Introducing the Boy Wonder.
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Podcast Artwork by Sergio R. M. Duarte
Podcast Music by Renzo Calma
[00:00:00] Brian: the panel note or
[00:00:01] Alex: Yeah, the caption says kicking the gunman off the girder into space.
[00:00:04] Brian: falling to his death. And actually in the next, in the next panel, you see him down there in the corner.
[00:00:09] Alex: Oh my god, I didn't see that before. Holy shit. That's so messed up
[00:00:22] Brian: Welcome to Bat Lessons, the Batman History podcast. I am Brian Anders,
[00:00:27] Alex: and I'm Alex Cash.
[00:00:28] Brian: today we're talking about Robin been
[00:00:31] Alex: Yeah, I'm really excited. We've, we've taken a little bit of a break from the golden Age history. I moved across the country so I wasn't able to research as much. So we, we did some of the, um, sort of filler episodes we had, I don't like to call it filler. Some of the sort of backlog of things that we had that required less research.
Yeah. Did, um, you know, the corrections and feedback did, thank you for hosting the Origin episodes. I look forward to you hosting again in the future.
[00:00:54] Brian: Yeah. Sure thing. It was fun.
[00:00:56] Alex: and we, we took out those, the, the Batman movie, episodes, but, um, now we're back. I've done some research. We're, we're ready to talk some golden age history.
how do you feel about like, we're like four or five episodes removed, going back to, to sort of the, the earlier mode on, on the show.
[00:01:12] Brian: It's good. I, I mean, I think all this, this intro stuff is really interesting and, uh, I re-listened to some of those old episodes to kind of like re-familiarize with how like the golden age gets set up and stuff. and then especially after the, corrections episode where we, or where I guess you, you did some research to talk about like how those early, issues were being made and, and like how they came up with them and there was no like, Bible, like
[00:01:39] Alex: Mm-hmm. That's right. Yeah. Yeah.
[00:01:41] Brian: that also like, helps contextualize, um, some of the stories you're gonna go co uh, we're gonna cover, which is super interesting to me.
I'm all, I'm here for it,
[00:01:49] Alex: Yeah. Yeah. So we're going back to that, like, if you recall where we left it, we just had covered Gardner Fox and Shelly Maldoff, who both in the first year of Batman did a lot of the writing and drawing. so after the first couple issues, there was a a seven issue Gardner Fox run. Were switching back to Bill Finger now, and we're gonna introduce, some new characters and we're gonna introduce, a few new writers and artists in the next couple episodes that are sort of integral to.
Like the next decade of Batman. So this is gonna kind of set the tone for the, the remainder of the golden age. So, yeah, go back to what you, what Brian, what you were talking about. They're all, at Bob Kane's house, you know, in his apartment, in his living room basically working on these sorts of things.
That's the history. That's the time period we're talking about today. But before we jump in, we have another review. Brian, would you like to read this five star review for us?
[00:02:38] Brian: Shirley, this is from only Shooting Stars. Uh, they said, riddle me. This, this is the title Riddle Me. This riddle me that who is afraid of the big black bat? thoroughly interesting content even when you batter rang far off topic. There's so much to learn. I think it requires and is worth more than one.
Listen, just like there's more than one robin wink emoji. I'll keep suggesting you. Yeah, I know. I'll keep suggesting your podcast to others as long as you keep the bat signal. best wishes to you two caved crusaders, and then bat emoji.
[00:03:15] Alex: I think the usage of the, of the bad emoji is really cute.
[00:03:19] Brian: Yeah.
[00:03:20] Alex: I think that's really cool. So when you go and leave your five star review for us on Apple Podcasts and, and write a review that we'll read on the show, make sure to leave a bad emoji. Let's turn it into a thing
[00:03:31] Brian: Yeah. I love it. there was so much cute stuff about this overall, I just like the, the cadence, the wording.
[00:03:38] Alex: battering off, off topic. Yes,
[00:03:40] Brian: Yeah, exactly.
[00:03:41] Alex: I'll take it. I'll take it.
[00:03:42] Brian: I.
[00:03:43] Alex: Okay. So I want to introduce you to another creator that we haven't really talked. And his name is Jerry Robinson. Jerry. Robinson was born in 1922 in Trenton, New Jersey. And that's where he spent, um, you know, his entire adolescent, you know, childhood life, all the way until he was 17 years old.
he, it was a Jewish family. He was one of five kids and he had lots of extended family all there in Trenton, New Jersey. early in his life, his parents owned and operated the first movie theater in Trenton called The Garden Theater. and it was kind of a family affair. His aunt played piano. his grandfather took the tickets, and.
Yeah, it was kind of like this important, uh, formative experience for him early in his life. But when he was around seven years old, the stock market crashed and, the family lost the theater. and they lost a lot of their assets except for one tenement building, an apartment building in Trenton, New Jersey.
so they all moved into the tenement and they kind of ran and operated the tenement. he wanted to be a writer. and so when he was applying to colleges, um, he was, trying to get into J School. So he applied to Penn, he applied to Syracuse, he applied to Columbia, and, got into all of those schools to do journalism, to do writing, and, because. He had, you know, five siblings of which he was the youngest.
there wasn't much money for him to go to school. And so the summer after his senior year of high school, Jerry had a job, in order to pay for college. so he had a bicycle with a cart attached to the back, you know, like a, like a trailer cart. the cart was a cooler and he would sell ice cream door to door on the outskirts of, uh, of Trenton, uh, biking around.
he made about $25 a week doing that job. and it was, uh, really physically intensive. He had run track when he was in Yeah, yeah, yeah. he had run track when he was in high school and he was on the 98 pound weight class when he did it. So he was Yeah. Already a yeah. Little wiry guy. And then, Over the summer made all of his money biking every day, selling, selling ice cream.
So he lost tons of weight and, um, he reckon,
[00:05:47] Brian: lost weight from 98 pounds.
[00:05:49] Alex: yeah, yeah, yeah. And you know, I should say all of this information is from interviews that he's done, that I've, I've listened to. And you see him and you can tell he's told the story a million times, so there might be a little bit of embellishment, but I think, I, I think it's accurate that he lost weight and he was thin as a rail and his mom was worried about him.
um, she said to him, before you go to college, you need to fatten up. You need to put on some weight. You need to not work, you know, for a bit and, and take it easy. Um, so she convinced him to go to a resort in the Poconos. the reason being that he could pay $25 about one week's worth of pay.
And, it was all expenses paid. So like he could eat as much as he want, he could hanging out. They had tennis courts. He was big into tennis. He'd play tennis in high school. And so he agreed to do that.
[00:06:32] Brian: Where are these today? Where can I do this?
[00:06:35] Alex: this is, I don't know if you, I think the closest equivalent that I'm aware of would be like a cruise, like an all expenses paid sort of thing.
I don't know if you can still go to the Poconos or not. so he does this, right? This is the last week of his summer before he starts school. he's gonna go to, I think he's gonna go to Syracuse, New York to go to school. and while he's at the Poconos, he's wearing a painter's jacket. Apparently. The way he tells it, there was this fad. Um, and I can't, I can't find record of this.
I tried really hard googling for this online, but there was, this fad where, Kids in college and in high school would wear these white painters, jackets, think like lemon, you know, with like pockets on it to hold your brushes and things like that. And what they would do is they would put drawings and things on 'em, like graffiti, right?
so that was, that was the fad. That was the thing, you know, and I think this is like 1938 or something like that. he's wearing this white jacket with his own drawings all over it. and he's going to the tennis court one day and someone taps him on the shoulder and said, who did the funny pictures?
And he said, well, it was me. And it turns out that that person was Bob, Kane
[00:07:40] Brian: Hi.
[00:07:40] Alex: and Bob says, Hey, I've got this thing that doing called Batman. There's this feature I, and I want you to draw. Um, I think your drawings are great. and he's like, what's Batman? And so they go to a, um, new stand together and pick up, um, I think it was Detective Comics number 27.
It was right at the beginning. One of the very first issues is out and he shows it to, to Jerry Robinson, who was not impressed, didn't really like the art, but it was a job someone was offering him money to, to draw. And, he was gonna go to Syracuse, which is not in New York City proper. Um, but Bob Kane says, come, come with me to, to draw in, Batman in New York City.
And he said, well, let me see if I can still go to Columbia. So he calls Syracuse, says, I'm not going, calls Columbia and says, actually, I'd like to come go to school in New York with you wwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww and. Leaves from the resort to go to New York. Never goes home, goes straight to to New York. And, starts taking classes at Columbia and, and drawing for Bob Kane on Batman.
[00:08:43] Brian: Can I ask a few
[00:08:44] Alex: Yeah, please
[00:08:45] Brian: Okay. We need to go back. what's
[00:08:46] Alex: free to a tenement, um, is just an old style word for an apartment building. you, you, the, the, the connotation would be that, it's like, very dense and, and run down that it would be, I, I think sometimes people would infer that a tenement would be government, um, supported, but that doesn't need to be the case.
It would just be like a crowded, small, um, apartment building. This is how, um, a lot of people lived through the Great Depression because it was cheap. Um, you could erect it and house a lot of people.
[00:09:15] Brian: you talked about J School. That's journalism school.
[00:09:19] Alex: Yeah. Mm-hmm.
[00:09:19] Brian: Okay. And then so you said Poconos, is that like a
[00:09:24] Alex: It's a place, let's look at the Wikipedia page together. Cause I don't know, I'm not a robot. Um, Google does not like my vpn.
[00:09:31] Brian: No, it never does.
[00:09:33] Alex: Pocono mountains encompassed forested peaks, lakes, and valleys in the US state of Pennsylvania.
[00:09:38] Brian: Oh, okay. So it's a location
[00:09:41] Alex: Yeah. I think this is, it's like, you know, people who live in the San Francisco Bay area go to Tahoe, right. Or people who live in the Kansas City area, go to Branson or whatever. It's like the nearby escape town where people go to vacation.
[00:09:53] Brian: That's pretty cool.
[00:09:54] Alex: Yeah.
[00:09:55] Brian: So it's like directly west of New York City, roughly? Yeah, it's right, right next to Scranton, Pennsylvania. If you've ever heard of the office,
[00:10:06] Alex: So, yeah, Jerry Robinson, basically by pure chance, not even wanting to be an artist, gets recognized, um, as having good drawings by Bob. Kane immediately moves to New York to start ghosting work for Bob. and that's where we're gonna leave Jerry for now. He is, very important to Batman for the next seven years.
and so e even the next episode I'm already planning, we'll have another section on Jerry. So, um, rest assured listener, if you know more about Jerry Robinson, don't worry. We're not, we're not gonna not do him justice. But I think, more to say in the future. The only other thing I'll say about Jerry Robinson, is that like Shelly Muldoff, he's younger than Bob Kane, he's younger than Millinger. He's younger than Gardner Fox. And so he made it into the internet era like, like Shelly Muldoff did, which is, which is awesome. So when I'm doing research about these sorts of things, and if you're interested in, in like doing your own research, they're with, with some of those earlier creators who were older, they, they did would, you know, make it to radio and tv and they were interviewed for magazines and books and things like that.
But it's just, um, much, much more limited, especially in terms of content you can find online. but with people who made it to the internet age, there's just like, You know, there's like hour long videos of them having a conversation. There's hour long podcasts with them being interviewed. Like there's hour long, whereas like you can find like a 10 minute video segment with Bob Kane for like a, for a TV or maybe five minutes, right?
