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  1. #1
    Mighty Member Timothy Hunter's Avatar
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    Default Should Batman's Rogues Begin Before or After Robin Debuts?

    I don't know if this was a concept introduced Post-Zero Hour or not, but after rereading the Long Halloween, it occurred to me that DC by the 90s had rectonned a great deal of Batman's rogues gallery such as the Mad Hatter, the Riddler, Poison Ivy, Calendar Man, and even Man Bat to have made their debut before Dick Grayson became Robin.

    If you even have a passing familiarity of Batman's publishing history, like me, your going think this is rather odd. While Robin first appeared in 1940, the Mad Hatter first appeared in 1948, Two Face in 1942, Man Bat in 1970, Penguin in 1941, Poison Ivy in 1966, Riddler in 1948, Scarcrow in 1941. The only member of Batman's main rogues gallery you could say existed before Robin is Hugo Strange.

    In my mind, the continuity of Post Crisis Batman should in large carry over from Earths One and Two with a few minor exceptions such as Jason Todd's revised origin. Am I the only one who is bugged by this?
    Last edited by Timothy Hunter; 09-23-2020 at 08:16 PM.

  2. #2
    Moderator Frontier's Avatar
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    I guess it depends on the story. I can't think of any reason specifically for why the Rogues Gallery should be tied to the Dynamic Duo era even if it was true during the Golden Age.

  3. #3
    Extraordinary Member Restingvoice's Avatar
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    After. There's no need to rush-dumping the rogues, sometimes all at once, when Batman's first year is already busy dealing with the mobs.

    At least, if Robin is Year Three, start doling them out a bit at Year Two with Mad Monk, Hugo Strange, Joker, Catwoman, and Two-Face, then on Year Three with Freeze, Hatter, Killer Moth, Scarecrow, Penguin, and four-five more the next year and so on

    Spread them out, give them time to settle then escalate
    Last edited by Restingvoice; 09-24-2020 at 12:22 PM.

  4. #4
    Ultimate Member SiegePerilous02's Avatar
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    I'd say after. Maybe have some like Joker and Catwoman start showing up before Robin, but most of them shouldn't.

  5. #5
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    To me Long Halloween never really worked as in continuity.

  6. #6
    Astonishing Member Badou's Avatar
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    I like most appearing after. I understand that certain aspects of when characters first appeared will never come back, like Robin coming before Alfred will never be touched on again, but basically every one of Batman's rogues appearing before Dick became Robin just never sat right with me. Most should come after because first encountering these crazy costumed villains was something that they experienced together and to me it is sad that isn't the case anymore.

    Of course Grayson/Robin is my favorite DC character so I am biased, but it just kind of sucks that with every reboot or big change in continuity it feels like Dick loses more of his history and influence. It gets frustrating. He either loses his history outright or pieces of it are given to the different Robins or other characters, but he never gets anything back in return. So it is this chipping away at his character that you can't really do anything about.

  7. #7
    Mighty Member WonderNight's Avatar
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    Also if dick starts out young than that's going to put most of them about 50.

  8. #8
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    Like Alfred being Bruce's butler from childhood, it's just one of those things I've learned to accept. It seems DC wants Batman to have a more personal and cerebral relationship with his major villains and if Robin was there for their first encounters it might detract from that somehow (not saying I agree with that necessarily).

    Interestingly, several early post-Crisis stories, such as Neil Gaiman's Poison Ivy origin and Penguin's Who's Who profile, had some of the rogues gallery post-Robin... it does seem to be the Zero Hour Year One annuals that started to change things. Though there was a 2005 Scarecrow Year One with Robin and he was also in Through the Looking Glass (a Mad Hatter first encounter originally slated for Batman Confidential).

    Quote Originally Posted by Aahz View Post
    To me Long Halloween never really worked as in continuity.
    It's always tempting to create a timeline that ignores Long Halloween and Dark Victory except DC clearly considers them canon. They were codified wholesale in Tony Daniel's Batman, referenced as early as Hush, and the 2008 Two-Face Year One revolves around them completely. There's tons of LotDK stories that take place on holidays and span implausible lengths of time, so TLH and DV ironically make those possible and impossible by having the Holiday and Hangman murders take up Batman's sole focus for years on end.

  9. #9
    A Wearied Madness Vakanai's Avatar
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    Some before, some after. Although I want the most iconic (Joker, Riddler, Penguin, Catwoman, Two Face), to be before. But definitely a good solid 6-12 can premier before him.

  10. #10
    Mighty Member John Venus's Avatar
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    A good 15 years ago I would have said before but now I think Untold Legends had a point with Bruce and Dick meeting all the original Rogues together. It adds more depth to their relationship.

