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Sunday, 27 May 2012

Among the interviews that Young Justice producer Brandon Vietti did to promote the show’s second season is this article at IGN, which quotes him on designing the show’s first Robin:
We set out to create a more realistic world for our characters to be in. There's a lot of focus on the tailoring of outfits to make them look like real-world outfits. Robin in particular, we wanted him to look like his outfit maybe had Kevlar on it, like it could stop a bullet. Spandex doesn't give you that. We had to add seams to his costume and stuff to make it look like he's padded and ready to street-fight alongside Batman.
That article also discussed how many fans thought that show’s Robin “seems to walk the line between the Dick Grayson and Tim Drake Boy Wonders at times.” Back in November 2010 the weekly Robin suggested there was some Drake in the mix based on early publicity and the first episode. But “Vietti pretty strenuously disagreed with the notion”:
I think our Dick Grayson is very Dick Grayson, and … I guess there are two small aspects [that are different]. . . . His costume has some Tim Drake influence, but frankly, the little elf shorts weren't going to fly in the 21st century, so anything we did to give him long pants was going to feel sort of Tim Drakey.

Then the other thing is that we gave him hacking skills, which we think would just suit the Dick Grayson of the 21st century as well.

But personality-wise, I think our Dick Grayson is clearly Dick Grayson. His background is the circus. He's the acrobat first, martial artist second. … How this evolves going forward throughout this season or potential future seasons, I don't really want to get into. But I really do feel that aside from a couple of pretty superficial elements, our Robin is and always has been very Dick Grayson and has never been very Tim Drake.
One other element pointed toward Tim Drake: he was the Robin in the original Young Justice comic book, the one on a team with Superboy and Artemis. So at first it was natural for that series’ fans to hope that the cartoon of that name would feature Tim.

But the biggest difference between the Young Justice Dick Grayson and all previous characterizations, as I noted back in 2010, is that he’s the team’s youngest and smallest member. Though Robin’s been heroing the longest, his youth means he’s not the team’s natural leader. He’s even a bit of a nerd with his word quirks and math trophy.

In contrast, in all earlier versions of the Teen Titans in comics and on TV, there’s no doubt that Dick should be in charge. This cartoon Young Justice is the first portrayal of any other possibility. While that doesn’t make that character more like Tim Drake (who was the first leader of his comic-book team as well), it does make that role less like the Dick Grayson we’re familiar with. Only with Aqualad’s defection has he become the unquestioned leader.

Not that there’s anything wrong with rearranging aspects of DC Comics’s past continuities for the sake of interesting stories.

I can’t help but notice that the DC Nation Secret Files précis of the second season’s Robin combines a large picture of Tim with vignettes of Dick. If the conglomerate can’t tell them apart, it’s no wonder fans perceived some overlap.

(Portrait of Dick Grayson, mathlete, by Jerome K. Moore for Young Justice. It made a blink-and-you-missed-it appearance in one episode of the first season.)

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