Robbin' a costume idea

Dear Johnny Fanboy,

The graphic novel Batman and the Mad Monk is a solo Batman tale set before the introduction of Robin. On the very last page (and don’t worry, this won’t spoil anything for those still to read the graphic novel) we see a huge billboard poster for the impending visit to Gotham of the Flying Graysons. The poster says: “Special Return Engagement. Two Weeks Only! The Haly Circus featuring the Flying Graysons” and one-third of the poster is taken up with a picture of the three Graysons, with Dick in the middle (oo-er).

My question is this: the Graysons are all wearing costumes that look identical to what will finally become Robin’s costume (red tunic, green shorts, boots and a yellow cape). Now, bearing in mind that Bruce Wayne is desperate to keep his secret identity, why does he allow Robin to wear the same costume as he did in his act?

The scenario plays out like this: the Graysons come to Gotham wearing their outlandish costumes; they die one night while performing their act; Bruce takes in Dick as his ward. At about the same time, Batman has a new sidekick, who has an identical costume to the Graysons! As the Graysons’ deaths would have been all over the papers, everyone will already know what their costumes looked like, even if they don’t remember them from the billboards.

Surely anyone with half a brain could work out that Robin is Dick Grayson and therefore that Bruce Wayne is Batman. Not even a small letter “R” on Robin’s costume will be convincing enough to sway people.

Yours superheroically,

Kevin LaMarche

Johnny Fanboy replies:

Perhaps Bruce decided that Dick wearing his old Flying Graysons outfit would actually disguise his identity rather than give it away. This is because, when people disguise themselves as popular entertainers or other famous people in order to carry out outrageous or illegal activities (such as bank robberies) anonymously, observers tend not to assume that it is the celebrity in question that is actually carrying out the act. For example, if someone were to rob a bank wearing a mask and David Beckham’s football strip, most people would not automatically assume that Beckham had just robbed a bank but rather that someone had impersonated him.

Furthermore, many citizens of Gotham might have assumed, incorrectly, that the entire Grayson family had been killed, including Dick. I don’t think Dick Grayson is as well known as the billionaire Bruce Wayne.

And if anyone were to challenge Bruce or Dick on the subject, they could easily dismiss the argument precisely because it sounds so ridiculous: “Oh, come now,” they could reply. “Do you really think that if we were Batman and Robin, we would be so stupid as to advertise the fact by using Dick’s old costume?”

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