A name given to various youthful sprites in folklore, as in Robin Goodfellow or Robin in the Wood. The name is of unknown origin, some claim it derives from the name for masters of medieval witch covens, when they assumed a god form, who are said to have used the Moorish sorcerer title of the robin. The most famous folklore use is Robin Hood.

A super-hero published by DC Comics.

Think "sidekick" and you probably think Robin. The two words are practically synonyms in the world of super-heroes. Three people have held the title of Robin over the years, with a fourth occupying a place in a possible distant future.

The first and definitive Robin is Richard John Grayson, or simply Dick Grayson, who first appeared in Detective Comics #40. The character was created by Bob Kane, the creator of Batman to make Batman's adventures more accessible to his younger fans. The only child of John and Mary Grayson, Dick became an aerialist and acrobat at an early age, carrying on the family tradition as one of the Flying Graysons. Dick was born on the first day of spring and given the nickname of Robin by his parents for that reason. Travelling with the Haly Circus, the Graysons were one of the main attractions, until a fateful night in Gotham City. The owner of Haly Circus had refused to pay protection money to local crime lord "Boss" Zucco, who in turn, caused an accident in which the elder two Graysons died by falling from a broken high wire.

In the audience that night were two people who would late have an impact in Dick's life. Years later, Dick would find out that a young boy name Tim Drake was in the audience with his parents. Young Tim would later wear the mantle of Robin. Also, in the audience that night was the man that would eventually shape and mold nearly all of the rest of Dick's life: millionaire Bruce Wayne, a.k.a. the Batman. When young Dick learned that his parents were wrongly killed by criminals, Dick vowed to see them avenged. Batman saw in Dick a kindred spirit and took the boy in as his ward.

Over the next few years, Batman trained Dick in the ways of crimefighting. Batman created a costumed identity for his young ward and Robin, the Boy Wonder was born.

The Dynamic Duo fought crime for many years together. Dick became one of the founding members of the Teen Titans, a group made up of other young hero/sidekicks, including Speedy, Kid Flash, Aqualad, and Wonder Girl. Dick also became friends with Barbara Gordon, who had adopted the guise of Batgirl.

When Robin was shot during a confrontation with the Joker, Batman ordered Dick to quit his role as Robin and refused to work with him. Batman's reason was to protect Dick from further harm, but Dick misinterpreted his actions as that of anger. The two had a falling-out that would last for many years.

Dick drifted for a while going to college for a time and eventually, dropping out and returning to Gotham City. He became involved again with his team-mates from the Teen Titans when the group reformed to help the heroine Raven in her struggle against her father Trigon. For many years, Dick lead the Titans in as Robin, until he realized that he had outgrown this identity. He later adopted the codename and identity of Nightwing and has continued his fight against crime in this guise.

In recent years, Dick has reconciled with Batman and formed a lasting friendship and mentoring relationship with Tim Drake, the third person to wear the mantle of Robin. He has also recently become involved romantically with Barbara Gordon the former Batgirl.

The second person to use the name Robin was Jason Todd. Jason's time as Robin was a difficult one. Due to the Crisis, Jason has two separate origins. His pre-Crisis origin is similar to that of Dick Grayson. Part of a family that worked as circus aerilists, Jason's parents were killed by the villain Killer Croc. Batman brought Croc to justice and adopted Jason. Batman trained Jason as he had trained Dick before him and Jason became the new Robin.

When the Crisis on Infinite Earths came about, the writers of Batman sought to reinvent Jason Todd to fix the public perception that he was a wimp. After the crisis, Jason became a savvy, street-smart kid, whose first contact with Batman was when he stole the wheels off the Batmobile. He was living with the woman he believed to be his mother, who died soon after his first encounter with Batman. Batman again took him under his wing. Robin discovered that his father, Willis Todd, was a criminal who was killed by Harvey Dent, the villain known as Two-Face. Batman helped Jason bring his father's killer to justice.

Jason however took to the vigilante style of justice a little too well. He often crossed the line between justice and vengence When a brutal rapist was acquitted due to a technicality, Jason allowed the man to fall to his death. The suggestion was that Jason may have caused him to fall.

Eventually, Jason discovered that the woman he believed to be his mother was not and he went in search of his real mother. The woman turned out to be a doctor in Africa. Unfortunately, she was involved with Batman's arch-enemy, the Joker. Jason was betrayed by his mother to the Joker and severely beaten. The two were then trapped in a building which the Joker then blew up. Batman arrived to pull Jason's body from the wreckage of the building.

