Batman has done many things in his long career. He’s surfed alongside the Joker, sang in a musical and ice skated with Arnold Schwarzenegger. However, there are some things Batman hasn’t done. In fact, the Dark Knight’s former protégé Nightwing has quite a few things on his resume that his mentor doesn’t. As we celebrate the release of Tom Taylor and Bruno Redondo’s Nightwing #100, let’s take a look at ten things Nightwing has done that Batman never has.
Appeared in More Golden Age Comics
That’s right, Dick Grayson has appeared in more Golden Age comic books than Batman. It may seem hard to believe, but feel free to run the numbers for yourself. Robin showed up one year into Batman’s solo career, and rarely left his mentor’s side during their Golden Age adventures. However, when Robin was given his own solo feature in Star Spangled Comics #65-130, there were many times when the Dark Knight didn’t make an appearance. This meant that Dick Grayson quickly leapfrogged Batman when it came to Golden Age appearances.
Had His Own Island, Which He Also Nuked
Speaking of Robin’s solo feature from Star Spangled Comics, there’s a lot of interesting pieces of Dick Grayson trivia in those stories. For example, in Star Spangled Comics #69, the Boy Wonder has the honor of getting an island named after him. However, the circumstances are a bit unsettling. Some crooks had stolen an atomic bomb, and Robin fought them on a plane. During the scuffle, Robin accidentally released the atomic bomb, which exploded on (WHAT I HOPE WAS) an uninhabited island. Oddly, the U.S. government is so pleased with Robin that they name the undiscovered island after him. Yes, you read that correctly.
Played Die Hard on an Island Full of Nazis
Since we’re talking about Dick Grayson’s island adventures, we have to mention Star Spangled Comics #72, as it’s a lot like what would have happened if you mixed the movies Castaway, Home Alone and Die Hard and threw in a superhero sidekick for good measure. Robin becomes stranded on a deserted island, and it isn’t long before the location is discovered by a group of Nazis. Dick then sets a bunch of Macaulay Culkin style traps around the island, trapping the Nazis one by one. Dumb bunch, those Nazis.
Worked as a Disc Jockey
Here’s another thing Batman has never done. Dick Grayson briefly became a DJ in Star Spangled Comics #80. Batman could never pull this off because of his gravelly voice. To make things crazier, Dick was one of those DJs who had a gimmick. He would sing commercials and announcements as he played the accordion. It’s weird, but at least he’s not dropping atomic bombs on islands anymore.
Ran His Own Summer Camp
In Star Spangled Comics #82, Robin started his own summer camp. He gave it the rather uninspired name of Camp Robin, and the facility included a big flag with his face on it. Robin and the campers enjoyed a variety of activities from hiking, canoeing and boxing lessons. During his stint as a camp counselor, Robin slept in the cabins with the other campers but continued wearing his domino mask (along with special Robin pajamas) to protect his secret identity.
Survived Trigon’s Global Domination
One of the most terrifying things about the “Terror of Trigon” storyline (from 1984’s The New Teen Titans #1-5) is that the demonic Trigon actually succeeded in taking over the world. Raven’s father takes control of the planet, turning the entire population into stone. This includes Batman, who is pictured as a hardened rock statue. But you know who wasn’t turned to stone? Nightwing and his Titans. In fact, they were the only ones on the planet who survived Trigon’s assault. Under Nightwing’s leadership, the Titans were able to beat Trigon, freeing the planet from his evil reign.
Served as a Real Police Officer
Dick once served as a real police officer. (I say “real” because Bruce had that whole stint with the Glory Badge, but it doesn’t count.) In 1999’s Nightwing #31, Dick joined the Blüdhaven Police Academy, reasoning that there was more than one way to help the city. As a police officer, he enjoyed fixing the city’s corruption from within and enacting the law in ways he couldn’t as Nightwing. Dick’s career as a policeman ended in 2003’s Nightwing #83, when one of his superiors learned about his double identity and forced him to resign.
Killed the Joker
I’ll admit this one is a little iffy since Batman has killed the Joker in alternate universe stories. However, if we’re sticking to mainstream comics continuity, Nightwing has done what Batman never could—kill the Joker. No, he didn’t drop an atomic bomb on him. In Joker: Last Laugh #6, Nightwing is tricked into believing that the Joker fed Tim Drake to Killer Croc. Enraged at the (supposed) death of his surrogate brother, Nightwing beats the Joker to death. Batman is ablet to resuscitate the Clown Prince, but for a few minutes, the Joker was clinically dead.
Curated a Museum
During Nightwing #140-153, Dick Grayson worked as a museum curator. It’s just the kind of job you would expect from a former disc jockey/camp director/police officer. The museum made a great lair for his Nightwing gear, and I guess all those years in the Batcave gave him experience in handling trophies and artifacts. Dick eventually left the New York museum when he was forced to move back to Gotham during one of Bruce’s prolonged disappearances.
Mastered the Whole Billionaire Thing
Both Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson have been billionaires, but if you’re reading Tom Taylor and Bruno Redondo’s Nightwing run, then you know that Dick is infinitely better at it. For starters, Dick is not keeping his fortune. As detailed in 2021’s Nightwing #83, he is using his fortune to end homelessness and reduce poverty throughout the city. Yes, Bruce Wayne also used his money for charitable causes, but he never took the step in giving it all away. In fact, if it wasn’t for the events of “Joker War,” Batman would still be a billionaire.
That’s quite a list of accomplishments, and Nightwing is just getting started. In fact, Batman has a lot of work to do if he’s ever going to catch up to his former Robin. Although, to be fair, he came pretty close to the atom bomb thing at the end of The Dark Knight Rises. Either way, when it comes to DJing, curating museums and killing clowns, nobody does it quite like Dick Grayson!
Nightwing #100 by Tom Taylor, Bruno Redondo, Scott McDaniel, Rick Leonardi, Eddy Barrows, Javier Fernandez, Mikel Janin and more is now available in print and as a digital comic book.
Joshua Lapin-Bertone writes about TV, movies and comics for DC.com, is a regular contributor to the Couch Club and writes our monthly Batman column, “Gotham Gazette.” Follow him on Twitter at @TBUJosh.
NOTE: The views and opinions expressed in this feature are solely those of Joshua Lapin-Bertone and do not necessarily reflect those of DC Entertainment or Warner Bros.