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Off My Mind: What Happened to Batman's Godson?

He never became a 'Robin.' Was he simply discarded?

Batman may be known as the World's Greatest Detective, the Dark Knight and simply the hero that has a contingency plan for every situation. Another thing he is known for is taking young children under his wing. Whether it's a longing for the childhood he lost after witnessing the murder of his parents, Batman has opened up his home to other children that have suffered traumatic losses.

Everyone knows about Dick Grayson. His parents were killed when performing on the trapeze at Haly's Circus. Jason Todd had parents that abandoned him was living on the streets. Tim Drake seemed to have a good life having sought out Batman and later losing his parents through tragic means.

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All of these young boys went on to become Robin, Batman's partner in fighting crime. But there was one lad that didn't get this opportunity. In 1971, it was revealed that Batman actually had a godson. As with most in Batman's life, this child lost his parents but was never heard from again, despite Batman's promise. Whatever happened to Batman's godson?

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The story of Batman's godson began (and ended) in THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD #98. Batman went to visit his dying friend, Roger Burnim. It could be because this was before my time but I don't recall ever hearing about Roger Burnim. On his deathbed, he referred to Batman as his "oldest and best of friends." Roger's last request was for Batman to protect his son, Enoch, and his wife, Clorinda. Batman mentioned that because he was Enoch's godfather, he would give his life for the boy or his mother.

Roger died shortly after and Batman promised to be there when Enoch needed him, "You can reach me via the Bat-line." When a strange murder turned up and Clorinda phoned Batman, he returned to the Burnim estate. A strange ghost-like figure had been terrorizing Clorinda and Enoch.

It turns out to be Phantom Stranger and he tells Batman the Burnim house is actually a coven for witches and warlocks and Clorinda and Enoch are their masters. While Batman was recovering from a blow to the head, he witnessed little Enoch attempt to kill him. Could this be why we've never heard more about Batman's godson? There's actually more to the story.

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Suspecting that Clorinda married Roger in order to get a child, Batman and Phantom Stranger attempted to get proof they actually had Roger killed. Narrowly escaping a ritual where worshippers bowed at Enoch's feet, Batman later grabbed the child as he innocently played with his toys in his room (yes, Batman took part in kidnapping).

The scared child was observed for days by a psychiatrist in the hopes he would show some sign of occult powers in order to get legal proof. Going back to the house, they were surprised to discover Enoch there with the worshippers. The answer was there was actually two children born, apparently unknown to Batman's friend Roger (the birth certificate had been stolen or destroyed). The good child had been locked away all these years.

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In a battle with the evil Enoch and his mother, the two met their end and Batman now had a new godson, Roger Jr. Visiting his old friend's grave, he made the vow that this child would have his love and protection "always." Yet, was there ever any mention of him after this? Roger Jr. was left without a family. As his godfather, did Batman take him to Wayne Manor? Did his friend Roger know Batman was Bruce Wayne or was he simply close friends with the hero? Why didn't Roger Jr. ever get recruited into being a 'Robin'? Since he was used to living hidden from his own father in his home, did he live out his years in a dark corner of Wayne Manor (or the Batcave)? There are so many unanswered questions.

It's possible that Batman used his influence as Bruce Wayne to get Roger Jr. a new home away from the craziness of his life. Maybe Roger Jr. was too innocent of a child and didn't have the edge needed to become a crimefighter. Batman could have shipped him off to some prestigious border school and set him up to have a life of his own as long as he never visited or called during the holidays.

It was the 70s and it was a pre-Crisis story. To my knowledge, we've never heard about Roger Jr. ever again. The fact is, Batman may have provided a safe life for his godson (less than he could say for his evil godson, Enoch) but there's one thing we've learned from this. Batman would make a horrible godfather. Don't expect any birthday cards or visits. It might be cool to tell your friends that Batman is your actual godfather but it doesn't appear he'd really have any interest in being there for a growing child unless you showed the potential to wear a red, green and yellow costume.