saturn-onyx and I were just discussing this in my ask, and I decided that I might as well move it out to the public because I have extensive headcanon to share (and I’d like to hear others’ thoughts about this as well!).
I really love bodies. I love unique traits and characteristics, and I love what they say about a character’s life and personality. I know that in comics we tend to see a very limited number of body types expressed, mostly due to style and visual continuity, but in fiction you have the freedom to expand on details. Prose is my preferred medium, because you can use as many words as you damn well feel like. So I have pretty well-developed headcanon on what I think the characters I write look like, which is why it’s difficult for me to do fancasts and such.
Dick: Realistically, Dick shouldn’t be very tall. The average height for male gymnasts is 5’5”, and he comes from a line of excellent acrobats. 5’10” is kind of a stretch for him—-we’ll blame it on what Bruce fed that boy—-but he’s regularly drawn with the same build/size as Bruce. I kind of hate that! To me, Dick should be shouldery and have a well-developed upper-body, but he isn’t bulky. He’d be around 150-160lbs—-lean and compact, because unnecessary muscle mass SERIOUSLY slows someone like him down. One of the things about the typical gymnast/acrobatic body type is that they usually look much smaller when they’re in loose casual clothes, which I think is believable for Dick. So often, I see heroes drawn as bulging out of their street clothes, and I’m just like uh-huh, yeah, sure, nobody suspects they’re actually a superhero. In my personal headcanon, Dick’s Batman uniform is heavily padded through the core area in order to change his exaggerated inverted-triangle bodyshape into Bruce’s more rectangular one. Also, his boots totally give him a couple more inches of height. Alfred incorporated these details without consulting Dick, so the first time Dick put on the uniform he was like “I look like Broooo-ooooo-ooooose SOB” and Alfred rubbed his back and promised not to call the kevlar padding the Bat-Brassiere. (Damian did not make this promise.)
Jason: Jay, on the other hand, is a beast. God only knows what Talia fed HIM, because he went from being the tiniest precious baby bird to being a tank with a hard-on for brutal justice. He’s still bendy and capable of being light on his feet, but he’s more comfortable with standing his ground and just ruining anything that crashes up against his mighty pecs. I think that he has a tendency to slouch and roll his shoulders in—-making him seem smaller; he’s not even all the way used to his size—-so when he stands up straight it’s a little startling. He’s a complete mesomorph, more rectangular and broad than his fellow grown-up Robins. I know that this isn’t artistically depicted, but I think that he doesn’t have the typical “bodybuilder” physique. He’s got biceps and thighs that could strangle a man (and let’s be real: they probably have), but he’s anything but thin. Depending on his level of activity/obsession (I think that, when he’s engrossed with a plan or an idea, he loses a lot of his appetite. He eats to keep going, but he doesn’t waste time enjoying it. So when he’s NOT engrossed with something, he tends to eat more), he has a little belly fat. He loses and gains both muscle and fat easily. Idk, I have this ridiculous mental association with Jason as a grizzly bear. He eats what he wants, sleeps as much as he wants, and ruins your shit because he’s a bear, fuck you.
Tim: Marcus To draws the perfect Tim. End stop. His height/musculature varies wildly between artists, but my headcanon for him is that his height caps off at 5’6”. He’s considerably shorter than the other bats in the colony, but I think that just goes to show how you don’t have to be a massively muscled automaton to be a threat. Not every fight is a match-up of brute strength vs. brute strength, so I love it when Tim relies on his head instead of his fists. He’s a very capable fighter, but he doesn’t have to be a big man. He has more of an ectomorphic frame, narrow and lean, and he has difficulty gaining weight/muscle. Plus, the acrobatics don’t come naturally to him—-he has to work at it. He’s a smart enough kid to know that he should play to his strengths, and his smarts ARE his biggest strength. Most of his power doesn’t come from his upper-body, but his lower—-he’s got strong legs, and favors kicks and jumps to punches. It started as boyish emulation of Big Brother Dick, but he realized pretty quickly that it’s what works best for him. Tim Drake: badass hero for the short dudes who despair that they’ll never be big and cool and badass.
Damian: I think that one of the biggest differences between Bruce/Jason and Tim/Dick is that during their pubescent years, Tim and Dick’s training was specifically focused to keep them light and fast. Jason and Bruce were solo fighters during their late teens/early twenties, so it’s not surprising that the focus of their training was strength and bulk. Tim and Dick were in the partner/support role, so their personal strength and endurance wasn’t key. I feel that as he gets older, Damian will be a mix ectomorph/endomorph because he has Bruce’s genetics, but that partner/support training. He’ll end up with an oddly balanced physique, since he’ll have his father’s frame, but without much of the muscle weight through his core.
Damian’s been trained from a very young age to be deadly. His trainers have taught him to fucking destroy his opposition, despite his size and strength. To me, that says that he’s been taught how to hit. Since he’s already equipped with that knowledge, he doesn’t need to build muscle bulk—-in fact, it’d slow him down if he was as broad as his father. In my head, adult Damian has a well-developed upper-torso, but a lean core and narrow hips. Bruce may be his Batman now, but he’s his caretaker, not his teacher. Dick was a true mentor to him, and he personally trained him. Damian will continue to follow his training exercises for years, I think, and how you train definitely affects the way your body builds.
WELL I think that’s more than a sufficient amount of TL;DR for now. I may follow this up with Feelings About Lady Bodies.