up as a real person. A lot of that is moving away from your father figure moving away from being treated like a little kid."
It turns out that the biggest stumbling block was getting DC to let them give Dick Grayson a new costume. Fortunately, the Batman books wanted their Robin back. That allowed Wolfman to strike a deal: the Batman titles could introduce a new Robin if he and Perez were allowed to finally let Dick break off and become Nightwing.
"They loved the idea because here was something that would be unique to Batman," said Wolfman. "And we were able to create the Nightwing character to honor Batman, somewhat. And to honor Superman somewhat."
For more tales of the Teen Titans from Wolfman and Perez, check out the latest episode of SYFY WIRE's Behind the Panel!