Completely satisfied 80th Anniversary, Dick Grayson! I suppose leaping round Gotham rooftops retains you wanting younger and wholesome. From Robin to Nightwing and past, the onetime Boy Marvel has been via lots these previous eight many years, with loads of memorable moments which have gone on to characterize a number of the finest the comedian ebook medium has to supply. Listed below are twelve defining ones which have helped form him into the beloved character that he’s right this moment.
Like all good retrospective, it’s necessary to begin in the beginning. Let’s return eighty years to Detective Comics #38 and take a look at Dick Grayson’s origin. Most of us know the story—circus acrobat watches his dad and mom die and is taken below Batman’s wing. He turns into Batman’s companion and stops his dad and mom’ killer. The fundamental story beats are so timeless, that the origin stays MOSTLY unchanged to today. Fortunately just a few vital additions have been made. For instance, discover how within the authentic story Batman kind of kidnaps Dick Grayson with out telling anybody. Fortunately, later retellings had Bruce formally undertake the boy, however it’s a must to surprise if the circus individuals have been apprehensive.
This story was not solely necessary for Dick’s historical past, however for comics on the whole. Robin the Boy Marvel began the pattern of superheroes having child sidekicks, which resulted in basic characters like Wally West, Roy Harper and extra!
His First Solo Characteristic
In 1949, Robin struck out on his personal for the primary time. Though Dick wouldn’t be prepared to depart Batman for an additional few many years, the Boy Marvel received his first style of solo success early in Star Spangled Comics. The anthology sequence featured Robin from Star Spangled Comics #65-#130. The tales featured Robin fixing teenage-related crimes and preventing forgettable villains just like the Clock, who was a much less royal model of the Clock King. Batman often appeared, however this was Robin’s time to shine. Whereas these goofy Golden Age tales will not be as memorable as Dick’s later Blüdhaven adventures, he wouldn’t be the hero he’s right this moment with out these comics.
Forming the Teen Titans
Batman was chargeable for making Dick Grayson right into a hero, however the Teen Titans have been chargeable for making him into a frontrunner. In The Courageous and the Daring #54, Robin teamed up with Child Flash and Aqualad to assist a city cope with their generational divide and cease a villain known as Mister Tornado. The group reunited in The Courageous and the Daring #60 the place they have been joined by Marvel Lady and started calling themselves the Teen Titans. Main the Titans helped Robin discover his personal sense of goal away from Batman and develop as each a hero and an individual. The Titans have gone on to develop into some of the necessary components of the DC Universe, starring in a number of animated sequence and a live-action present on the DC Universe service. Dick wouldn’t be the person he’s right this moment with out them.
Flying off to Hudson College
Some individuals have the concept that Bruce and Dick have been inseparable till he graduated from Robin to Nightwing, however the shift truly started fifteen years earlier. In Batman #217, Dick Grayson, now a highschool graduate, left Wayne Manor and took a cab to Hudson College.
The brand new setup would change each heroes without end. Whereas Robin had his Golden Age solo function and Batman would often struggle crime on his personal, nearly each Batman comedian since 1940 had featured the Dynamic Duo as a workforce. Dick’s transfer started a brand new precedent for Batman solo adventures, whereas Robin fought crime within the school city of New Carthage. Dick’s school adventures have been featured in backup tales in Detective Comics, the place Robin quickly grew to become the large man on campus. Like all school scholar, Dick would often come residence to Wayne Manor to do laundry, eat a few of Alfred’s cooking and briefly reunite the workforce of Batman and Robin. Nightwing might have been fifteen years away, however this was step one in Dick Grayson turning into his personal man.
His Partnership (and Romance) with Barbara Gordon
Robin and Batgirl had teamed up earlier than, however issues took a flip in Batman Household #1. Dick was now not a Boy Marvel, and was now a university man. Throughout considered one of his college breaks, he served as an aide to the now Congresswoman Barbara Gordon. In fact, it wasn’t lengthy earlier than one thing occurred that required them to enter battle as Robin and Batgirl, this time in opposition to the ghost of Benedict Arnold.
Cease taking a look at me like that, I’m not joking.
You’d suppose that the ghost of America’s biggest traitor can be essentially the most notable a part of the problem, but it surely was truly the kiss Batgirl gave Robin in the course of the ultimate act. It was meant to close the previous sidekick up, but it surely wound up awakening emotions in Robin that spawned into the legendary Dick and Babs romance. Subsequent time you need to impress your pals, inform them that the legendary Dick/Babs ship started with Benedict Arnold’s ghost!
The New Teen Titans and Starfire
In 1980, a brand new workforce of Teen Titans reunited and rocked the comedian ebook trade to its core. The sequence was recurrently a prime vendor and elevated the DC Universe to heights it had by no means seen earlier than. The Teen Titans’ goofy Silver and Bronze Age adventures have been left behind for extra mature storytelling and a extra serialized method. These adventures have been the ultimate section of Dick’s life as Robin, and most of the early New Teen Titans points had the Boy Marvel considering his place on this planet. He had outgrown his function as Batman’s junior companion, and he hadn’t discovered his manner in school, so who was he?
Along with being some of the iconic workforce books in comedian historical past, this sequence additionally launched Robin to Princess Koriand’r, in any other case generally known as Starfire. Subsequent to Batgirl, Starfire has been the largest romance in Dick’s life. In truth, it will be correct to say Starfire has formed Dick nearly as a lot as Bruce, Barbara and Alfred have.
