Interview: Scott Lobdell on Superboy, Jason Todd and Tim Drake Not Being 'Robin'

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Posted by G-Man (29470 posts) - - Show Bio

Last week we looked at Scott Lobdell's thoughts on taking over SUPERMAN. We all have high hopes and Lobdell sounds like he's up to challenge of making us Superman fans happy. There clearly is more about Superman we'd love to know but we also wanted to touch on some of the other characters he's working on, including that one comment he made about Tim Drake.

Click HERE for Part 1.

TEEN TITANS #13

Comic Vine: Now that you're no longer writing SUPERBOY, is he still going to play a role in TEEN TITANS?

Scott Lobdell: Front and center! Though... at this moment it looks like he's going to be very busy over in SUPERMAN while the Teen Titans are in Gotham during the "Death of the Family" storyline... but that is still up in the air at this moment! (He is, after all, nearly only human!)

CV: If so, will you be coordinating with the new series writer, Tom DeFalco?

SL: "Coordinating" is much too formal. Tom and I speak nearly every day about lots and lots of things -- Superboy being one of them. So we're pretty much on the same page when it comes to the Boy of Steel.

RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS #13, cover by Rocafort

CV: Your scripts and Kenneth Rocafort's art created a great vibe in RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS. Is that same feeling going to exist with a new artist? Do you normally approach the scripts differently by writing scenes specific to an artist's strengths?

SL: I most always write PLOT first and then SCRIPT. If you ask someone as esteemed as Gail Simone or John Layman, they will tell you they'd rather rub poison ivy leaves against the eyeballs then to write a story that way.

I love it, however, because it leaves the artist with more freedom and more opportunity to impact on the story. (My feeling is a writer has to spend about two or three days a month writing a script... and then the artist has to wake up every day for a month and sit down and draw it. I personally feel the best way to engage the artist -- to get the best from them -- is by looking to them to imagine the story through more of their eyes than my own. I'm not an artist, I am a writer. To that end, I want the artists do be able to art and I'll work with the art that I get back.

Now, sometimes it can be a frustrating process... but, you know, so is working out at the gym or jogging, but the results are almost always worth it. Sometimes I've set up a bit ("He is 'wounded' by her remark -- and mocks getting hit in the chest with and arrow.") and get something else entirely (A close-up of the character smiling)... but, this is just one of the reasons why I write comic books and not novels.

Regarding strengths and weaknesses, no -- I just assume everyone can draw everything and do it awesomely if presented with the opportunity. Sometimes, when I used to break in artists, I would look at samples and see that artists who were writing from their own scripts would tend to only write what they could draw. "I'm not good with space stuff so I drew a scene in a bank!" Eventually though, the more an artist is forced out of his comfort zone the more he realizes he can do anything! I think.

CV: Anything to say about Jason versus Joker in the upcoming "Death of the Family" arc?

SL: Brrr.

BATMAN AND ROBIN #10

CV: Here's the big one, what were you talking about when you said Tim Drake was never a "Robin" but went straight to being "RED Robin"? TEEN TITANS #1 showed him in the Robin costume, BATMAN #1 mentions he was a former Robin and BATMAN AND ROBIN #10 groups him as a former "Robin" when Damian declares to defeat all of them. This seems to have irritated a few people.

SL: Those are a lot of sort of mini-questions!

What I was thinking in San Diego was "I hate when fans come to panels at conventions and don't learn anything new -- anything they can't read in the solicits! These kids are here on a Sunday morning -- I'm going to spoil, spoil and spoil again! I'm going to tell them stuff they can only learn here -- right now -- at this panel! They've earned it!"

As my friend OUTSIDE_85 has said on more than one ocassion, panels should give us new information.

Now, what I was thinking when I wrote the story was... with the new Five Year Guideline at DC, I felt that Tim would be a more unique character if he hadn't been "another Robin in a line of Robins." When I was first starting out in comics, years ago, there was an unwritten rule that you shouldn't duplicate a character if you could avoid it.

I felt with the New 52 I was given the opportunity to set Tim apart from Robin One, Robin Two, and the latest Robin.

