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Created by writers Bob Kane and Bill Finger and artist Jerry Robinson.

Dick Grayson was the original Robin, sidekick of Batman.  For decades he remained as such, but in 1984, it was decided to make Dick his own man with own separate identity.  Thus, Nightwing was born, and ever since then, he has continued to grow as a character into a great leader and admirable hero.  The 2009 story arc “Battle For The Cowl” occurred after Bruce Wayne was zapped back in time by the villain Darkseid’s Omega Beams, and the storyline saw many vie for the right to take up the mantle of Batman.  In the end, Dick Grayson earned that right, and for three years, remained as such even after Bruce returned to the present day.  Now, after the DC re-launch, Grayson has returned to being Nightwing while losing nothing of the time and experiences under the cowl.

It’s hard to pinpoint how or when I really became such a strong believer in the character.  Even in the 90s, I knew I wanted to see a Nightwing movie.  Perhaps, it’s just a fact that I’ve seen the character alongside Batman all my life from Burt Ward in the 1960s television show to Super Friends onto the Batman animated series.  He’s always been a vital component of the Batman mythos, and has gradually matured into a stronger character with great potential.  Dick also knows how to have a good time as a superhero, he smiles, makes quips, and has a lot of charisma.  However, he knows when to get serious when urgency is required.  He was always the upbeat counterweight to the more serious Batman, and that has remained part of his personality throughout the years.  I also love how Dick has his own way of doing things in how he investigates, but also, how he operates in a combat situation.  His origins as an acrobat makes for highly dynamic and exciting action sequences under the right creative team.  Beyond that, he’s been through just as much as any other top line superhero in the DCU, and his ascension to becoming Batman for a three year stretch in comics only seemed appropriate.  He truly is an equal to Bruce Wayne on many levels, and has earned the right to be a headline name alongside Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, the Flash, and Green Lantern.  He has long earned respect as a leader with his time with the Teen Titans, the Titans, the Outsiders, and the Justice League of America.  Seeing how the relationship between Dick and Bruce has developed over the years has been great.  From Dick being the protégé sidekick to maturing into his own man, trying to step out of Batman’s shadow, to butting heads with Bruce during story arcs such as Knightfall to finally resolving those conflicts in more recent times to where they are best of friends, but even best friends have their rocky moments.  Still, at the end of the day, Bruce has come to view and treat Dick as an equal and respected successor.  That is how I feel as well, and I’d be ecstatic to see a wider appreciation for the character in the mainstream.

I find it almost a shame that so much of animation falls back on Dick as a teenage Robin.  There’s so much potential to explore with the Grayson who has the longer mileage behind him as Nightwing, and the experience to become a great leader.  While the stories are fun, it just seems like those creators are dragging fans back thirty years to a Dick Grayson that is long since past.  It’s just a fact that I’ve seen this story played out time and again, and I want to see a more matured Dick Grayson tackle bigger storylines as his own man.  If for nothing else, there have been four other Robins in comics continuity since Dick left the mantle behind - Jason Todd, Tim Drake, Stephanie Brown, and Damian Wayne.  It almost supports a mindset that those other Robins are not as interesting to explore as the original, and so, they have to revert back to Dick because of that.  That is certainly not the truth.  Tim Drake has a large following, and has gained vast approval from fans for more than twenty years.  My exposure to him has been limited, but from all accounts, he is an excellent character worthy of wide spread exposure.  But point being is that, I believe having more people be exposed to Dick as Nightwing can only be a great thing, and allow for non-comic readers to become more in sync with how these characters are today instead of decades ago.  While DC keeps doing more and more things with the comics line to entice new readers, it would make more sense to have the various animated series fall more into line with current continuity so that the transition is easier to make.

Nightwing / Dick Grayson appears in books published by DC Comics
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All original content is ©2016 Nicholas J. Michalak
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