26 years ago - Dick Grayson is born to Jack & Mary Grayson of the Flying Graysons. His is a sixth generation acrobat in Haley's Circus
23 years ago - 3-year-old Dick, exhibiting early mastery of his acrobatics, performs in Haley's Circus for the first time.
14 years ago - 12-year-old Dick arrives in Gotham City with Haley's Circus. Cronies of Boss Zucco extort the circus for protection money. When they aren't paid, they sabotage the Graysons trapeze, killing Jack & Mary Grayson. Dick is the sole witness, but is stopped from acting on it by Bruce Wayne to protect him from Zucco's retribution. Instead, Bruce takes him in and begins training him to work as a detective, finding him an instant genius with acrobatics and martial arts. He helps capture Zucco but chooses not to kill him. He becomes Robin, donning a costume based on the ones worn by his family. He first meets Comissioner Gordon, and his daughter Barbara Gordon.
12 years ago - 14-year-old Dick, along with Bruce Wayne, works with Knight & Squire of London. They first meet Barbara Gordon's Batgirl. He also first starts working with other young allies of other heroes, becoming the original Teen Titans.
11 years ago - 15-year-old Dick gives Donna Troy the name Wonder Girl when she joins the Teen Titans.
10 years ago - 16-year-old Dick is called by Raven to join the new Teen Titans, working together to stop her demonic father Trigon. He meets Koriand'r, beginning their relationship. He accompanies Bruce Wayne & Diana Prince to the Fortress of Solitude to save Clark Kent from Mongul and his Black Mercy.
9 years ago - 17-year-old Dick, still angry after Barbara Gordon is shot by the Joker, grows disillusioned with Bruce Wayne's intractability. When Bruce is caught by Two-Face he ignores an order not to try to try to save him, and when he fails he is beaten mercilessly. Bruce fires him as a result, replacing him with Jason Todd. He adopts the role of Nightwing, a figure from Kryptonian legend.
8 years ago - 18-years-ago Dick helps Bruce Wayne to track down the Joker after Jason Todd is murdered, stopping Bruce from killing him. The Titans are betrayed by Terra for Deathstroke and in the aftermath they are disbanded. Dick helps Richard Dragon free Ben Turner from the control of the League of Assassins, urging him to help Barbara Gordon overcome her handicap. He proposes to Koriand'r.
7 years ago - 19-year-old Dick goes with Koriand'r to her home planet of Tamaran when she is visited by General Ph'yzzon who reveals that her sister Komand'r is keeping their planet under Citadel rule. They are assisted by other Tamaranian freedom fighters like Ryand'r, and in the process help free Toni Moretti from her alien captors. Once Tamaran is freed, it is revealed that Kori must remain and marry General Phy'zzon to legitimize his rule, canceling their impending wedding. Returning to Earth alone and heartbroken, he chooses to pursue some mysterious murders in Gotham's neighboring city of Bludhaven, discovering that Roland Desmond has taken control of it's mobs. He moves there, becoming a bartender and setting up his own operations. He discovers that he is neighbors with former All-Star Squadron member John Law.
6 years ago - 20-year-old Dick has an affair with Helena Bertinelli while working with her on a case to apprehend Arthur Brown. He saves Bruce Wayne from Hugo Strange's hypnotic prison.
5 years ago - 21-year-old Dick starts working with Barbara Gordon's Oracle, rekindling their relationship. He helps train Tim Drake as he becomes the new Robin.
4 years ago - 22-year old Dick and the other original Titans reform the team. He becomes sparring partners with 20-year-old Betty Kane (who does not know he is Nightwing), helping her through her guilt over the Qurac bombing. Koriand'r returns to Earth and stays with him periodically, although their relationship is complicated by his growing relationship with Barbara Gordon. He temporarily takes over the role of Batman for Bruce Wayne, who admits that he should have come to him instead of Jean Paul Valley while he recovered from his broken back. He defeats and imprisons Waylon Jones. Despite everything he's doing, he finds time to serve as the best man in Wally West's wedding to Linda Park.
3 years ago - 23-year-old Dick, knowing that Bruce Wayne needs him, seeks out Alfred Pennyworth and convincing him to return. His Titans team and Young Justice work together to stop a rogue Superman android that had been activated by Indigo, and both suffer casualties. In the aftermath he helps Roy Harper form the new Outsiders.
2 years ago - 24-year-old Dick and Koriand'r finally resolve their lingering romance when Dick admits that he's moved on, and she returns to her planet. Battles Roland Desmond one-on-one, until Desmond's implanted gorilla heart explodes in his chest. Looking to clean up the Bludhaven PD, He attends the police academy, and leaves the Outsiders to join the Bludhaven Police.
1 year ago - 25-year-old Dick, discovering that Donna Troy is being held as consort to the Titans of Myth, assembles every surviving Titan and leads them on a mission to free her. Cassandra Cain moves to Bludhaven, and he takes her on as a partner.
now - 26-year-old Dick Grayson takes over the role of Batman in Bruce Wayne's absence. With the Watchtower gone, he assembles a new team.
Full disclosure: Nightwing is hands down my absolute favorite character in all of comics. He has everything that makes Batman awesome, but without the insanity. He's a natural born hero, accomplishing amazing feats of super heroics with nothing more than raw talent. An entire generation of heroes looks to him as their leader, and even the legends who mentored him acknowledge him as the very best they have to offer.
