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  1. #1
    Amazing Member Micael's Avatar
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    Default Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson dynamic

    So we all know Dick Grayson's relationship with Bruce Wayne and how it has developed over the decades. I've read stories where they clearly have a father/son bond even though never clearly acknowledged by both and there other stories where they seem more like siblings with Bruce being the older more experienced one and both sharing Alfred as a father figure. Now how do you interpret their relationship and how much does the age gap between them factor into it?

    Does a younger Batman who's not that many years older than robin give you more of a big brother/little Brother vibe or do you believe age doesn't matter when it comes to someone looking up to another as a father figure? Do you think a bigger age gap is necessary to reinforce the father/son dynamic? I want to hear your opinions based on what you've read and how you interpret their relationship.

  2. #2
    Moderator Frontier's Avatar
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    I've legitimately never gotten the big brother/little brother vibe, at all.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frontier View Post
    I've legitimately never gotten the big brother/little brother vibe, at all.
    Yes he’s a 10-12 year old boy and Bruce after training and year on is 25
    Dick needed a parent

  4. #4
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    So, Bruce is typically in his mid-20's when he first meets Dick, who's usually around 10-12 years old (sometimes as young as eight, or so I've heard). The age gap between them is usually around 10-15 years at most. So I don't really think a father-son relationship makes sense in that context. And frankly, I don't think their relationship has traditionally been depicted as one. Bruce is either an older brother or a mentor figure, and the idea that he's a father to Dick is relatively new, but really not that common in the stories themselves across media.

    It makes more sense for Bruce and Tim to have a father-son relationship, since Bruce is actually old enough to be Tim's father (except in the New 52 of course). And of course, Bruce actually legally adopted Tim (though I don't know if that's still in continuity).
    Last edited by bat39; 06-20-2021 at 08:57 AM.

  5. #5
    ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦ Godlike13's Avatar
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    It’s both father/son and big brother/little brother. And more. It’s multifaceted. They wear many hats for the other.

  6. #6
    Amazing Member Micael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Godlike13 View Post
    It’s both father/son and big brother/little brother. And more. It’s multifaceted. They wear many hats for the other.
    This is how I view it too. Their relationship is very different from all the other robins. With them I see Bruce leaning heavily on the father figure dynamic.

  7. #7
    Moderator Frontier's Avatar
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    As long as the age dynamic is significant and Dick is still in his very early formative years I think it's pretty easy to fall into a father/son dynamic.

    I've just never seen them act like brothers. Like, when I think of brothers or a sibling dynamic I think Hawk and Dove, not Batman and Robin. A brother dynamic just feels really different from what we usually see with Bruce and Dick.

  8. #8
    Astonishing Member Tzigone's Avatar
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    So, Bruce is typically in his mid-20's when he first meets Dick, who's usually around 10-12 years old (sometimes as young as eight, or so I've heard). The age gap between them is usually around 10-15 years at most. So I don't really think a father-son relationship makes sense in that context. And frankly, I don't think their relationship has traditionally been depicted as one. Bruce is either an older brother or a mentor figure, and the idea that he's a father to Dick is relatively new, but really not that common in the stories themselves across media.

    It makes more sense for Bruce and Tim to have a father-son relationship, since Bruce is actually old enough to be Tim's father (except in the New 52 of course). And of course, Bruce actually legally adopted Tim (though I don't know if that's still in continuity).
    I'm the reverse. I think older material very much has a father/son dynamic with Bruce and Dick. In the 1940s, there's several times he says Dick is like a son to him. We'll see this continue over time. It comes up during original Teen Titans run, too, as I recall.

    Then the in the early 1970s, there was a big push to the "brother" dynamic. I think it's part of revamping Batman and the vibe they wanted from him in that era. I think of O'Neil and how Roy was pretty much jettisoned from Ollie's life, too. But by the mid-70s, at least, we were either seeing the father/son dynamic again or still had some lingering father/son from before. I think of the Batman Family issue where Bruce mentions having raised Dick and so forth (and how wonderfully healthy their dynamic was then). I think a bigger father/son push came in the 1980s with Wolfman - and some angst on why Bruce adopted Jason and not Dick. And then the matter was settled by the early '90s (and explicitly stated yet again).

