First Published: January 2008
Contents: Robin stories from Batman #184 (September 1966), #192 (June 1967), #202 (June 1968), #213 (July-August 1969), #217 (December 1969), #227 (December 1970), #229 (February 1971) to #231 (May 1971), #234 (August 1971) to #236 (November 1971), #239 (February 1972) to #242 (June 1972), #244 (September 1972) to #246 (December 1972), #248 (April 1973) to #250 (July 1973), #252 (October 1973), and #254 (January-February 1974); World’s Finest Comics #141 (May 1964) #147 (February 1965), #195 (August 1970), and #200 (February 1971); Robin stories from Detective Comics #342 (August 1965), #386 (April 1969), #390 (August 1969), #391 (September 1969), #394 (December 1969), #395 (January 1970), #398 (April 1970) to #403 (September 1970), #445 (February-March 1975), #447 (May 1975), #450 (August 1975) and #451 (September 1975); Robin stories from Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #91 (March 1966), #111 (June 1968), and #130 (July 1970); and Justice League of America #91 (August 1971) and #92 (September 1971)
Key Creator Credits: Gardner Fox, Frank Robbins, Gil Kane, Mike Friedrich, Irv Novick, Dick Dillin, Elliot S. Maggin, Bob Rozakis, and others
Key First Appearances: Frank McDonald, Lori Elton
Overview: For being a teenage sidekick, Robin the Boy Wonder is looking pretty good for 74 years old. Sit back and enjoy the solo tales of the most recognizable sidekick of all time.
The early stories have the sweet innocence of the 1960s. We get a retelling of Robin’s origin: A young Dick Grayson is the youngest member of the Flying Graysons, the star attraction of Haley’s Circus. When the circus refuses to pay off mobsters, the Graysons suffer a fatal accident, leaving Dick Grayson as a mourning orphan. Attending the circus that night is millionaire Bruce Wayne, who knows first hand the pain that Grayson is feeling. He brings the young lad into his home as a ward and makes him a partner in his war on crime as Robin.
As we enter the 1970s, Dick Grayson finally completes high school and is ready to head to college. Once he leaves Wayne Manor to attend college at Hudson University, Robin starts to shine as an independent character. He finds a steady girlfriend in Lori Elton and gets to know the Hudson Security Chief Frank McDonald both in and out of the Robin outfit. Robin’s maturation becomes a decade-long process, but we finally get to see Robin completely break free of Batman’s shadow much later in the pages of New Teen Titans.
Why should these stories be Showcased?: As one of DC’s oldest characters, Robin definitely needs to have his solo stories collected like this. The stories collected here generally fall into two categories – either a filler story to complete an issue of Batman or Detective Comics, or a genuine attempt to tell a stand-alone story and advance the character of Dick Grayson. However, Dick Grayson’s story is not complete here. It’s been 7+ years since DC released this volume and Showcase Presents Batgirl Vol. 1. My hope is that some day, DC will continue to collect Dick Grayson’s (and Barbara Gordon’s) adventures in a Showcase Presents Batman Family Vol. 1, which would ideally collect the original stories of Robin, Batgirl, Man-Bat and others from Batman Family #1 to #20.
Footnotes: The Robin story from Detective Comics #342 was also reprinted in Showcase Presents Batman Vol. 1.
The Robin story from Batman #184 was also reprinted in Showcase Presents Batman Vol. 2.
The Robin story from Batman #192 was also reprinted in Showcase Presents Batman Vol. 3.
The Robin stories from Batman #202 and #213 were also reprinted in Showcase Presents Batman Vol. 4.
The Robin story from Batman #217 was also reprinted in Showcase Presents Batman Vol. 5.
Detective Comics #400 & #401 were also reprinted in Showcase Presents Batgirl Vol. 1.
World’s Finest Comics #141 was also reprinted in Showcase Presents World’s Finest Vol. 2.
World’s Finest Comics #147 was also reprinted in Showcase Presents World’s Finest Vol. 3.
World’s Finest Comics #195 and #200 were also reprinted in Showcase Presents World’s Finest Vol. 4.
Justice League of America #91 and #92 were also reprinted in Showcase Presents Justice League of America Vol. 5.
If you like this volume, try: The New Teen Titans: Judas Contract. This was one of the best Teen Titans stories ever and definitely was among the greatest stories done by Marv Wolfman and George Perez. The main story here deals with the betrayal of the Titans by their newest member, Terra. Inserted into the team a year prior, we find out that she had been working as a mole for Deathstroke, the Terminator. Over the course of the story, we see Dick Grayson undergo his transformation into adulthood, which had it’s beginnings in this volume when Robin struck out on his own at Hudson University. By the end of the story, Dick Grayson has adopted a new identity (and costume) as Nightwing. This has been collected multiple times, as both a trade paperback and as part of The New Teen Titans Omnibus Vol. 2. I can’t recommend this story enough – this is one of the essential stories for Dick Grayson, for the Teen Titans, and for DC Comics.