Tim Drake is one of the smartest and most talented superheroes who have worn the Robin costume. Tim was the third character to play the Boy Wonder. He was created by Marv Wolfman and Pat Broderick for Batman #436 in 1989. Tim convinced Batman that the Dark Knight needed a partner to fight crime because he was too serious.
Tim has been a very important part of the Bat Family ever since he was first introduced. As he grew up, he quietly became one of the best detectives in the DC Universe. Tim is still protecting the DCU as Robin, but he has recently been honest about his own life. He has come out as gay and is now dating his longtime friend and student Bernard Dowd.
With a new solo series called Tim Drake: Robin coming out in September, we're looking at how Tim Drake's sexuality has changed over time, from the relationships he had in his early days as Robin to the queer-coding that came with his growing role in the DCU, all the way up to his triumphant coming out in his most recent comics.
Tim Drake’s Early Romantic History
As the son of wealthy Jack and Janet Drake, Tim comes from a wealthy family, like Bruce Wayne. Tim was very smart even when he was young. He figured out that Bruce was Batman and that Dick Grayson was the original Robin and would become Nightwing.
At a time when Bruce and Dick's relationship was tense, Tim was able to impress Bruce and Alfred Pennyworth enough to become Robin at the age of 14. He trained hard to do his job as part of the Dynamic Duo.
Tim's first serious romance was with Ariana Dzerchenko, who had just moved to the Ukrainian area of Gotham from the former Soviet Union. Tim's work as Robin put a strain on his relationship with Ariana, and she got upset when he got closer to her friend Stephanie Brown. Ariana didn't know that Stephanie was the superhero Spoiler, who often worked with Tim.
After Tim and Ariana broke up, he started dating Stephanie seriously. This was the longest relationship either of them has ever had. When Stephanie thought Tim was cheating on her with another girl, but she was wrong, they broke up for a while. When they got back together, Stephanie was tortured to death by the supervillain Black Mask, but she faked her death and got better somewhere else.
Tim and fellow Teen Titan Cassandra Sandsmark both felt sad about the death of Conner Kent, the copied Superboy, after the 2005 crossover event Infinite Crisis. This led to an unplanned kiss between them, but they both decided not to seek a romantic relationship because they thought the kiss was just a whim.
During the new DCU timeline of the ‘New 52' era, the idea of Tim and Wonder Girl dating came up again, but this time it didn't last long either.
Tim has had short-lived relationships with a number of young characters in the DCU, including peers Darla Acquista and Zoanne Wilkins, the future superhero Madison Payne, and Lucius Fox's daughter Tamara, who was also a teenager at the time.
In the 1995 crossover story Marvel vs. DC, which is not official, Tim had a short romance with the X-Men hero Jubilee while their two worlds were linked.
Is Tim Drake Gay? How Tim Drake's Sexuality Changed Over Time!
Tim Drake is bisexual. Fans have been speculating and talking about Tim's sexuality for decades, going back to when he was on the superhero team Young Justice and was close friends with his partner Superboy.
After Conner died during Infinite Crisis, this gay-coding of Tim and Conner's relationship got worse, with Tim constantly watching secret cloning methods to make a copy of his friend. After Conner was brought back to life, they became friends again.
When Tim's predecessor, Jason Todd, came back as the dangerous antihero Red Hood, fans thought that the two heroes might get together. This was based on how competitive the two young men were with each other and how interested Jason was in his replacement. People thought that their rivalry was caused by sexual tension that they had been trying to hide.
If you do a quick search on the Internet for Tim with Conner and Jason, you'll find slash fiction about the heroes starting a successful relationship, even though this romantic angle hasn't been explored in official comics.
Tim's sexuality would be explored in a three-part story that first appeared in Batman: Urban Legends #4-6 and was later gathered as DC Pride: Tim Drake Special #1. In the story, which was written by Meghan Fitzmartin and drawn by Belen Ortega and Alberto Jimenez Alburquerque, colored by Alejandro Sanchez, Nick Filardi, and Luis Guerrero, and lettered by Pat Brosseau, Tim took action to save his friend and kidnapped classmate Bernard Dowd.
As Tim works on this rescue mission, he learns he has feelings for Bernard. When the mission is over, Tim asks Bernard out on a date in his regular identity, and Bernard says yes. Tim tells Stephanie in a later chat that he likes both men and women. Stephanie is happy that Tim is being honest with himself and meeting Bernard for the first time.
People have been talking about Robin's sexuality and his connection with Batman for years. Some comic book experts, like Frederic Wertham, even used it as a weapon in his 1954 attack on the American comic book business, Seduction of the Innocent.
Tim Drake coming out as gay not only gets rid of the hateful ideas of people like Wertham but also confirms years of queer coding and fan-shipping by making him the first publicly gay member of the Bat Family.
Tim's journey to find out who he really is wasn't a straight line, but like Alan Scott's before him, it shows how the DCU is changing. And for Boy Wonder's legacy, it sends a strong message about how important it is for love to win out in all its forms.
In a new single series called Tim Drake: Robin, written by Meghan Fitzmartin and drawn by Riley Rossmo, Tim Drake's story kept going.