So it's totally different, and kind of wild, like how much that there's like a, like a hockey stick of like information from and about these people. and luckily Jerry Jerry falls into that other camp, but he is dead. He d he died in 2011, so no longer with us.
So the reason I tell you about Jerry Robinson is because he is part of the creation of Robin, which this episode is all about. and. As, as you will not be surprised to hear, who the creator of Robin is, is, hotly contested.
[00:12:01] Brian: What,
[00:12:02] Alex: I know, I know. and, and this one is, uh, there's even more inks spilled on it, by the creators in question because, for whatever reason people were asking about Robin, there's more people who are in the room than just Bob Kane and Bill Finger.
So I thought it might be kind of cool to step through a bunch of different people and all just hear their firsthand accounts of the story of the creation of Robin, and kind of compare notes. How's that sound?
[00:12:26] Brian: Sounds good.
[00:12:27] Alex: Okay. Who, who do you wanna start? We've got, we gotta pick your own adventure. Choose your own adventure.
Brian, we've got what Bob Kane said. We've got what Bill Finger said. We've got what Jerry Robinson said, and we've got what Shelly Muldoff said about the creation of Robin.
[00:12:41] Brian: let's do Bob Kane last.
[00:12:46] Alex: Whatever for why I don't under, I don't understand. Okay. Bob can last
[00:12:51] Brian: Maybe we should start with Bill. Finger cuz that's, that's kinda, I think that's, that's where my bias wants to lean because of the Batman
[00:12:59] Alex: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Sounds good. do, do you wanna be Bill or do you want me to be Bill? These are luckily, by the way, I finally picked up in a couple episodes ago, I said I wanted to pick up creators of the superheroes by Tom Andre. Um, I, I had put off buying it before because it's not available as ebook and, it is more expensive.
I don't know if it's out of print. Um, but it, it's, it's not, it's not cheap. and it has Spider-Man on the cover, and so I didn't know like how relevant it was gonna be. this is by far the best book. And I know I say that a lot. This is the best book on the subject. I wish I had gotten it a year ago when we started this podcast.
It's fantastic. It has full transcripts of, of interviews with all of these people. Shelly Muldoff, Bill Finger, Jerry Robinson, Bob Kane. It also has, um, you know, Siegel and Schuster who worked on Superman, if you're into that sort of thing. It has, you know, Jack Kirby. It's got, it's, it's fantastic. This book is stellar.
I, I'm gonna do everything in my power to get Tom Andre to come on the show someday. Um, I'm sure he won't, but this is just, fantastic. And, and all of these excerpts come from interviews in this book. Okay. So this is, this is what Bill Finger says. Robin was an outgrowth of many conversations that Bob and I had. Batman was really a combination of Douglas Fairbank Sr. Sherlock Holmes and the Shadow, and a fair bitt of Frank Marwell and Nick Carter. Suffice to say a lot of these, if you, you've not heard of these, these are like pulp heroes.
we talked about a Watson character many times. Batman was always a loner. This seemed fine in the beginning because he had his vengeance motive. And you think someone going through the night as being a loner After a time it seemed that he needed someone to talk to.
I didn't know whose idea it was to come up with Robin. It was not mine. It might have been Jerry's, it might have been Bob's. It might have been an outgrowth of their working together over the drawing boards and making some casual transfer remarks about the kids reading comics and needing a figure to emulate.
I don't know where it came from and I'll never know. So that's what he said. Who do you wanna do next? We're same with Bob for last. We got Jerry. Robinson, we got Shelly move
[00:14:57] Brian: do she.
[00:14:58] Alex: Okay. Shelly says, I thought of Robin. I was fooling around and went to visit Bob and said, Bob, I got a great idea.
I could do a strip about a boy superhero. And he didn't say anything. And about a month or so later, I go into the office of Vince Sullivan, the editor, and on the desk I see Batman and Robin and I says, he stole my idea. So Vincent said, well, if you want me to do something, I'll kill the book. And I said, Vince, how can you say that?
He definitely took it from my suggestion. You can't. And then I forgot, which I think is a really, really odd quote. I wish, again, the transcript, I wish we had a recording of him saying this, cuz I feel like there's something that's lost in the delivery here. but yeah, Shelly Muldoff saying it was definitely his idea to have a sidekick. Bob takes it from him.
[00:15:41] Brian: so that's interesting to me because, uh, Bill Finger said it wasn't me, but it was Jerry or Bob,
[00:15:47] Alex: Yeah. Right. Yeah.
[00:15:49] Brian: then that's why I picked, uh, Shelly next, because that was neither Jerry nor Bob.
[00:15:53] Alex: Yeah. He's saying it was him.
[00:15:55] Brian: me, but that Bob ripped it.
[00:15:57] Alex: It's really interesting to me, right, because that, that, that Bob Bill says, I had nothing to do with this, because Bill wrote the first story that we're gonna read here in a minute. And he also talks about, how we always felt like it needed a Watson character. I think Bill's being humble a little bit.
He's saying, oh, I didn't have anything to do with it, like he, I, I definitely get the sense that he's the type of person that if he wasn't the one that started the conversation that says, okay, in this issue, let's make a sidekick. Right Then it wasn't his idea. Even if he was involved at every step of the way,
[00:16:27] Brian: Right.
[00:16:27] Alex: Okay.
Jerry. Robinson. So here's the question that they asked Jerry. They said you helped create Robin, didn't you? He says I had a hand in it. My contribution was his name and his costume, not the idea of adding a boy. I remember the day specifically, I came in and Bob and Bill were already discussing the idea of adding a boy.
I'm certain it was Bill's idea to add a sidekick from the discussion that ensued. The impetus became Bills wanting to extend the drama and story potential of the strip. It would give Batman someone to rescue work with and talk to. We discussed how adding a boy enlarged the readership identification the younger kids could identify with Robin and the older ones with. Everyone loved the idea. I also liked it because it gave another dimension to the strip. I always enjoyed stories like Treasure Island that had a kid I could identify with.
Kids relate to two things, a contemporary, a peer or a hero figure that they could look up to. This combined with a father figure who, and a kid they could imagine themselves to be.
It was the first boy wonder in comics. So Bill saying, it wasn't me Jerry saying it was Bill and, and Shelly saying it was me.
[00:17:29] Brian: Yep.
[00:17:30] Alex: Um, we've saved Bob for last. What do you think Bob's gonna say?
[00:17:35] Brian: Bob's gonna say it was him.
[00:17:38] Alex: And Bob Kane, uh, interviewed by Tom Andre says, I created Robin. The only boy wonder. Prior to Robin was Junior and Dick Tracy. I was the first to create a boy wonder and costume. The idea evolved from my wish fulfillment, fantasy of visually myself as a 12 or 13 year old, fighting alongside some superhero like Doc Savage or the shadow.
I visualized that every kid would like to be a Robin in their wish fulfillment dream world. They wanted to fight alongside a superhero instead of waiting to grow up to become a superhero. They wanted to do it. Now, A laughing daredevil free, no school, no homework. Living in the bat cave, riding in the Batmobile appealed to the imagination of every kid in the world. dear listener, I would be remiss to point out to you that at this time, there is no bat cave. There is no Batmobile, right? Those things have not yet been invented. But I will say also having read the entirety, uh, and, and I do not recommend this of, Batman and me, the Bob Kane autobiography actually written by Tom Andre, that this rings true in terms of like wish fulfillment.
Like he's definitely the type of person that wishes he was, um, you know, a hero. That he was swashbuckling, that, you know, he, he projects himself onto Batman because he wants to be Batman because he sees himself as larger than life. So there are parts of this that ring true, but knowing the glory hound that he is not taking any time to mention anyone else who was in the room when they're all talking about each other.
You know, even, even when they disagree, Shelly is talking about Bob. You know, Jerry's talking about Bill, and Bill's talking about Jerry, Bob's talking about himself. No surprise there. yeah. And, and Bob goes on in the interview to, to sort of bloviate about how, how right. He was, quote, oddly enough, when I brought the idea to my publisher, Jack Lebowitz, he didn't want Robin in the book. He said Batman was doing well by himself. He thought mothers would object to a kid fighting a gangster. He had a point. I said, why don't we try it for one issue? If you don't like it, we can take it out. But then the story appeared and it really hit, the comic book got introduced. Robin sold double what? Batman sold as a single feature.
I went to the office on Monday and I said, well, I guess we ought to take Robin out. Right? Jack, you, you don't want a kid fighting with a gangster. Well, he said cheaply, leave it in. It's okay. We'll let him go. Bob Kane laughs. It was so successful that every new superhero needed to have a boy wonder and a whole slew of them were created.
[00:19:59] Brian: So he is, he's taking credit for like the whole sidekick as a, as a child
[00:20:03] Alex: oh. Yeah. He's is
[00:20:04] Brian: all of comic.
[00:20:05] Alex: everyone who, who's ever done anything remotely like Robin is because of me. And, uh, everyone doubted me and I was right and I rubbed it in their face. It was so great.
[00:20:12] Brian: Sounds like a really cool dude to know.
[00:20:17] Alex: um, let's jump back to Bill Finger, um, Bill Finger sort of expounds here on, on Robin. He says, you can't have a kid named Robin with a colorful Robinhood costume running around in the night shadows.
Somehow it just doesn't jive. It jars a bit and the image is wrong. We tried to humanize Batman with his father relationship to Robin. It may have taken away from Batman and it probably did, but then again, there were many stories in which I would try to compensate for that, where I would have Robin elsewhere and Batman would be the lone figure of the night.
Many times I would write a sequence deliberately where Batman would be involved in some kind of danger, Which suggested the night and menace of that kind. But when Batman and Robin were together, somehow the situation would be lighter.
Part of it was an instinct to make the kid not afraid, and you would treat Robin as a kid who would naturally make cracks because kids do that. Except I didn't make as many puns as I'm supposed to have been guilty of. I did at times. I cut it out after a while because it was getting a little too much. You'd like have punning ev you'd like to have punning every now and then, especially after he'd leave a sigh of relief and make a funny crack about a danger. so yeah, uh, bill actually talking a little bit about how he was skeptical about it working and even when he was writing, he shied away from it. Sometimes it's a little weird to have a kid in danger. Um, a little bit of regret, which is interesting cuz it's such an important part of, the mythos, I feel like.
[00:21:30] Brian: Yeah, I, I think it's funny how he, he references all the, the punny jokes and, It is the psychology of having Robin there, how it changinged the story a little bit because, there, there's a kid there and, and, Batman's there to like make things a little bit lighter and easier and
[00:21:46] Alex: Mm-hmm. Yeah,
[00:21:47] Brian: interesting.
[00:21:48] Alex: I, I definitely think there's a little bit of benefit of hindsight going on where, where Bill is like almost apologizing a little bit for the puns and apologizing for, for sort of the way that it lightened the tone, which is interesting. Right. Um, that's probably a function of when the interview happened more than, um, the merit of it in the moment.
jumping back to Jerry Robinson, I wanna talk a little bit about the naming because, Jerry was, despite the fact that, you know, it's contested highly, who is responsible for coming up with the idea or different parts of it, um, it is pretty clear that Jerry is the one that is responsible for the name and the look of, of, of Robin.
So here's what Jerry has to say. We had a big session about the name that. When I came over, Bob had already started on some initial sketches of the new character. His original idea was for something along the lines of a super costume, and Bob and Bill had a long list of names. Our practice was to put down every conceivable idea even if it wasn't exactly the right one, because it might suggest something.
