Everyone loves comic book trivia, but with over 75 years of superhero comics behind us right now, there’s always some new obscure fact to learn. That’s why ComicsAlliance is going deep into the minutiae of your favorite names in comics in our continuing video series. You think you know comics? Well, here’s a few things you might not know!
This week we're taking a look at the Boy Wonder the Teen Wonder the Man Wonder, Dick Grayson, Nightwing! Beginning as the very first kid sidekick in comics and then growing into his own identity as a hero separate from Batman, Dick Grayson has been one of the most beloved characters in comics for over 75 years. In this video, we take a look at his history as half of a dynamic duo, as a hero in his own right, as Batman (twice), as a secret agent, and back again.
Dick Grayson has had a pretty interesting couple of years. He had his identity exposed, he faked his death, he went undercover as an international super-spy in an organization dedicated to finding out other heroes' secret identities and weaknesses, and he even taught a few classes in gymnastics. But for Batman's first partner, that's the superheroic equivalent of going off to college.
Now, he's donning the mask once again and returning to his former codename, and with Nightwing: Rebirth on shelves this week, ComicsAlliance spoke to writer Tim Seeley about the challenge of moving Dick back into his familiar identity, the metaphor behind his return to Gotham City, and just why it is that the first arc of the new series is called "Better Than Batman."
Dick Grayson has done it all. He was in the circus. He was the first Robin. He’s the reason almost every superhero had to have a kid sidekick. He started his own super-team with his friends. He broke away from Batman and became his own hero, and took over for his mentor and became Batman.More than once. He’s been a good cop in a bad city. He’s died and come back as a super-spy. And now, with DC Rebirth in full swing, he’s set to slip back into the black and blue and become Nightwing once again!
Oh, and if you haven’t been on the internet, he also has the unquestioned, best butt in comics. So, yeah, as you might have guessed there’s a lot of fan art of him floating (or flipping, spinning, and swinging) around out there on the internet.
In Detective Comics #27, when he first appears courtesy of Bill Finger and Bob Kane, Batman isn't really Batman just yet. He's the Shadow with a different set of clothes. Over the course of that first year, you can see the pieces start to fall into place that would stay there for the next seven decades, forming the foundation of the Batman that we still have today --- and in Detective Comics #38, released March 5th 1940, the final piece of the puzzle appears when we're introduced to Dick Grayson, better known as Robin, the Boy Wonder.
To say that Tim Seeley, Tom King and Mikel Janin are a hard act to follow is putting things mildly. In a year and a half on Grayson, they took the concept of the original Robin going undercover as a super-spy and made it one of DC's best titles, exploring strange, sinister corners of the DC Universe. When Grayson #18 hits shelves, however, Jackson Lanzing, Collin Kelly and Roge Antonio are stepping up to the plate for the next three issues ahead of the DC Rebirth relaunch of Nightwing, and it's their goal to take things to an even greater extreme.
To find out more, ComicsAlliance spoke to Lanzing and Kelly about what defines Dick Grayson as a character, their approach to building the biggest story that they can, and how they finally hit the book's limit of shirtless sexiness.
Ever since it launched, Grayson has been defined by blending the bizarre extremes of espionage action with the even more bizarre extremes of a superhero universe full of villains with guns for eyes and mind-altering hypno-contacts, and as you might expect, it's the latter that gets most of the attention. This is, after all, a spy story set in a world of masks and capes, and there are certain expectations that the genre brings with it.
This week, though, Tom King, Tim Seeley, Mikel Janin and Jeromy Cox have taken things in a decidedly more spy-inspired --- or inspyred --- direction. Not only do we get a cover that evokes the beautiful opening of A View To A Kill, and a five-page sequence of Dick Grayson singing a song that sounds an awful lot like the theme from Goldfinger, but, in case you missed it, Dick Grayson just kicked a very familiar face.
Welcome to Cast Party, the feature that imagines a world with even more live action comic book adaptations than we currently have, and comes up with arguably the best casting suggestions you’re ever going to find for the movies and shows we wish could exist.
This week I'm envisioning a gay superhero action blockbuster, whether Hollywood is ready or not. That gay superhero (gay Batman, if you want to get specific) is, of course, Midnighter. He was created by Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch, but this movie will adapt the current Midnighter series written by Steve Orlando, with art by ACO, Alec Morgan, Stephen Mooney, and David Messina.
This week DC kicks off the crossover event story "Robin War" in a comic book entitled, appropriately enough, Robin War #1. The storyline will wind through this month's issues of Grayson, Detective Comics, We Are Robin and Robin: Son of Batman, while this month's issues of Gotham Academy, Red Hood/Arsenal and Teen Titans will all tie-in to the events of the storyline. It all wraps up in next month's Robin War #2.
To help you tell your Red Robin from your Red Hood, and your Robin, singular, from your The Robins, plural, we've assembled a handy guide to the major players in "Robin War"...
I don't have a whole lot of OTPs, but Dick Grayson and Barbara Gordon are right there at the top of the list. They're two characters who have felt made for each other since the first time I saw them together, and even when they're not romantically entangled --- which is pretty frequently the case for characters that I always picture together --- and even when I don't actually want to see them romantically involved, which happens almost as often, their interactions always have a sense of history that makes them compelling and interesting.
It's that interaction that takes center stage in this week's Batgirl #45, a character piece about two people whose lives have been pulled in drastically different directions and who don't know if they'll ever have the same connection that they once did. And it's one of the best takes on their relationship that I've ever read.
Q: Someone asked me this one, so now you have to do it: who, in your "head" "canon," do you consider to be the necessary members of the Bat-family? - Benito Cereno, via Tumblr
A: Finally! I've been waiting for like five years for someone to ask me a question that would allow me to go into a needlessly in-depth explanation of how some part of Batman worked, and now, after all these years, it has happened for the very first time.
As for this particular question, it's an interesting one, and if you'd like to see Benito's answer to it, it's up on his Tumblr. If you do go look at the list, though, you'll see the problem in trying to answer it. After 75 years of collecting sidekicks, butlers, teammates and assorted hangers-on, Batman has a whole lot of people in his extended family. And if I had my way, I'd keep 'em all.
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