DC Collectible Comics (DC3) have released a second Golden Age comic in their limited digital ownership range at ntf.dcuniverse.com. This time it’s the Detective Comics #38 NFT, notable for being the first appearance of Robin.
Published in March 1940, a copy of the original Detective Comics #38 can set you back anywhere between $60,000 to $100,000 depending on the condition (a facsimile edition published in 2020 is already doubling its cover price). Purchasing an NFT share of this digital asset means that you will own a unique share of this incredibly rare comic.
As with the previous Action Comics release, you can choose the condition of the comic depending on your budget – although, personally I love the look of a well-loved old comic.
Batman first appeared in the anthology title Detective Comics #27 in 1939. Barely a year into the Dark Knight’s stories, the creators were sensing that something was missing from the character. Writer Bill Finger had envisioned Batman/Bruce Wayne as a cross between the actor of swash-buckling roles Douglas Fairbanks, and Sherlock Holmes – and he recognized that his Holmes needed a Watson to help him verbalize his thoughts (and save him from wandering around the Batcave talking to himself!).
Co-creator Bob Kane had said that he wanted to add a boy as a companion to help the relatability of the title, and it was inker/letterer of the series Jerry Robinson who suggested the name and look of the character, based on illustrations he’d seen of Robin Hood by the artist N.C. Wyeth.
The comic industry isn’t known for downplaying events, and Detective Comics #38 doesn’t let anyone down with the cover headline “The sensational character find of 1940: Robin The Boy Wonder”, as Dick Grayson bursts through a big paper drum associated with circus performers. It’s a deceptively happy introduction considering Bill Finger gave Robin a tragic origin story to rival Batman’s, orphaning him before he’s taken in by Bruce Wayne, who teaches him to be a crime fighter and seek justice for his parent’s deaths.
Robin’s appearance proved to be an instant success contributing to the snowballing sales figures that saw the launch of a separate Batman comic just a month later. It also sparked a trend of superheroes and young sidekicks that became synonymous with the Golden Age era. Over the years, that idea of a youthful, enthusiastic yet naive sidekick has fallen out of fashion, but while the character playing the role has changed, Robin’s role as Batman’s ward has endured because, as Bill Finger and Bob Kane sensed, Bruce Wayne’s character was undoubtedly enhanced by his presence.
It’s always interesting to see the origins of characters that have endured so successfully, particularly in this case, nestled amongst other stories such as The Crimson Avenger and Speed Saunders as it provides an historical context. We’re getting more used to seeing digital comics, and the DC3 NFT Golden Age editions allow a link between the digital age and the historically relevant original physical item.
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The Detective Comics #38 NFT is available here.
Featuring the first appearance of Dick Grayson! As Batman’s sidekick Robin debuts, learn how Dick Grayson went from circus performer to the Boy Wonder to crimefighter!
Writers: Bill Finger, Jerry Siegel, Gardner Fox, Chad Grothkopf, Jack Lehti, Rick Martin
Pencilers: Bob Kane, Fred Guardineer, Dennis Neville, Chad Grothkopf, Jack Lehti, Ken Ernst, Don Lynch, Maurice Kashuba
Inkers: Bob Kane, Jerry Robinson, Ken Ernst, Maurice Kashuba, Jack Lehti, Fred Guardineer, Don Lynch, Chad Grothkopf, Dennis Neville
Cover Artists: Bob Kane, Jerry Robinson
Images and press release courtesy of DC Entertainment