I realize as I write this that heads are exploding across the Internet.... but I believe that as people read the story they will see that most of Tim's origin is in place -- but tweaked and trimmed to accommodate the demands of the new continuity. He still essentially deciphers Bruce's secret identity (though, this is Bruce we are talking about here) -- he is still Batman's sidekick (though, maybe more of a partner) for a year or so between Jason and Damian. He just opts to not call himself Robin for reasons we see in the story.

To that end, I think Tim Drake fans can rest comfortably that most of the stories they've read remain canon -- even if they have to adjust their thinking to the way they remember those stories playing out.

Again, I know that makes some people see red -- but people need to keep in mind that I was hired to write stories for the New 52, not to just transcribe stories from the past and add an iPhone or a pop culture reference in the dialogue. I am confident that most people will enjoy the origin if they read it with an open mind.

TEEN TITANS #1

Re: TEEN TITANS 1

He is wearing a red costume with an "R" on his chest.

He says he was better known as Robin. Not that he was a Robin, just that he was better known as Robin because it was easier for people to assume he was a Robin.

Re: BATMAN 1

That was a new facial recognition scanner Batman was trying out. I am confident Bruce worked out the kinks as time went on.

Re: BATMAN AND ROBIN #10

If Guy Gardner decided he was going to "Defeat all the Lanterns!" and he went around and beat up Hal, Saint Walker and Atrocitus, I think few people would feel the need to designate between Red Lanterns and Blue Lanterns. Similarly, I think it is okay for Damian to refer to anyone with a "Robin" in their name as a Robin.

Again, there are going to be some people who hate any change at all to Tim's history... and there are going to be people who are more open to a Tim Drake for 2012 moving forward.

Tony Guerrero is the Editor-in-Chief of Comic Vine. You can follow him on Twitter @GManFromHeck. He's still not sure about the Tim Drake decision but is going to give Scott a chance to tell this story.

Staff
#1 Edited by Mediumflyer7 (296 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm not too sure about this Red Robin idea. I'm really not sure. I guess I'll just have to read the book and then make up my mind.

#2 Posted by LifePool (135 posts) - - Show Bio

What's the point of saying Tim Drake was never a Robin? =.=

#3 Posted by cyberchop979 (449 posts) - - Show Bio

Personally, Tim Drake will always have had a history as a Robin. That's all that matters.

#4 Posted by Outside_85 (7161 posts) - - Show Bio

W00t :)

I'm not really buying the straight to Red Robin thing either, but I am trying to reserve judgment till I can read it. For now however it just seems like an unnecessary change, there is a point behind they all stuck with the Robin name, anonymity is one ofc and the other is playing to the urban myth that you cant kill them (fear factor).

#5 Posted by SupBatz (1490 posts) - - Show Bio

@Outside_85 said:

I'm not really buying the straight to Red Robin thing either, but I am trying to reserve judgment till I can read it. For now however it just seems like an unnecessary change, there is a point behind they all stuck with the Robin name, anonymity is one ofc and the other is playing to the urban myth that you cant kill them (fear factor).

#6 Posted by Falconer (141 posts) - - Show Bio

To that end, I think Tim Drake fans can rest comfortably that most of the stories they've read remain canon -- even if they have to adjust their thinking to the way they remember those stories playing out.

Aaaand this is why people complain about the reboot. Nothing actually had thought put into it.

I haven't been reading long, but I think it's total horse crap he's pretty much saying "you have to remember your favorite stories differently now, why? because I said so." If nothing has changed that much, why say Tim wasn't a Robin in the first place? Lobdell is being different solely for the sake of being different.

(That, or he's trying to apply logic to something a higher up at DC told him to do. "Oh shit, this five year thing doesn't make sense for Batman... okay, Tim was never a Robin, DONE. *cue conspiracy theories*)

I will continue reading new, good stories in DC, but this makes no damn sense.

