Too Many Long Boxes!

End of Summer

Nightwing No More!

Nightwing Gets A Death Blow From…

David R. Black (Fiction Editor)
with Michael Hutchison (Editor)

Be warned: It's rant time.

I'm sick of reading Nightwing fiction! If I read one more, my eyes are going to roll back in my head and the men in white are going to take me away to Arkham. Despite Michael's challenge in the forum to all writers a month back [reprinted in this month's Thoughts column], I still receive an overwhelming amount of Nightwing-centric fiction.

And it's not just Nightwing per se (although that's part of it). It's the constant regurgitation and reiteration of old, worn out ideas. There's only so many variations on one story, folks.

Please, no more stories having "Babs and Dick belong together," "Bruce loves Dick but can't show it" or "If Nightwing/Batman died, what would the other do?" themes. Those have all been done to death. We seem to be getting a lot of variations on these themes recently, so let me be the first to say; IT'S NOT ORIGINAL! Don't bother!

The vast majority of Nightwing fiction I've read recently is, technically speaking, well done. There's great characterization and great description. But, like I said, there's only so many ways to skin a cat. No mas, por favor.

Furthermore, two people sitting around talking does not usually make for a good story. Some writers can pull it off, but they're usually very talented (and usually professionals). There must be conflict in any story. The conflict doesn't necessarily have to be physical conflict, but there has to be something to a story besides good characterization and dialogue. If you don't know what other types of conflict there are, browse through our archives. Read one of Dannell Lites' stories to learn about emotional conflict or one of Chaim Mattis Keller's mysteries to learn how conflict can simply be man vs. the unknown.

If you really want to write about two characters' lovey-dovey feelings for each other, then try your hand at something different. Write a Linda Park-Wally West story, a Clark Kent-Lois Lane story, a Dinah Lance-Oliver Queen story, a Kyle Rayner-Jade story, a Jack Knight-Sadie story…….I could go on and on, and those are just examples of romantic relationships.

Want to explore father-son/mother-daughter relationships? Try doing a Jay Garrick-Wally West story or a Libby Lawrence-Jesse Quick story, or a Pat Dugan-Courtney Whitmore story.

Bruce Wayne-Dick Grayson has been done to death, so don't try it. I won't run it. Period.

Please…there's so much more to the DCU. Learn to use it to your advantage. Don't pigeonhole yourself into one type of story or one particular character.

That said, if you still want to write a Nightwing story, there are ways to do original ones. Use your imagination, or if that doesn't work, browse through some of Syl Francis's work. Why not go off the deep end and try a story where Dick gets lost in the time stream and meets Jonah Hex? At least try something different. Please.

As of 02/15/2001, we, the editorial staff of Fanzing, make the following proclamation.

  • We will not run any story that focuses on:
    1. How Dick (Nightwing) Grayson and Barbara (Oracle) Gordon belong together.
    2. How Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson have a close, father-son bond but they never express their emotions.
    3. What would be the reaction of Bruce Wayne/Dick Grayson if Dick Grayson/Bruce Wayne (respectively) died?
    4. And while we're at it…no more stories about Superman and Wonder Woman getting married in the future.
  • As for what is meant by "Focuses on…", this will be left to the purview of the fiction editor. A story which is largely concerned with some other central concept and touches upon one of these themes for, say, a sentence or two will be okay. Similarly, if you're doing a supergroup story where each character's personal life is being examined, then this would be acceptable. (In other words, if you're doing a story about all the Titans being tortured by some villain probing through their psyche, you don't have to skip over Nightwing just because it would violate a rule.) In other words, common sense rules.
  • Everything I've received as of yesterday is exempt from the new rules (as is Choices). Just as in law, it's not fair to use ex-posto-facto rules. We still have some Nightwing-centric fiction lying around that I'll use up in the next two issues, so don't think that I've changed my mind if you see a Nightwing story that breaks the rules.
  • I'm not opposed to the Nightwing character. Just find something interesting and original to do with him, if you absolutely can't stop writing about him.
  • This is Fanzing, not Batzing or Nightzing. Other DCU characters have their fans and afficianados too. We need to give them a chance to be heard.

And now…a word from Fanzing Editor Michael Hutchison

Thank you, David, for not being afraid to get that off your chest. It needed to be said.

I think I should take a moment to clarify this whole "too much Nightwing" issue.

At first we were planning to ban all Nightwing fiction, but we were convinced that that would be prejudiced against good writers just because of their choice of character. And it's not as if we don't like Nightwing. Nightwing is one of the highlights of my month. I love Nightwing…but as the action-packed series that is written by Chuck Dixon. If every month "Nightwing" was focused on Dick Grayson's love life and his feelings about Batman, I don't think I could stand to read it.

What David is really responding to is a glut of stories that all seem to focus on Dick and Babs admitting to their feelings or centered on his relationship with Batman. And not just the ones in the last few issues; for all the stories that David considered worth running in Fanzing, there are many more that are exactly the same in subject matter but not as good.

And it's not that the publishable stories aren't enjoyable, but we just have too much Nightwing…and of the Nightwing stories, most are relationshippy stories that don't contain action or villains or Nightwing's interrelationships with Clancy, Tad, Amygdala, Jonathan Law, the police force, etc…. it's almost exclusively "how does he relate to Barbara/Bruce" stories.

Even a Nightwing-centric fan should be able to occasionally turn in a story about some of the characters in his two 'verses. Why don't we get more Titans fiction? Why don't we get Tim Drake Robin stories, or Bullock, or Commissioner Gordon, or Huntress, or even Joe Potato for godsakes?

I LIKE Nightwing. I READ Nightwing. But considering how many characters DC Comics has available, Fanzing should be running a Nightwing story every three or four issues (in addition to the Choices serial), not two or three every month with little else.

However, I think that, to some extent, I made this point a while back with my challenge to our writers for 2001 (which I've reposted in my Thoughts column this month). In other words, I think David really needed to vent, but it's my hope that Fanzing's most talented writers are already trying to come up with a story about some character we never thought they'd use, and I think we'll be wowed in the coming months.

David R. Black is's magazine editor and chief archivist. A big fan of "The Warlord," he has a cat named Shakira and is looking for a girlfriend named Tara....

is Editor-In-Chief of He is the world's biggest Elongated Man fan and runs the only EM fan site. He lives in Rochester, MN.
AIM: Fanzinger
ICQ: 70101007

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