We always felt that the names were very important. For some reason, their trend of thought was more towards a mythological name. The one I remember specifically was Mercury. They were mostly mythological names. There wasn't one I liked among them. I didn't think it should be anything of that kind.
That would suggest a super character, not an ordinary kid. This would be contrary to the concept of Batman. It inferred some superpower that was in conflict with the concept of Batman being an ordinary human being. We always tried to keep Batman distinct from Superman, and I argued it was important to preserve that distinction.
They were pretty settled on one name, something like Mercury. I kept saying, no, no, I don't like that. That one's not appropriate. I didn't know what to name him, but somehow I came up with the name Robin from Robinhood. My favorite story as a kid. After some discussion, it was agreed that the name Robin was best suited for the concept of the boy.
Once we agreed on the name, I suggested adapting the Robinhood costume.
[00:23:32] Brian: That's super, super interesting to me. I, I don't think I ever compared Robin to Robinhood ever in my life.
[00:23:39] Alex: Yeah,
[00:23:39] Brian: Uh, probably because I watched Batman forever, and, and they make that reference to like, you, you flew in like a robin and I always compared him to like
[00:23:46] Alex: bird. Yeah.
[00:23:47] Brian: Yeah. Um, so that's super interesting to me.
and now I see the parallels. Like now I see the, the, the suit with the way it's got the stitches up at the top and the,
[00:23:57] Alex: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.
[00:23:58] Brian: it's very Robin like Yeah.
[00:23:59] Alex: It is, as far as I can tell, there is no association with Robin, the Bird, in the creation. That doesn't mean that I, they didn't recognize the association from the beginning. I think in the fir first issue, if not this first issue, many, you know, early iss, they compare him to a red breasted robin.
So it's not like they didn't get it because Batman is kind of a, you know, it's a, a small flying animal and a robin is too though. a bat is a mammal, is it not? And a, a bird is not. So they're really not all that closely related. but yeah, not, not a part of the inspiration. So
[00:24:35] Brian: Granted, not a lot of flying mammals.
[00:24:37] Alex: I, isn't it the only flying mammal or are there other flying mammals? What?
[00:24:40] Brian: That's the only one I know
[00:24:41] Alex: Okay. Yeah. Uh, pretty unique. Uh, Jerry goes on. Bob and Bill used to kid me that I was Robinson the boy wonder. I was 18 at the, at most at the time, and I hated that they were in their, uh, mid twenties and seemed much older than me.
I wanted to appear as old and as experienced as they were. Now. I would take it as a compliment. The 85 year old boy wonder.
[00:25:03] Brian: it's also very funny to me. The, the whole, like I was 18 and they seemed very old in their mid twenties.
[00:25:09] Alex: Yeah, it's true. They, the, the age gap wasn't very big. Um, but it was enough, right?
[00:25:15] Brian: I, I mean, I remember being in high school as like a freshman and thinking the seniors were like just so developed
[00:25:20] Alex: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.
[00:25:21] Brian: that. So like, I, I get it. It's just very funny to me cuz I'm like 33 now. It's like they're 25 is not, or mid twenties is not very old. all, it's all relative, right?
[00:25:34] Alex: is so funny, man, because like I remember being a senior in high school and it, it doesn't feel that long ago to me, but like now, every time I see a high schooler, I'm like, those are babies.
[00:25:42] Brian: Dude. So I, I used to, um, walk through San Jose State University quite a bit and it was like, over the years it's like, it was funny when I first went. I would get called out, like if I was a student. Um, like the, I've, I had people like approach me to join their fraternities or whatever, and I would be like, no, no, no, I don't, I don't go here.
I'm just walking through, you know? And, uh, that doesn't happen anymore. also, it's funny, like I walk through and it's just, it's like they get younger and younger or
[00:26:17] Alex: Yeah.
[00:26:17] Brian: like, my gosh, these look like high schoolers. These kids are in college.
[00:26:21] Alex: just getting older.
[00:26:22] Brian: I know I'm just getting older.
[00:26:26] Alex: W so yeah, I, I, I think, because no one contests the name and no one contests the sort of, the visual inspiration of Robin, I, I think I trust Jerry's accounting of events the most, and we even, we even have some corroboration. So Shelly Muldoff, uh, would go on to say, according to Bill, um, the first sketch of Robin looked too much like a junior sized Batman.
Jerry Robinson came with not only the name, but also the design for Robin's costume. So, yeah, that's, that's why we're talking about Jerry Robinson today, is because, you know, he's probably the most, uh, influential, uh, creator, uh, uh, of Robin, if not.
[00:27:01] Brian: I think it was Bob.
[00:27:03] Alex: fair enough. Um,
so much like we did with Batman, where we talked about some of the inspirations. Um, I want to talk a little bit about the inspiration for, Robin. Definitely gonna have shorter segments for this than we did for, for Batman.
[00:27:18] Brian: I do think you owe us one as well. Did, cuz I think you talked about some characters and then you did a whole episode on Dracula and I think, I think maybe there's still an episode
[00:27:30] Alex: Oh man. Oh my gosh. Um, well, I don't know if this is gonna be that or not. You're right. Um, in one of the very first episodes we ever recorded, I cited to you that Dracula and Sherlock Holmes were inspiration for Batman himself. And you said, really? Are they? And I had no clue about like how to draw those, that straight line.
I'm gonna try to do that today, but we're not gonna go deep on Sherlock Holmes. I, I did not, uh, did not have time. So I will spare you the, the deep dive on the history of, of Sherlock. We'll, we're just gonna talk about how, how he was an inspiration maybe for a future episode. I think. I'm, I'm already, turning over.
I'm a Halloween person. That's just kind of who I am, but already flipping over and over into my mind. I think there's, there's a Halloween episode of cooking and we, we might be able to talk about Sherlock just a little bit, during that. So maybe we'll come back. But let's do it. Let's start with Sherlock Holmes.
just, just table stakes. Sherlock originally is British fiction. It's written between 1887 and 1927 by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. there were four novels and 56 short stories. and the reason I want to contextualize it in, in this moment we're gonna pull it all the way back, is because Batman isn't that far off from Sherlock.
The first Batman story is written just about a decade after the last Sherlock story. So there are, decades and decades and decades and decades of adaptations that are adding little bits and pieces of things. and so the Sherlock that you might have in your head is probably a little bit different than the one that appeared in these books.
both, both the characters we're gonna talk about today are, are of this nature of like, they're kind of constantly reinvented and, and, you know, may not have much to do. Their original inception may not have much to do with your mental image of them, uh, now. So who is Sherlock himself?
Sherlock is loosely based on a real person. that person's name was Dr. Joseph Bell. he was a doctor. He was, Conan Doyle's professor at University of Edinburgh. And he did, had this thing that he would do. He was just kind of an observant dude, and he would look at someone the way they were dressed, traits about them, the way they acted, and could infer things about them like their profession or where they lived, um, with pretty high accuracy.
And Kona Doyle thought that was really neat and invented this character that sort of is just riffing on that, right? This very observant person who can, who can learn things just by looking about people and events. but yeah, like I was saying, a lot of things you know about Sherlock came later.
They came from adaptations, so you kind of have to remove those from your mind when you think about it in the inspiration of, of Batman, um, elementary, my dear Watson elementary's, not even a thing that that Sherlock ever says in any of the books. the Calabash Pipe, which is the one that sort of like comes down and curves away from the face at the bottom, um, was chosen for a stage adaptation many, many, many years later.
And it was so that you could see the actor's face doesn't have anything to do with Sherlock.
[00:30:24] Brian: We are kidding.
[00:30:25] Alex: No,
[00:30:26] Brian: It was just so they could see the actor's
[00:30:28] Alex: that's right.
[00:30:29] Brian: That's so funny. so the two things that come to mind for me just to, to interject on that is, the, the seagull in the Little mermaid scuttle.
[00:30:37] Alex: Oh, sure. Yeah.
[00:30:40] Brian: he, he has this pipe and he blows into it. A bunch of stuff comes out. It's that, that kind of pipe, right?
[00:30:45] Alex: It's called the Calabash.
[00:30:45] Brian: calabash. And then the other thing that comes to mind is, the very first scene in, in glorious bastards when, Christoph, I can't remember his last name. The, the, the, the German dude. he comes in and it's this very, very serious, like interrogation from a German officer.
And like the farmer across from him is like sweating. And then he. They're gonna smoke a pipe. He's like, ah, smoke smoking a pipe. He pulls out this what Calabash pipe, which is like comically large for the scene. Um, and it just, like, it breaks a lot of the tension. Um, it's very, very funny. Those are the things that jump
[00:31:23] Alex: They're kind of funny looking pipes. Um,
but it's a thing that Sherlock Holmes always has, like without fail Now, um, this, the Deer Stalker hat, which is the one that sort of has the two hats halves that come up in his tight on the top and the things in the front and the back, and the cloak that he wears, they do date back to official illustrations.
So some of the first publications that were done of the books had these pictures with him in the Deer Stalker hat and the Cloak, but they're not mentioned in the text at all, not a creation of, sir Arthur Conan Doyle. additionally there's like character traits that are different. Like he occasionally goes outside the law and enacts his own justice.
Like there's one story where, uh, one of the, the criminals dies and it's kind of sort of Sherlock's fault. he also makes guesses a lot and is occasionally wrong. and they're very big on him not just being sort of like, Um, a brainiac, but more of like a scientist. He's very knowledgeable on things, um, that help him solve crimes, but he's kind of out of touch, and an aloof on pop culture and on politics.
and one of the things that, that sort of does persist is he's very sort of socially aloof. So giving that context of like, yeah, incredibly smart person solves crimes, but is less of a caricature, more of a human that makes mistakes, goes outside the law. You can see some of these Batman Sherlock similarities.
they're both characters of intrigue, right, of mystery, where we're really focused on just the fact that the protagonist is an interesting person, right? More so than what they do. It's their affectations, it's their personality, right? Uh, they have a complicated relationship with law enforcement, where at times they're working with law enforcement.
They're being asked to do things by them at times alongside, uh, often with contempt, uh, for each other, sometimes a little against each other. they're both kind of psychologically troubled. They're emotionally distant. they have a questionable moral compass like, you know, Sherlock would withhold information from the police or, um, you know, Did, did kind of, sort of kill someone once.
Yeah. Batman beats people up. Right. they also both do disguises. Sherlock Holmes would wear 16 different disguises across, the, the different stories and books. Batman also does, uh, many disguises, which we've now seen in some of the comics that we've read.
[00:33:33] Brian: And Batman has that, uh, he has that skill for identifying, things about people. Like he's very, uh, observant in that, in that same kind of way that Sherlock is. It's, uh, he'll say, you have this kind of marks on your shoes, and, and then, oh, I can tell you have this type of dirt on your pants, and therefore you came from a very small district in London or, or Gotham or wherever.
I, I see the, the detective similarities very strongly in that. Many times Batman, um, can make identifications. And we've seen it in some of the comics already where he'll make some references. They're like, well, how the heck is anyone supposed to remember that? But, but he's like, got in lockdown that there was some, some party at some place at some random time.
And this is the only way that, the, the puzzle pieces fit together for this, uh, individual.
[00:34:21] Alex: Mm-hmm. So, yeah, I think, I think you can definitely draw that straight line of saying like, oh yeah, there is some Sherlock Holmes inside, inside Batman.
[00:34:28] Brian: certainly. Yeah.
