Showcase Presents:
Robin The Boy Wonder

Robin Showcase coverShowcase & Essentials volumes take forever to read but there is some good stuff out there that makes it worth the time. Case in point, Showcase Presents: Robin The Boy Wonder.

I’ve always been a fan of Robin and sidekicks in general that there are some unique things collected in this volume.

The highlight, IMHO, is the run by Mike Friedrich. Writing Robin backups was one of his first assignments so there is some awkwardness at times but it is greatly overshadowed by three factors.

1) Friedrich was part of the generation of writers who are bringing the “Marvel sensibilities” to DC during the 60s. So he is the first to make a concerted effort to bring a supporting cast, guest stars and subplots to Robin’s life, fleshing him out as a character on his own and not just Batman’s sidekick.

2) immediately before Friedrich’s run, Robin is moved off to university more to make room for more sophisticated Batman stories elsewhere then for any real growth intended for Robin.
However, this is a time for “youth culture” developing and the general public still trying to figure out what exactly that is.
Friedrich, at the time of writing the series, was approximately the same age as Robin and attending university in California. He was in a perfect position to write about Robin’s interactions with youth issues (political and religious extremism, communes, racism, ageism, etc.) with an authority and POV that other writers didn’t have.

3) Friedrich had talent and he had energy and that really comes out these stories. They are a joy to read.

Artistically, this book includes giants like Gil Kane and Mike Grell and also some personal favourites like Bob Brown and Irv Novick.

Both my thumbs are up recommending this volume.

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