The oldest and most notable duo in the history of comics is Batman and Robin. Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson first appeared in DC Comics together in the 1940s, and since then, Bruce adopted Dick, which propelled the storyline of Batfamily. However, as the years came by, Grayson left the mantle of Robin and Batman’s sidekick and decided to rebuild his own superhero persona, and mantle, under the name Nightwing. But why Dick left Robin’s persona behind to become Nightwing?
There are two versions of why Grayson left the Robin mantle for Nightwing. Before the Crisis on Infinite Earths, Dick wanted to take a step further in his superhero career and become a sidekick to Batman. He changes his name to Nightwing, inspired by a local superhero of the same name, during his adventure with Batman on Krypton. Post-Crisis reality presents us with Batman and Robin having a “falling out” after Joker shoots the sidekick, which sees Dick and Bruce distanced from each other. Another comic book storyline suggests that Batman “fired” Robin because Dick Grayson spent too much time with Teen Titans than with his father figure.
We will discuss this topic by mentioning the circumstances of both reasons why Dick Grayson left Batman and became Nightwing and see if the patriarch of the Batfamily was right. If you are interested in this topic, stay with us until the end.
There are three canon reasons why Dick left the Robin mantle and became Nightwing
We all know the origin story of Richard “Dick” Grayson. He first appeared as Robin in Detective Comics #38 in 1940 and became the first Batman sidekick ever.
Dick’s origin story is tragic (as usual for superheroes), and it sees the character as part of the “Flying Acrobats,” a family of acrobats performing in the circus. One day, a mafia boss named Tony Zucco kills Dick’s parents to extort money from them, and after the tragedy, Bruce Wayne takes in the orphan as his legal ward and trains him as his crime-fighting sidekick, Robin.
Of course, as a legal ward, Dick became Batman’s adopted son, and the Bat Family idea became more prominent later. Nevertheless, Dick was Batman’s first Robin, and during their time, the sidekick became the leader of the first DC group of teenage superheroes, Teen Titans. Keep this in mind for later.
Moreover, the dynamic duo had many great adventures, including the one where Batman and Robin visited the Kryptonian city, Kandor. He gets inspired by the local vigilante and decides to be more than Batman’s sidekick – he wants to do his “own thing.”
Dick Grayson decides to leave the mantle of Robin and become Nightwing. This moment is the first real reason why Dick left Robin’s mantle behind – he thought he needed to move on. Dick’s transition to Nightwing happened in 1984’s New Teen Titans comic book story, and the whole situation was calm – Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson didn’t have any hard feelings.
This happened before the huge continuity-changing event of Crisis on Infinite Earths when one Earth, Prime-Earth, is put in place of the Multiverse.
However, with the big event, many things changed in DC Comics, and most characters also changed. Post-Crisis, Dick Grayson leaving Robin vastly differs, affecting Batman and Robin’s relationship. In one story, specifically in Batman #408, Batman’s biggest nemesis Joker, shoots Robin, almost killing him. Batman immediately acts and “fires” Dick Grayson from the mantle of Robin.
Bruce Wayne is characterized as a man who is protective of his adoptive children, and the fact that Joker threatened his son’s life deeply scared Gotham’s protector. Of course, we know Jason Todd was the next Robin, and when Joker attacked Batman’s closest ally, the psychopath killed him.
Nevertheless, the 1980s were a hard year for Batman and his family. Seeing foreshadowing before the infamous comic book Death in the Family, Dick Grayson leaving Robin’s mantle was quite significant, especially because he was a fan favorite.
However, this isn’t the only version of Dick leaving the Robin mantle. Although the Crisis of Infinite Earths altered a lot of origins and storylines of the DC characters, new addition, and changes occurred all the time in the comics.
After a comic book story, Zero Hour, in 1994, Nightwing’s origin is again changed. We all know that Dick Grayson is one of the founders of the popular teenage superhero group Teen Titans. Over time, the young superhero spent much time with his Teen Titans teammates and dealt with superhero emergencies outside Gotham City. Batman didn’t like his Robin being distracted and decided to “fire” Dick from being Robin.
This moment seems petty from Batman’s side, but understandably, Gotham is his city to protect, and Dick’s priorities changed over the years. However, as much as Dick is the most notable and arguably the fan-favorite Robin ever, Dick Grayson as Nightwing is much better.
Nightwing is a leader of Titans and Outsiders in DC Comics and is still a fan-favorite. Dick Grayson operates in Blüdhaven and New York these days (depending on the writer) and is a member of the Batfamily. But what happened afterward? Who became a new Robin? Let’s find out.
Who was Robin after Dick Grayson left?
Of course, when Dick Grayson left the Robin mantle behind him, the new Robin assumed the spot of Batman’s sidekick, and that was Jason Todd. His origin story changed after the initial similarities with Dick Grayson to being an orphan with a troubled and violent past. When Batman found him, he decided to take care of the boy and “fix” him.
However, that didn’t end well because DC executives had different plans in 1988. When Jason Todd was introduced to the comics in 1983, fans didn’t mind the character, despite trying to take over the mantle from a fan-favorite, Dick Grayson. However, Crisis on Infinite Earths in 1985 changed a lot, including Jason Todd and his origin story.
One of the DC writers, Dennis O’Neil, admitted that fans hated Jason Todd, which propelled them to create a poll on which character would die in the Batman comics, and Jason Todd was voted by the fans to be sacrificed. Joker beat Jason Todd to death, and “Death in the Family” became one of that era’s most shocking and controversial Batman stories. The second Robin was dead and wasn’t introduced until 2005 when Jason had a big comeback under the mantle of Red Hood.
Nevertheless, Dick Grayson was the first and best Robin, and with his change, many Robins came into his place – Jason Todd, Tim Drake, Stephanie Brown, and finally, Damian Wayne, who seems a worthy replacement. Each character brought something cool to the Robin persona, but Dick Grayson was first and the best but became even better as Nightwing.