[00:34:29] Alex: And, um, the, the tone of, of a lot of the Batman stories, and we talked about this with the Dracula episode, and we talked a little bit about it when we had the Gardner Fox episode, where they went to, uh, Romania, Is is influenced by sort of the late 18 hundreds, the Victorian England, um, sort of horror and crime, crime and order milieu.
There's like this fiction thing that's happening in Pity Dreadfuls at that time. it involves like Jack the Ripper and SpringHill Jack and, and all that kind of stuff. And, and so there's very much this sort of like, nugget of tone that does make it to Batman of like, unease, with the different and the other, and with crime.
yeah. So I would like to talk about that in the Halloween episode. We'll, we'll come back for it.
[00:35:12] Brian: One, one quick note for, for all the people in the audience like me, a milieu means a person's social environment.
[00:35:22] Alex: indeed. did I misspell it? I misspelled it. I'm sorry.
[00:35:25] Brian: I, my first, my first thought was like, geez, if Google Docs doesn't even know what this word is, like I can't, I can't feel
[00:35:30] Alex: I think it's a lone word. I think it's French.
[00:35:32] Brian: Uh,
[00:35:33] Alex: so, Watson, let's talk a little bit about Watson. Watson is the point of view character, and he's the narrator for the majority of the stories. and this is unusual, 19th century fiction mostly had omni narration. where, you know, the, the person who's writing is not a person, right? It's, it's sort of, just describing events as they're happening without really a perspective.
But that doesn't really fit with Sherlock Holmes for a few reasons. One is the mystery, right? The reader is meant to be left in suspense about whatever the case is that Sherlock is investigating. and an omni uh, narrator can withhold details, but it feels arbitrary. Why aren't they telling me this?
Why aren't they telling me that? Whereas like, if you're in the shoes of Watson, you know why you don't know. It's because Watson doesn't know this thing. Right.
[00:36:17] Brian: Wa Watson's often. The what? The narrator of the story, or
[00:36:21] Alex: Yeah. He's the point of view
[00:36:22] Brian: something like that. Yeah.
[00:36:24] Alex: So like, uh, I, I did, I did start reading a study in Scarlet, which is the first, Sherlock Holmes novel. I didn't have a chance to finish it before we started recording, but like in that story, he is a doctor, a military doctor. He, goes and fights in a war, is injured, and because he's injured, gets sent home and they give him not a lot of money.
It's like, you know, he can't even afford an apartment, right? And he's only getting it for nine months. And so he's kind of desperate for a roommate. And that's how he gets hooked up with Sherlock Holmes is they, they end up becoming roommates together, um, on Baker Street. And so he's just kind of this normal dude, and he's telling you about his life, right?
He's talking about his thing in the military. He's talking about how he doesn't, he can't get an apartment, right? And so he's the person that's observing Sherlock Holmes, right? And that's, that's the sort of other reason to, to give him the, the narrator role, is, is that the, not just the intrigue and the, the narrative where they're withholding details, but the intrigue in Sherlock himself, right?
He's an interesting person and he's set apart from everyone. He's ultra intelligent, he's odd. He's not meant to be relatable by putting you in Watson's shoes. He can be in awe of Sherlock, right? He can observe him and give you the cue to observe and be in awe as as well, right? And so if you think about, Batman and Robin, Robin is the Watson, right?
His job is to be there, to be the, the more normal kid, right? Who is in Batman's world and observing Batman and, letting him be a little bit more mysterious, right? So, if we have. Robin to be there to have like whatever's going on in his life. then we don't have to be having stories about Batman and his fiance that feel a little weird.
Right. and importantly, right, for a comic book, Batman doesn't have to go around thinking things to himself, and we don't have to have tons of these big yellow caption boxes that are, um, written by an omniscient narrator of like, this is the thing that happened, right? Robin and Batman can talk to each other.
And so it gives, it gives you sort of, um, an excuse to have sort of, dialogue that is, that is furthering the narrative,
[00:38:22] Brian: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, that's a, that's the thing I notice in in books a lot is, they can give you a lot of context that like a movie cannot give you, um, without having like some, some sort of like a overlaying like. Narrator speak from, from the character and, and in the Batman movies often he's talking to Alfred, um, because there isn't a, a Robin character.
[00:38:44] Alex: In the 2022, he's talking to himself, which I think is really interesting. He's, he, he does the narration via the journal. He's reading the journal entries. But,
[00:38:52] Brian: Oh, I didn't catch that actually. I just, maybe this is just me from my memory, but I, the, the way he talks it, I just thought it was him, the, the movie describing his thoughts.
[00:39:03] Alex: you know, you know what, I need to go back cuz I've only seen it the, once you, you've seen it more than I have. I feel like.
[00:39:09] Brian: I think I've watched it three times
[00:39:10] Alex: Yeah. So you got me beat. Maybe I'm misremembering cuz that that's the way Batman comics often will work, is he'll be writing a journal entry and then, okay, so that's, um, Sherlock Holmes and, and Watson sir? Uh, Dr. John Watson. Yeah. I don't know if we said
[00:39:22] Brian: That's right. Yeah. Doctor,
[00:39:23] Alex: Robinhood, what do you know about Robinhood?
[00:39:25] Brian: uh, stills from the rich and gives to the poor. Um, he is a Fox and Littlejohn the bear hangings out with him. Uh,
[00:39:37] Alex: Uhhuh Uhhuh. Uhhuh Uhhuh.
[00:39:39] Brian: the other thing that I, I think one, um, interesting thing is that the name Robin Hood comes from, is like many people could wear a hood. And, and Robin Hood's not an individual, but was like many people that, that did similar type of work.
That, and this is like a real thing that I think I
[00:39:56] Alex: Uhhuh Uhhuh.
so Robinhood is a, a British folk legend. he's an outlaw and a pop culture hero, um, dating back in fiction to the 14th century. So there are, stories and songs and, and stuff like that going all the way back to the 13 hundreds. and in, in that fiction, he's always a populist hero.
So over the course of the centuries, he's often realigned, to stick it to various power wielders. Um, sometimes he's against the church, sometimes he's against the monarchy, sometimes he's totally with the monarchy. you know, the fictional works, throughout, that period through, you know, 14th, 15, 16th century, right?
Um, fictional work such as plays, poem, songs, they're usually commissioned by wealthy people, so they are Using those things as political tools, right? They're trying to affect popular opinion. So, you know, the, the sort of characterization of like, Robinhood being someone that steals from the, the rich gifts of the poor.
Yeah. He's, he's stealing from whatever, powerful entity that will resonate with just sort of the populous, you know, the, the, the people that is not the one that is paying for it, right? So the, it, it is kind of interesting that that is another character that's changinging over time.
[00:41:05] Brian: I need, I need to tell you something. This, that you just reminded me of. Um, I s I saw this, I, I saved it. It's gotta be on the top of my saves. on Reddit. Here we go. What, what is a quote from a comedian you'll never forget?
Uh, the second one, the second top comment is it says here in this history book that luckily the good guys have won every single time. What are the, what are the odds?
[00:41:32] Alex: Yeah. yes, uh, turns out that can happen with the fiction too. I'm so glad you brought up the origin of the name and that the name, um, being something that could be shared between many different people. The origin of the name is often contested. If you google this for 20 minutes, you'll find 10 different answers.
Right. Uh, there are people who. one thing, there's people who say another thing, but what is true right, is that there are legal documents dating back to the 13th century, so the 12 hundreds showing records of criminals under the names Rob Hodd, so a r a b u n h o D. these take place over a wide range of locations and, and a wide range of times.
And so they're very likely to be nicknames rather than the record of any one person. So like, if you're someone who's booking someone in a jail, you're a judge, right? Um, you're just writing down Robinhood because it's like, you know, hoodlum, right? which I don't think there's another, um, an etymological connection between those words, but, yeah, it, it it's a criminal, right?
You're just writing it down. You might today think of Robin as the diminutive form of Robert. There are people who are named Robert, that might go by Robin. however, this is a really long time, uh, ago. So the origin of those words are different.
You, you notice like Rob Hod, the Raun hood, the really weird pronunciations and spellings and probably butchering them. Um, you gotta remember where we are in time. So 12 hundreds. This is post Norman Conquest, right? So the Norman's bunch of French people have come and conquered England. it's post Magna Carta.
And so English has gone, undergone a big infusion of the French language. So we're post old, old English. Were in a period of time called middle English, right? And. English is rapidly changinging. It's not a lot like what we speak today. Right. And we don't know for sure where Robin comes from. but what I found convincing when I was doing my research, the one that that made the most sense to me, um, is that it, it probably comes from Scottish Gaelic root words, Rodda for Red King and ravine for King Wife or Maiden.
So royalty, basically Robin would be some way of saying of, of royalty and hood. Also from Gaelic meaning enchanted or splendid one. So it's, it's even at the time, probably being used as a positive name for a criminal, right? So it's this slang of like enchanted King, you know, criminal. And people are booking, booking people in, in jails, calling them Enchanted King.
you know, maybe backhanded, I don't know. But, it goes way, way, way, way back.
[00:44:11] Brian: Well, it, it sounds like, um, John Doe, uh, yeah, John Doe.
[00:44:14] Alex: Yeah, a little bit. Exactly. but to the point, Rob Robinhood not really an inspiration for Robin in any way other than visually. Like we talk about, uh, you know, Robin and Watson and Batman and Sherlock and can draw these straight lines of like, oh, they have these traits that are similar to my knowledge.
There's not anything that, that makes them similar other than, their visual look. and Jerry Robinson did mention that he had, uh, as a gift, given to him a book of NC Wyeth illustrations, who was a famous illustrator. And I've got two NC Wyeth illustrations of Robin below that he cites as the ones that he was cribbing for.
Robin. I don't know if you wanna describe them to the audience.
[00:44:54] Brian: Sure. So the first one, I mean, honestly the first thing that comes to mind is the. The, the middle ages, like castle stuff from Legos, if you ever played with those in like the eighties and nineties. Um, they've got that. So the, these guys are like, they've got the green tights, they've got, the like leather boots that like come halfway up the leg or half halfway up to the knee.
and then they've got, I don't know, what would you call that? Like a smock or something on the top? Like a, like a long
[00:45:25] Alex: Yeah. I don't know what you call it.
[00:45:26] Brian: that, I think that like the primary element of it, like, like is that it's, it's a, it's a big long shirt that goes past the crotch region, you know, and you've got like a belt over your shirt, um, and then, and that's like a color.
In this case it's, it's yellow and then there's this, I don't know what you call this, like this neck, neck thing that goes
[00:45:47] Alex: Kind of a collar,
[00:45:49] Brian: Yeah. It's like
[00:45:50] Alex: big, huge collar.
[00:45:52] Brian: collar, like, like Victorian site, like type collar, except it's like draped down on the body. And, uh, it's got all these like chunks.
It's almost like, it's like, it's like if you took a, fabric cut out of a gear and you just like laid that up
[00:46:08] Alex: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. It's kind of like nodules almost looks like a, like a clover, but yeah, you're right, it's circular with these like nubbins.
[00:46:15] Brian: Yeah. So, and, and seriously, like look up Legos, castles from the eighties, nineties is like exactly
[00:46:22] Alex: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.
[00:46:23] Brian: Um, so the second one, so my first thought here is it's, it's certainly an interesting illustration style to start off with. What's gonna make it kind of hard to describe, um, but kind of, kind of similar, more, more grays and earth tones rather than like the greens and yellows.
but they have these kinda like cows, these hoods on that go down over their shoulders that are like a kind of a dark gray. They've got, uh, a brownish, again, kind of like a smock ish thing that goes from the body down past, like the legs a little bit. Um, that's like a brownish. These guys, um, it looks like they're wearing tights again.
