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How Did Superman Inspire Nightwing's Superhero Identity? | CBR

Comic Book Questions Answered – where I answer whatever questions you folks might have about comic books (feel free to e-mail questions to me at brianc@cbr.com).

Today, based on a suggestion from an anonymous user, we look to see how Superman inspiring Nightwing’s superhero name in different continuities!

In Superman #158 (by Edmund Hamilton, Curt Swan and George Klein), saw Superman and Jimmy Olsen travel into the Bottled City of Kandor to take down a group of bad guys who had ruined Superman’s good name in Kandor. So Superman, who had no superpowers while he was in Kandor, had to fight the villains without power. And since Superman’s name was ruined, he had to take on a secret identity. So he and Jimmy became a Batman and Robin riff called Nightwing and Flamebird…

Years later, then, when Dick Grayson gave up being Robin and took on a new superhero identity, Marv Wolfman and George Perez pointedly wanted Dick’s new identity to reflect both of his major influences – Batman AND Superman, so he became Nightwing in Tales of the Teen Titans #44 (by Wolfman, Perez, Dick Giordano and Mike DeCarlo)

Okay, so Crisis on Infinite Earths happened and DC’s continuity was reset.

Nightwing was still Nightwing, but now the Bottled City of Kandor wasn’t around (I mean, it eventually DID show up, but many years later) before Nightwing became Nightwing, so Superman becoming Nightwing could no longer be the reason why Dick took the name.

No one addressed it for years until Chuck Dixon, Scott Beatty, Scott McDaniel and Andy Owens did the second part of Nightwing Year One, where we see Dick (after quitting as Robin) go to visit Clark Kent and Clark tells Dick about an ancient Kryptonian hero…

and yes, his name was Nightwing…

In DC’s current continuity, Nightwing #9 (by Tim Seeley, Marcio Takara and Marcello Maiolo) shows that the Post-Crisis reasoning was still basically intact…

Thanks for the question, anonymous!

If anyone else has a comic book related question, drop me a line at brianc@cbr.com!

In their latest reader-submitted question, CSBG shows how Superman inspired Nightwing's superhero identity both before Crisis and after Crisis!

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