Let the Boy Wonder live

Ben Robinson

Ben Robinson

All About Ben

By Ben Roninson

According to the Internet, the folks at DC Comics have a big surprise lined up. Robin, Batman’s steady sidekick, actually dies in an issue this week.

Been there, done that.

You see, this Robin isn’t actually Dick Grayson, the young circus performer who became Batman’s sidekick and practically his adopted son. That Robin became a teenager, then the leader of the group known as the Teen Titans.

Eventually the original Robin became Nightwing, starred in a comic himself, and had an affair with Starfire, a gorgeous young hero from a planet that is apparently home to good-looking female heroes.

The role of the new Robin went to Jason Todd, a street child who was adopted by Bruce Wayne, who as we all know is secretly Batman. This happened in the early 1980s.

Comic sales apparently went down as readers didn’t accept the new Robin, so writers decided to kill the character. Robin died in a fight with longtime Batman nemesis The Joker. Batman struggled after the murder to not use excessive force on the Joker, who returned later with no apparent repressions.

Readers complained about the death of Jason Todd. They did not like the new Robin, but they didn’t want him dead either. Eventually Jason Todd was brought back — as a bad guy. Apparently, the death experience was not fatal, but Jason Todd was now insane.

Comic books continued to rise in price. Books that had once sold for a dime suddenly were selling for more than two dollars. Many fans — including this one — were forced out of the market, and had to settle for reading real books with no pictures.

Sometime in the  past few years, a third Robin appeared. This time the character was Damian Wayne, the illegitimate child of Bruce Wayne and Talia al Ghul, the daughter of longtime Batman foe Ra’s al-Ghul. Comics used to not even hint as such “affairs,” but apparently now they are considered commonplace.

Damian apparently dies in a fight with an evil cloned version of himself. According to the Internet, “he dies a hero.”

But that’s just a little too much realism for me. Comics are supposed to be a way to escape reality. Batman was a grown man when introduced in 1940, and his sidekick Robin did not age until the 1970s. Not realistic? Of course not, but the idea of a man wearing a bat uniform, or a blue uniform with yellow shorts and red boots, or the idea of Batgirl not getting hit on  by all of her fellow heroes, isn’t very realistic either. It’s a comic book, so you throw away any connection to realism.

We read enough about murders in actual newspapers. Our comics should be filled with, at worst, unsuccessful “attempts” at murder.

Of course, the death of this third character known as Robin is already in the books, so we can’t change that. But when a new lad is called “Robin” appears, let’s let him live.

It seems foolish to have the Robin character mature at a faster rate, while Batman somehow spends eternity at 29 years old. Simply ignore time, and move on.

So to DC Comics, my simple request is to let the character Robin be born anew, fight crime beside Batman, and never age.

If you insist on portraying heroes as adults, I refer you to the letter I sent in 1978 requesting a swimsuit edition of the Mighty Avengers.