Jason Todd’s First Appearance
Welcome, readers! The Renegade Robins Club is your chance to experience the complete story of the second Robin (and the second Red Hood) from the beginning! Our club is meant to be a complement to World of Bats: The Batman Book Club!, not a competitor, so we will be taking two weeks to read every storyline in Jason Todd’s journey. (For those looking to hit the high points of the character, be sure to check out the Characters of DC Club, which is currently spotlighting the post-Crisis version of the character!)
Join the Jason Todd Book Club: https://community.dcuniverse.com/g/JasonToddBookClub
By 1983, Dick Grayson was firmly established as a key member of the New Teen Titans–so much so that there was little room for Batman (or even the Batman Family) in his schedule. Despite some occasional Robin appearances in Gerry Conway’s early 80s run, Batman was generally flying solo in his main titles. Granted, this status quo had been largely in place since Dick left for college in 1969, but with the success of the Titans series, it was finally clear that Grayson was pretty much off the table for any Bat-writers who wanted to use him regularly.
As the DC creative and editorial teams began to wax nostalgic for the good old days of the Dynamic Duo (and with enough distance from the camptastic Adam West/Burt Ward adventures to dare attempt it again), the question became, “How do we bring back Robin?” Snagging Dick back from the Titans wasn’t gonna fly: he had grown and developed past the point of his youthful Golden/Silver Age persona, and proposals to de-age him were rightfully shot down. Hence the need for a new Robin, but one who didn’t break too far from the original mold. As originally envisioned, Jason Todd would be less a completely unique character and more a soft reboot of the classic Boy Wonder. (Hence the club’s current moniker of Robin, Too, a nod to other such 80s efforts to repackage the same story.)
We are starting off with the final arc of Gerry Conway’s run on Batman/'Tec, which essentially functioned as a single series throughout the early 1980s. Hence we will be jumping back and forth between the two titles during his run and Doug Moench’s subsequent time on the books. This first story arc brings back a previously-established rogue, the Squid, so if you want a bit of background on him, here’s a bit of bonus reading!
The Squid First Appearance: Detective Comics #497
But onto the main event: 2019-10-28T05:00:00Z → 2019-11-10T06:00:00Z
Week 1 Reading (Seven Issues)
Feel free to offer your own discussion and insight, but for those of you who like discussion questions, I will oblige:
Gerry Conway consciously “didn’t go all unique” with his new Robin (see the video below). Is Jason’s origin too much of an echo of Dick’s, or does it work for you? Do you prefer the fate of the Graysons at the hands of Tony Zucco or the death of the Todds by Killer Croc as a tragic origin for the Boy Wonder?
We also get the introduction of a major new rogue, Killer Croc. If you’ve never read this story before but were familiar with Croc elsewhere, were you surprised by this first incarnation of the character? Do you prefer this version, or do you favor the more monstrous portrayal that came later?
Perhaps the most significant change that would come with the post-Crisis revision of Jason Todd’s origin is the removal of Dick Grayson from it. How do you feel about Conway giving Grayson some reason to blame himself for the tragedy that befalls his replacement?
The final issue pulls out all the stops and gives us not only Barbara Gordon as Batgirl, but a huge lineup of Batman’s rogues gallery! What is your favorite moment in this story featuring one of the characters other than Batman, Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, or Killer Croc?
And because Thanksgiving is coming early with this reading, we also get “Mob Rule”, a Green Arrow story from Joey Cavalieri as a backup in the 'Tec issues! What did you think of the story?
Bonus: Here’s an interview with Gerry Conway about Jason Todd! Feel free to discuss it, too!