In the recently released Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Comic-Con official trailer, there is a scene where we see a worn out Robin costume with spray paint on it reading:

on you

defiled robin costume

Is there a case in the comics where something like this happened?

I know The Joker killed Jason Todd, but I don't recall anything about messing up the costume. I also don't know offhand if any of the other Robin incarnation were every severely beaten by The Joker (presumably the culprit in this photo). Perhaps a pre-Nightwing incarnation?

I'm not asking for any details about the upcoming movie or any conjecture, just whether or not there is any comic basis for this movie. I know The Dark Knight Trilogy followed some comic stories, but on the other hand Man of Steel didn't seem to follow any.

  • 1
    Are you asking if the Joker has ever spray painted a Robin?
    – user16696
    Commented Jul 13, 2015 at 22:23
  • 1
    @cde Has anyone ever defiled a Robin suit in such a way? Or, has it ever been shown that one of the suits he keeps in display has writing on it? I seem to recall seeing shots of battle-worn suits, but not sure about messages on them. It doesn't have to be the Joker, but he or Harley are the likely culprits in this example.
    – user31178
    Commented Jul 13, 2015 at 22:32
  • The Robin costume was vandalized by Joker in the movie Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, but that movie is in no way related to the upcoming Batman vs. Superman
    – Jeff
    Commented Jul 16, 2015 at 20:06

2 Answers 2


TL;DR: I have been unable to locate any instances of a Robin uniform being spray-painted. That said, the scene in question is most likely a nod to long-time images associated with the characters.

The idea of a Robin suit on display has been long associated with Batman. It became a prominent sight/trope with the character following the death of the second Robin - Jason Todd - in the "A Death in the Family" arc of 1989. Afterwards, Batman kept the suit on display in the Bat-Cave not only as a tribute to the fallen sidekick, but also as a constant reminder to himself of the price his crusade has cost himself & others.

enter image description here

The Joker, on the other hand, has long been associated with graffiti and vandalism. This trope was used in 1989's "Batman", with Jack Nicholson's Joker often vandalizing art, decor, and even his own girlfriend - continuously putting his own unique "spin" on the valued objects of others. The association was used heavily in the marketing for 2008's "The Dark Knight" as well, with much of the marketing material for the Joker character revolving around playing cards & graffiti.

enter image description here

Without context, it's impossible to know what the scene means within the DC Cinematic Universe. We know that Batman is considered by most to be an urban legend, despite operating in Gotham for years. Therefore, we can assume that the Robin suit isn't being displayed in public. That means we can speculate a couple of possible meanings:

  • The suit was spray-painted that way when Batman found Robin dead, and Batman keeps it as is to remind himself of Joker's depravity.
  • The suit was NOT vandalized before this scene, so Batman finding it vandalized like this indicates to him (and the audience) that The Joker has found his way into the Batcave somehow... or wherever it is that Batman keeps the suit.

Hopefully we'll have a better answer regarding the graffiti and its meaning once the film is released next year.

  • You may an excellent point. Looking at the still image, it's almost impossible to see the costume and not think "Jason Todd" and "Killed by The Joker". So while there's likely no specific instances of the costume like that, it's meant to immediately draw our minds to other iconic points in the comic books.
    – user31178
    Commented Jul 16, 2015 at 19:10

All movie versions of comic books have a basis for their stories, but they will always be more inspirations instead of handbooks. Just like THE WALKING DEAD: the TV series uses the comic books as a guideline rather than a rule. Otherwise, how can they surprise you?

Imagine you are a producer/director of this new movie with both Superman and Batman in it. You are aware of the comic book roots of these characters, but are allowed a few bits of dramatic license to accomplish two important things: inform those who are new to these stories about significant events, and prevent audiences from guessing where things are going. Since HA HA HA is universally associated with The Joker, the filmmakers decided spray-painting the costume is the fastest way to associate Batman with The Joker, and with a former Robin who is no longer present. Since the costume has bullet holes in it and the iconic HA HA HA spray-painted on it, the audience can safely assume The Joker was responsible for Robin's absence. Also, since the Robin costume is never (to my knowledge) spray-painted in the comics, this costume lets the audience know that this version of these stories is going to be different. So you get all this information in one quick shot instead of having to endure long explanations of why that costume is there.

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