Editor-in-Chief, Daily Bugle; former convict, city editor, reporter
Daily Bugle staff, Jameson News Digest staff
Robbie is a veteran editor, manager and reporter, well respected for his wisdom, courage and integrity. He is renowned for his saintly patience, sly wit and relentless work ethic. He has some experience with hand-to-hand combat and firearms, but is unskilled and reluctant in these areas, and seldom has to rely on violence.
Joesph Robertson was born to be a journalist. As a student at Harlem High School, he worked for the school paper, becoming its editor during his senior year. He eventually won a scholarship to the Columbia School of Journalism. "Robbie" was a fearless reporter until he ran afoul of one particular subject, fellow Harlem student Lonnie Thompson Lincoln, nicknamed Tombstone (a massive albino who was taunted by his peers because of his appearance). Lonnie considered Robbie a friend of sorts since Robbie was one of the few who never mocked him; however, when Lonnie began using his considerable strength to extort money from classmates, Robbie prepared a story for the Harlem High paper exposing Lonnie's activities. Therefore, Lonnie ambushed Robbie after school and beat him up until Robbie agreed to stop the story--it was never printed. Lonnie saw this as a understanding between the two, but Robbie was disgusted with himself and determined never to compromise his ethics again. (To learn about Tombstone, click on his highlighted name above.)
Robbie then graduated from Harlem High, attended and graduated from Columbia, and eventually got a job several years later as a night-desk catcher with a Philadelphia newspaper. During this time, he also married his girlfriend, Martha.
One day a telephone tipster told Robbie he knew who had killed local crimelord Ozzy Montana. So, Robbie set up a secret meeting with the informant; however, when he arrived, Robbie found the informant dead in the grip of Tombstone (who had become a mob hitman). Robbie fled and kept quiet about the whole incident, fearful of what Tombstone might do to him or his wife if he talked.
Trying to forget both of his "Tombstone" failures, Robbie threw himself back into his journalism career. He and Martha moved back to Manhattan, where Robbie became a reporter for the Daily Bugle. Over the next twenty years, Robbie rose through the ranks to become the Bugle's city editor and one of the city's most respected journalists. While at the Daily Bugle, Robbie formed a close friendship with the Bugle's publisher and editor-in-chief, J. Jonah Jameson. Unlike Jameson, Robbie's view of superheroes (Spider-Man in particular) is good. Robbie has a more objective view of New York's super heroes, judging them by their actions, and has aided Spider-Man and other heroes on many occasions, like when Robbie helped Spider-Man capture the criminal Chameleon. Later, Robbie had exposed a corrupt politician and Spider-Man and Iceman teamed up to rescue Robertson from the vengeful politician's thugs. (To learn about the above highlighted characters/company, just click on their names.)
In addition, Robbie had become somewhat of a fatherly mentor to Peter Parker (and has often seemed aware of Peter's dual identity; but he has never voiced, exploited or acted on this knowledge, and has even protected Peter's secret on occasion, such as when he steered Bugle reporter Ken Ellis away from learning the truth). (To learn about Ken Ellis, click on his highlighted name above.)
Robbie's family life often ran less smoothly than his professional life. His firstborn son, Patrick, died while still an infant. His second son, Randy, grew to adulthood, but often fought bitterly with his father over their differing beliefs. Ultimately deciding to pursue social work as a career rather than journalism, Randy transferred to a different university, where he met and married a white Jewish woman named Amanda, much to Robbie's discomfort. Randy eventually moved back to New York and found employment as a social worker, and Robbie gradually accepted his son's mixed marriage.
After J. Jonah Jameson confessed his involvement in funding the creation of the Scorpion (amongst other things), he stepped down as the Bugle's editor-in-chief which promoted Robbie Robertson to replace him. While Jameson has remained a very hands-on presence in the Bugle as its publisher, Robbie has proved very successful and effective in his new role as the paper's chief editor. He has been a friend and mentor to reporters and columnists such as Betty Brant, Ned Leeds, and Ben Urich--amongst others. (To learn about the above characters, click on their highlighted names above.)
