Art work created using the amazing talents of George Perez... one of my favourite Dick Grayson artists.




Please note: This page is under construction.


At the moment I have only documented four of the origin stories.

Over the 70 years of Dick's 'life' his origin has been updated, reupdated, retconned, renewed, refined... and updated again, apparently to meet the needs of each era... interestingly most of these have taken place in the past 20 years. However, there is a common theme woven through all origin stories.

A circus boy witnesses his parents' murder, is taken in by the mega rich Bruce Wayne who is the vigilante Batman. Dick becomes Batman's partner Robin and when he grows up he takes on his own identity - Nightwing.


The hows, whens, wheres and whys tend to change with each story, but this basic theme remains fixed.

Below I have documented the major origin stories in the order they were published. Dick's origins are mentioned in passing as part of other stories but the ones below are offical origin stories.
Source
Facts
Comment
Detective Comics #38

Writer: William Finger

Title: "Robin: The Boy Wonder"

Year: 1940
# This is the first time Robin is introduced. While there is very little background about his parents we do learn their names - Mary and John and the name of the circus - Haly.
# The Flying Graysons are introduced as a trapeze act involving father, mother and young son.
# Dick overhears mention of the protect racket the night before his parents fall to their deaths
# Immediately following their deaths, Dick overhears another conversation about protection money.
# Realizing these men killed his parents, he is set to inform the police but Batman stops him.
# Batman takes Dick to the Batcave. Dick pleads to help and so Batman makes him take the oath.
# Dick is then trained by Batman and once ready the pair plan to capture Zucco.
# There is no mention of why "Robin" was selected as his name.
# Dick goes undercover, luring Zucco into the open. Then it is pictures he takes with a camera that sentences Zucco to the electric chair.
# At the end, Bruce asks Dick if he is going to return to the Circus, but Dick says his parents would want him fighting crime... "and as for me...I love the adventure."
A very simplistic origin story reminiscent of the comic book style of the time. No real grieving on Dick's part. His parents are quickly dismissed as a result of his love of adventure.
Batman #213

Writer: E. Nelson Bridwell

Title: "The Origin of Robin"

Year: 1969
# There is no mention of Dick's Quadruple in this story. The highlight of the show is John's triple.
# Following the accident Dick overhears the converstation about protection money - not before. # He is set to inform the police but Batman stops him.
# Batman takes Dick to the Batcave to protect him until he can capture Zucco.
# Dick pleads to help and so Batman makes him take the oath, reveals his identity and then takes Dick as his ward.
# Bruce suggests the name Robin as another flying creature and Dick likes it because he's always loved Robin Hood.
# Bruce used the Robin costume when he was a boy assisting his idol
# Together they lure Zucco out into the open, collect the evidence they need and Zucco is sentenced to the electric chair.
Another simplistic origin story reminiscent of the comic book style of he time. No real grieving on Dick's part. He just appears excited to be Robin.
Secret Origins #13

Writer: Dan Mishkin

Title: "The Secret Origin of Nightwing"

Year: 1987
# This is one of many attempts to update Dick's origins. It is set on the planet Okaara and Dick relates his history to Joey Wilson - a fellow Titan and friend at this stage. It is Dick's twentith birthday.
# At the age of five, Dick is shown flying for the first time without a net. His parents are shown to be loving and his father apt, rescuing his son when he falls.
# In this origin story, Dick is ten when his parents die.
# The show stopper is the Flying Grayson's triple spin.
# Dick says that his most vivid memory is not his parent's death but of meeting 'him'.
# Following his parents' death, Dick overhears the protection racket and is on his way to the police when he meets Batman.
# We learn here that Dick was terrified of Batman but believed him when he says that Zucco runs the town and that Dick would be dead in an hour if he talked.
# Dick desribes how he wanted to be just like Batman... calling it heroworship and infatuation.
# He becomes Bruce's ward, Then starts training. Just before he turns eleven, Batman gives him the name 'Robin' to which Dick responds - "Robin Hood was always one of my favourite heroes."
# Robin takes the photo of Zucco killing a henchman when sent Zucco to prison. This was a solo outing... no Batman there that night.
# Dick became a miniture version of Bruce... with Batman the real man and Bruce the sham. Dick felt the same way about himself and Robin.
# Dick realizes that Bruce freed Dick from his obsession by allowing him to personally bring Zucco to justice.
# We are told that the Nightwing costume is a tribute to Batman but that Dick felt more comfortable in the swashbuckling Robin outfit.
# Dick sees the highlight of his early career as his time with the original Teen Titans and that it was his time with the Teen Titans that broke up the Batman and Robin team. When the Titans disbanded, Bruce and Dick realized they had drifted apart.
# Dick goes to college and while Robin's solo career was going alone fine, his studies weren't. He stayed to keep the peace with Bruce, until finally realizing going off to school in the first place had been the problem. One of my favourite Bruce moments is in this story. See below.

