365 T-shirts - the reasoning

This blog should be sub-titled: a journal of my life in geek.

I get my geek on with things about which I am geeky: comic books, Baseball, Ultimate, science fiction, my favorite bands, books I have read and loved, and Jungian psychology to name some of the most frequently traversed subjects.

I began this project simply as a way to count my T-shirts. I own a lot of T-shirts. But how many do I have? Do I have 365? We shall find out.

When I started this blog, I thought about how each T-shirt means something to me. I bought it for a reason, after all. I set myself the task to post an entry about a new T-shirt every day as a way to simply write something every day, a warm up for writing fiction, which is my passion. Writing is like exercise. Warm ups are good for exercise. But after completing a month of blogging about T-shirts, I have learned that this blog serves as a journal; it documents my life in geek, sort of a tour of my interests in pop culture. The blog serves as a tool for self-inventory, for assessment and analysis of self and the origins of self, for stepping through the process of individuation in catalogues, lists, and ranks.

The blog also made me aware that I have some serious gaps in my T-shirt ownership, and I am in the process of collecting some new T-shirts for several of the great popular culture icons that I truly love. Stay tuned.

I was also a bit surprised that people checked out my blog and continue to check it, read it, and even comment on it. I am very appreciative of this readership. Please feel free to share your thoughts in my comments section. I will respond.

Also, please note that I have moved the original introductory text to the side bar. And now, I present to you the most recent entry of 365 T-shirts: a journal of my life in geek. Thank you for reading.
(Second Update - 1310.24. First Update - 1306.05 Originally Posted - 1304.25.)

Friday, February 7, 2014

T-shirt #323 - Robin #3 - Tim Drake - Logo

T-shirt #323 - Robin #3 - Tim Drake - Logo

This shirt was released when Tim Drake became Robin (Robin #3) in 1994, making it currently one of my oldest T-shirts still in closet and that still gets worn from time to time.

I have always been a huge fan of Robin, but more a fan of Richard "Dick" Grayson than of the Robin identity in particular.

As you can see two of my original MEGO Robin figures, seen in the pictures to the left, have seen better days. One is in an Aquaman costume and the other in some turtleneck from another action figure set entirely, though missing part of one leg.

I could not find a figure in an actual Robin costume in my stash of toys.

Though this shirt, and thus this blog, will be mostly about Tim Drake, I need to expend some content on the original Robin first.

I explained my fandom of Dick Grayson in what has become one of my most popular blog entries so far in the history of this little project: T-shirt #62: Nightwing.

Since its debut on May 22 (exactly two months since the debut of the blog) , my Nightwing page has received 129 visitors ("page views," which may not represent 129 different people and some are not people at all). This makes it fourth in the top five entries with the most page views.

Dick Grayson as Robin was the original leader of the Teen Titans, a team of superhero sidekicks and the adventures they had when not doing the sidekick bit.

As seen in these photos, and explained in the weekly comic list, I just used a gift certificate to buy the items I can be seen holding in the first picture. One is a book collecting Jim Starlin's Adam Warlock, which I will discuss in a future blog, and the other is the second volume (I already own the first) of the Silver Age stories of the Teen Titans.

I love the Teen Titans as I have already remarked on other occasions and will remark on again in the future. For now, I am working my way around to discussing Tim Drake Robin.

From the start, Bruce Wayne took in Dick Grayson (though he never adopted him officially, which has always rankled many fans) because the boy had suffered a similar tragedy, losing his parents. Bruce trained Robin not just to get revenge on his parents' killers but really as his replacement. Someday Batman would have to retire and Robin would take over as Batman.

But since Robin could not continue to be a "boy wonder" as an adult, eventually he gave up his identity as Robin and became Nightwing (as explained in my post T-shirt #62: Nightwing). Batman took on another boy, Jason Todd, as Robin, universally hated by comic fans, they all voted that he should be killed, and so DC killed him off. I never overly liked Jason Todd, but the whole story seemed motivated by selling comic books more than telling a good story.

