Why Did Batman Slap Robin?
Comics | Superheroes

Why Did Batman Slap Robin?

One of the most famous memes around the net is the one where Batman slaps Robin mid-sentence because of a stupid thing he is about to say, but he never finishes the sentence. Since its inception, the meme has also been adapted into several different variants, either using different versions of the same characters or different characters all together. That famous meme is a comic book image that actually happened like that, but with a completely different text and context. Ever wondered what those are? Keep reading to find out!

In the alternative reality of World’s Finest Comics #153 (1965), Batman slapped Robin because the Boy Wonder opposed his revenge plan to kill Superman together with Lex Luthor and because he expressed his doubts that Superman indeed killed his father. Luckily enough, this narrative was never considered canon.

DC Comics, for those of you that are not familiar with the story behind the comics, is a major American comic book publisher founded back in 1934. Along with Marcel Comics, it is the most popular comic book publisher in the United States. DC Comics is a major player in the comic book business and is the “home” of many famous comic book characters such as Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash and many others.

Now that we’ve given you a short introduction, let us discuss the topic of this article in more detail.

Origin of the Batman slapping Robin scene

As we’ve established, the meme is based on an actual comic book scene that appeared in 1965, in World’s Finest Comics #153. The story, “The Clash of Cape and Cowl”, was written by Edmond Hamilton and drawn by Curt Swan. It was essentially an alternative reality story that was set on Earth-153 and is thus not part of the Prime-Earth canon. The story was even then dubbed an “Imaginary Novel”, which essentially told the readers that it was a non-canon, alternative story.

The story focuses on one of the many clashes between Batman and Superman. In his childhood, Bruce Wayne lived with his widowed father, Thomas Wayne, who was a well-known scientist. Dr. Wayne was an advocate for justice and as such he began working with Green Kryptonite to find an antidote that would help the young hero named Superboy, who was weak to the strange mineral. Dr. Wayne informed Superboy of his research, but had not yet been able to provide him with the antidote as it had not been tested at the time.

Unfortunately, Dr. Wayne was found murdered in his laboratory that night as Bruce entered the room just as the killer left in a hurry. Bruce is shocked to find that the Kryptonite solution has been stolen. Assuming Superboy was responsible for his father’s murder, Bruce vows to take revenge on Superboy and begins training himself to be the greatest detective in the world and the best crime fighter.

Years later, Bruce Wayne takes on the masked identity of Batman and soon adopts Dick Grayson, another orphan who would later become Batman’s crime-fighting partner, Robin. Batman and Robin become infamous in Gotham City, but the team disband as soon as Robin learns of Batman’s hatred of the now-adult Superman. Robin decides to leave Batman after being abruptly slapped in the face for trying to support Superman, and Batman uses a hypnosis machine taken from the Crime Doctor to make Robin forget all about him and his time as Boy Wonder; he will only remember that he is an orphan named Dick Grayson. Dick goes to an orphanage and Batman attempts his personal revenge to find evidence of Superman’s guilt for his father’s death.

To this end, he infiltrates Superman’s Fortress of Solitude and searches for the Kryptonite solution that his father created. When he can’t find the chemical, Batman decides to team up with Superman’s biggest villain, Lex Luthor, to bring down the Man of Steel. Batman and Luthor manage to capture Superman with Kryptonite, but before they can eliminate the Man of Steel, Batman realizes that Luthor is the criminal responsible for the murder of his father. Batman saves Superman, but is seriously injured by an explosion from one of Luther’s guns. Superman defeats Luthor and speaks to Batman, who is fatally injured and dies. With his last breath, Batman apologizes to Superman for holding a lifelong grudge against him, and Superman makes sure Luthor gets the justice he deserves.

The slapping scene happened during the quarrel between Batman and Robin.

Origins of the Batman slapping Robin meme

As for the meme, the first known iteration appeared online in 2008 when someone obviously found the image and modified it to be a funny image referring to Batman’s family history.

The meme’s original purpose was to refer to the deaths of Batman’s parents, hence the alternative name – the “My Parents Are Dead” meme. A lot of the original memes featured Robin trying to say or ask Batman something that included his parents, to which Batman would reply that his parents are dead while slapping Robin across the face.

