This is something that bothers me.
This kind of line is a straight quote from Bruce, I’ve heard him say it in many tv shows, and in the comics.
They’re turning Dick into Bruce, like so many writers love to do.
Dick is not Bruce.
Sure, he went through the tragic death of his parents, just like Bruce did. But Dick had an outlet for his anger right away. Becoming Robin helped him to get over his parents death, and having Bruce and Alfred in his life helped him overcome their deaths because he had new parental figures who did a decent job of raising him. He’s moved on with his life since his parents death. He mentions in Gotham Knights that yes, he does still miss them, but he wouldn’t trade anything in the world for the life he has now.
I’d also argue that it’s not just that Dick had an outlet and Bruce did not (after all, Bruce decided to devote his life to fighting crime not too long after his parents’ deaths), it is also an essential difference between Bruce and Dick. They process grief differently. Dick still very much misses his parents, and their death was pivotal in his life, but he doesn’t define himself by that loss. He’s moved on. His essence is defined by optimism and joy, not grief or tragedy.
I talked about it a bit in this post, but I’m posting this scene here again because I think it is just so essential to understanding who Dick is:
It’s right there on the page: That is the difference between Dick and Bruce.
Dick can come back to the place his parents died, and it doesn’t hurt. He doesn’t see it as a place of pain. Not because he doesn’t miss them, but because for Dick, commemorating his parents is about focusing on the positive. He keeps the circus alive in their memory, keeps it alive as a place of fun and joy and happiness, because he knows that’s how they’d want him to remember them. Not through anger and pain. There is still pain there sometimes, of course, but he chooses to concentrate on the optimistic side. That’s the kind of person that Dick is.
This dialogue is… completely not Dick, at all. Saying he’s never stopped missing his parents, or even being sad about their death? Sure, that I can buy. But saying he was never okay? No, no, NO. That is NOT Dick Grayson. Dick is okay in his life. Dick is more than okay, he’s joyful. Not 100% of the time, but his essence is one of joy and positivity and light. He’s joyful not because he’s never suffered, but because he chooses to be joyful. He chooses to move on and let go of the pain and the anger, and he chooses to focus on the good in life. And make no mistake, that is a choice that Dick made, as much as it is an essential aspect of his personality. It’s a choice he made as a child when he first found a way to move on after his parents’ death, and it is a choice he made again as a young adult when he was coming into his own as the kind of hero that he wanted to be. Dick chose not to be like Bruce. And it’s a choice that is fundamental to the kind of hero that he is. It’s a huge part of what makes him so inspiring.
You take that away, and he’s hardly even Dick Grayson anymore.