    I always much liked that in the 1990s, Tim wasn't Bruce's child. He has his own father. His own family. A more separate life, and dynamic of competing authority figures that Dick, Jason, Roy, etc. didn't have. I similarly strongly like that Barry and Wally didn't have a father/son dynamic (though that was later retconned in) and how different the relationship was to the ones the other teen heroes had. And Wally and even Kara weren't really sidekicks like Roy and Dick and Garth - they mostly worked independently, and their mentor figures didn't have custody and they didn't even know their secret identities at first. I like the variety.

  9. #9
    Moderator Frontier's Avatar
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    I think the interesting with any Batman/Robin dynamic that's not Damian is how the Robins' relationship with their actual dad is contrasted with their relationship with Batman, although I don't think Dick compares Bruce to John Grayson that much.

  10. #10
    Ultimate Member SiegePerilous02's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Godlike13 View Post
    It’s both father/son and big brother/little brother. And more. It’s multifaceted. They wear many hats for the other.
    I think this is closer to the truth. Older siblings can double as parental figures.

    I lean more towards older brother/little brother though. BTAS was my gateway into the Bat-verse, and that had a 20 year old Dick and a Bruce that didn't come off as being much older than the 29-32 range (he had only been active for about 10 years or so, and he's either still in college or only recently graduated when he meets Andrea). And since the show was mostly based on the Bronze Age, the dynamic was similar to that in those comics. No early 30s person has a son old enough to be in college, so Dick looking to Bruce as only a father figure doesn't make much sense for them at all.

    We have emphasis on Dick being 10-12 as Robin (and thanks to Frank, I lean towards 12 lol), but did the Golden Age comics cement Bruce's age? Or, much like how media depicts high school students while being played by 20 somethings, was he fresh out of college and just being depicted as behaving/drawn as older than he was? Like a vague "he's in the adult stage of life" without a firm age number. Julie was even his college sweetheart, wasn't he? Bruce could be 21-22 when he first becomes Batman and Dick joins him fairly quickly, even before Alfred, so the age gap being around a decade seems to suit them the most. Most of the father-son stuff seems like post-Crisis retcons that established Bruce as being 25 when he becomes Batman and being active for a couple years before Robin showed up, which alters their dynamic to how it was originally.

  11. #11
    Astonishing Member Tzigone's Avatar
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    but did the Golden Age comics cement Bruce's age? Or, much like how media depicts high school students while being played by 20 somethings, was he fresh out of college and just being depicted as behaving/drawn as older than he was? Like a vague "he's in the adult stage of life" without a firm age number.
    Early on, they said his parents were murdered "15 years ago" - to me kid-Bruce looks at least 10, your mileage may vary (in Batman #1, I would say that young Bruce is as tall to Thomas as Dick is to adult Bruce - kids are way too short in comics). I do agree with 12ish year-old Dick Grayson becoming Robin, though. But Bruce was still his parent. He did all the things that parents do for children of that age. And I really do think retconning Alfred there before Dick (and having Bruce basically leave a lot of heavy lifting of raising Dick to Alfred, in some versions) reduced that relationship, though other things have done so as well.

    Most of the father-son stuff seems like post-Crisis retcons that established Bruce as being 25 when he becomes Batman and being active for a couple years before Robin showed up, which alters their dynamic to how it was originally.
    I don't agree at all, but there are arguments to be made both ways. Here is a post covering some of the times in pre-COIE when a father/son relationship was showcased. Not nearly all instances are covered here, though I'm sure there are brotherly instances, too, but this is definitely evidence that it was not some idea created whole cloth in the post-COIE era. To me, it was the default until the 1970s.