  11. #11
    Extraordinary Member Restingvoice's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WonderNight View Post
    Also if dick starts out young than that's going to put most of them about 50.
    I don't have a complete list of course, but at the top of my head, the ones older than Bruce are Mr. Freeze, Arnold Wesker, Post Crisis Calendar Man, and Scarecrow.
    The ones with the same age/generation as Bruce's parents physically are Dr. Hurt, Mother, Ra's, and Maroni-Falcone family heads
    Black Mask, Hush, Penguin, and Two-Face are childhood friends/acquaintances in one media or another
    Bane and Wrath are in the same generation as Bruce
    All the women are younger
    I think Joker is still older but that's another one I can see they make the same age one day
    Riddler also can be whichever
    Clayface... depend on continuity... original Basil Karlo is an old actor, Rebirth Basil Karlo was young when he transformed
    Croc I think in New 52 they made him around the same age as Bruce

  12. #12
    Moderator Frontier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PurpleGlovez View Post
    Like Alfred being Bruce's butler from childhood, it's just one of those things I've learned to accept. It seems DC wants Batman to have a more personal and cerebral relationship with his major villains and if Robin was there for their first encounters it might detract from that somehow (not saying I agree with that necessarily).
    It seems like the DCAU subscribed to that philosophy since most of the major Rogues' debut episodes just featured them fighting Batman even though the show was set long after Dick had become Robin.

  13. #13
    Mighty Member Timothy Hunter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PurpleGlovez View Post
    Like Alfred being Bruce's butler from childhood, it's just one of those things I've learned to accept. It seems DC wants Batman to have a more personal and cerebral relationship with his major villains and if Robin was there for their first encounters it might detract from that somehow (not saying I agree with that necessarily).

    Interestingly, several early post-Crisis stories, such as Neil Gaiman's Poison Ivy origin and Penguin's Who's Who profile, had some of the rogues gallery post-Robin... it does seem to be the Zero Hour Year One annuals that started to change things. Though there was a 2005 Scarecrow Year One with Robin and he was also in Through the Looking Glass (a Mad Hatter first encounter originally slated for Batman Confidential).



    It's always tempting to create a timeline that ignores Long Halloween and Dark Victory except DC clearly considers them canon. They were codified wholesale in Tony Daniel's Batman, referenced as early as Hush, and the 2008 Two-Face Year One revolves around them completely. There's tons of LotDK stories that take place on holidays and span implausible lengths of time, so TLH and DV ironically make those possible and impossible by having the Holiday and Hangman murders take up Batman's sole focus for years on end.
    Quote Originally Posted by Aahz View Post
    To me Long Halloween never really worked as in continuity.
    I think retconning The Long Halloween and Dark Victory out of continuity would be simple enough. They only title set in the present day that is really rooted in those two storylines is Tony S Daniel's Life after Death, and that is an easy fix because you can say the Holiday Killings still occured, but they occured differently from how the Long Halloween depicted them. You can either retcon Harvey Dent becoming Two Face after Holiday, or you can retcon Dick Grayson as being Robin by the time the Holiday killings took place.

    I would prefer if the tales from the Golden and Silver Age were canonized as Batman's early days rather than the contemporary Legends of the Dark Knight-esque stories than contradict them.
    Last edited by Timothy Hunter; 09-25-2020 at 04:16 PM.

  14. #14

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    I like Two-Face and Joker happening before Robin. For Joker I think the dynamic works more interesting when there was a period of time where Joker had him 'all to himself before that third wheel boy blunder came along.' So Joker resents Dick/Robin for that, like a deluded stalker kind of jealousy.
    As for Two face, it's been shown that Dick not knowing Two-Face as Harvey gives him a different perspective. Maybe a less biased one than Bruce who'd want to believe that his friend can still be redeemed.
    Anyway, the arkham crazies are Bruce's enemies first and foremost, so i don't really see why his sidekick needs to debut before them, even if they were created afterwards.
    288638B9-EC3B-4A97-B414-E0F7F605595A.jpg

  15. #15
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    By this point, I think the idea of them coming before Robin has pretty much been cemented in canon and in the popular consciousness. Leaving aside the specific stories associated with those titles, 'Year 1' is Batman as a vigilante taking on the Mob and some of the early costumed villains, and 'Year 2' is the iconic Rogue's coming to power. That's how most people imagine Batman's early years now.

    I think it'd be neat if some of them can debut after Robin. Maybe the ones who historically debuted after the Golden Age - for instance, Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivy, Man-Bat etc.

    But at this point, I just can't imagine Robin as being around when Batman first encountered the Joker. And the way Batman and Catwoman's early relationship/antagonism is portrayed these days pretty much requires Robin to not be a thing yet.

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