[face of a franchise presents two individuals that’ve fulfilled the same role. your task — choose the better of the two and defend your choice in the rancor pit that is the comments section]
For nearly seventy-two years, Robin has assisted Batman in reclaiming the streets of Gotham from the clutches of the criminal element. Along the way, Robin has served as the perfect complement, adding a sugar cube of idealism to the coffee cup of justice-via-vengeance that is Batman. Robin is firmly embedded into the fabric of comics, embodying for most what it means to be a supporting character.
There’s no denyin’ that Robin is the most celebrated superhero sidekick of all time.
However, what is up for debate is who to credit with the best performance as Robin. Let’s take a look at the two combatants!
From 1966 to 1968, the Caped Crusader protected the airwaves with his iconic ABC series. While most comics fans can probably pick Adam West out of a crowd, they may be hard pressed to identify Burt Ward, the man responsible for the televisional depiction of Robin. In reality, Ward is largely responsible for solidifying our modern conception of Robin as a figure of wonderful idiosyncrasy. Without Burt Ward, we might not think of Robin as dude who wears green underwear in public, proudly refers to himself as the Boy Wonder, and constantly yells out, “Holy [insert campy reference here], Batman!”
The other praise-worthy portrayal of Dick Grayson was crafted by Chris O’Donnell. Director Joel Schumacher was so enamored of O’Donnell that he cast him in both of his neon-powered, head-scratching Batman flicks. With two films’ worth of canvas, O’Donnell paints Robin as less of a whimsical teen acrobat and more of a callused twenty-something carny. Additionally, Chris O’Donnell was so courageous in his performance that he donned the first Robin suit to feature nipples. Yowzah!
But who is Robin – Burt Ward or Chris O’Donnell?