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  1. #1

    Default What's interesting about Nightwing & Batgirl?

    I don't know if its that there's nothing to the characters or nothing to their stories, but I have dropped both these books out of disinterest.

    Can someone direct me to some good Nightwing or Batgirl stories, if they exist?

    Or, can someone explain these characters to me, and why people love them so much?

    Batgirl has left no impression me, but this is what I like about Nightwing:
    -He was Robin
    -His relationship with Bruce
    -'Coming of age' stuff; stepping out of someone's shadow, etc
    -His personality

    But what makes Nightwing interesting now that he's grown up? What does he believe in? What are his faults?

    Ditto for Batgirl; what does she believe in? What are her faults? What does she have to deal with that's unique/interesting?

  2. #2
    Mattress Tester T Hedge Coke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EaglesBecomeVultures View Post
    Batgirl; what does she believe in? What are her faults? What does she have to deal with that's unique/interesting?
    Barbara Gordon as Batgirl? She's superheroing not because she was blessed with amazing superpowers or because she's living down trauma, using it for revenge, but because she's awesome and superheroing is the right thing to do. She has a perfect memory, she's a naturally brilliant hand to hand fighter, an intuitive weapons designer of some note, astonishingly good with computers and multitasking, and the All-Star B&R version had the additional superpower of being "really good at bullshitting" her dad. She has an urge to prove herself that sometimes gets the better of her, and she's a bit flinchy around guns and the Joker these days, for understandable reasons.

    She's pretty much the only superhero you can point to who was massively cut down in terms of capacity, who still kept going and made herself even more integral to the DCU and to other heroes. When Bruce Wayne lost the use of his legs, he cried about it and left the role of Batman to a nutcase until he magically got to walk again; Babs lost the use of her legs and worked and fought and heroed steady regardless, establishing herself with Checkmate and joining the JLA.

    Good Barbara-as-Batgirl stories off the top of my head:

    The lead story from Batman Family #1, by Maggin and Mike Grell. Congresswoman and all around amazing badass Barbara Gordon must don her lil bat ears to team up with Robin and defeat the Devil and his minions.

    Batgirl by Kelley Puckett and Matt Haley, in which a young, just starting out Batgirl first encounters a big league villain, the Joker, and decides to make this superheroing thing less a lark and more a serious and directed effort.

    Elseworld's Finest by Barbara Kesel and Matt Haley is an alternate universe story where no one's heard of Batman or Superman and we can see how the world progressed, instead, with Supergirl and Batgirl at the fore. Funny, actiony, smart, and just plain excellent comics.

  3. #3
    The Slender Man vampiric_cannibal's Avatar
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    They really aren't that interesting if you have no existing love for the characters.

    The best Nightwing stuff was the early Chuck Dixon run, and Grayson as Batman under Morrison's pen was better than Nightwing ever was.
    Some of Barbara's stuff as Oracle was good in BoP, but it gets oversold enough I get bored. Year 1 was pretty good, also incidentally by Chuck Dixon.

    They are the prime example of the flaws of superhero comics. Fairly popular characters that are pure vanilla, that overshadow more interesting and nuanced characters.

    Come at me.
    I would like to say for the record that this is the FIRST TIME I've withheld dong when someone was so desperately asking for some.
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  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by vampiric_cannibal View Post
    They really aren't that interesting if you have no existing love for the characters.

    The best Nightwing stuff was the early Chuck Dixon run, and Grayson as Batman under Morrison's pen was better than Nightwing ever was.
    Some of Barbara's stuff as Oracle was good in BoP, but it gets oversold enough I get bored. Year 1 was pretty good, also incidentally by Chuck Dixon.

    They are the prime example of the flaws of superhero comics. Fairly popular characters that are pure vanilla, that overshadow more interesting and nuanced characters.

    Come at me.
    K, so I'm not alone.

    Also, am I the only one that finds the whole idea of 'Nightwing' from a costume/moniker standpoint to be bland and uninspired? Ambiguous winged thing of the night? I feel like 'Wing' is an awkward 'noun' part of the name. I get that its supposed to be an evolution of Robin, a bird, with wings; but it feels awkward, especially compared to something normal like Nightowl (an owl of the night) or Nightcrawler (crawler of the night). Wing of the night? He 'is' a wing? Rant over.

  5. #5
    The Alpha and The Omega Godlike13's Avatar
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    It wasn't an evolution of Robin, a bird, with wings. Its was something he got from Superman.

    BTW to answer ur original question, they're fun, or at least they should be. With a character like Nightwing, u got a superhero who does it it pretty for the same reason we want to read about it. Its cool, its fun. Superheroeing appeals to him the same way it appeals to me. I enjoy that. And its remains same for him now as he's grown up, as it was for him when he was a kid in his pixie boots.

    And im not sure why its a example of the flaws of superhero comics that more people like him and Batgirl than whatever X character another thinks should be more popular. That just sounds like sour grapes to me. But whatever. Ur either gonna like um, or ur not.
    Last edited by Godlike13; 11-22-2012 at 03:33 AM.

  6. #6
    Don't do the Limbo sunofdarkchild's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Godlike13 View Post
    And im not sure why its a example of the flaws of superhero comics that more people like him and Batgirl than whatever X character another thinks should be more popular. That just sounds like sour grapes to me. But whatever. Ur either gonna like um, or ur not.
    I wouldn't phrase it quite the same way. But I think it shows the weakness of comicbooks when it's a combination of their appearences in other media and the time period they were introduced that define their appeal and use as opposed to newer characters or characters who weren't in a campy show or cartoon. It creates this cycle of newer characters being shunted for the older, already famous ones. Someone like Cassandra Cain is tailor made for a a role on TV or film, but until that day comes she won't have half the recognition Babs has, and as long as Babs has that recognition Cass won't get that sort of role.
    Last edited by sunofdarkchild; 11-22-2012 at 03:54 AM.

  7. #7
    The Avatar of Vengeance melkorjunior's Avatar
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    For me personally--and I know some people don't care at all--a character needs a reason besides "because it's fun" to put on an outfit and go stand in front of bullets all day. I think part of it begs the question of what exactly superhero comics are supposed to be these days; are they still a breezy lark with adolescent content meant for kids? If so, who cares why a character wants to be a superhero and fight crime. Or are they for adults now? I think superhero comics still have one foot in both worlds, because although they go for brutal realism these days (I mean, how many murders do we see in the new 52 Bat-books per issue now?) and they're ostensibly written to appeal to a mostly adult audience, they're still using juvenile characters to do this, trying to tack on enough emotional resonance and modern-day relevance to get by. What's going on with comics right now reminds me a lot of the old Green Lantern/Green Arrow series by Denny O'Neil. He took these one-dimensional characters and added new, "relevant" personalities to them, but at the end of the day I still think guys dressed in green tights riding around trying to discover America is silly. So there's a balancing act, certainly. I thought the early new 52 Batgirl issues with The Mirror as a new villain didn't quite work because although a guy with his sort of trauma is a powerful idea for a villain, that whole concept becomes sort of laughable when he decides to put on a really goofy costume to commit his crimes.

    If these books are going to be written for adults we of course have to do some of the heavy lifting and suspend our disbelief at the very concept of people putting on outlandish outfits to fight crime, but the writers still need to meet us halfway, I think, and give us more motivation for these characters than we got in the golden and silver ages, and the new 52 Batgirl book just didn't give me enough of a reason for Babs to be doing what she's doing. Why did she ever put on the costume in the first place?
    Last edited by melkorjunior; 11-22-2012 at 05:26 AM.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by T Hedge Coke View Post

    She's pretty much the only superhero you can point to who was massively cut down in terms of capacity, who still kept going and made herself even more integral to the DCU and to other heroes. When Bruce Wayne lost the use of his legs, he cried about it and left the role of Batman to a nutcase until he magically got to walk again; Babs lost the use of her legs and worked and fought and heroed steady regardless, establishing herself with Checkmate and joining the JLA.
    That is a great summary of what makes Babs a great character.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by vampiric_cannibal View Post
    They really aren't that interesting if you have no existing love for the characters.

    The best Nightwing stuff was the early Chuck Dixon run, and Grayson as Batman under Morrison's pen was better than Nightwing ever was.
    Some of Barbara's stuff as Oracle was good in BoP, but it gets oversold enough I get bored. Year 1 was pretty good, also incidentally by Chuck Dixon.

    They are the prime example of the flaws of superhero comics. Fairly popular characters that are pure vanilla, that overshadow more interesting and nuanced characters.

    Come at me.
    Exactly. I've always preferred Tim Drake over Dick Grayson because he is a three-dimensional, well-developed character. I bought the original Nightwing series off and on but never really got into it too much. It didn't hold my interest to the degree of Robin, Birds of Prey, or Catwoman. I do think that Dixon's earlier issues would have had a greater impact with some other artist than McDaniel, maybe someone with a grittier noir look like Alex Maleev or Sean Phillips. I haven't read the new Nightwing ongoing and have been hesitant because it seems like a step down, not just to go back to Nightwing from Batman but to have a book with a much lower-profile creative team.

    I really liked what Morrison and Snyder did with Grayson as Batman. Though in my case, this was less from being a big fan of Dick Grayson than because it rejuvenated Batman and allowed for all kinds of fresh and original Batman stories with a Batman who was not Bruce Wayne. I would've preferred Tim as Robin to Dick's Batman rather than Damian. I've always liked the big brother/little brother relationship between Dick and Tim. One of the highlights of Dixon's Nightwing run was a one-off issue where Dick and Tim are just talking about life while blindfolded on top of a train to unwind.

    Dick's Robin and Barbara's Batgirl originated in an era when comic books were treated as disposable entertainment for children. Most super-heroes were one-dimensional, cookie cutter good guys with few discernible personality traits of their own. It's like how if you watch an episode of the old Super Friends show, every super-hero is the same character and any line of dialogue could've been spoken by anybody. The Barbara Batgirl strangely had problems in this respect that both the much earlier-created Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson lacked. She became Batgirl entirely by accident on her way to a costume party, not because she wanted to do good. She had no professional training (unlike Bruce's world traveling or Dick's acrobatics), and her backstory was tied to the rather lame villain Killer Moth. She was also arbitrarily given a career as a librarian simply because that was considered a typical female career at the time, not because it provided for any storyline potential or character development as Batgirl.

    Those earlier versions of Robin and Batgirl lacked the modern sensibility that was integrated into comics in the 80s, culminating with the fan-dictated death of a Robin who was still running around in pixie boots, a bright yellow cape, and bare thighs. One of the great things about the 90s was that we good a new Robin (Tim Drake) and a new Batgirl (Cassandra Cain) that had a modern sensibility and their own unique character traits, while at the same time the old Dick and Barbara characters were not discarded but remained in the spotlight in their far superior roles of Nightwing and Oracle. It was a win-win.
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  10. #10
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    They are both freaking resilient and take responsibility for himself. They do what they do because they want to do it, sure they have reason but they both know that ultimately everything in their life is their choices. There is a lot that I like about both of them (Dick is frontal and irreverent. Babs is brutally honest and insightful....) but in the end it boils on that.

  11. #11
    The Alpha and The Omega Godlike13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brack360 View Post
    Exactly. I've always preferred Tim Drake over Dick Grayson because he is a three-dimensional, well-developed character. I bought the original Nightwing series off and on but never really got into it too much. It didn't hold my interest to the degree of Robin, Birds of Prey, or Catwoman. I do think that Dixon's earlier issues would have had a greater impact with some other artist than McDaniel, maybe someone with a grittier noir look like Alex Maleev or Sean Phillips. I haven't read the new Nightwing ongoing and have been hesitant because it seems like a step down, not just to go back to Nightwing from Batman but to have a book with a much lower-profile creative team.

    I really liked what Morrison and Snyder did with Grayson as Batman. Though in my case, this was less from being a big fan of Dick Grayson than because it rejuvenated Batman and allowed for all kinds of fresh and original Batman stories with a Batman who was not Bruce Wayne. I would've preferred Tim as Robin to Dick's Batman rather than Damian. I've always liked the big brother/little brother relationship between Dick and Tim. One of the highlights of Dixon's Nightwing run was a one-off issue where Dick and Tim are just talking about life while blindfolded on top of a train to unwind.

    Dick's Robin and Barbara's Batgirl originated in an era when comic books were treated as disposable entertainment for children. Most super-heroes were one-dimensional, cookie cutter good guys with few discernible personality traits of their own. It's like how if you watch an episode of the old Super Friends show, every super-hero is the same character and any line of dialogue could've been spoken by anybody. The Barbara Batgirl strangely had problems in this respect that both the much earlier-created Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson lacked. She became Batgirl entirely by accident on her way to a costume party, not because she wanted to do good. She had no professional training (unlike Bruce's world traveling or Dick's acrobatics), and her backstory was tied to the rather lame villain Killer Moth. She was also arbitrarily given a career as a librarian simply because that was considered a typical female career at the time, not because it provided for any storyline potential or character development as Batgirl.

    Those earlier versions of Robin and Batgirl lacked the modern sensibility that was integrated into comics in the 80s, culminating with the fan-dictated death of a Robin who was still running around in pixie boots, a bright yellow cape, and bare thighs. One of the great things about the 90s was that we good a new Robin (Tim Drake) and a new Batgirl (Cassandra Cain) that had a modern sensibility and their own unique character traits, while at the same time the old Dick and Barbara characters were not discarded but remained in the spotlight in their far superior roles of Nightwing and Oracle. It was a win-win.
    LoL, im sorry but Tim Drake. Really? Look i might be able to understand the sour grapes over Nightwing being more popular then a character like Animal Man, or some new character that no one just wants to give much of a shot to, but Tim Drake. Im not sure there is a more "pure vanilla" character in comics. And quite frankly, he was developed from Dick, and to this day still is. Dick Grayson overshadowing a character like Tim Drake is hardly a flaw of superhero comics.

    Cass, well, honestly i never saw her appeal to begin with, and while i respect that she has her fans, im not sure her downfall, for lack a better term, has anything to do with Babs. Lets not forget her popularity kind of fizzled out, and she ended up being passed over for Stephanie Brown, not Barbra Gordon. Though at least she can claim she was different. Her Batgirl was unique if nothing else.
    Last edited by Godlike13; 11-22-2012 at 10:04 AM.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by vampiric_cannibal View Post
    They really aren't that interesting if you have no existing love for the characters.

    The best Nightwing stuff was the early Chuck Dixon run, and Grayson as Batman under Morrison's pen was better than Nightwing ever was.
    Some of Barbara's stuff as Oracle was good in BoP, but it gets oversold enough I get bored. Year 1 was pretty good, also incidentally by Chuck Dixon.

    They are the prime example of the flaws of superhero comics. Fairly popular characters that are pure vanilla, that overshadow more interesting and nuanced characters.

    Come at me.
    I have to disagree. The best Nightwing stuff is in the original Titans series, where he was created.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by scouter227 View Post
    I have to disagree. The best Nightwing stuff is in the original Titans series, where he was created.
    Yeah New Teen Titans and Batman and Robin were the highlights of the character. Both volumes of the Nightwing books are bland as hell, including the Dixon run.

  14. #14
    The Alpha and The Omega Godlike13's Avatar
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    Pfft, Dixon's run was awesome.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Godlike13 View Post
    LoL, im sorry but Tim Drake. Really? Look i might be able to understand the sour grapes over Nightwing being more popular then a character like Animal Man, or some new character that no one just wants to give much of a shot to, but Tim Drake. Im not sure there is a more "pure vanilla" character in comics. And quite frankly, he was developed from Dick, and to this day still is. Dick Grayson overshadowing a character like Tim Drake is hardly a flaw of superhero comics.

    Cass, well, honestly i never saw her appeal to begin with, and while i respect that she has her fans, im not sure her downfall, for lack a better term, has anything to do with Babs. Lets not forget her popularity kind of fizzled out, and she ended up being passed over for Stephanie Brown, not Barbra Gordon. Though at least she can claim she was different. Her Batgirl was unique if nothing else.
    I never really warmed up to Cassandra as Batgirl because she completely broke the power-curve. it's not because she was a girl-- it's because I feel like being able to dodge bullets after they've been fired at you sorta defeats the entire purpose behind Batman's character. if there was some new Bat-Tyke who was a little 10 year-old boy who could execute the same feats I would be equally unenthusiastic. if she'd been sold as a completely original character I probably wouldn't have objected-- it's just blatantly super-human (even relative to comic-book peak human) seemed too much of a good thing for a Bat-family character.

    as Jackie Chan once said (on the Conan O'Brien show) "I like Batman because I think if I worked hard enough I could actually BE like Batman." yeah, Batman is still basically a super-human wish-fullfillment power fantasy-- but it's at least theoretically possible for SOMEBODY on the face of this planet to do most of the things that he does. (I don't mean ridiculous crap like only needing 4 hours of sleep every day or denting a steel wall with his fist-- I mean fighting crime w/o super-powers)

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