Saturday, April 29, 2006

I <3 Nightwing

My hatred of Devin Grayson (as far as her Nightwing work goes) and the ongoing web discussions about Nightwing has inspired me to create my own blog. I feel that someone who loves the Nightwing character should speak out for poor, abused Dick Grayson.

Now most everyone who reads comics knows that Dick Grayson started out as Batman's wise-cracking side kick, less permanantly traumatized by witnessing his parents' death than Bats (in the sense he managed to still smile, where Bats takes everything very seriously). Some recent discussion about the idea that Nightwing isn't doing so well as a character because of being written as "the guy who used to be Robin" as opposed to "the guy who Robin grew up to become" has intrigued me.

Let's go back to Nightwing's beginnings. I have both Nightwing Year One and The New Teen Titans: The Judas Contract as references here. The whole idea was for Dick to become his own man and step away from the role of kid sidekick. In the Teen Titans book We have just a general grand entrance even down to the hokey "Are you people ready? Say hello to---Nightwing". I would like to mention that even inbetween vigilante gigs Dick is the only Titan to get away from Deathstroke. In fact the whole time period of the Judas Contract is key to understanding the character of Nightwing. There are some pretty character defining quotes in here:
DGrayson: Don't you see? Robing will always be the back half of "Batman and...". But Robin belongs with Batman fighting at his side. Touble is - I don't.
Deathstroke: Tricky brat - gotta admire him though. Took one chance in a million and he made it. He got away.
Deathstroke: Grayson's their leader beacuse he's the best. Powers augment a person, they don't make 'im.

The crux of all of this, the point Devin Grayson and now Bruce Jones seemed to have missed, is this quote:
DG: I'm not the same kid. I've changed.

If the problem is writing him as "the guy who was Robin" then obviously they haven't done their character research.

I think the main problem is more simple though. Readin through the Infinite Crisis storylines I've noticed that all the people who write Nightwing as a "guest-star" give the character the respect he deserves. I attribute this the the idea that when writing someone else's character you try to respect that character and work within the personality that has been established for them. Yet his own writer's can't seem to find his voice. This, I believe, is due to two issues.
1. The tempatation to screw around with a pre-established character to make them into your own creation. This creates problems in continuity based books. If you want to create your own character, do so. Don't try to turn a pre-established character into something it's not. Character growth = awesome. Character butchering = NOT COOL.
2. Lack of respect for a character. The #1 rule of writing (as far as I'm concerned) is to love your characters. Why was it so sad when Barry Allen died? Because the writers loved that character - and so the readers did too. If you don't respect your characters neither will the readers. Devin Grayson didn't respect and love Nightwing - so she made him into someone no one likes (at least no one who liked him as an actual hero).

Nightwing is a true hero - because it's not about the costume he wears, or his physical prowess, or even his intellect. It's about his spirit. I will continue to hope for the day that DC puts a writer on Nightwing who loves the character the way I do.


Anonymous JIm said...

I agree. I just ish they would let characters grow up a little more. Certain Iconic characters are not allowed to move on. Nightwing should become Batman.

Saturday, April 29, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let me start off saying that I despise Robin. Always have, always will. Only when he moves out from under the shadow of Batman is he an interesting character. Chuck Dixon's Nightwing was a great book. He found Dick's voice, created a new world for him to play in and gave him a great supporting cast and some new villains(what ever happened to Torgue??) Grayson ruined the book. She is very liberal in her politics and for whatever reason, liberals can't stand high moraled heroes and try to tear them down and drag them through the mud. Look at what Meltzer did in ID Crisis or Rucka did to Batman. For years, Devin fought with editorial to get permission to make Dick a homosexual. When that didn't happen she started dirtying the character up, had him raped and nearly made him a murderer. I'm thrilled that she's off the book but I'm saddened that Nightwing still doesn't have the right writer. One of the points of Infinite Crisis seems to be showing us how great of a character Nightwing is. He is the best of that generation of characters and should be up at the top of the heap. Maybe one day some writer will be able to make him the top selling character that he deserves to be.

Saturday, April 29, 2006  
Blogger Brainiac6 said...

It would have been nice if Dick had the chance to be Batman for the 1 year later aftermath, but despite DCs unwillingness to make such drastic changes I do have to admire the changes they've actually initiated. I mean, Batman's got to be getting kind of old... I'm waiting for Kingdom Come Batman.
I don't mind the Robin character when he's done right. I have to say I'm pretty fond of Tim. Dick was best as Robin when he was becoming Nightwing though - leading the Titans and such. Jason is a waste of space. I wish he had died for real, and then again. I like Tim. He's a good character and has potential to be much more.
And yeah. Infinite Crisis did make Nightwing out as he really should be, just waiting for his own book to catch up with that /rolls eyes

Saturday, April 29, 2006  
Anonymous Jeff said...

My favorite version of Bruce Wayne has always been the crotchety old man he was on Batman Beyond. Imagine Dick taking over as Batman...finally we'd have a character who wasn't so emotionally distant and scarred that Bats could finally get married(to whom though? Babs? Kory? Huntress??) Dick as Batman, married with a bun in the oven and old man Bruce Wayne helping him from behind the scenes, grumpy as hell. Really like to see that someday.

Saturday, April 29, 2006  
Blogger Brainiac6 said...

haha, yeah that would be pretty funny. And I did like in Batman Beyond how Bats could still beat people up - he was just too old for the swinging from building to building acrobatics. And Dick should marry Babs - Kory is okay and all, and "Nighfire" would be pretty cool, but she never seemed right for Dick intellectually. Huntress would be way too Earth 2. That and shes still kind of bitchy.

Saturday, April 29, 2006  

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