That's right, I'm not interested in Nightwing at all. More on that later. But first, the passage from Vincent's blog that moved me:
I want to return Nightwing to the original vision, as George Perez outlined back when he and Marv Wolfman created the character:
“I want to make him a swashbuckler, an acrobat, an incredibly good fighter. In many ways, he’s the Titans’ answer to Captain America. I want to make him happy-go-lucky, bring back the enjoyment of adventure that he had. One thing I liked that Marv did in issue #39 was how openly Dick speaks his affection to Koriand’r now, calling her ‘m’Iove’ and everything, making passes at her right in front of everybody with absolutely no worries anymore. The hang-ups are disappearing. He’s not going to be that morose character he had been in trying to find his identity. Now he’s found it. Now we’re going to use Dick Grayson the way we want to use him, utilizing both his detective and acrobatic skills.”
What Perez said just made me laugh, although it should have made me cry. Maybe I haven't read the right stuff, but nothing could be farther from that description than my perception of how "Nightwing" has been portrayed. Happy-go-lucky? No worries? Hang-ups disappearing? Utilizing his detective skills?
That's certainly what I would like to see, but I didn't think there was any of that in the Titans. Happy-go-lucky; Titans. I find it hard to even put them in the same sentence.
Vincent, George, and I appear to want the same thing out of Dick Grayson. I think the reason we haven't seen it is contained in something that Vincent said: "when he and Marv Wolfman created the character."
Ah ha. Perhaps that's the problem: the perception of Nightwing as "a Titans character created by Wolfman and Perez."
Face it: "Titans characters created by Wolfman and Perez" are, by definition, soap opera characters, doomed to self-doubt, personal conflict, emotional monologues. As long as Nightwing is perceived by readers or writers as "a Titans character created by Wolfman and Perez", we're going to be getting, not the external Drama of Starman, but the internal Melodrama of the Avengers. No wonder I'm not interested in "Nightwing".
"Nightwing" is a costume. Dick Grayson was not created by Wolfman and Perez. Dick Grayson was the Sensational Character Find of 1940.
Nightwing, "the Titans' answer to Captain America"? Oh no. No, no, no. I do appreciate what Perez means, but that very way of thinking is the heart of the problem. Dick Grayson doesn't need to be the answer to anybody, folks. He's the original sidekick, that laughing young daredevil.
If writers and readers spent a little more time re-reading some Golden and Silver Age Batman stories, maybe they'd start thinking of Nightwing more as "the man Robin grew up to be" and less "the man who used to be Robin".
A subtle difference? I don't think so. A lot of wild stuff happened in Infinite Crisis, but the "moment" I'll remember longest is when Batman asks Dick Grayson whether he enjoyed his adolescence as Robin. Dick's happy answer, "It was the best!", was the highlight of that issue, perhaps the entire series, because for a brief moment we were allowed to see Nightwing as "the man Robin grew up to be" instead of "the man who used to be Robin". I'll wager most of us liked that moment and that's what we really want to see from "Nightwing".
Batman can do still do most of the stuff he did in Golden and Silver Age stories (except, perhaps, crack wise). Read one of those stories, and (except for the wisecracks) it's easy to picture today's Batman doing the same kinds of things. But read old Robin stories and try to picture Nightwing doing some of the things Robin does. Robin does brilliant detective work. Robin is a master of disguise. Robin speaks rudimentary Inuit. Robin plays the accordion and can sing. Robin acts in school plays. Robin can do a puppet show. Robin can fake death using a golf ball and knows the chemical composition of the average pocketwatch.
Again, maybe I'm not reading the right stuff, but all I've ever seen Nightwing do is martial arts hoo-ha and lots of somersaults. I certainly find it hard to picture him peering into a microscope, speaking Inuit, or playing the accordion, things that he used to do -- with ease -- when he was Robin. He was the Boy Wonder. He wasn't the best at anything, but he was very good at everything.
If you want Dick Grayson to be great again, ease up on that "Matt Murdock" vibe and give him back some of the "Terry Sloane" mojo he used to have as a boy. Heaven knows, Michael Holt shows no signs of becoming "happy-go-lucky", which was one of the nicest things about the original Mr. Terrific; why not let the adult Robin take on that aspect, as he has every right to?
For that matter, let Nightwing be the happy civic Batman of the 1950s and 1960s. Why not? There's still interest in that kind of hero and Dick Grayson, by his own admission, had a happy childhood with the goddam Batman (except for, you know, watching his parents plummet to their deaths as pulpy bags of broken bones). Give him a platinum police badge encrusted with diamonds and maybe he'll finally get some male readers, too, or (Wertham forbid!) even some kid readers. Wouldn't Nightwing work well as "the Batman safe for kids"?
But, no, someone decided at some point that in order to take Nightwing seriously he had to be even grimmer and grittier than Batman. Absurd. "Bludhaven"; I mean, really. Were "Crimetown" and "Corruption City" already copyrighted elsewhere? Thank goodness "Sin City" was taken ... . I guess it was all for the same reason Wally had to be faster than Barry, Kyle more powerful than Hal, and Connor a better fighter than Ollie.
Here's my two cents. The best thing you do can do for Nightwing is to stop writing him. Write Dick Grayson instead.