They've got that belt that goes around the waist over the top of the, this smock shirt thing. it reminds me of the seven Dwarfs
[00:47:08] Alex: Yeah, seven Dwarfs is a really good description. They've got the same sort of little hats that, like, they look like a sleeping cap almost.
[00:47:14] Brian: Yeah,
[00:47:15] Alex: yeah. I'll, I'll drop one of these images in, in the, um, chapter artwork and I'll put 'em both on the show notes, but,
[00:47:19] Brian: just drop that like a picture. One of those Lego Lego dudes from the
[00:47:23] Alex: maybe I'll do a side by side. Yeah, yeah, yeah. do you see Robin.
[00:47:27] Brian: Do I see Robin in this? well, not distinctly. I mean, it's just looks like a bunch of dudes dressed really similarly to each other.
[00:47:35] Alex: It's interesting. Yeah, because, Robinson calls this out specifically as the inspiration because Robin is the name and he sort of free associates that to the drawings that he knew as a kid. He does say that he was doing it from memory, like he didn't have it side by side. There was no reference material.
but it's a, it's a little different, right? Like, I think the, the thing that you could say maybe is that it, it's a little bit boyish, right? And it does have some of the sort of like, sort of broad shapes, where like the top is kind of one color and then the, from the sort of like upper thigh down is a different color and you've got, um, sort of. The cut at the shoulders. Right? So the, the sort of smock stops at the shoulder and then the upper arm is a different color. Right. And so when we go and look at Robin at a bit, there are sort of broad strokes that are similar, but it, it is not a straight line. It is not a a, a cribbing, it's more like, yeah, like, like vaguely inspired by. So yeah, that's, kind of the inspirations I wanted to talk about. Rob, Robinhood, Sherlock Holmes. We've talked a little bit about, about people's difference perspectives. I think we've done enough preamble
. Do you wanna read the first Robin story?
[00:48:39] Brian: Let's do it
[00:48:40] Alex: Cool. All right. You wanna tell people about the cover?
[00:48:43] Brian: Uh, yeah,
so it's a similar cover style that we've seen before. Detective comics, um, on green this time instead of on yellow, uh, number 38. And then we've got Batman standing off to the side looking kind of proud hand hand on his hips holding up. I, it's one of those circular things. Looks like a drum, like a bass drum to me that people jump through.
And in this case we have Robin jumping through, looking like Robin. He is got the yellow cape, he's got the, the short shorts on. Lots of thighs showing. He's got accents of green and then his like, I don't know, smock thing like we're calling it is red. He's got the yellow R with the black circle around it.
Belt black belt with the golden belt buckle. I guess you wanna call that. Um, and then he's got green shoes on or are those cut off?
[00:49:33] Alex: I think those are green shoes. Yeah.
[00:49:35] Brian: Okay. And interestingly, because they talked about calling him Mercury, his shoes do look like the wings of mercury on
[00:49:43] Alex: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Yeah. It was called out that Bob wanted to do that to make him look like he was moving fast.
[00:49:48] Brian: Yeah.
[00:49:48] Alex: It says the sensational character find of 1940, Robin, the Boy Wonder. And Robin, the, the text here is written in kind of like a medieval style, very scrolly and angular and like you, you might find in a, in a old text.
So, um, there's definitely a little bit of Robin going on there, Robin Hood going on. and then inside, We've got the title page and it's sort of, uh, recreation of the exact same thing that's on the cover, except it's on a red field instead of a kind of a tan one. And it says The Batman, that amazing weird figure of night at last takes Under his protecting mantle, an ally against crime. Introducing in this issue an exciting new figure whose incredible gymnastic and athletic feats will astound you. A laughing, fighting young daredevil who scoffs at danger, like the legendary Robin Hood, whose name and spirit he adopted. Robin, the Boy Wonder, I thought it was funny. It's, it's, that that sort of caption isn't a scroll. so they're, they're leaning into kind of the, the Robinhood aesthetic, at least in terms of like font and, and like lettering and stuff, which, Jerry Robinson would have lettered this.
[00:50:50] Brian: Oh, okay. The, uh, lettering is all over on this title
[00:50:54] Alex: Yes.
[00:50:55] Brian: I don't know if it's all over the place. Sensational Robin, boy, wonder, like, it's all different, different type faces and stuff. The, just the, for the Batman is like a, it's like the Ford logo.
[00:51:08] Alex: Yeah, all done by hand. So it's not like someone was going to, you know, a font picker and choosing different fonts, but if it, if they were, you're counting like 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 fonts maybe on this page. It's a little all, all over the place. I, I love it. It's working for me. Robin, the Boy Wonder and how he became the ally of the Batman.
[00:51:27] Brian: So the first panel we've got, two gymnasts, one's, one's hanginging off of the, what was that called? Like the trapeze bar or some
[00:51:34] Alex: I guess, yeah, I, I dunno what you call that. hanginging trapeze. Yeah.
[00:51:37] Brian: from their legs, arms stretched out to grab the other one who's, uh, swinging out at them.
So doing some, circus gymnastics. Uh, high, high flying, dangerous.
[00:51:48] Alex: And the caption reads our scene, A rising young town outside the big city where the Haley Circus plays an engagement inside the big tent. The flying Grayson's father, mother, and young son Dick Swing on the flying trapeze. Yeah, flying trapeze. There you go.
of note, it's outside the big city.
Gotham's not a thing yet.
later his part of the act over the boy dick is going past Mr. Haley's room when he hears voices.
[00:52:09] Brian: And if you pay us, we protect. You. Get it, Haley.
[00:52:13] Alex: Yeah, I get it. You're a gangster. It's a protection racket. I'll call the police.
[00:52:17] Brian: You don't want to die, do you? Be sensible. Pay us and protect the show from accidents.
[00:52:24] Alex: out, get out.
[00:52:25] Brian: Okay buddy. It's your funeral. Remember? Accidents will happen.
[00:52:30] Alex: so yeah, you know, we've just got dicks kind of standing outside the door. He's overhearing, he's very clearly like looking at the door. His ears appealed. And we've got, you know, two guys and in buller hats, um, sort of, given a guy in a, in a fedora, a hard time.
[00:52:42] Brian: Yep. And and it's also like the, that first panel there is, is funny to me cuz it, it just like spells out exactly what's happening in case anyone like
[00:52:51] Alex: Yeah, they actually call it a protection racket.
[00:52:54] Brian: yeah, you are gangsters. It's a protection racket.
[00:52:58] Alex: Hey, that's a step up for Bill. Normally, it's a lot more convoluted. the next night in the audience, Bruce Wayne, the Batman enjoys the show.
[00:53:06] Brian: And now that young Dick Grayson is safe below the flying Graysons will perform their death defying act, the triple spin.
[00:53:15] Alex: And who, can you describe the guy that's saying that?
[00:53:16] Brian: Oh man. It's so, it's a dude, dude with big mustache and a, he's wearing a suit and a top hat, and he's, um, yelling into
[00:53:27] Alex: A Bullhorn.
[00:53:28] Brian: bullhorn. Okay. but, but like, this isn't the time where it's not electric. Like
[00:53:32] Alex: That's right. Mm-hmm.
[00:53:33] Brian: that he is screaming into and then there's just a, a crowd.
[00:53:36] Alex: Yeah, this is the literal Carnival barker.
[00:53:38] Brian: Yeah.
[00:53:39] Alex: The drums roll, Grayson flies out, turns over three times and straightens out
[00:53:43] Brian: Nicely done, John. Uh, we've got. What Dick's mom is, is hanginging from the Trapes bar and she's the one who's catching John Dick's dad,
[00:53:54] Alex: Suddenly the ropes part,
[00:53:55] Brian: John Mary.
[00:53:57] Alex: ah, so John's falling. Oh, and so is Mary. And, and Dick goes mother, father,
[00:54:03] Brian: They'll be killed.
[00:54:04] Alex: some random person off, off panel. and then later we've got, Dick is crying and he's standing next to someone that looks like straight out of the Godfather,
[00:54:13] Brian: Yeah,
[00:54:13] Alex: in a suit. And he goes, are, are they?
Oh no, they.
[00:54:17] Brian: I'm afraid so, son.
[00:54:19] Alex: And then, uh, we cut away to Haley and the two gangsters. Too bad about that accident. Haley,
[00:54:25] Brian: Yeah, but there wouldn't be any accidents if you paid us to protect.
[00:54:30] Alex: you murderers? All right, I'll pay, but only said that no one else will be killed. But outside the door, Dick listens when
[00:54:36] Brian: They killed my mother and my father. I'm going to the police.
[00:54:41] Alex: no son, not yet.
[00:54:43] Brian: Who could that be?
[00:54:45] Alex: we go to the next panel and I'm the Batman. I want to help you get those murderers. They put acid on the trapeze ropes, but you can't go to the police. Come with me and I'll tell you why.
[00:54:56] Brian: Why can't I tell the police?
[00:54:57] Alex: Because this whole town is run by Boss Zuko. If you told what you knew, you'd be dead in an hour. I'm going to hide you in my home for a while.
[00:55:05] Brian: This is called kidnapping.
[00:55:07] Alex: He showed up to the circus. He said to the kid, you can't tell anybody anything. Come with me. Get in my car.
[00:55:13] Brian: And not convoluted at all. You're gonna come to my house and I have a secret identity,
[00:55:19] Alex: Uhhuh.
[00:55:20] Brian: but, but you're gonna come to my house.
[00:55:21] Alex: Yes. and he,
[00:55:22] Brian: And he is still driving that like red, red
[00:55:24] Alex: he is no Batmobile yet. he also calls out someone called Boss Zuko. They don't call him anything other than that in this story, but this is a recurring Char character. Tony Zuko. You might be familiar with him if you watch Batman, the animated series, if you played, uh, ACRM Origins.
If you watch the Titans live action show, he's, a gangster that runs things in town. much like, you know, Falcon, uh, Carmen Falcon,
[00:55:47] Brian: Yeah.
[00:55:48] Alex: the Batman thinks back to the time when his parents, too were innocent victims of a criminal. My parents, too were killed by a criminal. That's why I've devoted my life to exterminate them.
[00:55:57] Brian: Exterminate them. Note that ex, he kills people. Exterminate. then I want to also take me with you.
[00:56:06] Alex: the Batman is reluctant, but the troubled face of the boy moves him deeply. Well, I guess you and I were both victims of a similar trouble. Alright, I'll make you my aid, but I warn you, I lead a perilous life
[00:56:17] Brian: I'm not afraid.
[00:56:18] Alex: that night. Two grim figures. Take an undying oath swear.
[00:56:22] Brian: oath, so Bruce Wayne,
[00:56:24] Alex: Mm-hmm.
[00:56:25] Brian: he prayed or whatever. He made an oath that he was going to war on criminals for the rest of time. And, and so he's having, this kid, Dick Grayson take an oath as well. I, I think that's an interesting parallel.
[00:56:38] Alex: sort of on the train of like Bruce doing creepy things with this child. Um, this.
[00:56:42] Brian: Yeah, definitely. So there's a candle between them.
[00:56:45] Alex: A red candle.
[00:56:46] Brian: yeah. Red candle between them. Batman. Oh. Also, like, maybe the only light in the
[00:56:51] Alex: Yes, I think so. Looks pitch black.
[00:56:54] Brian: And
[00:56:55] Alex: Very romantic.
