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Sunday, January 22, 2017

Nightwing Key Issues Part 2

Holy, Comics Fan Police, Batman! Guess one of them is out on the prowl, but whatever. So, this key issues series still continues to be a brain twister for me of what to include and what not to.

I've decided that we will be getting to Nightwing's headlining comics with some possible keys outside of that. In rereading Part 2, I'm even confused about some of the keys that are in here or whether or not I should have even bothered to mention them.

Guess it doesn't hurt to talk about comics I've failed to mention on here regardless. As always, you can make up your own mind when it comes to snagging, dumping, or just disregarding them entirely. Click this Part 1 link if you missed it.

1st appearance of Bette Kane as Flamebird

Oh, no, they didn't? Oh, yes, they did!

Someone else takes up the mantle of Flamebird, and it's Bette Kane. Remember that Betty Kane was the original Bat-Girl, and the character was revived during the 70s as a member of the Titans West.

So the first appearance of Titans West in Teen Titans #50 from the 1st series brought back Betty Kane from the character's last appearance back in 1964. Then Crisis on Infinite Earths happened.

Here we go again with Crisis on Infinite Earths, right? Long story short, Betty Kane was revamped into Bette Kane and held the mantle of Flamebird.

Supposedly this was an in-joke to creatives. Bette Kane starts off as an obsessed fan of sorts of Dick Grayson as Robin. 

She is a spoiled Los Angeles debutante and tennis prodigy, who trained in all the good ole fighting arts to hopefully catch the eye of her hero. Bette was a founding member of the Titans West, but the team failed miserably and disbanded after a short time.

She did get to meet Dick Grayson or Robin, but they didn't really hit it off. Actually, Dick probably was a little put-off by her obsession of him at first.

Mary Elizabeth "Bette" Kane is the cousin of Katy Kane, also known as the new Batwoman. I know I said, I'd dismiss most Teen Titans key issues but had to put this one in here because of the Flamebird connection and the connection to Katy Kane later on.

Then again, she was a former member of the Teen Titans as well, but not a very well-known one. Secret Origins Annual #3 was released April 4th in 1989, and it's considered the official Post-Crisis origin of the Teen Titans.

1st appearance of Tim Drake

Batman needs another Robin. Jason Todd is dead, supposedly.

Unlike Jason Todd and even Dick Grayson, Tim Drake is a rich boy like Bruce Wayne. His parents are seen as in the same class as the Waynes.

In the Lonely Place of Dying storyline, his origin was revealed to have met Dick Grayson and the Flying Graysons when his parents took him to the circus when he was a young lad. It was this early moment that would later have Drake learn of that Robin was indeed Grayson when he witnessed a particular move by Robin that he recognized when he saw the Graysons perform that fateful day.

Of course, Drake is more of a Batman supporting character than a Nightwing supporting character, but Tim Drake as Robin has partnered with Nightwing in his own series quite a few times. For awhile, Drake did relocate to Blüdhaven after the deaths of his best-friend Kon-El (Conner Kent), his father, and girl-friend Stephanie Brown.

Apparently being in Gotham reminded him too much of those dearest to him that passed and he wanted to escape these ghosts. Once again, as Robin, he did share some adventures with Nightwing, and Drake would form a sort of little brother relationship with Dick.

When Dick Grayson became Batman, he retired Drake as Robin in favor of Damien Wayne. Tim Drake would go onto becoming Red Robin.

There is a 2nd print variant that has a bright green DC logo instead of blue. I think this variant was for direct market only and have yet to see one with a bar code. Not sure of the print run nor could find any information for those interested in 2nd prints or variants no matter how slight.

Besides the 2nd printing, there's also newsstand editions as well. Cover date of August, 1989 for Batman #436.

1st official Tim Drake as Robin
New Robin costume

Well, heck, I might as well put this one in here, right? After the death of Jason Todd, Batman is different.

Carrying the guilt of Todd's death, Batman is more reckless and violent than before. Good ole Tim Drake comes up with solution: Make him the Dark Knight's new partner.

Yes, partner as in Robin, and Bruce did enlist him to become the 3rd ever character to take up the mantle. As we know from the Impulse key issues just recently done, Drake as Robin would join the teams The Teen Titans and Young Justice as well.

So carrying on the little brother type relationship between Drake and Grayson is the reason why this key is on this Nightwing key comics series. After all, I'm not so sure that relationship wouldn't have developed if Tim didn't become the 3rd Robin.

Who knows, though? Tim Drake did appear in the Robin costume prior to this issue in Batman #442, but he didn't officially become Robin until this issue. He's also given a new Robin costume in this story also.

