The inclusion of Robin in Teen Titans and Young Justice, a safety net?

Discussion in 'The DC Animation Forum' started by CyberCubed, Mar 12, 2014.

  1. CyberCubed

    CyberCubed Active Member

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    How many people back in 2003 honestly knew who the Teen Titans were or that it was a comic? I sure didn't, and I imagine most people didn't either. I remember seeing the original adverts on CN and they always emphasized Robin the most...and I realize its because he was the only familiar character to the general public.

    Now I know Dick Grayson is a founding member of the Titans in the comics, but the cartoons always change things up (heck he was Nightwing when he was with the Titans in the comics, not Robin), so it makes you wonder...would the original TT have been a success without Robin? If say Speedy was the leader and Robin wasn't in the show, and it was 5 unfamiliar characters to the general public, would it have worked?

    I believe this is the same reason Robin was even in Young Justice. At the time most people were unfamiliar with Superboy, Miss Martian, we had a new Aqualad, a new character in Artemis, and Kid Flash was only recognizable because he was Wally. But Robin being there was like one familiar character around.

    Do they purposely include Robin in these shows simply because the network believes that he was the reason that initially drew people into them? I'm curious if the original Teen Titans would have ever worked if Robin was not with them.
     
  2. RoryWilliams

    RoryWilliams Active Member

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    Doubtful. A version of Robin was present in both of the comics those series were based off so there's really no logical reason to not have him there. It helps that he's the most recognizable hero but that's like saying the Avengers only included Captain America as a crutch. He's one of their longest serving and most iconic members so of course he's there.
     
  3. Toddman

    Toddman Hulk not good with words.

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    Noooo.... Robin (the original Dick Grayson version) was a founding member of the Teen Titans back in 1965:

    [​IMG]


    Robin/Grayson was also an original member of the "New Teen Titans" when they first appeared in 1980 (the group that the TT animated series was based on):

    [​IMG]


    And although it was the Tim Drake version of the character, Robin was also a founding member in the Young Justice comic book series:

    [​IMG]


    So while Robin's image may have been frequently used to promote each animated series, his actual inclusion in those shows is following a precedent established in the comics.

    The only version of theTitans that did NOT originally include Robin was the 1960's Filmation animated adaptation:

    [​IMG]

    Maybe your question should be "Is the inclusion of Robin in the Teen Titans and Young Justice comic books a safety net?"


    Toddman
     
  4. Light Lucario

    Light Lucario Moderator

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    Considering his history in the Teen Titans and Young Justice comics, I wouldn't say that they included him as a crutch. Including a more recognizable character in the main cast certainly helped, but he was a key member in quite a few of the comics, so there's no reason why they wouldn't add him in the shows.
     
  5. Silverstar

    Silverstar Ah, No.

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    Was Robin a familiar face and a character folks would instantly recognize? Yes. Was his inclusion in these shows just a crutch or a safety net? No.

    Robin was a founding member of the Teen Titans (though the team depicted in the 2003 cartoon was based on the New Teen Titans of the Wolfman/Perez era rather than the Founding Five), so it only made sense to include him on the show. Keep in most people from my generation up to that point tended to view Robin as a jokey sidekick in green Speedoes and elf shoes who shouted "Holy (fill in the blank), Batman!". Those people who didn't read the comics had no idea Robin was or could be cool, so his inclusion could hardly be considered a safety net.

    Young Justice, same deal. Again, Robin was a founding member and prime mover of that team, although YJ's Robin was Tim, not Dick. Again, it only made sense to use him there.

    As was previously indicated, the only times where Robin wasn't used in TT were in those Filmation shorts from the 60's and that PSA where he was replaced by 'The Protector', some Robin lookalike in purple and black.
     
  6. Ed Liu

    Ed Liu Grumpy Gorilla

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    Off the top of my head, I would argue that Robin might have been the most recognizable sidekick of the original founding members of the ORIGINAL Teen Titans (the Robin, Wonder Girl, Kid Flash, and Speedy team). I think the only one that might have been able to compete would be Wonder Girl. But the gimmick of Teen Titans was to throw the sidekicks of the Justice League superheroes together as the heroes of their own book. It would have been weird if they HADN'T included Robin in that lineup, regardless of how well-recognized he was, so I don't think his inclusion was as a crutch to sell books. The book was not a tremendous success in any event, so I definitely don't think that including Robin helped sales much, or that leaving him out would have made much difference.

