The graphic novel Batman
and the Mad Monk is a solo Batman tale set
before the introduction of Robin. On the very last page (and
dont worry, this wont spoil anything for those
still to read the graphic novel) we see a huge billboard poster
for the impending visit to Gotham of the Flying Graysons.
The poster says: Special Return Engagement. Two Weeks
Only! The Haly Circus featuring the Flying Graysons
and one-third of the poster is taken up with a picture of
the three Graysons, with Dick in the middle (oo-er).
My question is this: the Graysons are all wearing costumes
that look identical to what will finally become Robins
costume (red tunic, green shorts, boots and a yellow cape).
Now, bearing in mind that Bruce Wayne is desperate to keep
his secret identity, why does he allow Robin to wear the same
costume as he did in his act?
The scenario plays out like this: the Graysons come to Gotham
wearing their outlandish costumes; they die one night while
performing their act; Bruce takes in Dick as his ward. At
about the same time, Batman has a new sidekick, who has an
identical costume to the Graysons! As the Graysons deaths
would have been all over the papers, everyone will already
know what their costumes looked like, even if they dont
remember them from the billboards.
Surely anyone with half a brain could work out that Robin
is Dick Grayson and therefore that Bruce Wayne is Batman.
Not even a small letter R on Robins costume
will be convincing enough to sway people.
Bruce decided that Dick wearing his old Flying Graysons outfit
would actually disguise his identity rather than give it away.
This is because, when people disguise themselves as popular
entertainers or other famous people in order to carry out
outrageous or illegal activities (such as bank robberies)
anonymously, observers tend not to assume that it is the celebrity
in question that is actually carrying out the act. For example,
if someone were to rob a bank wearing a mask and David Beckhams
football strip, most people would not automatically assume
that Beckham had just robbed a bank but rather that someone
had impersonated him.
Furthermore, many citizens of Gotham might have assumed, incorrectly,
that the entire Grayson family had been killed, including
Dick. I dont think Dick Grayson is as well known as
the billionaire Bruce Wayne.
And if anyone were to challenge Bruce or Dick on the subject,
they could easily dismiss the argument precisely because it
sounds so ridiculous: Oh, come now, they could
reply. Do you really think that if we were Batman and
Robin, we would be so stupid as to advertise the fact by using
Dicks old costume?