Robin #1  to Robin #183 
Tim Drake first appeared in Batman #436, but didn’t get the Robin uniform until Batman #442. Bruce Wayne was being very careful about proper training after what had happened to his previous partner, the late if not universally lamented Jason Todd. In fact, Batman might have preferred to do without a sidekick, but his hand was forced when Tim Drake deduced his identity and showed up to apply for the job.
To help establish this modern, computer-literate Robin, editor Dennis O’Neil recruited writer Chuck Dixon to delineate the latest Boy Wonder’s exploits in a 1991 Robin miniseries that was so successful that it was soon followed by another and then another. In 1991, Robin #1-5 established Tim Drake in his own solo adventure, squaring off against King Snake and his own mirror opposite: a lethal teenage girl known as Lynx. The mini-series had a sequel in Robin II #1-4 (also 1991) where Tim Drake had his greatest challenge to date: an encounter with the Joker. In a third mini-series, Robin III: Cry of the Huntress #1-6 (1992), Tim Drake and the Huntress formed an uneasy alliance to defeat a common foe. The issues were enhanced by foil, cutouts, and other embellishments, and the investment paid off in unexpected sales.
“Robin’s a great character, and there was a real reason for inventing him,” Chuck Dixon explained. “You need Robin, you need Alfred, to make Batman work. Otherwise he’s just a lone psycho. He needs a human being to bounce off of. This was Denny O’Neil’s theory, that it’s a triumvirate.”
In November 1993, Dixon began scripting a new monthly Robin comic book which became a solid success. “Dick Grayson was always so perfect in every way,” said Dixon, “and of course Jason Todd was far too imperfect. Tim Drake is sort of in the middle. I feel like he’s a real teenager.”
Chuck Dixon wrote an amazing run of 100 issues before leaving the title. During his run, Dixon had Tim balancing his Robin career while maintaining his high school social life – all the while hiding his dual identity from his concerned father, Jack Drake. After the death of Tim’s mother, Jack found comfort in the arms of his younger physical therapist, Dana Winters. Jack Drake even married Dana later in the series, with Tim’s approval.
Dixon also introduced the character of Spoiler, the Cluemaster’s crime-fighting daughter, who initially aimed to “spoil” her father’s schemes. Spoiler (Stephanie Brown) quickly developed an attraction to Robin, which complicated things with his girlfriend, Ariana Dzerchenko. Unable to reveal his dual identity to either Ariana or Spoiler, Tim was forced to keep each one at arms length. Eventually, Ariana broke things off with Tim. As Robin, Tim dated Spoiler in Robin #57-58 only to immediately learn she was pregnant from a previous relationship. Robin helped Spoiler through this difficult time, and supported her decision to give the baby up for adoption in Robin #65. Batman later welcomed Spoiler into the Batcave in Robin #87 and even took the liberty of revealing Robin’s secret identity to her. This angered Tim, who was always instructed to guard their secrets at all costs. It did, however, make things simpler in his relationship with Spoiler.
Dixon left the series with Robin #100 and was succeeded by writer Jon Lewis, who penned the next 20 issues of the series. After Lewis’ tenure, Bill Willingham assumed writing chores and set Robin on a new direction. In Robin #124-125, Jack Drake deduced that Tim is actually Robin and confronted Bruce Wayne with a gun. Shocked and angered at Tim’s betrayal and Bruce’s purported manipulations, Jack demanded that Tim give up as Robin. A distraught Tim complied, and was replaced with Stephanie Brown, who assumed the Robin mantle in Robin #126-128. Her tenure as Robin was, unfortunately, short-lived and disastrous. She was fired by Batman and then unwittingly unleashed a Wargames initiative that ignited a massive gang war in Gotham. As a result of the danger presented by the gang war, Tim once again became Robin but Stephanie was tragically killed by Black Mask during the carnage.
Adding to the tragedy, Tim’s own father was murdered by Captain Boomerang during the murder mystery surrounding the death of Sue Dibny in Identity Crisis #5. Following that, Robin’s best friend, Superboy, was killed during the Infinite Crisis. Following this string of tragedies, Tim traveled the world with Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson, as detailed in Infinite Crisis #7 and 52.
DC’s “One Year Later” event occurred in 2006. With DC’s March books, the characters’ histories resumed “one year later.” The events of that “missing year” were revealed in various DC books throughout 2006-2007. Robin #148 launched a new start for the series with Adam Beechen as writer. Returning from Europe, Robin is framed for the murder of Batgirl. The teen detective’s trail led him to the truth: the set-up was an elaborate ruse devised by Cassandra (Batgirl) Cain, who now led the League of Assassins. After confronting Cassandra, Tim was left to ponder his future. The arc featured art by Karl Kerschl, and Freddie Williams II, who became the book’s regular artist.
The “One Year Later” storyline also introduced a new costume for Tim Drake. Primarily a red design, Robin attributed its color scheme as a way of honoring his fallen friend, Superboy. It’s the first time Robin’s costume has changed since Tim Drake’s introduction in 1989. In the wake of Jack Drake’s death, Bruce Wayne also officially adopted Tim Drake.