#7 Posted by feargalr (1125 posts) - - Show Bio

Finally this went up! I was waiting to hear about this Red Robin thing. I kinda like what Lobdell says here. It sets Tim apart, while letting him still be a Robin. I do see Tim as being quite different to the other Robins, so as long as the origin is told well I think it's fine. Maybe it's just me but I just don't see it as that big of a deal, it's such a small thing.

Plus... I doubt Bruce would just slap a Robin costume on another kid, and call him Robin while Jason was still bleeding out in the trunk of the Bat mobile.

#8 Posted by Jodez (150 posts) - - Show Bio

Total b.s

#9 Edited by UltimateSMfan (1171 posts) - - Show Bio

damn,i think dc screwed up a lil (alot) with this one,i mean batman could have been around for more than five yrs as an urban legend or sumthing, maybe eight. i dont get how tim became 'red' robin and learned how to fight like the goddamn batman in one year, n then suddenly damian comes along if this is right,dick was twelve when bruce recruited him accordin to old continuity dnt know abt now, so hes 16??? that makes jason what, 14?15? and tim 13? and damians fine at 10 considerin his time in a test tube. but srsly WTF?!!

#10 Posted by sj_esposito (457 posts) - - Show Bio

This is just ridiculous. Stripping Tim of being Robin strips the character of so many essential traits.

And while we're here, I'm going to make this plea again: if you don't like the direction that Lobdell is taking Tim or the Titans--or any writer is taking any character--DO NOT BUY THE BOOK. Just don't buy it. Show DC that Lobdell's stories are not what fans want with sales. That's the only way to encourage change.

#11 Posted by edge0076 (56 posts) - - Show Bio

@Falconer said:

To that end, I think Tim Drake fans can rest comfortably that most of the stories they've read remain canon -- even if they have to adjust their thinking to the way they remember those stories playing out.

Aaaand this is why people complain about the reboot. Nothing actually had thought put into it.

I haven't been reading long, but I think it's total horse crap he's pretty much saying "you have to remember your favorite stories differently now, why? because I said so." If nothing has changed that much, why say Tim wasn't a Robin in the first place? Lobdell is being different solely for the sake of being different.

(That, or he's trying to apply logic to something a higher up at DC told him to do. "Oh shit, this five year thing doesn't make sense for Batman... okay, Tim was never a Robin, DONE. *cue conspiracy theories*)

I will continue reading new, good stories in DC, but this makes no damn sense.

This pretty much echoes my thoughts exactly.

#12 Posted by BushidoBlack (116 posts) - - Show Bio

Wack explanation.

#13 Posted by saoakden (968 posts) - - Show Bio

I still think Tim was Robin at one point even in the new 52. The picture is proof enough as seen in Teen Titans. He is in a Robin costume. I think that's how his costume looked after Superboy died after one of the crisis events. Plus Scott Lobdell is writing Teen Titans so I say that Tim as Robin is still canon! But then again, Tim's favorite color might be red.

#14 Edited by BatWatch (2332 posts) - - Show Bio

I understand that Lobdell is hired to write new stories, but if it isn't broken, don't fix it. I would like to know why he gave the Robin with the shortest tenure, Jason, the longest tenure in the DCNU.

Also, does the solicit for Outlaws thirteen strike anybody else as...pornographic, or is my mind just in the gutter?

#15 Posted by sethysquare (3843 posts) - - Show Bio

Who cares its just a name. Besides, Red Robin is still Robin.

#16 Posted by LifePool (135 posts) - - Show Bio

@UltimateSMfan said:

damn,i think dc screwed up a lil (alot) with this one,i mean batman could have been around for more than five yrs as an urban legend or sumthing, maybe eight. i dont get how tim became 'red' robin and learned how to fight like the goddamn batman in one year, n then suddenly damian comes along if this is write,dick was twelve when bruce recruited him accordin to old continuity dnt know abt now, so hes 16??? that makes jason what, 14?15? and tim 13? and damians fine at 10 considerin his time in a test tube. but srsly WTF?!!

Dick and Jason are adults, Tim is late teens and yeah Damians 10.

