12 DAYS OF THE BATMAN! DAY 5: ROBIN

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Raised on the high-wire, the boy who never looks down!

Robin the Boy Wonder, Batman’s most faithful sidekick, was “the character find of 1940!” when he debuted in DETECTIVE COMICS #38 in a story by Bob Kane, Bill Finger, and Jerry Robinson. He was added to give the solitary Batman someone to talk to, a Watson to his Holmes, and was a child so readers- then assumed to be entirely young boys- would have a character with whom they could identify. A circus boy orphaned by crime, he became Batman’s ward, and a chance for Batman to restore to someone the childhood he himself never had.

I like Robin because he’s the son who can never grow up to be his father, but eventually learns what his own unique strengths are. He is light in the darkness. He makes Batman smile.

This is Dick Grayson, the original, my favorite, in Tim (Robin III) Drake’s Neal Adams-designed costume, a la BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES (much as I love Robin, that short pants look is just… No).

Tomorrow a killer (for real this time!) installment of 12 Days of the Batman!

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12 DAYS OF THE BATMAN! DAY 4: THE PENGUIN

Waddling through a Winter Wonderland, it’s Oswald Cobblepot- The Penguin!

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With his squat stature, tuxedo-and-umbrella motif, monacle and cigarette on a long holder, on paper it seems unlikely that the Penguin is one of the Batman’s more enduring foes.  He was created in 1941’s DETECTIVE COMICS #58 in a story written by Bill Finger and drawn by Bob Kane. Kane was inspired by the Chesterfield cigarettes penguin mascot.

Often depicted as  a gangster with one foot in legitimate enterprises, he’s usually somewhat buffoonish and not very threatening. But my feeling is all Batman’s repeat foes have to be formidable; why else would Batman waste his time? I see the Penguin as deceptively small but physically dangerous, dirty fighter, and  completely ruthless in eliminating his competitors. (Have you ever seen actual penguins? They’ll walk over their own mothers for a scrap of fish.)

I updated his classical look somewhat, swapping out his usual top-hat for a derby and giving him an overcoat with a feathered collar. His slightly more rugged features, still exaggerated, give him a kind of Al Capone look. This is a man who could beat someone to death with an umbrella.

Hope you’ll return for tomorrow’s high-flying installment of 12 Days of the Batman!