This issue is interesting and has two 2nd printings, error copies, and both 1st print direct and newsstand editions. There are a total of 6 different versions for this issue. Newsstand 1st printing is the same as the regular cover with the exception of the barcode, but the 2nd printings do have a banner with a headline in it on the cover.

Just because I've yet to talk about them does not mean that they are not already being discussed by other collectors, nor that they don't exist.

It also does not mean that I've had any effect on whether collectors are paying premium prices for 'em either. In fact, 5 of the different versions of this copy sold in a lot recently on eBay for $434 via bidding auction before I even mentioned them in this posting or on this site or anywhere in fact. 

And just because I haven't talked about that sale doesn't mean it didn't happen, nor that I'm pushing for collectors to go into a feeding frenzy for these "variants" or "editions" or "error" copies. Since they are actual "comics" of these exact issues, I might as well talk about them.
Anyway, there are 2nd printings for both the direct and newsstand editions.

Supposedly, the newsstand 2nd printing was considered a myth not too long ago. Collectors interested in them didn't even know if they were a rumor or really existed.

Looks like they do exist and supposedly they're super rare. One source said that only 4 known copies existed and another says 7 known copies, but I have no info backing up whether that's true or not. 

Both of the 2nd printings have the "New Robin Issue" headline at the top of the cover. Aside from those 4 issues, there are error copies for the 1st printings of this comic in both direct and newsstand editions.

The error is the 000 numbers in the indicia and they are known as the Batman #457 000 error copies. While the picture is for one of the 1st printings and I did jack that from the recent eBay comic lot sale for reference purposes, this error does happen in some of the direct and newsstand 1st printings,. The correct version has "Batman #457" in the indicia. 

Once again, you can click the image to enlarge it, or you can view the video below if interested. Kirk Ticknor did a pretty cool video displaying these different versions for this very issue.


So, there you have it, ruining the hobby one error, newsstand or variant at a time. December, 1989 marks the cover of Batman #457 and Drake's official debut as the 3rd Robin.

Intro as Deathwing

Alright, let's see if we can wrap our heads around this one. Apparently, the character that would turn into Deathwing in this issue first appeared in New Titans Annual #7 as basically Nightwing.

I am not sure if this was later retconned or what, but apparently this character was thought to be an alternate future version of Dick Grayson but would later find out that he was just implanted with Grayson's memories.

Once again, not sure when or what issue that's revealed in, but in this issue, that character is corrupted by Dark Raven and becomes Deathwing as shown below.

Deathwing would become a villain under Dark Raven's regime and would even disrupt the wedding of Dick and Starfire in New Titans #100. I believe that issue would the first time Nightwing meets and battles his darker self.

Don't really think Deathwing became a major foe of Nightwing or even the Team Titans, but here it is regardless.

May, 1993 marks the cover for Team Titans #8.

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1st self-titled solo comic (one-shot)

With the popularity of Dick Grayson as Nightwing in the Teen Titans, DC Comics would test the waters to see if the character had the sand to ultimately star in his own headlining comic series. Like many comic characters that were supporting characters or usually part of an ensemble, testing the waters first did happen.

Apparently Nightwing was no exception. This one-shot was the first try-out for the character in possibly headlining his own comic series.

Apparently, DC would need a bit more proof other than this Nightwing one-shot. As we all know Nightwing would eventually pass the test later, but there was some baby steps in order to get there.

Newsstand editions are available for this comic, and by 1995, newsstand distribution for Marvel was around 10% of the market according to Chuck Rozanski over at Mile High Comics. Comics legend Jim Shooter has even touched upon the subject and history of why the direct market was born and has recommended Chuck's findings for those interested in the subject.

Nightwing: Alfred's Return #1 has the cover date of July, 1995.

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1st headlining comic series (limited)
1st Goode ole Bernie
1st Prince Balsik 

The one-shot was the first step in Nightwing eventually gaining his own on-going comic series, but I suppose he was further put to the test with a limited series first. So Nightwing gets his 1st four issue limited series and this would mark the 1st ever Nightwing comic series starring Dick Grayson as the character.

As for the 1st appearance notations, they're pretty much for minor characters who do not have that many appearances whatsoever other than probably in this limited series. I'm not gonna even bother explaining who the hell they are.

However, I will mention that this series reveals new information about how Dick's parents were connected to the Prince. Apparently they witnessed a murder and had to be silenced.

Issue #3 of this limited series reveals the connection and extends a bit on Dick's origin. Nightwing #1 to his first comic series has the cover date of September, 1995.

1st appearance iconic Nightwing costume

This series would not only be monumental for the character being his first headlining comic series, but it also did see him don his iconic duds for the first time and in this very issue.

