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Parting Glances: Dick by any other name

By |2008-08-07T09:00:00-04:00August 7th, 2008|Opinions|

Far be it from me to scoop BTL’s gossip mavin Billy Masters – a rare happening – but it’s come to my attention that the comic book hero now going by the name of Richard Grayson has, as the saying goes, ‘blown his cool.’
For those of you for whom comic books are a declasse genre unworthy of coffee table display, the name may mean little. Dick Grayson, erstwhile Robin, Boy Wonder to Bruce Wayne’s Batman, I’m sure rings a belle.
It’s no secret that the relationship of now-billionaire playboy Bruce and his “ward” Dick is, to say the least, highly suspect. If recent Batman movies are any indication, the two heroes are also no longer a crime-fighting item.
Not in Gotham City. Not in Middle America. Not for the CIA. The FBI. Or, where it might count the most, the NGLTF.
Yes, Batman is a solo act; because, well, as any fool knows, there’s no place in Mythology Land – tabloidal or biblical – for Adam & Steve, Bruce & Dick. There are too many impressionable little minds out there in America’s darkened I-Max movie theaters. Murder. Mayhem. Biff! Bam! Pow! Yes. Same-sex Kiss! Kiss! Wow! No way.

With apologies to tongue-in-chic Billy Masters, what follows is the real scoop about Richard Grayson. And while I’m not at liberty to reveal my sources, my spies are far-flung (including Focus On the Funnies, a fundygelical organization that’s long advocated for rehab of Boy Wonder).
How did the Bruce Wayne/Dick Grayson rumors start? One would think that even in Comic Bookland – especially in a liberal place like Gotham City – it’s really nobody’s business if two grown men (Robin is 18, actually still is, 70 years later) like to get dressed up and paint the town red, or black and blue. Or, lavender.
The Arch Villain in this scenario – The Joker of his day – is Dr. Frederic Wertham, a psychiatrist, who in 1949 (Doubleday), wrote about the danger of comic books in his controversial, “The Show of Violence.” He outted Batman and Robin as living in a “possible homosexual relationship,” that includes decorator furnishings and “exotic house plants.”
If you’re wondering about the name change from Dick Grayson to Richard Grayson, here’s how it came about. (Keep in mind that Robin, Boy Wonder has been through hell recently, and in spite of his so-called present – and questionable – ex-gay status, deserves our understanding if not our box-office sympathy.)
According to their butler Alfred – a semiretired British drag queen – Batman and Robin’s relationship began to sour when Robin fell head over heels, cape and cumber bun in love with Spiderman.”They both worked out at the same gym. And somebody dropped soap in the shower. Unfortunately Spiderman’s straight. (It’s a clause in his Equity Contract.)”
For a time Robin went into a funk. He lost interest in crime fighting and twice came close to crashing the Batmobile. It was Alfred who – perhaps a little too airheadly – suggested that if Robin wasn’t sure of his sexuality that he try dating. Alfred rang up Wonder Woman. But – sorry, wrong number! – that proved a disaster. (“Etta Candy’s a bitch.”)
Depressed (and out of work) Robin decided to go the comic book ex-gay route. He changed his name from Dick to Richard, and spent a year wandering in and out of illustrated Bible Story Comics as a spear-carrying Roman. Unfortunately, he got bored.
Two weeks ago he was spotted in a Washington, D.C. gay bar. Get this: wearing his trademark leotards at Happy Hour (and his mask in the john).

About the Author:

Charles Alexander