NB: Robin’s costume was such an icon for me that when the issue came up of changing his costume — before it came up, when fans were asking for it, I couldn’t agree. I thought Robin’s costume was great. Of course, now I look back and recognize it needed a change. But what I was seeing was the colorful contrast with the dark Batman. That’s what worked. That’s what they retained too. It’s still got the yellow inside the cape and the red breast.
DC… I don’t know what initiated it, had been considering redesigning Robin for a long time. I remember when Mike Freidrich scripted Justice League issues…
MO: The Neal Adams-designed costume…
NB: Right. He had wings, kind of, then too [like in the Batman Family piece]. They were attached [at the wrists] and he could glide. They were considering it for a long time. They even asked the readers: ‘Should Robin have this new costume?’; you remember the end of that issue. I always said ‘Yeah! He should!’ I didn’t write in – I didn’t even think to write in. It’s funny, the stuff I didn’t do. I read the story, and looked at the art, and I’d skim the letters column, and I wouldn’t even notice some other important things that were in the books. I wasn’t that much of a comics reader then. I was more into the art and the basic story. Finally, around the Batman movies, they decided to conscript a number of artists to come up with different designs. Jim Aparo was involved, I was involved, Neal Adams was involved, Graham Nolan… there were a number of other artists that I can’t recall offhand.
MO: Many of these were assembled into [the Batman: Knightgallery book].
NB: Exactly. That included some Batman redesigns too for some special issue of Batman, Brotherhood of the Bat. I did a whole bunch of costume designs for Robin, probably more than anybody else that they asked to do. I don’t really know that for sure, but I wouldn’t be surprised. Neal Adams probably nailed down his costume pretty quickly because he’s got a lot of experience. I was still – compared to Neal – I was definitely wet behind the ears. There were certain things they did retain, even though they chose Neal Adams’ costume design. The ‘R’ symbol Robin’s got is almost entirely mine. Everybody else gave him the same ‘R’ symbol. I was the only one who changed that, gave it a bit more character, and I considered making it a throwing star too. And then the staff that he used [was my idea]. It made sense to me that if we’re trying to make Robin more ‘realistic’, we don’t like his stupid costume, and after I’d read [Frank Miller’s] The Dark Knight it was becoming more and more apparent that having a child running around with an adult – or a teenager – when he’s pretty reckless [is a bad idea]. Instead of giving him a gun, which you can’t do because of the mythos, I gave him a staff, which extended his reach so he could compete with adults. So that was mine too. I guess I’ll have to keep saying that, otherwise people will forget.