For many months, Batman was without a partner, but the lack of a balance to his darker nature was causing him to become more brutal and savage. Enter Tim Drake, the only son of Jack & Janet Drake. Jack was the owner of Drake Industries, one of Gotham's leading manufacturers. Tim had deduced over the years the identities of both Batman and Robin, and approached Dick Grayson, when Batman became more violent after Jason's passing. With the help of Grayson in his guise of Nightwing and Wayne's butler Alfred Pennyworth, Tim was able to convince Batman to train him as the new Robin.

Drake was given a new costume which had long pants and was designed to better protect him in battle. He fights with an expandable staff and uses a vehicle called the Redbird. He is the leader of a group of younger heroes known as Young Justice.

In the Frank Miller series, The Dark Knight Returns, in the future the mantle of Robin will be taken by a teenage girl by the name of Carrie Kelley. She will fight alongside the aging Batman, even saving his life in battle.

The role of Robin has been portrayed in both the movies and television. In television, the role was played by Burt Ward, who made famous a whole string of "Holy Whatevers." (My personal favorite was "Holy Molars, Batman!" after Robin was saved from certain death by catching a batarang in his teeth.) Later the role of Robin was played by Chris O'Donnell, who is the poster child for Peter O'Toole's line from My Favorite Year: "I'm not an actor - I'm a movie star!"

Robin is a creation by Swedish cartoonist Magnus Carlsson, and has appeared in five minute shorts on Swedish television since 1994.

This cartoon character is an innocent, soulful unemployed 21 year old living in a tough world how tough is Sweden ? with mean people who boss him around. He likes hip hop music, drinking and his trademark beanie, and together with his African-European pal Benji they get involved in all sorts of capers.

For those who do not watch Swedish television, you probably only know Robin from the video clip of Paranoid Android by Radiohead, where Robin gets beaten up in a bar before seeking seclusion at the top of a lamp-post being chopped down by an axe-wielding United Nations diplomat. Thom Yorke asked Magnus Carlsson to direct the video clip after becoming a fan of Robin, perhaps a character he can relate to.

Rob"in (?), n. [Properly a pet name for Robert, originally meaning, famebright; F., fron OHG. Roudperht; ruod (in comp.; akin to AS. hr glory, fame, Goth. hrpeigs victorius) + beraht bright. See Bright, Hob a clown.] Zool. (a)

A small European singing bird (Erythacus rubecula), having a reddish breast; -- called also robin redbreast, robinet, and ruddock.


An American singing bird (Merula migratoria), having the breast chestnut, or dull red. The upper parts are olive-gray, the head and tail blackish. Called also robin redbreast, and migratory thrush.


Any one of several species of Australian warblers of the genera Petroica, Melanadrays, and allied genera; as, the scarlet-breasted robin (Petroica mullticolor)


Any one of several Asiatic birds; as, the Indian robins. See Indian robin, below.

Beach robin Zool., the robin snipe, or knot. See Knot. -- Blue-throated robin. Zool. See Bluethroat. -- Canada robin Zool., the cedar bird. -- Golden robin Zool., the Baltimore oriole. -- Ground robin Zool., the chewink. -- Indian robin Zool., any one of several species of Asiatic saxoline birds of the genera Thamnobia and Pratincola. They are mostly black, usually with some white on the wings. -- Magrie robin Zool., an Asiatic singing bird (Corsycus saularis), having the back, head, neck, and breast black glossed with blue, the wings black, and the belly white. -- Ragged robin. Bot. See under Ragged. -- Robin accentor Zool., a small Asiatic singing bird (Accentor rubeculoides), somewhat resembling the European robin. -- Robin redbreast. Zool. (a) The European robin. (b) The American robin. (c) The American bluebird. -- Robin snipe. Zool. (a) The red-breasted snipe, or dowitcher. (b) The red-breasted sandpiper, or knot. -- Robin's plantain. Bot. See under Plantain. -- Sea robin. Zool. (a) Any one of several species of American gurnards of the genus Prionotus. They are excellent food fishes. Called also wingfish. The name is also applied to a European gurnard. (b) The red-breasted merganser, or sheldrake. [Local, U.S.] -- Water robin Zool., a redstart (Ruticulla fuliginosa), native of India.


© Webster 1913.

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