From the WIKIPEDIA PAGE FOR JASON TODD: (highlights by me)

The vote was set up in the four-part story "A Death in the Family" that was published in Batman #426–429 in 1988. At the end of Batman #427, Todd was beaten by the Joker and left to die in an explosion. The inside back cover of the issue listed two 1-900 numbers that readers could call to vote for the character's death or survival. Within the 36-hour period allotted for voting, the poll received 10,614 votes. The verdict in favor of the character's death won by a slim margin of 5,343 votes to 5,271.[10] The following issue of Batman, issue 428, was published featuring Todd's death. Years later, O'Neil would admit hundreds of votes in the "Jason Dies" line came from a single person, adding a large degree of uncertainty to the honesty of results regarding a poll designed to determine the character's popularity. "I heard it was one guy, who programmed his computer to dial the thumbs down number every ninety seconds for eight hours, who made the difference", O'Neil said in a Newsarama interview conducted alongside writer Judd Winick during the "Under The Hood" arc.[11] Based on O'Neil's information, that figures out to 320 votes over eight hours from one person or roughly six percent of the death line's total calls. O'Neil would later repeat the claim with further specifics: "I heard it was a lawyer who was using a MacIntosh and lived in California — I obviously don’t have hard information on this, but I heard someone out there programmed his computer to dial it every couple of minutes, and since there was only about 65 votes that made the difference, if that story is true, that guy, that guy killed Jason Todd!"[12]

Interior art of Batman #428 (1988): "A Death in the Family". Art by Jim Aparo.
Despite the poll results, O'Neil noted, "We did the deed, and we got a blast of hate mail and a blast of negative commentary in the press."[13] A few comics creators voiced their displeasure at the event. Writer/artist Frank Miller, who had worked onBatman: The Dark Knight Returns and Batman: Year One, said, "To me the whole killing of Robin thing was probably the ugliest thing I've seen in comics, and the most cynical."[14] However, DC stood behind the outcome of the poll. O'Neil was quoted on the back cover of A Death in the Family trade paperback collecting the story with Todd's death as saying, "It would be a really sleazy stunt to bring him back."[15] O'Neil would later regret his comment.[16]
There was a degree of discontinuity between the Batman and Detective Comics titles with regards to the portrayal of Jason Todd. A great deal of adventures occurred post-Crisis which fit with the circus acrobat era and in some cases ran simultaneously in Detective as the street kid origin was being laid out in Batman. This led to a blackout of almost any Robin appearances in Detective. This became especially apparent after his death. Eleven months passed between Jason's death in Batman #428 and the first mention of his passing in Detective Comics #606.
In 1989 Denny O'Neil, Marv Wolfman and Pat Broderick would introduce Tim Drake, who would later go on as the third Robin. Mindful of the poor reception Jason received from readers, O'Neil arranged for a more nuanced introduction in which Tim first introduced himself to Dick Grayson and impressed the former Robin with his skills and was revealed to share a history with Grayson. Batman himself would slowly grow to accept Tim as his new partner, although the memory of Jason would continue to play a heavy part in his behavior towards partners and how he trained Tim in the months building up to his official appearance as Robin.[17][18]

Tim Drake, the subject of today's blog became the third Robin, and though two girls have filled in as Robin and one link farther below purports TEN different Robin characters (which seems a bit contrived simply to get a top ten list), there are technically only four, the fourth being Batman's actual son, Damian, who was recently killed in a Batman spin off book as I reported in T-shirt #7: Batman Incorporated.

But since Jason Todd was dead and brought back to life, it's likely that Damian Wayne will be resurrected at some point as well.

One last thing about Dick Grayson, I liked that while Batman was presumed dead after Final Crisis, Dick Grayson assumes the mantle, dons the cowl, and takes on the role of Batman for a time with young Damian as his sidekick. A new comic titled Batman and Robin was the main title examining Dick Grayson's work as Batman.

In the new 52, Nightwing (Dick Grayson) is in dire straits as a victim of the Crime Syndicate of Forever Evil. Damian Wayne is dead. Bruce Wayne is Batman. Jason Todd is the Red Hood leading a team of anti-heroes known as the Outlaws, and Tim Drake is Red Robin and leads the Teen Titans.

It's important to note that DC has re-launched its heroes line calling its comics THE NEW 52 (because the company released fifty-two new comics titles in a single month in in September of 2011. DC's NEW 52 is very selective about what history its keeping from its more recent post-Crisis stories (1985-2011) and its deeper past pre-Crisis stories (pre-1985).