#17 Posted by circusrock (29 posts) - - Show Bio

looking forward to seeing Jason vs. Joker, but sucks it won't be illustrated by Rocafort. :'(

#18 Posted by Fantasgasmic (1065 posts) - - Show Bio

That's not the sound of heads exploding, it's the sound of people putting their wallets away. If you want to alter Tim's Robin continuity, I think it would be better to say that Bruce had previously tried to make sure people couldn't tell when there was a new Robin (Dick and Jason had worn the same costume, go with the old "Jason dyed his red hair black" thing) to ensure that "Batman and Robin can never die" kinda mindset in criminals. To that end, when Tim debuted wearing his all red costume, TIM thought of himself as "Robin" but other people (heroes, villains, the media, whatever) referred to him as "the new, RED Robin" and that THAT is the origin of the name. Because otherwise it's a kinda stupid, non-threatening name, and there's already a precedence of heroes with the name Robin.

#19 Posted by TheMess1428 (2176 posts) - - Show Bio

Those are the lamest excuses ever.

#20 Edited by ampm1789 (14 posts) - - Show Bio

Lodbell has def become the most polemical writer at DC and I luv it! Whether anyone is open to the New 52 changes or not, he should've earned a gold medal in continuity gymnastics during the Summer Olympics this year. LOL

#21 Posted by Mucklefluga (2440 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm not listening i'm not listening LALALALALALALALALALALALA Tim was always a ROBIN to begin with LALALALALALALALALA

#22 Posted by Mandrewgora (282 posts) - - Show Bio

His excuse for Batman 1 made me LOL.

#23 Posted by fodigg (6094 posts) - - Show Bio
#24 Posted by Jonny_Anonymous (27643 posts) - - Show Bio
@sethysquare said:

Who cares its just a name. Besides, Red Robin is still Robin.

#25 Posted by Top Flight Security (142 posts) - - Show Bio

I'll read it first and complain later. We shall see what we shall see.

#26 Posted by TheMess1428 (2176 posts) - - Show Bio

Check out this video where I talk about this whole thing!

#27 Posted by edge0076 (56 posts) - - Show Bio

As much as I'm loving Red Hood & the Outlaws (and I do), to me it sounds like he's towing the company line, especially in terms of the Bat books that've already made mention (as recently as a couple months ago) that Tim was a Robin. Really? The facial recognition scanner wasn't yet calibrated? If this was true, I would think Snyder would've made some sort of plot point of it in a later issue. As for Damien, the kid likes to make as many digs at Tim's expense as possible. For someone to say that he wouldn't make one out of Tim never being a "real" Robin either doesn't know the character or retconning as hard as he possibly can.

#28 Posted by The Stegman (20853 posts) - - Show Bio

His reasons for why Tim was never Robin is complete B.S if you ask me it's like he's rebooting continuity that was just rebooted.

#29 Posted by NlGHTCRAWLER (2887 posts) - - Show Bio

It was just the name of Robin that he stripped, and he even went to go on to say that most people called him Robin instead of Red Robin.

#30 Posted by UltimateSMfan (1171 posts) - - Show Bio

@LifePool said:

@UltimateSMfan said:

damn,i think dc screwed up a lil (alot) with this one,i mean batman could have been around for more than five yrs as an urban legend or sumthing, maybe eight. i dont get how tim became 'red' robin and learned how to fight like the goddamn batman in one year, n then suddenly damian comes along if this is write,dick was twelve when bruce recruited him accordin to old continuity dnt know abt now, so hes 16??? that makes jason what, 14?15? and tim 13? and damians fine at 10 considerin his time in a test tube. but srsly WTF?!!

Dick and Jason are adults, Tim is late teens and yeah Damians 10.

i kno that, but that still doesn't explain how they're so old after only 5 yrs.

#31 Posted by ThanosIsMad (2169 posts) - - Show Bio

The only thing that really annoys me is that he was Robin for a year. So, I'm just going to ignore that.

#32 Posted by edge0076 (56 posts) - - Show Bio

@ThanosIsMad said:

The only thing that really annoys me is that he was Robin for a year. So, I'm just going to ignore that.