    I will admit, I am shaped by that I think the ideal relationship between a parent and adult child is one of equals. So when, as Dick grew up, they became friends and Dick became someone Bruce could confide in, etc., that does not switch the relationship from a parent/child dynamic to a sibling to me. Alas, that possibility is long gone and now Dick must forever be subordinate.
    Last edited by Tzigone; 06-20-2021 at 12:30 PM.

  12. #12
    Ultimate Member SiegePerilous02's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tzigone View Post
    Early on, they said his parents were murdered "15 years ago" - to me kid-Bruce looks at least 10, your mileage may vary (in Batman #1, I would say that young Bruce is as tall to Thomas as Dick is to adult Bruce - kids are way too short in comics). I do agree with 12ish year-old Dick Grayson becoming Robin, though. But Bruce was still his parent. He did all the things that parents do for children of that age. And I really do think retconning Alfred there before Dick (and having Bruce basically leave a lot of heavy lifting of raising Dick to Alfred, in some versions) reduced that relationship, though other things have done so as well.
    We do have the vague "15 years ago," but it being associated with a child Bruce that doesn't have his age nailed down, along with the general vagueness of writing the adult characters the same as soon as they are past college aged means Bruce could still be younger than he appears to be. Early 20-somethings were generally expected to be much further along into independent adulthood than they are now, so Bruce sitting and smoking his pipe alongside the much older Gordon may make him seem to be older than he is. Plus we have one of the editors around pre-COIE saying Bruce was only 29 to Dick's 19. There isn't a lot here to put much solid stock in.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tzigone View Post
    I don't agree at all, but there are arguments to be made both ways. Here is a post covering some of the times in pre-COIE when a father/son relationship was showcased. Not nearly all instances are covered here, though I'm sure there are brotherly instances, too, but this is definitely evidence that it was not some idea created whole cloth in the post-COIE era. To me, it was the default until the 1970s.

    I will admit, I am shaped by that I think the ideal relationship between a parent and adult child is one of equals. So when, as Dick grew up, they became friends and Dick became someone Bruce could confide in, etc., that does not switch the relationship from a parent/child dynamic to a sibling to me. Alas, that possibility is long gone and now Dick must forever be subordinate.
    I think even factoring in those scans, Godlike is still closer to the truth on this: it's a multifaceted relationship that doubles as both father/son and older sibling/younger sibling. Even that scan of them at Donna's wedding shows that Bruce didn't think of himself as strictly a father figure because he was young himself. Bruce is simply too young to have fathered a son Dick's age, so their relationship pretty much has to be a mix of the dynamics by default. We can't really rely on the oldest comics because the nuances of character age ranges were just not a factor in the writing back then. Bruce was just "square jawed adult hero" and that range could be anywhere between 18 and early 40s.

    It's similar to Golden Age Wonder Woman. She comes off in the origin as being in her late teens and leaving home for the first time, but acts an independent young woman as Diana Prince with who can hold down a job and afford her own apartment. To a modern audience reading that, Diana is going to come across as being mid-20s at the youngest when in reality she's probably younger.

  13. #13
    Moderator Frontier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SiegePerilous02 View Post
    I think this is closer to the truth. Older siblings can double as parental figures.

    I lean more towards older brother/little brother though. BTAS was my gateway into the Bat-verse, and that had a 20 year old Dick and a Bruce that didn't come off as being much older than the 29-32 range (he had only been active for about 10 years or so, and he's either still in college or only recently graduated when he meets Andrea). And since the show was mostly based on the Bronze Age, the dynamic was similar to that in those comics. No early 30s person has a son old enough to be in college, so Dick looking to Bruce as only a father figure doesn't make much sense for them at all.

