Out of the Shadow of the Bat

Posted: December 2, 2013 in Comics, Film, Movie News, Television
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Today’s Distractions
Listening: MØ — “Never Wanna Know”
Watching: House of Cards, Season 1

The name Nightwing has certainly been making the rounds recently. First, there was a rumor that he (and Wonder Woman) could be making an appearance in Zack Snyder’s Batman-infused followup to MAN OF STEEL. Word spread shortly after that Adam Driver was wanted for the role, which the Girls star quickly denied. Then came a series of tweets from The Vampire Diaries actor Steven McQueen saying he was meeting with the WB brass about portraying the hero on Arrow, which the CW show’s producer, Greg Berlanti, did not deny. And last week, DC fueled the fire by trademarking the character’s name and logo for about every piece of merchandise possible. So, be it on the big screen, small screen, or both, we’ll be seeing some version of Nightwing soon. It’s about damn time, I say.


My fondness for the all things Batman is well documented. I simply love the character, his awesome rogues gallery, the whole Gotham universe. Truth be told, though, my favorite member of the Bat-verse is not the Dark Knight himself, but his aforementioned protege. Some of you may not know the name Nightwing, but for nearly 30 years it has been the moniker of a character whose name even the most casual pop culture observer knows: Dick Grayson, the original Robin. I know what you’re thinking. “Robin? The little guy in panty hose from the 60s TV series? The try-hard who always got himself captured and hung over a shark tank or vat of toxic waste?”  NO, not that guy.

Back in 1984, an 18-year-old Dick Grayson left the Boy Wonder alter ego behind, and adopted the name Nightwing. The change actually stuck, a rarity in the constantly-retconned medium of comics. Long story short, I began reading comic books in the mid-80s, so save a few Robin origin story rehashes here and there, Nightwing is the way I’ve always known him. Since stepping out of his mentor’s shadow, dude has led the New Teen Titans, made a name for himself as protector of the city of Blüdhaven, and is one of only two men not named Bruce Wayne to ever take over the Batman mantle. His tenure behind the cape and cowl, unfortunately, didn’t last long. The Bat’s are big shoes to fill. Huge.

The Knight of Kandor

The Knight of Kandor

Part of the enduring appeal of the world’s greatest detective, and what sets him apart from other iconic, stupidly-powerful aliens and mutants, is that he is the best version of us. Granted, he has a great support system and near-endless funds to facilitate his purpose, but Bruce Wayne, in and out of the suit, is still a human being, flawed and battling inner demons just like you and me. Brilliant, disciplined, and driven, he is a man, but a man operating at peak mental and physical condition. Really, what’s not to love about a character who’s equal parts Sherlock Holmes, James Bond, and The Shadow?

Well, imagine someone who was raised by that maniac, who trained everyday with him. My love of Nightwing, and almost equal fondness for later Robin, Tim Drake (yeah, there have been several who wore the “R”), came in part from them acting as my window into the Caped Crusader’s world. They are the ones who I, and many in my generation, lived vicariously through as a yute, growing up under and fighting alongside our mentor and hero, and eventually, taking all we learned from him, and making our own way.

Here’s hoping they finally do Nightwing justice in live action over the coming years…

  1. Shawn Talley says:

    Wonder Woman has since been confirmed (FAST AND FURIOUS 6 actress Gal Gadot won the role), so stop beating around the bush, DC, and just get to calling this MAN OF STEEL “sequel” The Justice League already.

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