    The NEW Teen Titans revival in the 80's starred the original team (aged up slightly so, technically, they were no longer "teens") and added Starfire, Raven, Cyborg, and Beast Boy. Starfire, Raven, and Cyborg were created for this new version of the team. Beast Boy was created in the 60's Doom Patrol series, but only became a significant player in the DCU when he was added to this version of the Titans. I would definitely argue that this team was a success because of the team dynamic, and that Robin was not a crutch included just to boost sales. I'd argue that making him Nightwing was a deliberate step to push him out of the shadow of being Batman's sidekick. I think it's harder to say whether leaving him out would have made much difference, since he's such an integral part of the team. It'd be like asking whether leaving Professor X or Cyclops out of the X-Men would have made that book less popular -- they're so wrapped up in the history of the team that it's impossible to envision the book evolving along the same lines without him. I'd say that about all the new Titans, though.

    Young Justice was a product of an era when continuity became a goal in itself, but it's a different Robin and a product of a time when Robin was getting viewed more skeptically. I very much doubt he was included because he was the most recognizable sidekick.

    Heh. I find it ironic that Cap was only added to the Avengers after issue #4, and it marked his return to the pages of Marvel Comics since his last appearance in the 50's. One might argue that the Avengers did include Cap as a crutch in the comics at the time, but I don't think history would bear that out, either. The Avengers comic books were pretty positively received, as I recall, and I don't know that many comic readers at the time would have seen the addition of a character their fathers read about during the War as a selling point. I don't remember off the top of my head if there's a story for why Stan & Jack went that route.
     
  7. ABrown

    ABrown Active Member

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    Had it been Speedy instead of Robin in Teen Titans, would I have still given the show a chance? I might not have. But I'm glad that I did. Teen Titans turned out to be a very vey enjoyable cartoon that I often enjoyed watching with my step son. Young Justice was another story. I watched all of the episodes of YJ, but I never really felt like the stories were going anywhere. Which is a shame, because the show had a lot of potential.
     
  8. Antiyonder

    Antiyonder Amalgam Universe Overlord

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    Possibly or possibly not. Afterall, there've been shows like Powerpuff Girls, Kim Possible, Ben 10 and Avatar The Last Airbender which don't even have decades of previous material to guarantee success. Thus an obscure character has just about the same amount of chance and possibly more because they at least have something.
     
  9. BigFatHairyDeal

    BigFatHairyDeal Defender of the Universe

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    I believe the best strategy is usually putting your best foot forward. If you have popular characters you can bank on, might as well use them. So yes, you could say Robin was a "safety net" of sorts, but I'd say purposefully ignoring the character would be all kinds of silly.
     
  10. CyberCubed

    CyberCubed Active Member

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    I think a lot of you are not thinking about this through the context of people not being familiar with the comics and having no idea who these characters are. As I said, back in 2003 I never knew what a Teen Titan was and I had no clue who Starfire, Cyborg, Beastboy and Raven were. These characters were all new to me at the time. Your average joe, or even people who grew up watching the DCAU...did not know who most of these characters were until animation.

    Hell until JLU I never knew who Green Arrow, Black Canary, The Question, Huntress, etc. were at all. That was my first exposure to those characters. I imagine for many others it was the same. The only reason I knew who Wonder Woman/Aquaman/Flash, etc. were,before the DCAU was simply because I saw reruns of Superfriends on CN in the early 90's.

    When Teen Titans was first announced I remember saying, "Why are they giving Robin this spinoff show with these random superheroes? Are these characters made up for the show? And why is Robin here without Batman?"

    I bet 90% of the people watching CN at the time asked the same exact question.
     
  11. Antiyonder

    Antiyonder Amalgam Universe Overlord

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    Yeah and the same can be said for anyone watching Avatar The Last Airbender, Ben 10 or Adventure Time for, well the first time.

    But to go into lesser known comic book territory, Blade had several successful movies despite not only lack of recognition, but being marketed to a more restricted audience.
     
