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Dick and Babs :)
No ship bashing is going on here (obviously), it’s just that I got carried away and wrote too much. Brace yourselves :|
This is all good but I do want to step in and say that in the original canon, Babs was 7 years older than Dick. This was made pretty darn explicit:
(Batman Family #7)
(Batman Family #10. Dick was in Hudson University at this time, so he was around 18 to Barbara’s 25 - which fits perfectly with the 7-year age difference mentioned in the last scene.)
Fans (and early shippers!) even commented on this at the time:
(For the record, while I agree with Mr. (or Ms.?) Rivera in sentiment, I would point out that while 18 may technically be of legal age, a relationship between a teenager and someone significantly older is often problematic, regardless of gender.)
So you can accept whatever canon you like about their age difference (DC’s certainly changed their story plenty over the years), but you can’t really come along and say “Babs was 17 when she became Batgirl and anyone who doesn’t think so is wrong”, because that wasn’t the original canon and it wouldn’t become the canon until decades later. Per the original canon, Babs was old enough to already have a PhD when she became Batgirl:
That’s from Detective Comics #359, the issue that introduced Babs to the world. In fact, those are the very first panels she appears in in her civilian identity. And one of the very first facts that the story goes out of its way to establish about her is that she has a PhD and graduated summa cum laude (with the highest honors).
Bear in mind that this was the sixties. The women’s lib movement was in full swing. Women around the world were fighting to break glass ceilings in education and careers. Barbara was officially conceived of and promoted as the new, feminist Batgirl (as opposed to Betty and Kathy Kane). If you don’t think her degree of education was part of that, I think you’re missing a big part of the picture here. Barbara’s PhD was a symbol of her power and intelligence, just like the fact that she later became a Congresswoman.
And the fact that DC felt the need to de-age her over the years, until in later versions of her backstory she’s too young to have had a PhD when she became Batgirl (although I’d point out that even in Batgirl: Year One, she’s already graduated from college early, not high school. That’s why she’s thinking of applying to police academy. Read the book’s Wikipedia entry, for example), too young to have been a Congresswoman in her Batgirl years, and so DC just retconned these elements right out of her backstory… well, that says something pretty un-empowering, IMO. Especially when you consider that Barbara’s romantic relationship with Dick, and the idea that people would be put off by having her be too much older than him, may well have played a role in the change. I’ll give DC the benefit of the doubt and say maybe they were just trying to appeal to a younger audience, and thought books like Batgirl: Year One would sell better with a teenage protagonist. But the implications there aren’t so great, either.
But back to the original canon. Regardless of which origin story you’re going by, you’re definitely right that Dick was a teenager and not a child when Babs became Batgirl. How old exactly? Unclear. Old enough to have already founded the Teen Titans a while back (the Titans were officially formed in 1965, Babs debuted in ‘67). Also old enough that it wouldn’t be too long before he headed off to college (which happened in Batman #217, published in 1969). But still young enough that he was drawn as significantly shorter than Babs:
(Detective Comics #359)
So… my best guess would be that Dick’s around sixteen here, and that him heading off to college was around a year later in comic-time. According to the seven-year age difference established in the Batman Family era, that makes Babs around 23. Which is a bit young to already have a PhD, but we can just accept that maybe she skipped some grades in this version of canon as well. ;-)
Sorry to be going on and on about this, but the thing is, I’m one of those people who actually likes Dick and Barbara’s original age difference. I like Babs having been a bit older and more mature (and do bear in mind, 23 is still not old) as Batgirl. I like her already having been highly educated. I like the element it brings to Dick’s unrequited crush on her back in his Robin days - it makes sense to me that as someone who was dealing with some very adult issues at a young age and had to grow up fast, Dick would have felt drawn towards someone older. It also makes sense that Babs, although thinking he was cute, wouldn’t have been interested in a teenager. (The fact that my own first crush was on someone older probably also factors into why I like this version of canon so much, I admit!) And I also like the element it bring to their adult relationship - even today, it’s still common to see younger women paired up with older men but pretty rare to see the reverse (especially without obnoxious “cougar” comments). And it’s not like seven years would have been a problematic age difference once they were in their twenties-thirties (which is when they actually became a couple, as you rightly point out).