As much as I'm enjoying a lot of the New 52, I've been doing a lot of ignoring of stuff since it started.

#33 Posted by Onemoreposter (3572 posts) - - Show Bio

Whatever this guy does, I hope it gets retconned. To put it nicely, I think his mental facilities are lacking.

#34 Posted by yupfrank (22 posts) - - Show Bio

Sometimes I think Lobdell says things without consulting the editors at DC. Then tries to back it up but DC is in the background being like "haha well that was nice of you to try to do something without us but uh....you are wrong" and then He still tries to back it up and all of us on the internet read this article and say "what!? why?!" and it seems like we might never know the answer to either of those questions

#35 Posted by DarkBird (167 posts) - - Show Bio

I like it

and truth be told he was the only one to wear a full body red, robin suit

#36 Posted by TheMess1428 (2176 posts) - - Show Bio

@UltimateSMfan said:

damn,i think dc screwed up a lil (alot) with this one,i mean batman could have been around for more than five yrs as an urban legend or sumthing, maybe eight. i dont get how tim became 'red' robin and learned how to fight like the goddamn batman in one year, n then suddenly damian comes along if this is right,dick was twelve when bruce recruited him accordin to old continuity dnt know abt now, so hes 16??? that makes jason what, 14?15? and tim 13? and damians fine at 10 considerin his time in a test tube. but srsly WTF?!!

Btw, Batman was around before the 5 years gap. It was 5 years since the creation of the Justice League and Cyborg's origin. You didn't think that Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, the Flash, and Aquaman, never had solo stories before that, did you? Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, and the Flash were relatively new heroes within the 6 months between Superman's first appearance and the origin of the Justice League. Aquaman had been doing what he's been doing for years as the king of Atlantis. Batman was an urban legend for quite a while before the Justice League made it be known that he was real. So Dick was probably 16 at that point and 21 today. Kyle Higgins already stated that he is 21 today.

#37 Posted by UltimateSMfan (1171 posts) - - Show Bio

@TheMess1428: thnk god!! im still ignorant to the fact that tim was only bruce's sidekick for one yr though. but hey they kicked my favourite flash into limbo i guess they can screw with my favourite robin's history too..... :(

#38 Posted by Dedpool (254 posts) - - Show Bio

Welll there you go! That actually wasn't a bad answer considering how often DC rectons stuff, his answer actually does make sense. Especially if you throw in a "WHy do you think I changed my costume so drastically when i got back in the game?" line as he didn't want people to think he was Robin as he never really was, he was Red Robin (but people just called him Robin)

#39 Posted by TheMess1428 (2176 posts) - - Show Bio

@UltimateSMfan: Yeah well you have to think about how long Dick and Jason were Robin. And the fact that Bruce had to "die" somewhere in there too.

#40 Posted by Wowlock (175 posts) - - Show Bio

All I can hear about Tim Drake is '' I wanted to change him but it was too risky so I decide to 'decieve' people into thinking he WAS a legit Robin but actually he is not... and I used Robin costumes and everything ! ''....

He talks about as if being a Robin is an employment.... It is not as simple as that. Robin, just like Batman, a symbol. He is the helper and supporter of Batman, a close companion. And I hate to say it but lately when stories made Robins to be a Bat-Factory product, to be spawned over the years when the old one decides to go on his own or dies ( and come back )

And they never recognize is that if There will ALWAYS be a Batman...then there will ALWAYS be a Robin.

So this whole '' Oh he is RED Robin but he is not really Robin ! '' ....why ? What is the difference ? Is he not Bruce's ward anymore ? Is he not in ''bat-family'' ? Didn't he don the costume and the Emblem ? Why would he need to ''decieve'' people into thinking he is Robin but he was actually only the 'Red Robin ' ?

Do you see where I am going with this ? Too many needles and pointless questions just to make Tim Drake , what , different from other Robins ? He ALREADY IS different. Hell, when he talk about this and want a unique Tim Drake...all I could think was '' huh... So Tim Drake is the Dick Grayson after he became Nightwing ? '' since all the points he says are giving me that outlook.

