Dick Grayson, Boy Wonder

Scholars and Creators on 75 Years of Robin, Nightwing and Batman


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About the Book

Dick Grayson—alter-ego of the original Robin of Batman comics—has gone through various changes in his 75 years as a superhero but has remained the optimistic, humorous character readers first embraced in 1940. Predating Green Lantern and Wonder Woman, he is one of DC Comics’ oldest heroes and retains a large and loyal fanbase.
The first scholarly work to focus exclusively on the Boy Wonder, this collection of new essays features critical analysis, as well as interviews with some of the biggest names to study Dick Grayson, including Chuck Dixon, Devin Grayson and Marv Wolfman. The contributors discuss his vital place in the Batman saga, his growth and development into an independent hero, Nightwing, and the many storyline connections which put him at the center of the DC Universe. His character is explored in the contexts of feminism, trauma, friendship, and masculinity.

About the Author(s)

Kristen L. Geaman is a lecturer in medieval history at the University of Toledo. She has published articles on medieval England in The English Historical Review and Social History of Medicine.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Kristen L. Geaman
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 360
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2015
pISBN: 978-0-7864-9788-1
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2085-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments viii
Introduction: The Sensational Character Find of 1940 (Kristen L. Geaman) 1
Part I. Robin the Boy Wonder
Success in Stasis: Dick Grayson’s Thirty Years as a Boy Wonder (J.L. Bell) 8
Outlining the Future Robin: The Seventies in the Batman Family (Fernando Gabriel Pagnoni Berns and César Alfonso Marino) 28
Fashioning Himself a Hero: Robin’s Costume and Its Role in Shaping His Identity (Joshua R. Pangborn) 40
The Gray(son) Area: Performing Robin the Right Way (Cara L. ­MacNeil-Donoghue) 54
Part II. The Original Dynamic Duo: Dick Grayson and Bruce Wayne
The Child Is Father to the (Bat)Man: The Inverted ­Parent-Child Dynamic of DC Comics’ Dynamic Duo (David Kingsley) 66
Dick Grayson and the Literary Tradition of Heroic Friendship (Emily Zinkin) 81
“The Loyal Heart”: Homosocial Bonding and Homoerotic Subtext Between Batman and Robin, 1939–1943 (Catherine M. Vale) 94
Part III. Nightwing and Beyond: Dick Grayson Grows Up
Boy Wonder to Man Wonder: Dick Grayson’s Transition to Nightwing and the Bildungsroman (Kristen L. Geaman) 112
Building Character: The Writers Who Shaped Dick Grayson’s Personality (Christopher McKittrick) 130
The Heart and Soul: Dick Grayson as the Center of the DC Universe (Mollie Herlocker) 145
The New 52 (2011–present) (Jordan Hass and Star Schneider) 155
Grayson, Sex and Feminism (Tini Howard) 169
Part IV. Ties That Bind: Relationships with Family and Friends
Mother Alfred: The Influence of Dick Grayson’s “Other Parent” (Bethany F. Brengan) 178
Big Brother Dick (Yasmin Lysaker) 197
Dick and Damian: The Second Batman and His Robin (Kalina Keester) 211
Titans Together (Shelly Sposato and Pamela Shah) 222
Darkly Deconstructing the Dynamic Duo: Dick Grayson in Frank Miller (Alexandra Schulz) 244
Part V. Interviews
Interview with Dennis ­O’Neil (Kristen L. Geaman) 264
Interview with Marv Wolfman (Kristen L. Geaman) 271
Interview with Chuck Dixon (Kristen L. Geaman) 274
Grayson on Grayson (Kristen L. Geaman) 284
Interview with Kyle Higgins (Kristen L. Geaman) 314
Conclusion. Dick Grayson: Becoming a Man (Dan Grayson Cordero) 322
Bibliography 331
About the Contributors 349
Index 353

Book Reviews & Awards

“Geaman’s collection offers the first in-depth and sustained exploration of this character’s development…something for both the academic and fan…engaging”—Journal of Popular Culture; “goes into extensive detail about the individual characters starting from their origins and their transition and evolution through the decades…makes for fascinating reading…gets into the nitty gritty of what makes the Boy Wonder tick and how he changed over the years..brings to light many surprising and little known facts”—Collectors’ Corner.