[00:56:56] Brian: his holding Dick's hand with one with his left hand. His right hand is up, like he's, he's swearing an oath.
And then Dick's doing the same thing here. So they're holding hands. They've got, and they're, they're taking this oath,
[00:57:08] Alex: And swear that, we too will fight together against crime and corruption and never swerve from the path of righteousness.
[00:57:15] Brian: I swear it.
[00:57:16] Alex: Uh, very, very creepy and weird. We've, we've gone in four panels from, I'm at the circus. You can't tell anybody. Get in my car. let's hold hands and take an oath together in a dark room lit by one candle.
[00:57:30] Brian: Yep. Kidnapped. This is Stockholm syndrome.
[00:57:32] Alex: Yeah, super, super not okay. and then we cut to them both. In a gym it says the training begins
[00:57:38] Brian: so they're doing trapeze stuff again, swinging from the robe. So I've been doing this since I was four years old,
[00:57:45] Alex: as far as swinging ropes go, you could probably teach me a trick or two
[00:57:49] Brian: and they jumped to boxing
[00:57:50] Alex: and then you sort of snap your punch and put your shoulder behind it. Do it right and you can hit as hard as any featherweight champ.
[00:57:56] Brian: Jiujitsu,
[00:57:57] Alex: Do you wanna describe the jiu-jitsu,
[00:58:00] Brian: uh, it's, it's, hard to describe. It's, so they're kind of dressed up like, uh, what, what were those toys that punched each other? And they, you know what I'm talking
[00:58:09] Alex: like rock em sock, robot?
[00:58:11] Brian: Yeah, they're kinda like rock em sock and robots. They're
[00:58:13] Alex: They're in wrestling leotards. Yeah.
[00:58:17] Brian: And, uh, and Robin, or Dick at this time, um, has just flipped, Bruce, Wayne bodily over his
[00:58:24] Alex: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Up over his head.
[00:58:26] Brian: wing into
[00:58:28] Alex: Like in Detective 27 when Batman threw that dude off the roof.
[00:58:30] Brian: Yeah.
[00:58:31] Alex: It's a hundred percent the same thing.
[00:58:32] Brian: Also, this reveals that, that Dick sees Bruce's real face. He's not dressed up as Batman here.
[00:58:39] Alex: oh yeah, yeah, yeah. Like at this point. And they don't bother explaining it. Um, they only ever call him his aid. Right. But like they've moved into to each other with, with each other. Like presumably he's adopted them. They don't say that. and then, Bruce says, that's it. Now I'll teach you another trick.
[00:58:53] Brian: And thus Dick Grayson, by the hand of fate, is transformed into that astonishing phenomenon that young Robinhood of today, Robin, the Boy wonder.
[00:59:04] Alex: Yep. One page. The recruiting, the, making an oath, the training we've, created Robin, many months later, after strenuous work and study.
[00:59:12] Brian: Well, now that I'm ready, what's our next move?
[00:59:14] Alex: Now, Dick, we're going to go back to the small town and go to work. You're going to get a job as a news boy and
[00:59:20] Brian: The next day, a grubby, dirty face kid joins the News Boys of the Small Town. So this is interesting. It's a they, it's a small town that they went back to. It's certainly not the city, which does raise the question like, how the heck is Batman even here to begin with? In, in my opinion, cuz he is can't be everywhere all the time.
[00:59:41] Alex: the way I read this is that this small town is where Haley's Circus is. So Batman went to the circus. He saw, you know, Robin's parents die, right? They've left to go train and then they're going back because they're trying to find ba Zuko. Yeah.
[00:59:55] Brian: Yeah. It's, it is just the idea that the only way that it makes sense is that he went to see a circus and something bad happened at it.
[01:00:03] Alex: that's right. Total, total chance.
[01:00:05] Brian: yep. Chance? So we've got, dirty face Kid Is, is Dick, um, who's the, who's dressed as the news boys. And here you are. Get your papers. Papers,
[01:00:15] Alex: A day later, a new kid around here, aren't ya?
[01:00:17] Brian: Yeah. Why?
[01:00:19] Alex: Every kid that sells newspaper gives us a third of their take every week. And you ain't no exception. Get this. If we catch you holding out, we'll beat you up and take your papers.
[01:00:28] Brian: I'll pay, I'll pay.
[01:00:29] Alex: And then we cut to, Robin and Batman.
[01:00:31] Brian: and they said they would collect from me tomorrow.
[01:00:35] Alex: Good. Continue to act frightened so they don't suspect you. Now listen,
[01:00:38] Brian: The next night.
[01:00:39] Alex: we've got, uh, Robin here again. He's, uh, selling newspapers and we've got the two guys, uh, thugs who are coming to give him a hard time. so you're gonna pay us a
[01:00:48] Brian: Yeah. Yeah, sure. Now you won't beat me up, will ya?
[01:00:51] Alex: Nah, you just keep paying us and you'll be okay.
[01:00:53] Brian: The Batman told me to follow them, just so here it goes. And so, we. Dick, I guess follows them in their car or something. And in the next, panel he's, um, kind of viewing on from a distance of a house. And he says, well, they went into that house over there.
[01:01:11] Alex: Inside the mysterious house, well boss, there it is. The take of the week.
[01:01:15] Brian: I was really hoping I was gonna be zuko. It isn't enough. See, he's got that big sea thing going. It isn't enough. See, you've gotta get more money out of our customers. See, I want you to go to the butchers, the tailors, the laundries and the rest, uh, and milk em dry. See? Uh, so, and he's like puffing at a cigar as well this whole time.
So like smoke is just
[01:01:41] Alex: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.
[01:01:42] Brian: places. Smoke, maybe he's been shot a bunch of times and it's just coming straight from the lungs, but just smokes everywhere.
[01:01:50] Alex: I, I, I, I, I read this as he's visually fuming there, there's smoke coming from his cigar and from his mouth, but also from him, like from his
[01:02:00] Brian: Yeah, like his jacket and stuff. His yeah, all of them get it. See even the news boys and the rest of the smallest stuff. And if they don't pay and if they don't play ball, you know what to do. See, start tomorrow night. Tomorrow night. Wow. I better tell Batman right away, says, Dick,
[01:02:18] Alex: next night at a Taylor store. But I can't pay you anymore. I haven't got it.
[01:02:22] Brian: get it. And if you don't,
[01:02:24] Alex: Suddenly from behind, don't talk so much. And we've got Batman's two hands. He's grabbed the thugs who are shaking down this laundromat and he bangs their head to together and he goes, hollow. Just as I thought, this is one of the first Batman clips we've got. if you see Boss Zuko, tell him the Batman was here. Good day, gentlemen.
[01:02:41] Brian: So then in the butcher shop, pay up or else you'll what?
[01:02:45] Alex: And again, we've got Batman grabbing him from behind. I think it's really funny that, that they're always like in the act and he gets 'em by the nap of their neck.
[01:02:52] Brian: Yeah,
[01:02:53] Alex: the thug had said, pay up or else you'll, and then Batman finishes the sentence he says, or else you'll get a sock on the jaw sock. And he punches him.
[01:03:01] Brian: and he upper cuts him.
[01:03:02] Alex: Yeah. Tells it is really good. Tell Zuko I just dropped in to say hello. A, I can't even say Goodbye.
[01:03:10] Brian: Oh, oh, I, I mean, I could,
[01:03:12] Alex: It's French for
[01:03:13] Brian: reminds me of, uh, yeah, but it reminds me of, um, Brad Pitt's character and then Glorious Bastards. I don't know why this movie keeps coming up in my
[01:03:20] Alex: That's okay.
[01:03:21] Brian: but he's, so, he is, Aldo Reyes, I think is what his name is.
He's a captain or a sergeant or something, and he's just got this crazy, like southern American accent and he's like, not even trying
[01:03:33] Alex: Our rah.
[01:03:34] Brian: Oh, RIR
[01:03:36] Alex: Yeah. Yeah, so we've, we've done the Taylor store, we've done the butcher shop now in a gambling house owned by bass, Zuko, Batman crashes in through the window and we see, um, a roulette table and there's a bunch of people dance, uh, dressed up all really nice.
[01:03:50] Brian: Mm-hmm. It's a casino of some of some sort.
[01:03:53] Alex: yeah. Pardon?
[01:03:55] Brian: gambling house, I guess, but it, it sure as heck looks like a casino.
[01:03:59] Alex: Yeah, I think that's, it's a casino. Yeah. Pardon the intrusion gentlemen.
[01:04:03] Brian: It's the Batman. Get him,
[01:04:06] Alex: So you wanna play, eh, well, and he's punching random dudes. Guns are flying. I think it's really funny.
[01:04:12] Brian: this is one punch and he hits three different jaws and there's two guns in the air from this one single singular
[01:04:19] Alex: Yeah, both of them are like, as if they were upper cuts, which it's not cuz he's coming across his body, but they, their chins are up in the air and they're falling backwards and their hands are up and the guns are flying out. and then we've got the next panel. Batman's picked up the entire roulette table and he's holding it over his head. I don't even know
[01:04:37] Brian: very hook, like,
[01:04:38] Alex: It is like
[01:04:39] Brian: it's, it's it, the, the way that it's got the motion lines, it's like he's got it up over his head and then he also jumped into the air, like he's gonna just slam it down and bash it on someone.
[01:04:50] Alex: he does. He says, here's a roulette table to play with, and he throws it and it's taken out like
[01:04:54] Brian: He throws it across the room cuz roulette table's famously light.
[01:05:00] Alex: He's just effing people up.
[01:05:02] Brian: Yeah.
[01:05:02] Alex: The Batman sweeps through the room like a cyclone overthrowing the gambling tables,
[01:05:06] Brian: He's throwing all the money on the floor. The money get it.
in the meantime, he is still like swinging this roulette table around just destroying people.
[01:05:16] Alex: Yeah. no, I think that's, um, which game is this one? This is a different game.
[01:05:20] Brian: Oh geez. I don't know. I'm, I'm not a gambler.
[01:05:23] Alex: Me neither, but Ruis, the one with the, with the wheel where you throw the
[01:05:26] Brian: Oh, so this is like, craps.
[01:05:29] Alex: Yeah. Maybe it's craps. I
[01:05:30] Brian: It's a craps table. Yeah.
[01:05:31] Alex: Anyway, uh, with no one to stop them because of the fight. The gambling crowd runs amuck, grabbing all the money.
[01:05:37] Brian: A hundred dollars Bill Whoopee. Here's my chance to get back what I lost.
[01:05:42] Alex: They're taking all the dough.
[01:05:45] Brian: They're wrecking the place. Wait till Zuko hears about this.
[01:05:49] Alex: A dude, gentleman, I hope I haven't caused any disturbance and he climbs out the window.
[01:05:53] Brian: Aew, he says the French again.
[01:05:56] Alex: I dunno. A
[01:05:57] Brian: that's not French. A dude. That's, uh, that's, that's German, right?
[01:06:01] Alex: No, that's French.
[01:06:02] Brian: I was just thinking about, um, the sound of music.
[01:06:05] Alex: Oh, yeah. Yeah.
[01:06:06] Brian: Anyway, then
[01:06:08] Alex: Yeah, done. Taylor Butcher gambling house, and now it says outside a laundry store and tell Zuko he needs a little cleaning himself.
[01:06:15] Brian: As he boots a person through the door, so this, this. I don't know, gangster, I guess in his suit, he's flying bodily through the air after being punted by Batman's foot.