Personally, he tries so hard to change a dynamic that does not need changing.... He thinks the line of Robins are too ''static'' and methotical but can you say those who were a part of the Bat-family but always had blurry connections were better then that line ? Can you say '' So he is not Robin but Red Robin ! '' is a satisfactory answer to those who read it for the first time ? If I didn't know anybetter, he wanted to combine aspect of Dick's later independance and Jason's edgy attitude after being Red Hood ( Ah see where the Red comes from ? /sarcasm )

This may sound like a rant but I just can't stand here and being told that '' Move with the changes man ! '' if it does not make much sense and won't really add much to the character...only makes his past 'needlessly' more complicated , I say '' Why do it ? '' Just because it is a 'Change' ? Sometimes you need to have stability if you want your change to stand on something...and not buckle the foundation of it.

#41 Posted by LifePool (135 posts) - - Show Bio

@UltimateSMfan: Time passes in comics differently.

#42 Posted by UltimateSMfan (1171 posts) - - Show Bio

@LifePool: yeah, confusingly lol.

#43 Posted by InnerVenom123 (29332 posts) - - Show Bio

"I don't want to make a duplicate character as Robin! So I'll just add "Red" in front of his name."

Logic.

#44 Posted by InnerVenom123 (29332 posts) - - Show Bio

@Mandrewgora said:

His excuse for Batman 1 made me LOL.

Oh, and this.

#45 Posted by MrShway88 (653 posts) - - Show Bio

So Tim became Batman's sidekick by figuring out who he is just like pre-52 but he's not Robin.

Tim was Batman's sidekick after Jason and before Damian just like pre-52 but he wasn't a Robin.

Tim is/was causally called Robin by allies just like pre-52 but he never was a Robin.

Seems like the only change to the character will be that Tim was never a Robin while remaining everything about him the same as pre-52. What's the point at not making him a Robin then? Just so he will stand out? Sounds like he's standing out for the worse and not better. I'm sure people would view Tim as not living up to any of the Robins by never taking the mantel. People will always debate on who is the better Robin and now Tim will be taken out of that debate.

#46 Posted by doordoor123 (3721 posts) - - Show Bio

Here's why it's okay with me; aLl of the other titans have distinguished themselves as different from their counterparts. Doing this to Tim makes him more distinguishable rather than just another Robin. Instead of saying he was the third Robin, he was Tim Drake. With that, he doesn't always need to be tied down to Batman stuff.

#47 Posted by edge0076 (56 posts) - - Show Bio

@MrShway88 said:

So Tim became Batman's sidekick by figuring out who he is just like pre-52 but he's not Robin.

Tim was Batman's sidekick after Jason and before Damian just like pre-52 but he wasn't a Robin.

Tim is/was causally called Robin by allies just like pre-52 but he never was a Robin.

Seems like the only change to the character will be that Tim was never a Robin while remaining everything about him the same as pre-52. What's the point at not making him a Robin then? Just so he will stand out? Sounds like he's standing out for the worse and not better. I'm sure people would view Tim as not living up to any of the Robins by never taking the mantel. People will always debate on who is the better Robin and now Tim will be taken out of that debate.

Bingo, although to me he will always be the only Robin to have gotten his own ongoing series. No amount of retcons can retcon that.

#48 Posted by hunter5024 (128 posts) - - Show Bio

I seriously don't understand this whole Red Robin kerfuffle. He was still Robin, it's the same thing. People are getting worked up over semantics.

#49 Posted by X35 (5974 posts) - - Show Bio

He's just jealous coz Tim Drake is a better Robin that Scott Lobdell will ever be.

#50 Posted by ALittleTooRaph (82 posts) - - Show Bio

I've been a fan of both Scott Lobdell and Tim Drake since I was a kid in the 90s. I have not enjoyed Tim Drake's role in the New 52 all that much so far. I've not been pleased with his absence from the Bat-books. Now, him not ever being Robin is the icing on the cake. Tim Drake has always been my favorite DC character, and his legacy as Robin has always been important to me and the character. I'm very disappointed, but will still try to have an open mind moving forward.

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