The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

How America’s superheroes are mourning the tragic death of the Route 29 Batman, Lenny Robinson

Leonard Robinson, here in costume on March 27, 2012, outside his Owings Mills, Md., home, was known as Batman to children in Washington area hospitals, where he visited and handed out Batman hats, shirts, backpacks and other things to brighten their days. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

When news of the Route 29 Batman’s death spread Monday, it prompted a deluge of sorrowful responses, including one from the actual Dark Knight.

Batman’s official Facebook page, which has nearly 13 million likes, posted this around 2 p.m.: “Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Leonard Robinson, who shared his love of Batman with everyone around him.”

[Route 29 Batman is killed after his Batmobile breaks down in Maryland]

By Tuesday morning, the comment from the Caped Crusader, who is listed as a “public figure,” had elicited 45,000 likes, more than 10,000 shares and about 2,000 comments, including several from fans who called for the upcoming “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” movie to honor Robinson in the credits.

“Respect to the legendary Route 29 Batman,” wrote Shane G. Walsh. “Not a normal man, he’s a true hero. A person who stood out above the rest and became a symbol of hope for those who have little to be hopeful about.”

An unofficial but widely popular Superman account, @SupermanTweets, also posted a message along with an image of Robinson visiting a sick child: “I’m so sorry to hear about this. Earth needs more people like Lenny Robinson. So sad. #RIPBatman.”

Former NFL star Ray Lewis, who some in Baltimore would swear is a superhero, honored Robinson on his Facebook page:

And on Instagram, musician John Mayer (a pop heartthrob, which in some circles is cooler than being a superhero) posted a screenshot of the ending of the Washington Post story and this personal message:

“What a moving tribute to ‘Route 29 Batman’ Lenny Robinson in the Washington Post today… This last part leveled me. This is the most beautiful, human, real, dignified thing you’ll probably read all day. Isn’t that such a big part of what life is all about, the struggle and adventure of being your own person – the one and only true version of yourself, even when you have dreams of being more like someone else? #RIPBatman #thisonegotme.”

In a single hour, it drew 18,000 likes.

About 10:30 Sunday night, Robinson, who was driving his Batmobile, pulled over with engine trouble on an unlit stretch of Interstate 70 near Hagerstown, Maryland state police said. His car was stopped in the median but still “partially in the fast lane” when he got out to check the engine, according to police. A Toyota Camry then slammed into the Batmobile, propelling the steel-framed hunk of black metal into his body. Robinson, 51, died at the scene.

[Who is the Route 29 Batman? This guy.]

DC Comics, which owns the Batman brand and has 1.5 million followers, offered its condolences:

Many others in the comics world — artists, fans, bloggers, comic con groups and news organizations — also mourned his death.