One of Batman’s biggest criticisms is his penchant for training teenaged sidekicks to fight in deadly battles on the streets of America’s most crime ridden city. Though he has his reasons for doing so, there might be something to this argument as every single Robin has died at some point in comic history. It almost seems like a these characters are cursed, as anyone who dons the red and green spandex eventually ends up in a coffin.
Today we’re taking a look at each person to hold the title “Robin” and seeing just how long they managed to make it before dying. For our purposes, death will be defined as a moment in time where a significant portion of the comic universe believed a character to be dead, as comic book deaths have a nasty habit of only being temporary.
The original Robin, Dick Grayson first appeared in Detective Comics #38 as a teen sidekick to fight crime alongside the Caped Crusader. Despite existing since 1940 and suffering a multitude of deaths in alternate realities, Dick Grayson managed to survive for an extraordinarily long time, eventually becoming the superhero Nightwing.
Dick avoided death until 2014 where he “died” in the Forever Evil event. Though he was only dead for a few moments, he used this opportunity to fake his death and become a superspy in Grayson: Agents of Spyral (Review). This left the rest of the world believing he was dead for a few years.
Lifespan= 74 years
Jason is perhaps the Robin most synonymous with death, as his demise and return are both pivotal stories in the Batman mythos. He was introduced to readers in 1983 in Batman #357 and quickly took over the Robin job from Dick, who left to become Nightwing.
However, readers were unhappy with this new Robin. He was brash, reckless, and nothing like the Robin that they knew and loved. DC Comics decided to hold a vote for his fate and allowed fans to call in and decide if they wanted Jason to live or die. The result: Jason Todd was killed by the Joker in Batman #428, part of the A Death in the Family storyline. Though he eventually came back in Under the Red Hood, his death is still a memorable part of the Batman legacy, and his Robin costume still hangs in the Batcave.
Lifespan= 5 years
After Jason Todd was killed, Batman was left without a Robin for a short period of time. So DC decided to introduce a new Robin in the mix. Tim Drake was introduced in 1989 in Batman #436 as a young man who was sure he could be the next Robin. This Robin was more studious and tactical, a large departure from Jason’s unpopular recklessness.
Tim Drake was Robin for a long period of time, eventually even graduating into his own identity of Red Robin. However, in Detective Comics #940, he is “killed” by a barrage of deadly robots; this all happens in the 2016 Rise of the Batmen (Review) storyline. However, it is quickly revealed to readers that he was not killed but was captured by the mysterious Mr. Oz. The rest of the superhero community does not know this and mourns him accordingly.
Lifespan= 27 years
For a brief period of time in 2004, Tim Drake was forced to give up on being Robin. In his absence, Stephanie Brown, another member of the bat-family, decided to step up to the role in Robin #123. Though Batman was initially resistant to the idea, he eventually trained her and accepted her as a Robin.
Her tenure as Robin did not last long though. In Batman #633 she was killed in the War Games story arc. Though eventually her death was revealed to be a ruse, it still left a lasting impression on the bat-family for years afterword.
Lifespan= 1 year
When Grant Morrison took over writing Batman, one of his first actions was to introduce the “Son of Batman,” Damian Wayne. Starting with 2006’s Batman #655, Damian Wayne played a large role in Batman’s life and quickly took over the role of Robin.
In the conclusion of Morrison’s run on Batman, the entire bat-family was forced to face off against the nearly unstoppable armies of Damian’s mother, Talia. In 2013 Damian was killed during a battle in Batman Incorporated #8. Though he would eventually be brought back to life by his father, Damian’s death would form the basis for the rest of the Batman and Robin series.
Lifespan= 7 years
Also make sure you check out our last article “Scott Snyder has been teasing Barbatos since Death of the Family.”