>> Which Robin Is It Anyway?
One of the most debated topics of TEEN TITANS: Which Robin is behind the mask? Is it Tim Drake? Dick Grayson? Jason Todd? Some of the series creators provide some answers....
Will The Real Boy Wonder Please Stand Up?
Robin, A.K.A. Dick Grayson, is the traditional leader of the comic book Teen Titans. However, the look of the animated team's leader mirrors that of third-string Boy Wonder Tim Drake. So just who is this Cartoon Network teenager posing as Batman's former sidekick? "In my mind, it's Dick Grayson just because that's what I grew up reading in the comic," says Glen Murakami. "But I think continuity-wise it might not make sense to people because if it's Dick Grayson then it's Like, 'Oh, well, when does this take place in the Batman animated series?"'
From an article from Cinescape Magazine #72 [September 2003] by Eric Moro.
Comics2Film/CBR News spoke with Sam Register, Cartoon Network senior vice president of original animation who helped shepherd DC's pre-adult heroes to animated life.
They asked: And just who is under the mask? Is it Tim Drake? Dick Grayson? Jason Todd?
"He's just Robin. We never say which Robin he is. To be honest we've never even discussed it," Register said. "Again, that's for clarity for the kids. We're not doing alter egos. They walk around town in their suits. They go to movies dressed as super heroes. Everyone sees them as super heroes. The go to a party as super heroes. They're super heroes full time."
From "Drawing Inspiration: An Interview with Glen Murakami.
BW: Although there are no secret identities, it seems Robin is strongly modeled after Dick Grayson. Is that where you draw inspiration for Robin? Or is he an amalgam of different Robins?
Glen: Ummm… hmmm… Well, the reason we never got into the secret identities and stuff like that is it just gets really complicated. Instead of all the characters having one name, they now had two names. We just felt that would get confusing and we just really didn’t want to get into that.
It was really important to me that little kids watching it could identify with characters. And I thought that the minute you start giving them secret identities then kids couldn’t project themselves onto the characters anymore. And that was important to me. I know it’s kind of important to have secret identities and stuff like that but we wanted everything to be really, really, iconic. Like, “Oh, there’s the robot guy. There’s the alien girl. There’s the witch girl. There’s the shape-changing boy.” There’s the we just wanted it really clean like that. We wanted it like old Star Trek. We just wanted it simple.
When I was growing up, I didn’t like the old Adam West Batman. But I did want more humor in the series. I was struggling with how you do a show with more humor in it without it being a parody. I didn’t want to make fun of the characters. Because I think as a kid, the Superfriends and the Adam West Batman drove me nuts – they didn’t make sense to me. Because then I read the comics and I didn’t understand why the characters were so much cooler.
From "Bringing Titans To TV: An Interview with Sam Register."
BW: Let’s touch on some of the characters; How did Robin evolve? He obviously has many character beats from Dick Grayson’s character in New Teen Titans. With all the different Robins, which one or ones serve as inspiration for the series?
Sam: My thing with Robin: I am so completely bored with the DC universe and continuity and all that crap. To me, he’s just Robin. I know all the fans give a crap, but I don’t. He’s Robin. He wears a mask. And he used to work for Batman. And that’s all I know. I don’t even know who he is behind that mask. And if Glen knows, I don’t want him to tell me.
He’s cool because he’s the one guy who has no super-powers on the team. He’s the team leader. And he was also trained by one of the best super-heroes in the world so he probably has some good experience.
From an interview with David Slack.
Bw: Were you a fan of the comics?
David: One of the reasons they brought me on is that I'm NOT a comic book guy. I've read some -- I've read a lot, actually, now. I wasn't into comic books much though. Instead, I was reading science-fiction. I knew about the Teen Titans through their one appearance on - was it the Superfriends? - when we were much younger. Anyways, I was a big Spider-Man fan growing up. So I was pretty unfamiliar with the Titans growing up. So I dug into a huge stack of the stuff that George [Pérez] and Marv [Wolfman] had done - all of which is entertaining and brilliant. Really cool to look at and really revolutionary.
BW: In FRACTURED, Larry the Titan's real name is Dick Grayson backwards. Do you see him inspired by Dick Grayson? Or was that just a throwaway gag to keep people guessing?
David: It was sorta just to keep people guessing. I really didn't expect it to be written on the screen like that. [laughs] It was just gonna be that he was going to SAY it. I think maybe eventually we may get around to settling the Robin thing once and for all... but for now..
BW: Oh man, this is going to re-open the whole Robin debate...
David: But hey, Larry's from another dimension -- so who knows? Could mean something. Could be a coincidence. I'm not telling!
An Analysis: Episode Evidence
Let's do what Robin would do: Look at the facts:
"Robin has gotta be Dick Grayson!"
Sam Register, Glen Murakami and David Slack have drawn inspiration from the classic "New Teen Titans" run in the 1980s - in which Dick Grayson is Robin. Dick Grayson had a long-running relationship with Starfire in the comic book series - they almost got married. In New Teen Titans, Dick Grayson was always very driven - sometimes shutting out his teammates - which he does in episodes like "Masks" and "Haunted" In "How Long Is Forever", Robin becomes Nightwing in the future. Dick Grayson is currently Nightwing. In "Fractured", an alternate-reality Robin appears; His real name is Kcid Nosyarg - Dick Grayson backwards. His name flies past the screen and reads "Dick Grayson" as it flips around. In "Haunted", Raven enters Robin's mind and sees his past - which shows two acrobats falling in a circus setting. This is the origin of Dick Grayson.
In "The Quest", when Beast Boy dons the Robin costume, he breaks through a paper mache ring held by Starfire. This is an exact recreation of the cover for DETECTIVE COMICS #38 - the First appearance of Dick Grayson Robin - declaring him the "Sensational Character Find of 1940." Beast Boy is declared the Sensational Character Find of 1965, which is the year of Beast Boy's first appearance. The inclusion of this cover homage supports the "Robin is Dick Grayson theory" if anyone is still keeping track.
"... But it could very well be Tim Drake... "
If you follow the DCUAnimated timeline established by Batman: The Animated Series and Justice League, Robin is Tim Drake. In the Static Shock episode, "Hard As Nails," Static asks Batman, "Where's Robin?" Batman replies, "He's with the Titans. You'll meet them someday." Robin's costume resembles Tim Drake's look as Robin.
"... ... and it could even be... Jason Todd? "
In the episode "X", Beast Boy conjectures Red X's true identity on a blackboard. Red X was formerly Robin - yet the new Red X's identity was a mystery. One of his theories: Jason Todd.