Due to the – at least from a modern perspective – violent and unusual character of the image, a lot of people though that it was not an original comic book panel but rather a modification of some panel but it soon turned out that it was an original image, as explained in the preceding section. And with that, history was created.

The meme was originally confined to the “My Parents Are Dead” phrase and most of the jokes were based on that comic book fact. Yet, as the meme’s popularity grew, people started to use it more and more and it soon expanded, as people realised that the two dialogue clouds could be used for other jokes. This not only increased the meme’s popularity, but also made it a source of great jokes that made people laugh on many occasions.

An interesting thing with this meme is that it not only evolved when the jokes were concerned, but it also serves as inspiration for a large number of adaptations featuring other versions of the same characters (e.g. LEGO Batman and Robin) or completely different characters in the same situation. You can see such examples below:

10 best “Batman Slapping Robin” memes

Before we wrap up this story, we are going to give you a list of the 10 funnies “Batman Slapping Robin” memes we’ve found on the web in hope that they make you laugh as much as they made us laugh:

This one made us laugh because it was a great and ingenious adaptation of the meme in accordance with the current situation. The COVID-19 pandemic took a toll on all of us, but it is such humor that made the situation a bit more bearable. Sadly, this meme is probably going to be come outdated very soon, but it will remain a piece of history nevertheless.
As far as crossovers go – and there have been a few – the Wolverine “slapping” Robin variant is certainly one of the best. This crossover is funny for several different reasons – Wolverine being very similar to Batman, Robin complaining about Batman only to be sliced up, etc. – and it is undoubtedly going to remain a classic among the “Batman Slapping Robin” memes.
This is one of the memes that evolved into its own story, where Robin rebels and slaps Batman back in the second panel of the meme. This one is funny primarily because you don’t really expect such a twist and it was truly brilliantly executed, especially the editing part (although Robin’s arm does look a bit like it belongs to Red Hulk).
The grammar Nazis out there are going to love this one, especially because the double irony. First we have Batman slapping Robin because of his use of street slang and seemingly correcting him, only to be slapped by Catwoman (we assume?) because he himself used bad grammar and deserved to be slapped because of it. Hilarious.
Ah, Facebook… and the filters and the other shit we had to tolerate from out social networking-obsessed friends. Batman took the stand against this phenomenon and slapped Robin, who was a symbol of everything that really annoyed us when our friends bothered us with such nonsense. So, thank you Batman, thank you for taking a stand and doing what we all wished we could’ve done.
Comic Sans has been the target of internet “abuse” for a while and it is only logical that Batman had to find an excuse for slapping Robin because he was using Comic Sans. The author of this meme modified the original text and made it into a funny hommage to another popular online joke. This is one of our favourite versions of this meme.
If we disregard the obvious grammatical error in Batman’s reply, this meme is actually a great internal joke that references Batman’s relationship with his trusted butler, Alfred Pennyworth. Robin tried to take a stand, he tried to be Alfred, but he got a deserved slap that really confirmed why he has been dubbed Boy Blunder by some of Batman’s villains. This was a dumb move, Boy Blunder.
Batman slapping Robin has become so popular that other superheroes also wanted in on it. This is why some Internet genius decided to give them the opportunity to do so, forming a line behind Batman full of superheroes that want their chance at Robin. If it weren’t child abuse, it would be even more hilarious, especially if you observe the guys in the line more carefully.
Batman once again took a stand against a big issue today – pompous children. We all know those annoying kids that aren’t even teenagers but thing they understand the plights of existence better than anyone. Well, they don’t; they’re just annoying. And Batman took a stand against that, slapping Robin, who was once again used as a symbol of these annoying children.
Well, this one had to make the list. This was the first such meme, from 2008, that started everything. Robin asks something that involved Batman’s parents and he gets properly slapped because – Batman’s parents are “DEEAAAAAAAD!!!”. This is an undeniable classic and it is completely understandable why we decided to finish our gallery with this particular meme.

And that’s it for today. We hope you had fun reading this and that we helped solve this dilemma for you. See you next time and don’t forget to follow us!


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