Original Robin writer/creator Chuck Dixon made a return to the title in January 2008 with issue #170, joined by fan-favorite artist, Chris Batista. Dixon introduced a mysterious crimefighter who wore Spoiler’s costume. In the Robin/Spoiler Special #1, it is revealed that the mysterious “new” Spoiler was actually Stephanie Brown herself. To secure the girl’s safety, Dr. Leslie Thompkins faked Stephanie’s death and secluded her halfway around the world. Many fans felt this was a due reversal of Spoiler’s needless death two years prior.
Death would strike Gotham’s greatest protector in the pages of Final Crisis, where Batman was seemingly killed by Darkseid. Fan-favorite writer Fabian Nicieza assumed writing chores with Robin #175, which tied into “Batman R.I.P.,” a crossover event that explored the impact of Batman’s “death” on his various allies and adversaries. Nicieza detailed Tom Drake’s struggle to protect Gotham in his mentor’s absence.
The next phase of Bat-continuity kicked off with the Battle for the Cowl mini-series, in which Batman’s allies fought to determine who would wear the mantle of Batman. In relaunching the Bat-verse, DC Comics decided to cancel three popular satellite titles. The final issues were marked with Robin #183, Nightwing #153 and Birds of Prey #127.
Robin Annual #1-6
Specials & Mini-Series:
Robin (mini-series) #1-5
Robin II (mini-series) #1-4
Robin III: Cry of the Huntress (mini-series) #1-6
Robin/Argent Doubleshot #1
Robin 80-Page Giant #1
Robin Plus Impulse #1
WF3: World’s Finest 3 #1-2
Young Justice #1-55
Teen Titans #1-present
Superboy #99: “World Without Young Justice” Crossover
Secret Origins 80 page Giant #1 (featuring Young Justice)
Key Issues and Storylines:
Robin (mini-series) #1-5: Robin vs. King Snake and Lynx.
Robin II (mini-series) #1-4: Tim Drake faces the Joker.
Robin #3-5: Robin meets Spoiler
Robin #7-9: “KnightsEnd” Robin and Nightwing help Bruce Wayne reclaim the Batman mantle from Jean Paul Valley.
Robin #10: Due to a Zero Hour time disruption, Tim Drake meets Dick Grayson as Robin.
Robin #20-21: Adrianna, desperate that her family is leaving, aims to take their relationship to the next level.
Robin #50-51: Robin squares off against Shiva; Jack Drake talks with Bruce Wayne about Tim.
Robin #56: As Robin and Spoiler grow closer, Adrianna dumps Tim.
Robin #57-58: After their first official date, Spoiler reveals to Robin she is pregnant.
Robin #65: Robin helps Spoiler give birth, and she gives her baby up for adoption.
Robin #74: Jack Drake enrolls Tim at Brentwood Academy.
Robin #85: The Joker reflects on his association with all three Robins.
Robin #87: Batman welcomes Spoiler in the batcave and tells her Tim’s secret; Tim is angered at Batman.
Robin #100: Tim Drake leaves Brentwood when his father has a financial setback.
Robin #116-120: On his 16th birthday, Robin receives a message from Alfred from the future with a warning; the adventure is actually an extensive training module designed by Batman.
Robin #124-125: Jack Drake deduces Tim’s dual identity, confronts Bruce Wayne with a gun, and forces him to quit as Robin.
Robin #126-128: Stephanie Brown becomes Robin for a short time, but is later fired by Batman.
Robin #132: Tim Drake attends the funeral of Stephanie, who was killed during the Gotham gang wars.
Robin #146-147: Robin and the Teen Titans break into Lexcorp Labs to save Superboy’s life.
Robin #148-152: “One Year Later” – Robin gets a false summons in Budapest to return to Gotham to aid Cassandra [Batgirl] Cain. The request was from Cassandra herself, in an effort to test the Teen Wonder – and recruit him to rule the League of Assassins at her side.
Robin/Spoiler Special #1: Spoiler returns.
Notable Creative Runs:
Chuck Dixon, Writer: Robin #1-100, 170-174
Jon Lewis, Writer: Robin #100-120
Bill Willingham, Writer: Robin #121-147
Adam Beechen, Writer: Robin #148-166
Fabian Nicieza , Writer: Robin #175-183
Tom Grummett, Artist: Robin #1-15
Mike Weiringo, Artist: Robin #19-31
Staz Johnson, Artist: Robin #32-41
Jason Armstrong, Artist: Robin #42-71
Pete Woods, Artist: Robin #74-120
Rick Mays, Artist: Robin #121-122
Damion Scott, Artist: Robin #126-138
Scott McDaniel, Artist: Robin #139-147
Freddie Williams II, Artist: Robin #149-169
Chris Batista, Artist: Robin #170-175
Bill Walko is an author and artist and the man behind titanstower.com. He's been reading and drawing comics since he was 5 years old and hasn't stopped since.