[01:06:27] Alex: Yeah. His batman's foot is like four foot from this dude's ass. And there's a white puff as if it made like a loud sound. Dudes, dudes sailing,
[01:06:38] Brian: Broke the sound barrier. Sonic boom.
[01:06:40] Alex: in the stores holding zuko slot machines.
[01:06:43] Brian: But what do I tell Zuko men?
[01:06:45] Alex: Just say the Batman. And so, uh, an hour later we're inside Zuko s den, and the, the, the thug says,
and then the Batman say, he says
[01:06:54] Brian: Batman Shut up. Yeah, the Batman shut up about the Batman. See, that guy walks in and out of the my places and nobody stops him. I'm Basa this town. See, no one can do that to me.
[01:07:09] Alex: Say boss, this package just came by, express for ya.
[01:07:12] Brian: Well, blade. Blade. Open it up.
[01:07:15] Alex: I think there's a comma. Well blade like it's his name.
[01:07:18] Brian: Oh, I was thinking that was a, a way to like talk about using a, a knife
[01:07:25] Alex: It might be, but there is a dot
[01:07:27] Brian: You're right. There's commas on both sides. Well blade Open it up. Open it up.
[01:07:32] Alex: Well, I'll be a bat and there's a bat flying outta this red box.
[01:07:36] Brian: It must be from the Batman.
[01:07:38] Alex: Look. There's a note inside the box. This one is super hard to read.
[01:07:41] Brian: Yeah. I'll let you read that.
[01:07:43] Alex: get out of town. Zuko. I know. You're also trying to get protection money from the company That's putting up the Canaan building. Stay away. I'm protecting that building from your protection mob.
[01:07:53] Brian: Oh yeah. I'm boss of this town. See, no one can talk to me like that and get away with it. Come on boys. We're going to the Canaan building. I'm still Boss Zuko.
[01:08:05] Alex: I got your boss. and yeah, we just got a bunch of gangsters and like bowler hats and stuff, but I, I really appreciated that The bat's still just like flying around the top of the scene.
[01:08:13] Brian: it was bass. It's like, what the fuck happened? I was stuck in
[01:08:16] Alex: Why wasn't I a box? As the car leaves, as the car leaves, they're riding on the tire rack. Robin, the boy wonder.
[01:08:23] Brian: The Batman's plan worked. Zuko is so mad he's going to do the job personally.
[01:08:28] Alex: And then we cut to the Canaan building. Okay, I tied up the watchmen
[01:08:31] Brian: Good. You stay down here as guard. Now I'm going to convince Canaan he should pay up. Bring the dynamite boys.
[01:08:39] Alex: as Zuko and his men go up, they're in an elevator riding away, suddenly from the shadows, the streaking figure of Robin, the boy wonder.
[01:08:46] Brian: Hey. So, so we got Robin zooming across the room. Guy says, Hey, apparently being heard by him, and then Robin seems to tackle him at his waist and smash his head against like an an H Beam or an I Beam or something
[01:09:03] Alex: Big iron thing.
[01:09:05] Brian: sorry, boy. But I'm going up, says Robin.
[01:09:09] Alex: Yeah. So Zuko and all of his Inman have gone up. There's one guy who's waiting guard at the bottom. Robin goes and and knocks him out.
[01:09:16] Brian: Yeah, I mean, might have killed him. I mean, that's just as a,
[01:09:19] Alex: Yeah.
[01:09:20] Brian: you know, that iron is harder than his skull. That might surprise you.
[01:09:26] Alex: and then we're cutting back to, Zuko and the thugs. Uh, I assume we've gone up to a, a higher level and they're there with, uh, they're all standing around what looks like a bag full of dynamite.
[01:09:36] Brian: Yep. And then way back in the distance there's Robin on on some more beams. So he's, he's come up and he is watching from a distance, and Zuko says Now we'll just blow up the top of the building to scare Canaan into pink. And if he don't, the next time,
[01:09:52] Alex: Boss, look over there. Someone on the girder as a shot. Whistles passed. Robin takes a stone from his belt and places it in a queer looking instrument, the slingshot,
[01:09:59] Brian: one of the gangsters are off in the distance going shoot him.
[01:10:02] Alex: yeah, shooting a gun at him. He's, he's kind of crouched over. He is got a rock like David fighting Goliath. Robin finds the gangsters, he's swinging it around at the top of his head and lets it go rockos and hits a gangster in the head. And he says, bullseye. An amazing leap, a sweeping swing. And the young daredevil lands among the murderous gunman.
[01:10:19] Brian: this is worth some description as well. So he, he swings this, this, slingshot, this rock from the slingshot, which I happen to know. Slingshots are pretty deadly, not, not just from like biblical history. And he rocks them right in the forehead. Um, which the, the silhouette of this is pretty funny like that, just like his feet are off the ground.
Uh, he knocked the hat off his head, knees are bent and he's going down.
[01:10:45] Alex: Like he's gonna fall off this building too, probably.
[01:10:48] Brian: Possibly. Yeah, I, I mean, it wouldn't matter. He's already dead from the rock. So, so then we've got Robin, he jumps off of this, this like under construction skyscraper, and he grabs a, uh, I guess this is like a hook from some sort of crane from up above.
And then he swings, I'm guessing, swings around kind of in a circle. And then he comes back in, still swinging on the rope and kicks, and knocks down two out of the, like four, I guess, remaining,
[01:11:21] Alex: Mm-hmm.
[01:11:21] Brian: dudes. Although I, I do want to note that this first duty's kick, kicking knocks the gun out of his hand, knocks his hat off, looks exactly the same as the dude he sling shotted.
[01:11:31] Alex: there's a continuity issue for sure. And it, it, I'm guessing it happened in the coloring and inking after the penciling because they've, they've drawn the guy in the purple suit, getting knocked over and dropping his gun twice. whereas the, the guy in the yellow suit, who was the one shooting at him in the first panel, doesn't appear to have a gun in this panel.
So I think they've, they've made an error. but,
[01:11:54] Brian: And then over in the corner we've got zuko trying to escape
Why? It's only a kid.
[01:11:59] Alex: Using his knowledge of jiujitsu, taught by the Batman, the plucky boy puts up a stiff fight against the overwhelming odds, and he's doing the same, you know, uh, shoulder throw maneuver, um, with
[01:12:10] Brian: Also, they're up on all these like iron girders, so, so there's like no floor in this area. He's just like flipping these guys over while like balancing on these beams. So presumably that dude in the yellow just got chucked off of a skyscraper by like an eight year old, or how?
[01:12:28] Alex: Yep. I think that's what happened. suddenly Robin slips and we see him kind of falling with a super effort. The boy wonder twists and manages to catch a hold of a lower girder butt. So he's kind of caught himself and he's dangling from the edge.
[01:12:40] Brian: And there's this, this, this gangster coming out on the girder towards him. Slipped a kid, tisk. Tisk. well, you're gonna slip some more after a, after a stamp on your fingers.
[01:12:51] Alex: But as the gangster steps on Robin's fingers, the boy wonder twists his body up around the girder. Say your prayers, buddy.
[01:12:57] Brian: And, yeah. So he swings around like, like you'd expect a gymnast to do, and he kicks the dude in the butt and he kicks him off the girder into space according to, um, the, the panel note or
[01:13:11] Alex: Yeah, the caption says kicking the gunman off the girder into space.
[01:13:14] Brian: falling to his death. And actually in the next, in the next panel, you see him down there in the corner.
[01:13:19] Alex: Oh my god, I didn't see that before. Holy shit. That's so messed up. It's true. There's this ja, there's this, um, one six of the page. It's a large panel and Robin is dangling from a girder still, and boss Zuko and a gangster are in the upper left-hand corner and they compose, I would say, thirds of the shot.
And then in the bottom third on like the right hand side, just the very corner of the shot, there's a dude falling with speed lines into the city. And there's
[01:13:50] Brian: The same blue
[01:13:51] Alex: yeah, there's like, you could see the yellow buildings. He looks like a little ants. He's so small moving so fast. Holy crap. I never noticed that.
And I've read this a couple times.
[01:14:03] Brian: and so then Zuko goes a wise kid. A, let's see you get out of this.
[01:14:08] Alex: But swinging through the air, the Batman. So yeah. You know, Robin Precariously hanginging, Zuko closing in Batman comes and rescues him. He says, mind if I join the party? Zuko. So sorry to drop in. So unexpectedly this way kicks Zuko in the back gun. Uh, Zuko is holding the gun. Yeah, it goes off. His bowler hat falls off.
[01:14:26] Brian: the other gangster looks like he's kind of running away at this
[01:14:28] Alex: Yeah. He's like, Nope. what pleasure this gives me. You'll never know.
[01:14:31] Brian: He socks him in the face again and uh, yeah, so this other gangster, he goes, the Batman, I'm getting outta here. So there's a panel that's dedicated to just this dude running away. I also noticed the numbers again. 1, 2, 3
[01:14:44] Alex: Yeah. They numbered a lot of the
[01:14:45] Brian: the, the read order. Yeah.
[01:14:47] Alex: So yeah, this dude's running, on the girder away, but then a rope comes suddenly and looses, uh, around Blade. It is his name. His name is Blade and jerks him off the girder. So now Blade, this dude in the green suit is dangling by his neck. This rope is around his neck and he's hanginging from a girder, Batman's, tying it up to the girder.
And the caption says, as the gangster dangles, the Batman produces a small vial. Do you know what's in this vial blade? It's acid, the same acid that you put on the trapeze of the flying Graysons, and it's going to eat away the rope unless you sign a confession. Naming names.
[01:15:20] Brian: I'll confess. Pull me up. Pull me up. But in reality, it's more like,
[01:15:26] Alex: or you just,
[01:15:29] Brian: just dead. Yeah.
[01:15:30] Alex: saying there yelling at a dead body. Yeah. blade signs a full confess.
[01:15:35] Brian: it was zuko that put me up to it. I swear it. And then Zuko is in the background. You dirty squeal.
[01:15:41] Alex: And then this one is super, I know you read this ahead of time too. This panel, a lot happens. It's a little confusing. I had to read it two or three times to understand what's happening. Zuko yells Rat and he runs at Blade, who's just signed this confession. Right. Which I think is really funny that like. Apparently, like Batman Prepared already has a piece of paper with the confession for all the things written on it, and he just like, it has to happen very quickly that like they're doing a contract. Like to me, that's a thing that you stop, you read it, it takes time. You gotta fucking sign in to DocuSign.
And it's like, do you wanna sign your full name or the initials, right? And just click here, click here. Next, next, next. Click here. Right? this is not that they've signed quickly, but then Zuko not being able to intervene in the, the signing of, of the confession, but now able to intervene and screams Rat.
And he runs and he pushes Blade off the building and now he's falling head first. Sneaky's going. Yeah. And, and Batman says, snap it Robin.
[01:16:38] Brian: goes. Got it.
[01:16:39] Alex: Yeah.
[01:16:40] Brian: going back just one more step. What, what is the point of this confession? Like, is, is that, does that go to the police, uh, assigned confession u under this situation? Like, does that
[01:16:52] Alex: Under duress. Yeah. No. Are there any witnesses? No, it's stupid. This is totally contrived, right?
[01:16:59] Brian: Yep.
[01:17:00] Alex: Then Batman says, I had the boy bring a camera just in case he snapped. You pushing off blade the film and the confession will be sent to the governor. Boss Zuko, your boss will be the electric chair. So we've contrived this situation.