# Over time, both Dick and Bruce realize Dick was never going to be a version of Bruce. Finally, they began to respect each and as equals and friends even though they'd comd to stand for a different kind of heroism.
# Dick still couldn't find himself and it wasn't until the Teen Titans reformed thanks to Raven, that Dick felt he'd found his calling... found 'home'.
# Bruce takes on a new Robin so the time was right for Dick find an identity of his own.
This story establishes a timeline for Dick's early years up to when he is leader of the New Teen Titans. Much of the previous orgins are there, just tweeked. Interestingly, it is in New Teen Titans #39 written by Wolfman that we are told that Dick started wearing the Robin costume age nine. For me, Marv Wolfman is THE authority on Dick Grayson. It was Marv and George Perez who redefined Dick. If he says nine, he was nine.

I like the idea that Dick simply grew up and found his place with the Titans as the reason his and Batman's partnership had a natural ending. The idean of the Joker shooting him etc. never worked for me.

Oh, and Bruce 'trying' being supportive LOL. One of the best moments in comics.
Batman #436 to #439
Writer: Marv Wolfman

Title: "Baman Year 3 - Parts 1 to 4"

Year: 1989
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Secret Origins # 50
Writer: Dennis O'Neil

Title: "The Glimpse"

Year: 1990
#
Robin Annual #4
Writer: Chuck Dixon

Title: "The Flying Graysons"

Year: 1995
# As a toddler, Dick was adventurous, climbing and falling, but caught by his mother.
# His mother called him Robin because he was born on the first day of Spring
# Dick's parents die as a result of the protect racket. They died when Dick was mad at them for not listening to him about the threats.
# Dick was taken to a youth centre following the death of his parents. Here, Dick had to fight to survive and to do so had to give up everything that meant something to him Ė pride, mercy and decency.
# When he tries to escape from the Youth Centre, Batman appears and promises he wonít be there long. Shortly after, Alfred collects him and his journey as Bruce's ward begins.
# In this version, Dick witnesses Zuccoís boys murder Pop and Zucco had a man inside the circus named Rutledge.
# Dick believed that once he had assisted Batman catch Zucco he would be sent back to the Youth Centre.
# In the end, Batman and Robin capture Zucco who rolls over on Rutledge... who receives a just end in the tigerís cage.
This is an interesting version of Dickís origin. Chuck Dixon has spent a lot of time writing Dick and so he should be considered an authority on the character... even if I didn't enjoy his run on Dick's solo series. This is the first Iíve ever heard of an inside man in the circus and the first Iíve seen Pop Haly murdered in front of Dick. I hate the idea of Dick being taken to the Youth Centre but this is probably realistic. In the version Iím writing (grin) Dick immediately goes to Wayne Manor.
Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #100
Writer: Dennis O'Neil

Title: "The Choice"

Year: 1997
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Dark Victory Mini Series #7 to #13
Writer: Jeph Loeb & Tim Sale

Title: Various

Year: 2000
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Robin Year One: Parts 1 to 4 to #13
Writer: Chuck Dixon & Scott Beatty

Title: Robin Year One

Year: 2001
#
Nightwing #101 to #106
Writer: Chuck Dixon and Scott Beatty

Title: "Nightwing Year One"

Year: 2005
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52 #25
Writer: Mark Waid

Title: The Origin of Nightwing

Year: 2006
#