Then, at the height of Robbie's success, Tombstone brought his whole world crashing down. After years of rising through the ranks of organized crime as a Philadelphia mob enforcer, Tombstone began working for New York crime boss Wilson Fisk (aka Kingpin). Consumed by guilt over having helped make Tombstone's many murders possible with his silence over the years, Robbie confronted Tombstone with a gun, intending to take him into custody and tell the police everything. However, Lonnie overpowered Robbie and seriously injured him, seemingly breaking his back. (By this time, Robbie had left an audiotape with Peter Parker, confessing his role as an accessory in Tombstone's criminal career). But, when Tombstone menaced the crippled Robertson in the hospital, Robbie began to have second thoughts about going to the police. Berated by Peter Parker and reporter Ben Urich for his weakness, and supported by Randy, Robbie finally worked up the courage to face his fears. He rapidly regained his mobility through physical therapy, and made a full confession of his Tombstone secrets to his Bugle colleagues and the public. Robbie offered to resign his editorial post, but J. Jonah Jameson refused to accept his resignation. Meanwhile, Lonnie had been captured by Spider-Man, who was baffled by Tombstone's admission that he spared Robertson's life because he still regarded Robbie as his friend. (Click on the highlighted name above to learn about the Kingpin.)
The public and Robertson's colleagues seemed prepared to forgive him of his mistakes; however, Kingpin was not. A Kingpin-connected judge sent Robbie to prison for his indirect role in Tombstone's crimes. To make matters worse, Tombstone fixed it so that he and Robbie ended up in the same federal prison, where Lonnie and his cronies could continue to haunt his old friend. While in prison, Robbie befriended a massive convict known as Bruiser, who acted as his bodyguard for a time; however, Bruiser was ultimately taken unawares and beaten to death. Later, Tombstone broke out of prison, taking Robbie with him as a hostage. When Spider-Man intervened, Tombstone had the hero at his mercy and was about to kick him off an airborne helicopter, but Robbie tackled Tombstone first, sending himself and Lonnie hurtling toward Earth. Incredibly, both Tombstone and Robbie survived the fall and landed in a riverbed on Amish farmland, where Tombstone forced the Amish folk to treat the seriously injured Robbie, then challenged Robbie to a duel to settle their differences. Once again, Robertson was beaten badly, but his time Robbie ended up stabbing Tombstone with a nearby pitchfork. Badly wounded and shocked that his "friend" Robbie would do this to him, Tombstone staggered off alone, and Robbie turned himself in to the authorities. Luckily for Robbie, the late Bruiser's brother, attorney Stuart McPhee, used his connections to secure Robbie a Presidential pardon. Robbie was then released from prison and reclaimed his post at the Bugle. (To learn about Bruiser, click on his highlighted name above.)
Robbie Robertson has remained a mainstay of the Daily Bugle. When Thomas Firehart (aka Puma) engineered a hostile takeover of the paper as part of a misguided scheme to improve Spider-Man's reputation, Robbie was among the Bugle veterans who joined J. Jonah Jameson in publishing the new Jameson News Digest until Jameson regained control of the Bugle and they all returned to their old positions. Later, when Norman Osborn seized control of the Bugle, Robbie resigned in protest, but returned after Jameson squeezed Osborn out. (To learn about the above highlighted characters, just click on their names.)
More recently, Robbie has finally made some headway in moderating the anti-super-hero views of Jameson, and they have hired retired super hero Jessica Jones to collaborate with Ben Urich on a superhuman affairs column called The Pulse; however, both Urich and Jones later quit the Daily Bugle. (Click on the highlighted names above to learn about Jessica Jones and/or the the Pulse. Note: Beware of the skin-tight costume on Jessica Jones' bio page.)
To learn more about Robbie Robertson, click on the following link, http://marvel.com/universe/Robertson,_Joseph_%22Robbie%22.