Tim Drake is the Robin who isn’t actually positive be Robin anymore — however on this week’s Batman: City Legends, he’s figured a minimum of one factor out. A pleasant boy requested him out on a date, and Tim mentioned sure.
That makes him the primary new LGBTQ member of Batman’s rapid household in 15 years, since Batwoman herself.
Batman: City Legends is considered one of DC’s new anthology sequence. In every situation, a number of inventive groups share an episode of varied ongoing tales starring characters beneath the Gotham Metropolis umbrella. Over a number of points, Author Meghan Fitzmartin (DC Superhero Ladies, Future State: Robin Everlasting) and artist Belén Ortega (Sensational Marvel Lady, Captain Marvel) have crafted “Sum of Our Components,” a narrative by which Tim Drake tries to defeat a mysterious new villain who captured his outdated pal Bernard.
In “Sum of Our Components,” Tim wrestles with uncertainty in a method that has develop into core to his character during the last decade. He feels as if he doesn’t know what he desires, till Bernard — not figuring out that Robin and Tim are the identical individual — wistfully refers to their interrupted dinner as a “date,” and Tim has “a lightbulb second.”
On the finish of this episode of the story, Bernard asks Tim out on an actual date, and Tim fortunately accepts.
“When Dave [Wielgosz] (my editor for Batman: City Legends) reached out about doing one other Tim story, I used to be thrilled,” Fitzmartin advised Polygon through e mail. “We talked about the place Tim Drake has been vs the place he was on the time and got here to the conclusion that it wanted to be a narrative about identification and discovery. What was subsequent for Boy Marvel?”
She says she spent days considering it over earlier than emailing again to say “Look, I don’t know if that is one thing that may occur, however that is the story, as a result of it’s the one story it may be.”
Even after she received the go-ahead, Fitzmartin says it took a while to soak up the concept that she was going to create a popping out story for a Robin — and a really established model of Robin at that. “I totally sat on the ground of my condominium for a stable two minutes in happiness because it sunk in. Finally, this wouldn’t have occurred with out champions at DC, like Dave and James Tynion IV, and I hope it’s as significant for others because it has been for me.”
Kate Kane is essentially the most distinguished canonically queer member of the sprawling Bat-family. She debuted as Batwoman in 2006 within the firm’s year-long weekly-TV model sequence 52, and instantly garnered shock headlines — despite the fact that she in the end had a reasonably minor position. Gotham Metropolis has slowly develop into a a lot queerer place since her introduction, however largely with villains and secondary characters. The subtext of Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy was lastly allowed to be textual content within the early 2010s. Earlier than she (almost) married Batman, Catwoman briefly had a girlfriend. Midnighter grew to become a recurring supporting character in Nightwing tales. Police detectives Renee Montoya and Maggie Sawyer and the younger vigilante Bluebird/Harper Row flitted out and in of continuity.
On the identical time, Tim Drake was struggling to discover a new editorial area of interest in Batman tales. From his creation in 1989 till the late ’00s, Tim’s place was straightforward to elucidate. Dick Grayson was the unique Robin. Jason Todd was the Robin who died. And Tim was the youngest Robin, Batman’s accomplice. Extra unbiased than Dick and extra empathetic than Jason, Tim merely was Robin for 20 years of readers, in addition to the big viewers of Batman: The Animated Collection.
That modified with the introduction of Damian Wayne in 2006, created by Grant Morrison and Andy Kubert, who was instantly put in in Tim’s place as Robin. Not “the youngest Robin” and even Batman’s major accomplice, DC has appeared to wrestle to seek out Tim’s new area of interest. 2009 noticed him undertake the identification of Purple Robin — you already know, just like the burger chain? — 2011’s New 52 reboot tried a drastic revamp of his origin story, however 2016’s Rebirth relaunch restored the unique one. Most lately, within the pages of Younger Justice, Tim mentioned he was gonna begin going by the codename “Drake” as a substitute of Purple Robin … however plainly Infinite Frontier’s adjustments have included forgetting that that ever occurred and simply calling him Robin once more.
After 15 years of flux, Tim’s clearest area of interest is that he’s the Robin who doesn’t fairly know the place he suits within the Bat-family, a personality who’s persistently put within the place of interrogating his personal identification, however who has by no means discovered an enduring decision. That alone might be sufficient to make him a degree of identification for queer followers. However Tim has an extended historical past of being learn as not-completely-straight because of a fandom affection for pairing him up with fellow Teen Titan (and simply queered character) Connor Kent, the Superboy of the Nineteen Nineties.
“The best factor about working with a longtime IP,” Fitzmartin advised Polygon, “is that there are such a lot of story selections for characters which have already been made for you (typically by individuals a lot smarter than you). [“Sum of Our Parts”] occurred as a result of that is who Tim is. I really like this character very a lot, and as I went again to reread as a lot as I may to do Robin justice, it grew to become clear that is the story Tim wanted to inform.”
And for these itching to replace varied fan-wikis and lists, Fitzmartin says that Tim hasn’t put a label on himself but — nor does this story delegitimize his decades-long off-again-on-again relationship with fellow teen superhero Stephanie Brown/Spoiler.
“I needed to pay tribute to the truth that sexuality is a journey,” Fitzmartin advised Polygon. “To be clear, his emotions for Stephanie have been/are 100% actual, as are his emotions for Bernard. Nonetheless, Tim continues to be figuring himself out. I don’t suppose he has the language for all of it… but.”