Off Topic: Red Robin (Tim Drake)

I don’t write about comics that often — and I’ve tried to stay mostly silent on the DC 52 Reboot (I know they’re not calling it a reboot, but… c’mon.) But I find the whole thing kind of fascinating really — and it intersects with gaming in an interesting way too, but that’s more of tangent.

Thing is, when I was a young kid, I read two comics regularly, Thor and Iron Man. Later, I got really into the Marvel 2099 line, but I didn’t read much DC — except for All-Star Squadron, which I thought was brilliant — death of the Red Bee is still one of my favorite issues ever, of anything.

So, fast-forward a bit and I kept up a little, being drawn in by a few events — The Death of Superman, stuff like that, learned to love Steel and the new Superboy. The Knightfall storyline didn’t interest me at all, but the end of it, with Bruce fighting to come back really did — and that’s when I met Tim Drake for the first time. And I was hooked.

Tim is by far my favorite character in the DCU. I mean, I love Green Arrow, and Alan Scott, and most of the Wolfman/Perez Teen Titans, Power Girl, Black Canary and Huntress… but Tim is just great. And the most recent run of his (currently) Red Robin comic with Fabian Nicieza is so amazing — even when I recently gave up on the DCU (event fatigue your name is me) — I kept up with two books, Stephanie Brown as Batgirl and Tim Drake as Red Robin.

But what’s really amazing to me is that Tim has been around since 1989. Think about that in Gaming Years… Tim debuted in the same year as D&D 2nd Edition. That’s nuts. But what’s more amazing is that he’s been around for 22 years. So a kid that was 8 and started out reading Batman books in 1989 is 30 now. And Tim is the Robin he’s grown up with… Weird, huh?

Ultimately, I don’t really have some deep point to make. I think change in comics is good — I thought when they allowed Dick to take over as Batman it was the greatest thing DC had EVER done. EVER. Seriously. I even like Damien, especially after reading the last issue of Batman and Robin the other day. Holy Awesome Comic, Batman — that was good stuff. I like change, but what I’ve realized is that the last 22 years represented a significant change for the DCU. They let some of the younger generation, the Titans, and the Infinity Inc’ers, grow up into strong, exceptional characters in their own right. The new generation of teens, Conner and Cassie and the others were also just about perfect. And talk about a new point to jump on? These characters lives are so interesting that it’s practically like a soap-opera, you can jump in at any point and the history they share shines through whether you’ve read it or not.

I like change — but I like change to move forward, not backwards. The new 52 is a step backwards for DC (I think it more ways than one, but…) especially in terms of the treatment of their established characters. I’m going to miss the current generation of characters — and I’m going to miss having books that had grown up from the Image days of the 90s — which has now thrown up all over the new DCU — and I’m going to miss the wonderful 22-year-long trip of Tim Drake, (Red) Robin.

Oh, well…

Thanks for reading, and thanks for indulging me a little maudlin feeling about my favorite universe.

PS — yeah, also, Green Ronin, you get to punch DC in the mouth for the whole “iconic” characters thing too. I give you my permission.

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