Detective Comics #38 gave us a laughing young daredevil who remade the world of comics…
In celebration of Detective Comics #1000 and Batman’s 80th anniversary this month, we’re counting down the 13 GREATEST BATMAN STORIES EVER — from all media — as selected by a panel of 16 experts, including such luminaries as former DC publisher Paul Levitz, legendary Batman artist Neal Adams and Batman: The Brave and the Bold producer James Tucker. For a complete rundown of how the vote was conducted and the full list of panelists, click here. The countdown will run daily across 13 days and culminate in THE ULTIMATE BATMAN READING AND VIEWING GUIDE, which will feature every single Batman story cited by our panel.
Next up on the countdown:
12. DETECTIVE COMICS #38: “ROBIN, THE BOY WONDER”
Written by Bill Finger. Pencilled by Bob Kane, inked by Jerry Robinson.
Batman’s first year was filled with doom, gloom, horror, noir and the occult. Y’know, pretty much what modern comics readers are accustomed to. But the Dark Knight’s path took a noticeably brighter turn in 1940 with the introduction of the first – and greatest – superhero sidekick, Robin, the Boy Wonder.
The issue provides Dick Grayson’s origin story – the circus prodigy is orphaned when his parents are murdered thanks to a protection racket – and a new role for Batman: father figure.
Robin was such a popular character that imitators both memorable and forgettable popped up across the comics landscape — laying the groundwork for a whole sub-genre of superhero that thrives to this very day. I mean, you can’t have a team of Teen Titans without the first one, right?
Anyway, for nearly 30 years after Detective Comics #38, you rarely saw Batman without Robin. And even when Young Master Dick enrolled in Hudson University at the end of 1969, he was still a major part of the Batverse. Further, the role is so crucial that there’s been a veritable platoon of Boys and Girls Wonder since the first and best became Nightwing in 1984.
Because even though Batman’s great solo, there’s nothing quite as charming as a great Batman and Robin story.
NEXT: The #11 PICK is…