Why Jason Todd was my favorite Robin and still has the potential to be again :
Before the creation of Damian Wayne my favorite Robin was probably everyone’s least favorite Robin, Jason Todd. To be blunt about why I had issues with the main Robins Dick Grayson and Tim Drake would be to admit that they are characters that felt predictable. The first Robin, Dick Grayson, against every other person’s vote is probably my least favorite Robin. He is prideful, showy, whorish, and the archetype of a specific comic book character : an annoyingly perfect ward. After so many years of Dick Grayson and the successful development of the Nightwing comics I can’t get over the feeling that Dick Grayson is simply always going to be Dick Grayson. The recent story line of him possibly finding true love, not with the most widely desired partner Barbra Gordon, but with ex-villain Shawn Tsang happens to be really interesting. I love when DC brings in those smaller characters in a very smooth way. I also especially love her for a character like Dick Grayson, because she was able to shock me. Shawn does an unexpectedly great job at making me enjoy Dick Grayson again. However, knowing DC’s patterns with Dick Grayson makes me less then hopeful of this feeling or their relationship continuing. The third Robin was Tim Drake. Unlike Dick Grayson, I don’t think Tim Drake necessarily is a frustrating or seemingly frequently perfect character. My problem with him is that more often then not his role makes me pity him. Tim is an excellent Detective and in many cases seems to surpass his mentor in that specific role. His skills are admirable and really captivate the reader. The problem is Tim Drake is probably the weakest fighter within the Bat Family. More often then not he seems to give off the feeling that he should not be a caped crusader within the Gotham Universe. The character Question seems to be a better fit for the environment. Especially, if you factor in the dynamics with Huntress. Even after his detective skills and survival knacks from Batman Tim Drake is often the brunt of some of the worst individual events that have happened to a Robin. He has been killed by the Joker, brainwashed by the Joker and forcibly becoming the Joker from years of psychological trauma. Those three things only cover the things the Joker did to him. They are also an example of a type of act that reflects how broken a character can become, especially when touched by the Joker, in the Gotham Universe. Tim Drake’s story always makes me want to pity him. He seems to be the middle child who is least fit for their families entire job. The current Robin is Damian Wayne. A part of me feels extremely guilty for preferring Damian over Jason. The reason is I have always felt that Damian Wayne ended up as a better character because DC cared about him more. He is the blood son of Batman. Damian has to be a successful fleshed out character and you can see that care within the DC comics. He also has been provided a great foil with Dick Grayson. Who makes his arrogant and unlikeable demeanor a true enjoyable experience. To me, Damian Wayne always felt like a reboot in a sense of what Jason Todd was supposed to be: the fighting oriented Robin who consistently teeters back and forth between the morality of kill or not to kill. He also finally gave fans a child of Batman that is considered part of the main Earth of the multiverse. As Bruce’s daughter with Selina Kyle, Helena Wayne (Huntress), is not a reoccurring explanation of her main back story. Further, backbone heroes all seemed to have strong stories with blood related children. Batman is one of the Dc heroes who has probably slept with an absurd amount of women. It was time for him to have his own child. It’s great to then see that child compete with Superman’s. Damian Wayne is currently my favorite Robin. However, I refuse to discredit Jason Todd’s potential like the rest of the DC writers.
Many years ago, one of my first fan fiction ever, I wrote down a badly written dialogue between Jason Todd and a potential female foil. As a kid, I had always wanted and waited for DC to deliver what I thought Jason Todd could be. Because of this, I left that dialogue alone in a drawer for years. The Outlaw comics turned out to be the comics that gave me false hope. They started out seemingly strong. Starfire and Roy Harper are extremely well done characters. Especially, when you see Roy’s struggles while balancing a relationship with a sexually charged powerhouse like Starfire. DC had a great chance to develop Jason Todd. Yet, by the end of the comics I read he was the only one of the trio that seemed to still fall flat. Around that time I was dealing with unresolved feelings towards unwanted sexual advances when I was a child. In a weird way, I ended up confronting the memories by the random (and badly written) fan fiction dialogues. The old note I had of a female character for Jason Todd seemed to turn into something completely else. Originally, I had desperately wanted Jason Todd to have a simple romance like the other members of the Gotham Universe. However, I will be the first one to admit I wrote a very unstable and personal character by accident. I think Jason Todd’s darker tendencies gave me an outlet to bring out darker controversial issues of growing up. Valkyrie was definitely that character. As I pulled in many of the struggles of those I’ve known into one character. I still think a complicated character and somewhat mentally unstable is a good addition to Jason Todd’s story, but it doesn’t have to be mine. The fan fiction really was about trying to think of a way to expand the character himself. I naturally wanted to fit it into the comic timeline I felt had the most potential with Jason Todd, the Outlaw comics. As it shows Jason trying to come to terms with everything and show a desire to not be a lone jaded renegade. Characters like Talon and Raven seemed like they could be a good fit, even if I don’t write them very well. Later on, I added Miss Martian in because the Young Justice version mixed with the comic book version seemed like an interesting toss up. As the Outlaws couldn’t be a team that was meant to mirror the Titans. All of the existing characters have had psychopathic and jaded moments (Starfire arguable existing as a female hero able to coexist with another who posses those traits in her undeniable sparkly way). But all of this was just was the the random moment of consideration towards a Robin I once loved.