Nightwing's Comic History
Obviously, the reason Batman had a young boy sidekick was evident enough: it gave the young readers of the comic a character to identify with. It started quite a trend as a huge number of heroes of that era went on to also have kid sidekicks; it basically became the thing to do. The question as to why all these grown men were palling around with young kids wasn't really asked. Dick Grayson's career as Robin is a foundational element in the world of DC; for decades the main characters in the DC lexicon were Superman, Wonder Woman... and then Batman & Robin, always stated together as a single idea. The real innovation that allowed Robin to truly become one of the best characters in comics came in the pages of Teen Titans
It was in the pages of the Teen Titans that these characters were depicted growing and developing, expanding past their origins as teen sidekicks and becoming heroes in their own right. This was pretty revolutionary stuff for DC. Of all the characters that came from that era, no one grew more than Dick Grayson. We watched him become a young man, and evolve into a heroic figure and leader beyond what any of DC's characters had been before. He left his role as a sidekick behind and became Nightwing, would go on to get his own series, to eventually even become the new Batman, a Batman some people might argue was better than his mentor ever was. Grayson is DC's preeminent next-generation superhero
Our Nightwing Story
Nightwing has appeared in a LOT of stories, but to build up his timeline we went straight to many of his iconic series. Obviously, the George Perez/Marv Wolfman Titans are hugely important, as is his seminal solo series by Chuck Dixon. he appears as a supporting character in many classic Batman and Birds of Prey stories, and we've also drawn from the groundbreaking run when he takes over the role of Batman in the pages of Batman & Robin by Grant Morrison.
But what major changes did we make? For the most part it was a question of cherry-picking elements we love and slightly fine-tuning stories that, for one reason or another, just didn't sit with us. As usually we stopped caring about any comics after 2011, so any reference to him becoming a secret agent instead of a superhero are long gone.
There was, however, one element of Nightwing's story that needed some more specific attention, and that's his love life. He's always been presented as a person more than ready to commit to someone, although who that person is depends on the book you're reading. His love affair with alien princess Starfire is actually easier to present as a teenage love affair. it's already in continuity that their wedding was interrupted by her being called back to her home planet to free her people, so we just let that be the crushing blow that it should be.
Nightwing's costume is a study in simplicity. On his way from his original costume as Robin to his modern black-an-blue ensemble he's had a few odd detours, from the original Nightwing costume that was heavily seventies influenced, to a unfortunate mullet and ponytail era, but ultimately his modern costume is about as perfect as a superhero look can be.
Of course; We'd be remiss if we didn't also point out that Nightwing is one of very few male characters deliberately drawn with a woman's eye in mind. It's always been part of his appeal, to the point where even other characters comment in-continuity about it.
There's also the matter of his Batman costume. While his look in the comic did a great job of taking the classic Batman image and making it his own, We like the idea that his assuming the role of Batman is more of an addition to his Nightwing persona, a cowl he wears over his usual costume.
Our most obvious future plans for Nightwing come from his newly created next-generation Watchtower team. One of the central challenges DC has with its ongoing timeline is the inability to allow it's amazing collection of legacy characters to do what is natural; to step up into the limelight. Based heavily on James Robinson's insanely promising Justice League, this new team is meant to finally give these characters the focus they deserve, and no one deserves it more than Dick Grayson. As of the end of our timeline, He's working as Nightwing but also taking the role of Batman. It's important to have that era where Dick takes over his mentor's role, he's so much bigger than just Batman's ex-sidekick. He's the single best superhero in the world, and if anyone can step up and be both Nightwing AND Batman, it's him. Bruce will, of course, be back.
Also, in the longer term... do yourself a favor and google 'Dick & Babs'. The long-standing relationship between Dick Grayson and Barbara Gordon is full of some of the most wonderfully sweet romance in comics. These two characters are a delight together. They might have more bumps in the road of their relationship, but they clearly need to be together.
Allies & Teams
Nightwing is kind of unique here, because he makes friends everywhere he goes. Trying to list all his allies would mean listing every hero in DC. We just kept it to his best, lifelong friends and family.
"Looking at pages as big and detailed it's funny to spot the parts that will inevitably get fleshed out more as the project expands. In this case Dick's had a very busy life, constantly dealing with super-criminals, adoptive family drama and relationship conflicts...except for his second year as Robin, where, for the moment at least, he did absolutely nothing of note. It's not a complaint or anything, just a mildly amusing thing that I notice every time I reread through this page that I figured I'd comment on."
The wild thing is that it might actually stay that way.
Every character starts as a very bare outline as we isolate the basic story elements that need to be there. if you look at characters that we've already created pages for but who aren't major characters, you'll probably see what we mean. What makes the character's timeline really flesh out and fill up is when other characters interact with them, and I need to start filling out all the cross-references. So the more central a character is, the more cross references they'll get, and longer the timeline is. Characters that interact with more teams (and other characters) have longer timelines.
In Dick's case, most of the Batman Family, the Titans, and the Watchtower are allready in place. Most of the Batman villians are already there, and the Titans villains are probably going to get cross-referenced to the team rather than to specific members. So Nightwing's page, unless we come up with some major changes down the line, is pretty much locked in.
But that just means there were no major changes in the status quo. Robin's second year was basically just spent swinging from rooftops, naming the Batmobile, punching henchman while quipping, and not wearing pants.