Ever since I was a little boy watching Batman: The Animated Series, I really liked Robin. As a kid, I naturally leaned more towards him more than Batman as he was my age, but growing up it got more than that. Growing up and reading the comics, I started to relate to him more and more. Batman was cool and all, yeah, but Robin was a lot cooler, and didn’t get as much love or attention as Batman.
I still remember the surprise I had when I learned that there were more than one Robin by talking to one of my older friends who explained it to me. I asked him which one was in the cartoon, he laughed and told me it was Tim Drake, then telling me the interesting fact that he was the only Robin with a solo series! So I was set to pick up and read as much Robin comics as I could! As I read more, reading about all the different Robins, their times as Robin and their times grown up as Nightwing, Red Hood, Red Robin and Batgirl, it was pretty obvious that Tim Drake was my favorite! He was the one I grew up with, but there was just something with him that clicked. Like me, he seemed to be pretty nerdy, he liked really good music, he was sarcastic at times which I thought was funny, we got to see him in school and really trying to juggle that double-life as a kid/teenager, then I hate to say it, but he was the first one to wear pants which I thought was cool and really set him aside from Dick and Jason. As an added little bonus in my teen years, Tim Drake (and Dick Grayson) helped me realize “Oh man! Some dudes can be hot too!” One of the biggest things that really set him apart and made him seem so cool was how he wasn’t an orphan, he actually asked and wanted to become Robin! His parents weren’t tragically killed in front of him (at first), he was just some kid, living with his parents, reading comics, listening to music and looking up to superheroes that wanted to become one! I could again really relate to that and really liked him for it. He saw Batman being so down and upset with Jason’s death, he saw that Batman wasn’t acting himself, and so he wanted to help him overcome it, help him be Batman again! I could also relate to that as I was constantly trying to help the people around me, help them get up if they had a bad day, help them overcome their traumas, help them become themselves again. One of the most mindblowing things about Tim was that found out the secret identities of Nightwing and Batman all by himself! That was so cool and amazing, and one of the biggest flexes ever just walking up to Nightwing, calling him out and just strolling into The Batcave like a boss. Even bigger of a flex that even after he was told no, that he couldn’t be Robin, he went out and decided to do it himself and become Robin without Batman’s help, guidance or permission.
One of the very first comics I ever actually read was from the amazing works of Geoff Johns! It was his work on Teen Titans, which was my favorite show growing up! I picked up the comic Titans Around The World! (Issues #38-41) I picked it up from my local library and I was glued to it for the whole day! From the moment I picked it up, I couldn’t set it down. All the characters were so cool! There was Tim Drake, Cassie Sandsmark, Rose Wilson, Bart Allen, Kid Devil, Miss Martian, Beast Boy and Raven! There were others too, but those were my favorites, the ones that really stood out. I got a couple of other comics that day at the library too, but they didn’t hold a candle to The Titans. I must’ve reread it two or three times that week. I’m not going to spoil anything in the comic just in case anybody wants to read it, but it’s one of the best.
As the years went on, there were some pretty bad things that happened to me, being bullied severely and even being assaulted, I picked up more comics as a way to escape from it, as well as talking to some of my close friends. The comics helped tremendously with the bullying part, helping me overcome some serious depression, but with the assault… There was some work that needed to be done at first.
I remember one of my closest friends saying that sort of stuff didn’t happen to men. They were pretty hard about that until I said I was a victim. Then, their whole attitude, and their view changed. Having a close friend actually believe in me helped a lot, but with other friends, what was on the TV and other things saying that didn’t happen to men… It made me feel horrible, like everyone was out to get me.
I later picked up Fabian Nicieza’s run on Red Robin. I noticed something very important about him… He suffered some pretty bad stuff too, including almost being assaulted too. It happened in the 24th-25th issue. My heart was racing and I was scared for him, remembering what happened to me, but seeing how he was saved from it by his friend and teammate Cassandra Cain, and seeing how he was able to move on from it really helped me get over my own trauma. More importantly, it showed me that men can go through that, and that they didn’t want it. Since I read that comic, it really cemented just how important Tim Drake was to me. He was smart, which I still strive to be, he could be funny at times (obviously nothing compared to his brother, Dick), which I always liked, he was into the same kind of music I was, I grew up with him, he was pretty tough, he was just so cool and among so many other things… He was a victim as well.
Having that light there in that world of darkness really helped me a lot. Like how Tim was that light in Batman’s darkness after Jason died. There were some some really cool moments too, like this one from Batman: Hush, but that’s one of the biggest things that’s really stuck with me, how he was able to overcome his issues, struggles and trauma. That’s what helped me, and that’s why he’s my favorite DC character.
Now I have a really cool girlfriend, and she’s a lot like a mix between Raven and Rose Wilson. Our relationship is a lot like Beast Boy and Raven’s, or even what I’d imagine a relationship between Rose Wilson and Tim Drake would be. She hadn’t read comics by the time we first met, so when we got together, that was the first thing I introduced her to, and she loves Tim Drake a lot too, especially because she wants to go into Cyber Security and looks up to Tim and Oracle for their computer skills.
DC Comics has helped me through a lot, especially the character of Tim Drake. Helped me through some serious bouts of depression and through one of the darkest times in my life. So, I gotta give thanks to DC, to Fabian Nicieza, to Marv Wolfman and George Pérez, and as silly as it sounds, to Tim Drake.