The iconic Nightwing costume was designed by Brian Stelfreeze, and this look would last until Dick took up the cowl of Batman. The New 52 would also redesign his famous duds as well.

The events of how Dick acquires this costume is told differently in later comics, but here's how it was originally written in this very issue.


So comic history is made for this character and the strange golden feather look is out. After all, the right duds are essential for a super-hero in the world of comics, right?

Not sure of estimated print run for this comic, but Nightwing #2 from the limited series has the cover date October, 1995.

1st appearance of Dudley Soames
1st appearance of Chief Redhorn
1st appearance Blüdhaven
1st headlining on-going series

Pretty  important comic for Nightwing here, and it does have to do with proving himself popular enough to get his own on-going comic series. Not so easy of a feat for a character who has lived in Batman's shadow for so long.

As mentioned before, Black Mask is the first main baddie in this series as Nightwing moves into the town of Blüdhaven to fight crime. This comic supposedly has the first appearance of Blüdhaven. 

Dudley Soames is noteworthy heavy for Nightwing in this comic series. He is an inspector for the Blüdhaven police department and obviously a corrupt one at that, but played both sides and often fed the criminal on-goings to Dick Grayson.

Soames would eventually become the villainous Torque. Chief Redhorn is another corrupt member of the Blüdhaven police force that is in Blockbuster's pocket.

The pair show up on 2 pages and in only a few panels each. They are named in this here issue but do appear more fully in issue #2.

October, 1996 marks the cover of Nightwing #1 volume 2.

1st appearance of Lady Vic

The villainous Lady Vic was actually a formidable foe of Nightwing and is basically a mercenary that was under the employment of Blockbuster several times. Lady Vic is short for Lady Victim.

Created by Chuck Dixon and Scott McDaniel, Lady Vic is Lady Elaine Marsh-Morton, an English noblewoman who obviously had an appetite for danger. Her secret profession helps to keep her family estate from foreclosure.

Lady Vic is basically a skilled martial artist and highly proficient with a variety of weapons such as a Katar, Maasai javelin, and katanas. She is not above using guns and does carry a Webley revolver sometimes.

No doubt that this character does appear enough in this comic to not be confused with a cameo or minor appearance. No need for "full" jargon in the notation.

Lady Vic's 1st appearance in Nightwing #4 volume 2 has the cover date of January, 1997 and an estimated print run of around 54,324. The villain's 2nd appearance is in the next issue of Nightwing #5.

1st full appearance of Bridget Clancy

Alrighty, Bridget Clancy was in the actual story in issue #2 of this comic series. However, she talked to Dick from behind a door so she didn't actually appear.

The superintendent of the apartment complex Dick's lives in, her initial first cameos were like Mary Jane Watson in which her face was always blocked out. She also didn't appear in many panels either.

This issue finally reveals what Bridget Clancy looks like, and Dick mistakes Bridget for her friend.

Bridget was a romantic interest for Nightwing for a short time in this comic series. However, Dick would still hold a flame for Barbara Gordon, but he and Clancy would remain close friends.

Time Drake guest stars in this issue as Robin, and it is the first time he appears in this titled series. They do team up in this issue.
Estimated print run for his issue is around 47,978, and Nightwing #6 of the 2nd series has the cover date of March, 1997.

1st appearance of Tad Ryerstad

Tad Ryerstad is an odd-ball character with some pretty major issues. He's like Dick's Jason Todd and is prone to loud outbursts. Tad even refers to himself in the 3rd person.

This character was also an orphan, but never knew of his legal name. The first name tad was taken from a nickname the others gave him and was short for "tadpole" because he was short. He gave himself the last name of Ryerstad which was the name of a local beer.

Tad believes himself to be hero, but takes vigilantism to it's most extreme. He would beat people brutally for minor offenses and even mistake innocent people for criminals.

After meeting John Law, the retired hero and original Golden Age Tarantula, Tad was inspired to become a superhero. He would eventually name himself Nite-Wing, and this would bring the character all sorts of trouble since the name confused him with the enemies of Nightwing.

Pretty misguided character and in his debut, the guy actually beats up a homeless man.

As Nite-Wing, he would go on a murderous rampage on some baddies. Cover date is May, 1997 for Nightwing #8 volume 2 with an estimated print run of 44,208.

Alright, so that ends Part 2 of this Nightwing key comics or key issues series. Part 3 is ready so click the link below to continue.

1 comment:

  1. I have one of the error 000 copies of Batman 457. Already knew about the multiple versions of that book. Thanks for including that info in the post for others that didn't know. There are also multiple printings of Batman 408 as well along with many other Batman issues during this time period. Not sure how scarce or rare they are though.