So, IDK, I actually really like the original canon here, and I don’t think there was any good reason for DC to change it. And you can absolutely think differently, but the point is that people who canon Babs as being significantly older than Dick aren’t actually wrong.
during dick and damian’s time as batman and robin like there’s no way you can convince me that dick didn’t take him up to the top of the penthouse and was like “damian everything the light touches is our kingdom. a king’s time as ruler rises and falls like the sun. one day, damian, the sun will set on my time here, and will rise with you as the new king.”
and damian took these words to heart and engraved them into his psyche and got emotional about them
and like 5 years later when he’s in his mid-teens and hanging out with the titans, they watch the lion king and he’s so furious he literally walks out of the movie and calls dick and is like
THE FUCKING LION KING????????????????????
… give or take a few. Here’s a (most definitely incomplete) list of characters who have worn the Robin uniform, played a Robin-like role or a role in a way connected to being Robin.
Starting off, the Big Five: Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, Tim Drake, Stephanie Brown and Damian Wayne.
Anonymous asked: “Tim? Has a temper. A very, very nasty temper”. Not to sound rude or belitting but I thought Jason was the angry Robin?
Hmmm. Okay. It’s important to note that “carries a lot of anger” and “has a nasty temper” are different things. Birds, butterflies, and bats all have wings, but nobody is going to argue that all three are the same type of wing, are they? Same thing with Jason and Tim. Simply because they express their anger in similar ways doesn’t mean they both arrived at that point from the exact same experiences. I don’t claim to be an expert here, but to me, Jason’s rage seems more of the “builds up to the point where it has to come out any way it can”, which is more of a sign of an inability to express anger in ways that help him reach a resolution. Looking at Under the Hood, Jason initially seems angry at Bruce, but later on it becomes clear it’s betrayal and hurt, not just purely anger. Arguably he has the same problem as MCU!Bruce Banner (whose “anger” is more often than not actually fear): he can’t really express his feelings in a healthy way, not because he has a bad temper.
Tim, on the other hand, is perfectly capable of venting his feelings; however, his particular temperament is such that when he expresses anger, he does it extremely violently. This is a personality trait that shows itself consistently throughout the comics canon (wow I’m actually rather happy writers remember this): he trashes his room, he beats Villain of the Week almost half to death, he lashes out at Damian, ad infinitum. Looking at canon, you actually have a much stronger case for Tim being “the angry Robin”, much more so than Jason.
Again, I’m no expert, I’m just a reader like you and this is only my opinion.
Reblogging this because this is relevant to my interests. I agree with everything the writer pointed out.
I’d also like to add that assuming every Robin has a trait is normal (and to fair it’s a good way to tell them apart), but you can’t pretend they don’t share traits. The Robins aren’t just ‘The happy one, the angry one, the detective one, the girl and the son’. The Robin are supposed to be multidimensional characters you could find in real life, they are people.
Dick is known for his bad jokes and sense of humor, but Jason and Tim also have their own dry sarcastic way of making fun of things and Damian is slowly but surely growing one. Tim is the smart Robin but that doesn’t mean the others aren’t able to investigate and pull a Batman on their own.
Jason is angry and doesn’t think much before he jumps into attack, but that doesn’t mean other Robins can’t pent up anger and lash out. And somebody like Tim, who has no idea how to deal with his feelings and tends to keep them inside… well, when he does show anger he kind of explodes.
Can I hug this post? Can I frame it on my wall for everyone to see? Can I freaking marry it?
Because seriously… YES. Yes, yes, yes, yes YES. THIS.
I hate when people try to write the Robins (or Batgirls, or any character, really) into these narrow little boxes. Because Dick is “The Happy One”, and Jason is “The Angry One”, and Tim is “The Smart One”, etc., and there can never be any overlap between them? And their characters can never be any more nuanced than that? HOW ABOUT NO.
Newsflash? EVERY SINGLE ONE of the Robins has a temper. Yes, ALL of them. Even Tim, “the quiet one”. Even Dick and Steph, “the happy ones” (and believe me, I can prove it). Now, that doesn’t mean they’ll all get angry in the same way, or to the same degree, or over the same things. Because they won’t. And it doesn’t mean they’re all equally likely to lose their temper.
But believe me when I say that you do not want to get on the bad side of ANY ONE of the Robins. Because they can ALL be “the angry one” if you push the right buttons, and you don’t want to be there when they do.
Dick would so kiss Barbara in the moment and dip her back, before accidentally dropping her when his name was called.
Tim’s actually canonically done that to Steph:
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