The TOP 13 ROBIN COVERS Ever — RANKED

ROBIN WEEK: A round-up of some great art…

Welcome to ROBIN WEEK! One of the greatest heroes in comics history debuted 80 years ago this month — and we’re celebrating with a series of features saluting the Boys, Girls and Teens Wonder. For the complete index of features, click here.

There was no way there was going to be a ROBIN WEEK without a 13 COVERS round-up, right? So, I figured we’d just jump right in and do one on the first day.

Now, of course, I’ve highlighted plenty of Robin covers before — and naturally there are a gazillion to choose from.

But I figured if it’s ROBIN WEEK, you gotta go big, which means THE TOP 13 ROBIN COVERS EVER — RANKED.

This was harder than you might think: Remember, Robin headlined his Star Spangled Comics for a spell in the Golden Age, but didn’t have a solo book until Tim Drake came along about 30 years ago. That means plenty where he’s on the cover with someone else — whether it be Batman, Batgirl, the Teen Titans or what have you.

So I went with covers where Robin was the focal point, even if he (or she) isn’t necessarily the only star. And believe me, there were dozens that didn’t make the cut that easily could have.

So let’s go out on that limb, shall we? (Dates are pubdates.)

13. Batman and Robin #36, by Patrick Gleason and Mick Gray (2015). A wonderful image that pays tribute not to the one, but to the many. Dick Grayson was the first and best, but those that followed joined an elite club that simultaneously defined themselves and, to a certain extent, each other. Even Batgirl — always independent — honors her brothers and sisters. (Special shout-out to colorist John Kalisz for balancing the classic Robin colors throughout. Beautiful.)

12. Robin #1, by Brian Bolland (1991). No list would be complete without the initial issue of Robin’s first-ever self-titled comic. I dug Tim Drake’s original outfit, too. (Though I prefer the later red-and-black version.)

11. Batman #156, by Sheldon Moldoff and Charles Paris (1963). Pssst. I’m not a huge fan of this story, though I know it had an enormous impact on readers in the early ’60s. (I’m looking at you, Grant Morrison.) But it’s easily one of the most evocative covers of the era — and much darker than what was typical fare of the time.

10. Robin in the Batcave with Batman coloring book (1966). Isn’t this just a kick? I’d love to know who the artist is.

9. Batman: The Dark Knight Returns #3, by Frank Miller and Lynn Varley (1986). OK, yeah, you’ve got the gigantic Batsymbol that dominates the image, but I love that it also emblemizes that what Carrie Kelley has gotten herself involved with is utterly enormous. This cover is about her as much as it is about Batman — subtly asking whether she’s up to the task. And as we know, she certainly was.

8. Batman and Robin #1, by Frank Quitely (2009). Get out of here with your anti-Damian sentiments. He’s the second-best Robin. What makes this cover work is that even though Batman (original Robin Dick Grayson) is heads taller than the new Boy Wonder, it’s the latter’s body language and posture that draws your eye. This is a confident kid, spoiling for a fight.

7. Batman #456, by Norm Breyfogle (1990). A startlingly evocative image of a young Tim Drake at a crossroads, with Dick Grayson and Jason Todd looming large. Like The Dark Knight Returns #3, this is about the challenge of living up to a legacy.

6. Detective Comics #347, by Carmine Infantino and Murphy Anderson (1966). One of the brassiest Robin covers ever, it’s a head shot that’s practically a character study. Robin is filled with rage and anguish, showing a level of stark emotion uncommon for DC in the mid-’60s.

5. Justice League of America #55, by Mike Sekowsky and Anderson (1967). How is it that no company has made an action figure of this Robin yet? Seriously. This is one of the most defining Robin images of the Silver Age — even if this Dick Grayson is older and from Earth-Two. Though, of course, that’s a big reason it’s such a bold image.

4. Batman Family #11, by Jim Aparo (1977). I loved Batman Family and the series’ covers but they often had a lot of characters to juggle, so Robin wasn’t always as prominent as he could have been. But the Robin tuxedo — and the fan service idea of the Teen Wonder and the Dominoed Daredoll getting hitched — make this one of the funkiest covers of the Bronze Age.

3. Star Spangled Comics #79, by Jim Mooney and John Giunta (1948). Hello, Dali! I own this comic and the only reason I do is because the cover is creepy, funny, moody, clever and derivative all at once. An underrated Golden Age gem of kitsch.

2. Detective Comics #38, by Bob Kane and Jerry Robinson (1940). Yes, it’s his first appearance. It’s also a hell of an image and one that perfectly presents the Sensational Character Find of 1940.

1. Teen Titans #14, by Nick Cardy (1968). It’s hardly an upbeat image, but Nick Cardy’s masterpiece is the most grimly atmospheric Robin cover of them all. The Boy Wonder is clearly haunted by an existential crisis and given how dire things appear, you’re just not sure that he will rally. SPOILER ALERT: He does. Because he’s Robin.

MORE

— The ROBIN WEEK Index of Features. Click here.

— Why ROBIN Has Endured for 80 Years, by BOB ROZAKIS. Click here.

Most cover images and credits from the Grand Comics Database.

Author: Dan Greenfield

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8 Comments

  1. Some of my favorites: Detective #40, Detective #166, and particularly the classic Perez cover to New Teen Titans #39, where Dick Grayson hangs up the Robin outfit.

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    • Awesome enjoy all of this fantastic work

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  2. The Robin in the Batcave cover is reminiscent of Norman Saunders work on the 1960s Batman trading card set

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  3. I really like Breyfogle’s cover on Batman #456.

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