This was the large second, of us! After leaving the Robin identification behind in The New Teen Titans #39, Dick took just a few months to contemplate what his subsequent step was earlier than he unveiled his Nightwing persona in Tales of the Teen Titans #44. This epic milestone occurred throughout an iconic story known as “The Judas Contract,” which marked the cumulation of the final 4 years of Titans tales. The entire Titans had been captured, aside from Dick, who teamed up with a brand new hero named Jericho to rescue his buddies, and within the course of, donned his Nightwing costume for the primary time.
I admit, his first look isn’t as placing because the black costume we’re all conversant in, but it surely labored for its time (and it appears nice when George Perez attracts it!). For 44 years, Dick had been Robin in comics, radio exhibits, newspaper strips, cartoons and live-action productions. It was unthinkable to think about issues would ever be any completely different, however Nightwing has all the time been a trailblazer. Child sidekicks often didn’t develop up and graduate into their very own identities, however Dick Grayson modified the sport for everybody.
Turning into the Bat: Take One
They are saying all of us develop into our dad and mom at some point, and in Dick’s case that meant taking up the Batman identification. In 1994, a storyline known as “Prodigal” ran in all of the Batman titles, which featured Dick Grayson turning into Batman whereas Bruce Wayne took off on a secret mission. Dick had been damage ever since Bruce selected John Paul Valley to be the substitute Batman throughout “Knightfall” and this storyline was seen as a manner of setting issues proper. For the primary time, the dynamic (no pun supposed) had been flipped, and Dick Grayson had his personal Robin (Tim Drake) to again him up. Dick’s time as Batman helped him get his life again on observe after his damaged engagement to Starfire and his emotional departure from the Titans. His time because the Bat might have been brief, however Dick Grayson proved that he was the precise man for the job.
So, now that Nightwing was his personal man, he wanted his personal place. After leaving the Titans, Dick Grayson fought crime round Gotham, but when we’re being trustworthy that’s all the time been Batman’s metropolis. How can Nightwing depart Bruce’s shadow when it extends over the whole metropolis?
All that modified in 1996 when Nightwing was given his personal ongoing sequence for the primary time. Whereas Dick had his personal options, workforce books, one-shots and mini-series, this was his first time getting his personal ongoing, which meant shifting to a brand new residence. Nightwin went throughout the river from Gotham to a metropolis known as Blüdhaven, which was even worse than his previous residence. Nonetheless, since Nightwing #1, Blüdhaven has been the closest factor to a house that Dick has. A number of instances he’s set down roots within the metropolis and fought to take down its legal underworld.
There’s multiple approach to struggle crime, and in 1999’s Nightwing #31, Dick Grayson determined to assist Blüdhaven clear up their streets by becoming a member of the police academy. Blüdhaven was a city and not using a Jim Gordon, and town’s police division was stuffed with corruption. Dick determined to be the change he wished to see, and earlier than lengthy he was patrolling the streets as a police officer…and the rooftops as Nightwing. The transfer stunned Batman, who was pleased with his former sidekick for making a life outdoors of his costumed identification, however perplexed that Dick would select a occupation that requires you to hold a firearm.
Dick Grayson’s time as a cop led to Nightwing #83, when considered one of his superiors realized he was Nightwing and requested him to resign as a result of his double identification was a transparent battle of curiosity. Though Dick needed to depart the drive behind, he might maintain his head excessive understanding he made a optimistic influence on his group.
Coaching Damian and Turning into the Bat: Take Two
After the occasions of “Batman R.I.P.” and “Remaining Disaster,” Bruce Wayne was lacking and presumed useless. However Gotham nonetheless wanted a Batman and Dick as soon as once more answered the decision…solely this time he wouldn’t be getting a Robin as cooperative as Tim Drake.
2009’s Batman and Robin #1 featured the daybreak of a brand new Dynamic Duo as Dick did his finest to rein in Bruce’s son Damian. It’s arduous to think about, however Damian was much more cussed and bloodthirsty then than he’s now. The most recent Robin was one unhealthy resolution away from turning into a super-villain, and dealing with his angle was one of many greatest challenges Dick Grayson had confronted up to now in his profession. By the point Bruce Wayne returned to Gotham, Dick Grayson had taught Damian persistence, compassion and restraint. The present Robin has a vibrant future forward of him, and plenty of that credit score has to go to Dick. In some methods, Damian is likely to be Dick’s biggest legacy as a mentor.
Agent of Spyral
Dick Grayson by no means stops reinventing himself! He’s been an acrobat, Robin, Nightwing, Batman, a police officer, and in 2014, he added “tremendous spy” to his resume. After the occasions of “Eternally Evil,” the world thought that Nightwing was useless, so Batman despatched his former companion on an undercover project to infiltrate the spy group generally known as Spyral. Readers thrilled to Dick’s espionage adventures in a brand new, markedly completely different sequence titled Grayson. The storytelling was a far cry from what followers had learn throughout Dick’s time in Gotham or Blüdhaven—this was as a lot a James Bond movie as a superhero comedian. Ultimately, although, Dick returned to his iconic Nightwing identification, however his time as an agent of Spyral was a enjoyable diversion and an underrated chapter within the Boy Marvel’s historical past.
Not unhealthy for a former circus acrobat!
Completely satisfied anniversary, Robin! You’ll be able to rejoice Dick Grayson and the entire different Robins with the 100-page Robin 80th Anniversary Tremendous Spectacular, now out there via comedian retailers and as a digital obtain.
Joshua Lapin-Bertone writes about TV, motion pictures and comics for DCComics.com and DCUniverse.com, is a daily contributor to the Sofa Membership and writes our month-to-month Batman column, “Gotham Gazette.” Comply with him on Twitter at @TBUJosh.