  12. Light Lucario

    Light Lucario Moderator

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    I wasn't familiar with any of the other main characters in Teen Titans either or a good portion of the heroes in JL/JLU for that matter. Even so, I still don't think that it's accurate to say that they were using Robin as a crutch. Sure, most people wouldn't be familiar with the comics or a good portion of the characters, but they didn't include Robin just to have a recognizable name in the group. That was probably a bonus, but he was included due to how he was connected to the teams in the comics, even though it was a different Robin for the Young Justice comics apparently. They could have had both series with new characters instead, but it made more sense to include Robin simply because of being one of the founding members of both teams.
     
  13. Ed Liu

    Ed Liu Grumpy Gorilla

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    Whether people were familiar with the comics or not, it's a fact that the crew behind the Teen Titans TV show intended to use the most popular lineup in the New Teen Titans comic book, which is why they included Robin. It's really not any more complicated than that. If there is a point of contention, it's whether Robin was included in that lineup for the purposes you describe, and I've already detailed the reasons why I don't think that's a slam-dunk argument at all. You might be right that people were wondering "Where's Batman and why is Robin on this show with all these random other characters?" when the show premiered, but I think that's irrelevant to why Glen Murakami and the rest of the crew used Robin. This decision was driven more by tradition and continuity than because someone said, "You have to include someone recognizable to the general public."

    As I said above, I think it's debatable whether Robin was included in the original comics, but I lean towards saying, "No" there also.
     
  14. Silverstar

    Silverstar Ah, No.

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    If you had prior exposure to Super Friends, then I'm surprised you didn't know who Cyborg was since his first TV appearance was in Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians.

    Anyway, nobody's denying any of the above, but that still isn't an instant indication that Robin was only included in the Teen Titans cartoon as a crutch to bring in viewers. It might have been a bonus, but not a crutch. I mean, really, what point are you trying to make here? If your current theory is "the only reason Robin was included in the show was because kids won't give a show a chance if it doesn't have familiar characters in it", then how do you explain the success of shows such as Ben 10, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Ninjago: Legends of Spinjitsu, Xiaolin Showdown and the countless other shows which didn't feature any pre-existing characters or concepts at all? The inclusion of Robin in the cartoon could hardly be construed as a crutch to lure in TV viewers not familiar with the comics since TT's Robin was a very different Robin from the one folks were used to seeing on TV. Heck, that show made me a fan of Robin, up to that point I just considered him a goofy sidekick (though I was vaguely aware of his comic book makeover).

    Kids may not have been familiar with Teen Titans prior to the show, but the people who worked on the show clearly were, and as such it wouldn't have made a lot of sense making a series based on the most popular lineup of the New Titans team and not featuring one of its' founding members and prime movers in the show. That would like, I don't know, making an Avengers cartoon series without Iron Man, Thor or Captain America. Oh, wait...

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 13, 2014
  15. RoryWilliams

    RoryWilliams Active Member

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    And again, Robin has been a Teen Titan from the beginning. Even if though he's the only hero the general public could recognize from the cast when the show began airing, he was in the comics from the beginning. Why would they NOT include him? You act as though Robin had little to do with the Titans in the comics when he was mainstay from the very beginning and would've likely been included no matter what.

    Even if the Titans weren't popular in a mainstream context, why the heck would CN pay money to adapt them as a TV show and then not use one of the main characters? See the above Avengers example.
     
  16. Dantheman

    Dantheman Active Member

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    [QUOTE=Ed Liu;4222377
    Heh. I find it ironic that Cap was only added to the Avengers after issue #4, and it marked his return to the pages of Marvel Comics since his last appearance in the 50's. One might argue that the Avengers did include Cap as a crutch in the comics at the time, but I don't think history would bear that out, either. The [I]Avengers [/I]comic books were pretty positively received, as I recall, and I don't know that many comic readers at the time would have seen the addition of a character their fathers read about during the War as a selling point. I don't remember off the top of my head if there's a story for why Stan & Jack went that route.[/QUOTE]


    From what I've read, it was that in one of the Human Torch's solo stories in Strange Tales that an imposter posing as Captain America showed up, and they asked readers if they wanted to see more of this old WWII character, and they said yes, and they brought him back in Avengers #4.
     

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