Like we knew it was gonna happen. Right? Like, I, I'm just, I'm, I don't understand. They had to have planned this in advance. they've had Robin bring a camera. Right. He's actively fighting the goons for most of this. But then at the very
[01:17:30] Brian: Everyone's dead.
[01:17:32] Alex: yes. Literally everyone's dead.
[01:17:34] Brian: Everyone is
[01:17:34] Alex: we planned ahead of time that Robin was gonna take a picture of Zuko killing someone. We had to know in advance that that was gonna happen. It's so contrived.
Like, how did they know? How did they know when it was gonna happen? Did they know it was gonna be blade? Why wasn't Robin ready to take the picture before? But anyway,
[01:17:50] Brian: It's, well, it's entrapment as well, right?
[01:17:52] Alex: I, I don't know. I have no idea. It's definitely,
[01:17:55] Brian: to set up a situation where the guy, follows through with a crime and they take a picture of it.
[01:18:00] Alex: I guess, yeah, I don't know. I feel like if you murder someone, entrapment would be like, um, the police, like, uh, going to a drug dealer and saying, sell me drugs,
[01:18:11] Brian: Yeah. I, I think so. I think there's like, there's a gray area on like what entrapment,
[01:18:16] Alex: Shu sure, sure, sure.
[01:18:17] Brian: so I'm using it loosely and, but it is still this, they, they brought a camera intending to film him do something
[01:18:25] Alex: Uhhuh that he's not premeditated.
[01:18:28] Brian: Yeah. Not premeditated. It is set up. So it's not like they took pictures of him like planning on blowing up the roof of this place, which was what he was gonna do in his own volition.
[01:18:38] Alex: Right, right, right.
[01:18:39] Brian: of Yeah,
[01:18:40] Alex: It's really messed up when you think about it. Yeah. They're like, let's get him to kill somebody. They're not thinking about the dude who's dead at all. They're just thinking about like, let's make this guy. Yeah. Anyway, days later.
[01:18:50] Brian: Extra zuko guilty of murder governor to clean up city politics extra. So it's a Newsboys kid holding It's, I mean, it's full circle. We've got a Newsboys kid with a actual newspaper.
[01:19:03] Alex: It says, Zu Zuko is guilty, is the headline.
[01:19:06] Brian: Yeah, that's right.
[01:19:07] Alex: And then we've got, presumably at, at Wayne Manor. I don't know. They're in, in plain clothes. We've got Bruce and Robin. Well, Dick, now that your parents' death have been avenged, are you going back to circus life?
[01:19:16] Brian: No, I think mother and dad would like me to go on fighting crime and ask for me. Well, I love adventure.
[01:19:23] Alex: Okay. You reckless young squirt. I ought to whale you for jumping those men alone. Why didn't you wait for me?
[01:19:28] Brian: Uh, I didn't wanna miss any of the fun. Say, I can hardly wait till we go on our next case. I bet it'll be a corker.
[01:19:36] Alex: Thrills. Thrills and more thrills is what the amazing character, the Batman and the sensational find of 1940 Robin. The boy wonder of the comic strips give you in every is with their astonishing exploits. Watch for next month's thrilling episode.
[01:19:50] Brian: So I take issue with a couple of
[01:19:52] Alex: Yeah.
[01:19:53] Brian: One, Earlier in this episode, you talked about how if this didn't work out, they were gonna not continue with Robin.
[01:20:01] Alex: to Bob. Kane
[01:20:02] Brian: Yeah. Bob, just, I just wanna make sure the reader or the listeners are following along with this according to Bob. Kane, but this clearly has a panel that says like, Robin will be back all the
[01:20:15] Alex: yeah, yeah.
[01:20:16] Brian: Um, the second thing I take issue with is many pages back, they took this oath and that, that oath was like, it was like a forever
[01:20:25] Alex: Yes. Forever and old
[01:20:26] Brian: here at the, yeah. And here at the end is like, hey, uh, so, uh, Robin, you wanna stick around? Robin's like, yeah, that'd be great.
[01:20:33] Alex: Yeah.
[01:20:33] Brian: It's like, oh, he took an oath.
What are you talking
[01:20:35] Alex: Yeah, that definitely doesn't make any sense. I, I, I will say with the little stinger at the end that says, oh, expect Robin to come back every single time. the, the history of comics is littered with empty promises, right? So that's not necessarily, you know, I think this is a promise that Robin is gonna return in the next issue.
Yeah, like for the foreseeable future, this is clearly the plan, but like, you know, the, they try stuff all the time. That doesn't work. Um, for the record, I think this works. I think, uh, probably of every single comic book we have read thus far, this is the best one.
[01:21:10] Brian: Oh, I.
[01:21:11] Alex: it is a, like a reasonably good story, reasonably well-paced and, and not convoluted so much of the golden age.
You have to read and read it again and, and sort of think about it to even understand what's going on. The plot here is straightforward. Right. People's motivations are clear and understandable, and it's to the point where not only can you follow that narrative, we settle into it a little bit. Batman tells a couple jokes, right?
They have dynamics where they're rescuing each other, right? And I think some of that is that there is the Robin character, but I think some of it's also just the, the writers are getting comfortable. We're, you know, Bill, Finger back in the saddle. We have more of an idea of what the heck we're even trying to do.
And this is a fun story to read.
[01:22:01] Brian: And it is, the least contrived or least convoluted that we have seen so far.
[01:22:07] Alex: I don't know if someone raided Bill Finger in and told 'em like, listen, you gotta stop it with the like, but it's very simple. Like Zuko is a crime boss. He's running protection racket. He has thugs go to businesses and say, gimme money, and that's it. Right? Like, and I love the, the sort of like, the way that we add spice to that and we complicate that is like, we have Batman going to all of the places where the protection racket is, is being run and giving Zuko a hard time, right?
We, we don't just jump straight to like zuko and Batman showing down. he, he is, um, sort of harassing him from afar and disrupting the, the racket. so it, it, it, it has like a beginning, middle, and end it goes somewhere and I appreciate it.
[01:22:50] Brian: And then I say this very, very tongue in cheek, but we get that sense of justice. After Robin's parents fell to their death, he was able to to push four gangsters, so they fell to their deaths as well.
[01:23:02] Alex: You know, I think, I think good storytelling rhymes, right? And it, it sort of, I'm, yeah, I'm, I'm not kidding man. Um, he, you know, you, you, you called it out at the end, right? Like, we have at the beginning of, of this sort of, story where he's going after Zuko, we have Robin as the news boy holding up the paper saying, you know, I was trying to sell him.
And then at the end we've got this other news boy guiding the newspapers trying to sell him ex And the headline is, is that Zuko has been killed. Um, yeah, we've got people from, you know, falling from Great Heights and,
[01:23:33] Brian: Zuko is guilty of murder. He did. He wasn't killed.
[01:23:36] Alex: sorry. and, and Batman showing up with the asset on the rope, and it's the same guy.
Blades the one that did it. You know, there's a lot of, like, they have, they've, uh, woven a. Narrative here. It's not just this happened, then this happened, then this happened. Um, really well put together comic book issue. Don't get me wrong. Still golden age, still a little bit silly. Um, but, but really, really fun.
[01:24:01] Brian: Mm-hmm. Oh, super fun. Yep. And a lot of people died.
[01:24:04] Alex: Yes, yes. it'll, we'll get a little, little bit more kid friendly soon, but we're not, not not quite there. Any final thoughts before we close it
[01:24:12] Brian: I mean, no, it's, I thought it was a pretty good intro to Robin. It, it made that same connection. They, they kind of came from the same place. Their, now their orphans whose parents were killed by, uh, organized
[01:24:25] Alex: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.
[01:24:26] Brian: of sorts, you know, and, and that it has, uh, solidified their bond to each other and, and their shared history.
[01:24:33] Alex: Yeah, for sure. Do you feel differently about Robin at all having read the sort of first comic battle? Does it recontextualize anything
[01:24:40] Brian: Uh, not particularly, because I, I'm, I was familiar with his origin story as well. Uh, but, but taking the oath was something I had not, not seen
[01:24:49] Alex: Mm-hmm. Yeah. I don't,
[01:24:51] Brian: that was interesting.
[01:24:52] Alex: I I've never gone in like, I'm not suggesting we should do like a, a Robin Origin's episode where we go do, do the mall through, through history, but I'm not familiar with, with many Retellings. I think the, the one that comes to mind is the one in Batman and Robin, um, where they have Hailey Circus and it's kind of like this, um, and that's not a great movie.
Is that in Batman? Forever.
[01:25:12] Brian: Bass in
[01:25:13] Alex: Okay. Sorry. I I've disrespected your favorite movie. Um, but yeah, I just, I can't, I can't think of many. So, um, but this is, this is the archetype for sure. Circus fall from the ropes. Patman shows up and
[01:25:26] Brian: Yeah. And, uh, in Batman forever, it's quite a bit more direct. It's, it's, it is certainly still like organized crime, but it's not a protection racket. Um, they're just trying to, it's, it's two-faced trying to rob the circus and, the flying Graysons try to, fight the bad guys, essentially fight the gangsters and two face, uh, shoots the ropes and they, they, Dick
[01:25:50] Alex: Which is impressive. That's crazy.
[01:25:52] Brian: Yeah, well he is, he's got like a Tommy gun, so it's not like
[01:25:55] Alex: Still, I don't know if you've ever, like I, I did, um, a trap shooting skit in, in, um, high school and that was a shotgun and it was hard to hit stuff.
[01:26:07] Brian: And, and so, it, it's actually kind of funny and, and I, I look forward to when we do that movie cuz there's, I do see like a lot of probably more silver age comparisons that it's just like over the top and ridiculous. But like Dick Grayson is, is has gotten ahold of this massive, massive bomb. Um, and he is pushing it up, through the roof of the
[01:26:30] Alex: Uh, Uhhuh.
[01:26:31] Brian: save everyone.
And in the meantime, his parents and I think brother, um, are all have been killed by, uh,
[01:26:39] Alex: That's so weird. I don't remember this. I need to go back.
[01:26:42] Brian: it's a good movie. We watched it together
[01:26:45] Alex: did. It's true. I do.
[01:26:47] Brian: Yeah.
[01:26:48] Alex: yeah, you came over to my house.
[01:26:50] Brian: It was very funny cuz it finished and it was like, well what do you think? And you just tore it apart for like 15 minutes and just like how all these things were wrong with it.
And you're like, what do you think? And I was like, I like it.
[01:27:05] Alex: sometimes that's just our dynamic.
[01:27:07] Brian: It sure is.
[01:27:09] Alex: All right.
[01:27:10] Brian: It was very, very funny.
[01:27:11] Alex: good. I'm, I'm, I'm glad you don't, uh, resent me over it.
[01:27:15] Brian: No, not at all.
[01:27:15] Alex: If you liked the show, then please leave a five star review for us on Apple Podcasts. If you write us a review, we'll read it on the show. We've been growing an audience, which is awesome, and the more people who listen, the more we'll be able to put out episodes. What did we get wrong? what do you want us to talk about?
You can send us a voice recording or write us an email and we'll reply on the show. Just head on over to bat lessons.com. You can contact us there. That's also where to find details about episodes, like transcripts and show notes. All of our social media, like Instagram and Mastodon, Twitter and TikTok, and our video content from YouTube is posted on bat lessons.com too.
Until next time, I'm Alex Cash.
[01:27:55] Brian: I'm Brian Anders.
[01:27:56] Alex: Thanks for listening