It is at this time I put away my brief explanation of the base of my Fan Fiction to clarify something: I Love DC. Not only will I fight someone over how DC comics is better then Marvel (ignoring their cinematic blights), but some of my fondest childhood memories are of DC comics. When the Outlaw comics came out, I really wanted to have a chance to write for DC. I didn’t care that I had no comic book writing experience. What I wanted was a chance to help be a part of helping to make Jason Todd as badass as I thought he could be as a kid. What lead me to writing down the bad Fan Fiction you will read is at the time only seeing DC seemingly interested in acquiring new artists really hurt my young feelings. I started to wonder about what I thought of interesting or desired outcomes within the DC Universe outside of Jason Todd. It was at this time I was reintroduced to some of my childhood stories. Their were a collection of Norse myths that seemed to keep popping up. I switched over to the Thor comics for awhile to see how Marvel was using Norse mythology. As DC really focused on many other mythologies and seemed to lack a Norse hero. The result really frustrated me and reminded me of what I dislike about the Marvel Universe : it is so science heavy. Every Thor comic I read connected Thor’s world to some science based origin that colors the Marvel Universe. It actually was the thing that lead me to want to post my bad Fan Fiction until I had the time to fix it. My favorite and at times least favorite part of the DC Universe is that you have a disconnected Multiverse that has science based areas and realms that do cater to mythology and magic extremely well. Why hadn’t DC taken advantage of that and include Norse mythology? It felt like a weird DC fear of Marvel’s recent success. It’s like they don’t want to touch the area, because it is claimed by Marvel. Yet, the entire history of comic books is the repetition of seemingly characterized roles. I had this awfully weird childlike desire to fix Jason Todd and include Norse mythology as the way to do it.
One of the reasons I prefer DC is the Green Lantern comics. As much as Hal Jordan makes me want to pull a character out of the comics to punch in the face the other Lanterns are amazing characters (even Alan Scott). The entire Green Lanterns Universe is so well done and exhibits a good ability to give DC some feelings of continuity. Which is not an easy thing to do. My favorite Lantern happens to be Kyle Rayner. Again he is one character that is not up there as one of the more popular lanterns. However, Kyle Rayner’s start with Ganthet and lead in to becoming a White Lantern is a very successful achievement for DC. It’s also always interesting to see the constructs that come from a more artistic mind. This got me thinking of the Bi-Frost. In Marvel, the Bi-Frost simply exists as the rainbow bridge guarded by Heimdall. However, the Green Lantern comics exhibit the colors of a rainbow and assign them an emotion. Further, there exists a constant struggle of trying to maintain the right balance of power within the DC Universe and the Guardians of Oa’s desires. With the conclusion of Darkest Night it really seemed like their exists a chance to expand the Lantern Universe even more. Why not use the fact that DC has a stronger foundation is mythology and magic then Marvel and create something new. There can be a different part of the emotional spectrum.
Jason Todd is a free floater in the DC Universe. He can be used to ground an expansion and achieve the character development he desperately needs. My characters are definitely not well written. I will be the first to admit they are heavily biased, but I posted them in hopes to show potential expansions within the DC Universe. The Outlaw comics and Jason Todd provide a really good canvas to balance contrasting themes: darkness vs light, humor vs sarcasm , tongue and cheek mentalities. DC ignores the fact Jason Todd is the perfect character to create oddly perfect parallels. Valkyrie is probably one of my favorite characters I’ve ever written (even when compared to my original work) even if she is a flawed one. I really believe a flawed character is something Jason Todd is missing. A character that struggles with mental instabilities can be a good dynamic with him. I would love the chance for a better writer to develop Valkyrie into a good character, but I would also love the chance to just see my ideas implemented with new characters.
If I ever get the chance to present to DC I would want them to take away this: (1) Give Jason Todd more attention, (2) consider implementing Norse mythology in this creative way I suggested, (3) listen to your comic book readers more that have an interest in writing and (4) redo the DC cinematic experience, but this time well. As a huge comic book nerd, I know I’m not the only one whose has a head full of ideas for DC. Yea, I’m biased and think my jaded personality is like a goldmine for DC Comics, but others are also certainly around that can impress you. I may not be it, but there is definitely someone that can be.
All you need to do is listen DC. You have the overlooked characters. You have Jason Todd. You even have a huge fan base that wants to contribute. Let them. Let us. The end result is probably going to be better then you expected.
” It’s about the next level. Smarter, faster, hotter, more in tune with the changing times and changing crimes. But mostly… I guess this is about my revenge of one crazy man in a mask… on another crazy man in a mask. Heh. “
Jason Todd as Robin – Under the Red Hood