The Batman stories are one area that the company has been more faithful to its history, accounting for all the previous Robin incarnations and histories, minus Stephanie Brown (seen in this blog as Tim Drake's girlfriend and briefly as Robin) and Cassandra Cain, whose histories have been erased.

Though I have enjoyed the run of Robin issues that told the story of Tim Drake (pre-the new 52), I am still a devoted and loyal, number one Richard Grayson as Robin/Nightwing (even as Batman) fan. I am unclear the status of the different characters to be Robin in Batman's life in the New 52. In the previous incarnation, Bruce Wayne never adopted any of the boys, and I do believe that Richard Grayson in recent issues of Forever Evil was referred to as Bruce Wayne's "ward." But in the previous incarnation, Bruce Wayne officially adopted Tim Drake, which the family angle that fans wanted to see with Grayson and even with Jason Todd.

And now a variety of links....

These show entries in which Batman is in some way related to the shirt's image and/or text not entries in which I write about Batman, such as those in which I have reviewed the Batman comic book.

If you want further reading, the Comic Vine pages are much more extensive and complete than the Wikipedia pages.




I am not the only one ranking Robins. This seems to be a popular past time. I am amazed at the power of the Internet. I rarely fail to find an article addressing some idea I have. However, sadly, Richard Grayson is not number one in all of these polls, which is rather dubious.


With the exception of a huge cover gallery this the extent of my Robin content for this post. There is so much history that I could write several more volumes. However, given that I am typing these words on 1402.23, sixteen days after I originally published this entry, my goal is just to have something completed that I can post via social media announcing it's complete.


Tough call this week with the rankings. When there's a comic book issue featuring Doctor Strange on the cover, I am strongly tempted to rank it very highly. After all, I LOVE Doctor Strange as described in T-shirt #119. But Simon Bianchi is not one of my favorite artists. If it had been Deodato or Greg Land, the New Avengers issue would have topped the list. But Bianchi's work drops it to the fifth place.

Here's a so-so review of the comic.


Here's a nifty feature showing all the Marvel comics as they come out, week-to-week. There are other such pages hosted by other Internet sites.


Lazarus almost took the top slot. But both Green Arrow and Black Widow edge the Carlyle Lazarus because both comics are just a wee bit easier to read.

Really, the top three from this week are all more or less tied, but I have to read them in some order. In the end, the choice is somewhat arbitrary.

By fandom, I would have read the New Avengers first due to it Doctor Strange content. The issue was excellent despite my misgivings about the art. My main complaint with Hickman's Avengers is that he's trying to do too much. I do like huge earth shattering, potentially apocalyptic, conflicts, but not all the time. The strength of the Avengers has always been the human melodrama going on around the cosmic battles as well as a good mix of different conflicts and different kinds of stories. Hickman is over indulging in the space-faring, world-shattering, end of everything type scenarios to the exclusion of the characters, their stories, and some smaller less cataclysmic stories.

One of the strengths of New Avengers #014 is that it focused for the most part just on what Doctor Strange is doing to save the earth from complete destruction. Though it could have been more character focused, the story revealed a new piece of the plot, which could have serious and impressive consequences. Despite my criticisms, it's not like I am going to stop reading! :-)

COMICS FOR 1402.05

Green Arrow #28
Black Widow #003
Lazarus #6
Forever Evil #5 (of 7)
New Avengers #014
Mighty Avengers #006
All New Invaders #002
Captain America #016.NOW
Avengers AI #009
Iron Man #021
The Punisher #001
God is Dead #6
Codename: Action #5
Earth Two #20
Ms. Marvel #001
X-Men (Ghosts #1) #010.NOW
Batman: Detective Comics (Gothtopia) #28
Green Lantern #28 (flips with Red Lantern #28)
Sidekick #5
Apocalypse Al #1


Action Comics #28
Fairest #23
Trillium #6

- Using a gift certificate given to me by a close friend.

Warlock - The Complete Collection by Jim Starlin (trade paperback)

The Silver Age Teen Titans Archive - Volume Two

The Walking Dead Ten Year Anniversary T-shirt


COUNTDOWN TO END OF THE BLOG YEAR - 42 shirts remaining

- chris tower - first published - 1402.07 - 19:50
final publication - 1402.23 - 7:48