    We have emphasis on Dick being 10-12 as Robin (and thanks to Frank, I lean towards 12 lol), but did the Golden Age comics cement Bruce's age? Or, much like how media depicts high school students while being played by 20 somethings, was he fresh out of college and just being depicted as behaving/drawn as older than he was? Like a vague "he's in the adult stage of life" without a firm age number. Julie was even his college sweetheart, wasn't he? Bruce could be 21-22 when he first becomes Batman and Dick joins him fairly quickly, even before Alfred, so the age gap being around a decade seems to suit them the most. Most of the father-son stuff seems like post-Crisis retcons that established Bruce as being 25 when he becomes Batman and being active for a couple years before Robin showed up, which alters their dynamic to how it was originally.
    Yeah, but I feel like to really have that effect the sibling has to effectively be part of the other siblings life to be acknowledged as a brother before becoming a parental figure for the effect to actually be there. At least in my opinion. So it's just not really a factor in Bruce and Dick's relationship from my perspective.

    Of course I also got a lot of father/son vibes from Robin's Reckoning. I think in B:TAS Bruce had been active for about 15 years. I know somebody came up with an estimated DCAU timeline.

    Comics-wise it depends what continuity you're looking at.
    Quote Originally Posted by Tzigone View Post
    I will admit, I am shaped by that I think the ideal relationship between a parent and adult child is one of equals. So when, as Dick grew up, they became friends and Dick became someone Bruce could confide in, etc., that does not switch the relationship from a parent/child dynamic to a sibling to me. Alas, that possibility is long gone and now Dick must forever be subordinate.
    I mean, Dick and Bruce's relationship is much different as adults compared to how they were Batman and Robin no matter how you shake it, in my opinion.

  14. #14
    Extraordinary Member Restingvoice's Avatar
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    All of them, though specific portrayal comes out in specific moment

    Like for example, in crime fighting excepting when he was still new they're more like partners.

    Casually, when they're hanging out, even with the age difference they're more like chums. This is where Bruce becomes more like cool uncle and they whisper to each others like brothers. Mainly in the Silver Age

    Then when Dick prefers crime fighting to school or when he went to college or when he protested his relationship with Talia or when he decided to be a cop or whenever Dick's in mortal danger no matter how old, Bruce went into dad mode. Also counting the many times he bought something for him, like bike, a plane, a building...

    The closest brotherly relation as adults would be in New 52 where they only had 10 years of age difference, especially when Snyder and Tim/Tom write Bruce young but keeps Dick's old personality making them feel even closer in age.

  15. #15
    Ultimate Member SiegePerilous02's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frontier View Post
    Yeah, but I feel like to really have that effect the sibling has to effectively be part of the other siblings life to be acknowledged as a brother before becoming a parental figure for the effect to actually be there. At least in my opinion. So it's just not really a factor in Bruce and Dick's relationship from my perspective.
    I don't think there's a hard rule in place for this. It's definitely a YMMV situation depending on the fan perspective.

    Dick's parents are freshly dead when Bruce takes him in. If I was 12 years old and some dude in his early 20s took over caring for me when I was orphaned, I don't think "father" is how I would view him since he'd be way younger than my actual parents (my parents had me in their late 30s though, so maybe it's just me). Just as a general older mentor figure, which can encompass both a big sibling/pseudo-parental role. It's more complicated than just viewing him as a father or not, by its very nature it needs to be viewed as all of the above.

    Quote Originally Posted by Frontier View Post
    Of course I also got a lot of father/son vibes from Robin's Reckoning. I think in B:TAS Bruce had been active for about 15 years. I know somebody came up with an estimated DCAU timeline.
    But even that is just a fan estimate, right? Not official canon?

    Because in the first part of Robin's Reckoning, the flashbacks use the same character model for Bruce as he would have in the MOTP flashbacks. In which Andrea says she'd seen him "on campus," implying they were still in college or only recently graduated, and Dick being orphaned typically doesn't happen much later than when Bruce first starts. And I think that holds true for DCAU, since it's not like Batman is presented as having accumulated much adventures at that point. He doesn't even meet the majority of his rogues gallery in that canon until long after Robin had been established
    Last edited by SiegePerilous02; 06-20-2021 at 03:32 PM.

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