Comics Ate My Brain

August 9, 2004

"Teen Titans": How a fluffy show can create nitpicky thoughts

Filed under: animated — Tom Bondurant @ 3:03 pm

Saturday’s episode of “Teen Titans” was notable in at least one respect: it spelled out that the Titans’ Robin was Dick Grayson, originator of the role.

In one way this goes against the show’s unspoken rules: no origins, no backstories, and no connections to the other DC animated series. As far as the show is concerned, Robin’s real name is unimportant (or it’s just “Robin” — but I can’t remember if the show ever alluded to him wanting to protect a secret identity).

Still, in another way it’s in keeping with that credo: for many people, the only Robin is Dick Grayson. Flashing “Tim Drake” on the screen could create questions the Titans producers don’t want to answer; like who’s Tim Drake and how’d he become Robin? (Tim’s origin was told in an episode of the Batman animated series, just as Dick’s exit from the Robin role got its own episode.)

An earlier episode did postulate that Robin would “grow up” to be Nightwing, just as Dick did; but to me that wasn’t conclusive. It could have been Tim following in Dick’s footsteps. It merely reinforced that Robin is a kid’s role, and Nightwing is an adult’s. (Robin : Menudo :: Nightwing : Ricky Martin?)

No, this is significant because if you’re going to connect Teen Titans with the other DC shows, it means TT takes place in the past. In fact, when the Batman animated series started in 1992, Dick was already in college. Therefore, these would be Dick’s adventures on his “weekends off” from working with Batman.

Anyway, my point with all of this is just that one little detail, probably designed to quell debate, has instead sparked a whole chain of continuity-minded thinking in my little nerd brain. Part of me is glad to know, because Dick was the Robin involved with these other characters in the comics; but part wishes they’d just left the whole thing alone.

Never mind how they live in a skyscraper without adult supervision, and they might not even be eligible to vote yet….

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