The Greatest ROBIN Outfit That Never Was

If only …

robinbanner2

UPDATED 11/4/17: I was reminded of this piece from 2015’s ROBIN WEEK when discussing Grant Morrison’s 7-year Batman run recently (click here), so I figured I’d share it again. Because, after all, you can’t keep a good costume down. Enjoy.

β€”

Previous ROBIN WEEK coverage:

It’s ROBIN WEEK! Click here.

13 COVERS of Robin in the Golden Age. Click here.

13 COVERS of Robin in the Silver Age. Click here.

13 COVERS of Robin in the Bronze Age. Click here.

Robin, the Teen Fashionista: Dick Grayson’s Bronze Age costume choices. Click here.

LettercolBatman03

In the early ’80s, you could get through life as a comic-book fan without spoilers pretty simply. You’d hear rumors and maybe somebody at your shop (if you had one) knew someone who knew someone, or at least that’s what they’d say.

There were the listings for upcoming comics in the back of the books and fan magazines and company newsletters, but really, nothing immediate.

So as a 16-year-old in 1983, I can be forgiven for patting myself on the back for figuring out that this red-headed circus kid named Jason Todd was going to be a new Robin.

I’m certain there was info in the zeitgeist about Dick becoming Nightwing, but my memory is unclear on the details of that. I do remember finding out the name through a Direct Currents newsletter sent to dealers.

5631

Anyway, I just remember opening up Detective #526 and seeing this pic and thinking: “I called it!” or the early-’80s equivalent. (Hey, forgive the youthful boasting. Everything’s obvious in retrospect.)

Detective-Comics_526

Don Newton pencils. Alfredo Alcala inks. Adrienne Roy colors. Written by Gerry Conway.

What wasn’t clear was whether this was going to be a permanent thing. And they even toyed with fans for some time about whether Jason was going to have a different superhero identity.

But, man, I loved that outfit. I used to sketch it, especially that collar area. If there was going to be a new Robin, it was great that he was going to get his own outfit — especially one with pants.

See, the pants thing was a big deal at the time. (The other day I wrote a piece about all of Dick Grayson’s Bronze Age costume possibilities. It’s fun. If you’re reading this I think you’ll like it. Click here.)

Detective #481. Also Don Newton (w/Dan Adkins).

Detective #481. Also Don Newton (w/Dan Adkins).

Alas, it was not to be. Sure, Jason became Robin. But DC was not primed to change his basic, merchandisable look — at least not until some years later.

They even made him dye his hair. I mean if Bruce Wayne takes in another boy, and he’s got red hair, and then Batman shows up with a new kid the same age with red hair, well… (After Crisis on Infinite Earths, Jason was naturally black-haired.)

But nothing changes the fact that this outfit was great. Yes, Jason, it looks terrific.

Author: Dan Greenfield

Share This Post On

5 Comments

  1. Yeah, I saw some of those costumes. This does look pretty cool. I guess Dick was Robin so long, I just didn’t take to Jason. I like the new, long pants costume; and, Alex Ross’ Red Robin design.

    Post a Reply
  2. This costume was simply something that artist Don Newton drew up as a possible costume design. Of note were his desire to cover up Robin’s legs, and to bring some “carnival gymnast” look to the costume. I was there when Don drew this drawing.

    Post a Reply
  3. If they’d given Jason that costume, and let him keep his strawberry blonde hair, he may have had an identity distinct enough to catch on with fans and not look like a cipher for Dick Grayson. Then they wouldn’t have had to recast him into the unlikable creep he became Post-Crisis.

    I LOVE that costume! Slap an “R” on his belt-buckle and call it a day.

    Post a Reply

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. BATMAN FAMILY: The Coolest Batbook of the Bronze Age | 13th Dimension, Comics, Creators, Culture - […] 11/7/17: I’ve been thinking about Batman Family again lately. This piece about Jason Todd’s first costume had something tangentially…
  2. ROBIN, the Teen Fashionista | 13th Dimension, Comics, Creators, Culture - […] BONUS:The Greatest Robin Costume That Never Was. Click here. […]

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: