Why We Love Dick Grayson
Given the hard time that my dear Dick Grayson has had of late in the Forever Evil storyline, I felt it was needed to give Dick a moment here at Geeked Out Nation to shine. Also to give us, the fans, a moment to take in why he’s so important and why what’s happening to him in Forever Evil is so important.
Dick Grayson was created by the trio of Bill Finger, Jerry Robinson and Bob Kane (yes all 3) and first appeared in Detective Comics #38 in 1940, making him almost as old as Batman. Dick’s has two origins, because of the New 52 reboot, but both still help him become the same character in both continuities. In his original origin, Dick’s family were known as “The Flying Graysons”, an acrobatic troupe. Mobsters are attempting to extort money from the circus owner and they end up putting acid on the trapeze wires killing his parents. At this point Batman meets young Dick and tells him about his own tragic past and he takes Dick under his wing. He becomes the first Robin and the best Robin we’ve ever seen.
His New 52 origin has the same end game but gets there differently. The circus that Dick grew up in was actually training future assassins. He was supposed to become a new Talon for the Court of Owls but after his parents died and he was adopted, someone else took his place in that role. His parents were still murdered by Tony Zucco but the New 52 added a new wrinkle to his origin as well as aging him up a significant amount in his time with Batman as Robin.
There is a lot that makes Dick Grayson an iconic character but no more than his ability to grow from the tragedy that changed his life forever. Like Bruce Wayne, he was created through tragedy. The death of his parents, which he saw, and the influence of Batman, kept him from becoming a ‘villain’ hell bent on revenge. He protects Gotham in order to prevent what happened to his parents happening to anyone else. He brings some light into the darkness that is his huge loss.
Dick Grayson is also has the parts of a human being that many other heroes don’t have. He has a heart and allows himself to fall in love. He’s had two really famous romances, one with Barbara Gordon and the other with Starfire. While he doesn’t quite wear his heart on his sleeve, he does allow himself to have this little bit of happiness. There’s this optimism to him that makes him so relatable to readers.
Grayson is also a character we as readers connect with because he’s what Batman isn’t. While I myself am a die hard Batman fan, Dick Grayson offers some things that Bruce does not. Dick Grayson is a fantastic leader. He has the qualities that make him perfect for leadership. He led the Teen Titans because he has the abilities of Batman (intelligence, tactical prowess and martial arts expertise) but also because he connects with people. He cares for other heroes (not a “bleeding heart” though) and is likable. He isn’t brooding like Bruce Wayne and that makes him a born leader.
Most importantly, Dick Grayson is relatable. He’s not super wealthy and he’s not superpowered. Tragedy and fate put him in a world where he’s surrounded by people like Wonder Woman and Superman but still saves lives. He’s much more of a “real hero”. He also has a wonderful sense of humor and even when he takes over the mantle of Batman, he still seems to have fun with it. He doesn’t let the darkness he’s surrounded by take away his personality. He doesn’t become the dark, brooding figure and that’s a big part of why so many people, including me, love Dick Grayson.
Whether he’s a Teen Titan, Nightwing or Batman, Dick Grayson is someone we root for. His seemingly imminent death in Forever Evil is going to have a huge impact. He’s the original (and best) Robin and the biggest superstar outside of the Justice League. His death (if it really is a death and not him going underground like I believe) then it will have huge ramifications. Dick Grayson is an A lister and has always been a fan favorite.