Writer Kyle Higgins joined CBR TV to discuss his run on DC Comics’ “Nightwing,” moving the character from Gotham City to the real-world city of Chicago, his approach to writing the character of Dick Grayson, taking over the writing chores on DC’s digital-first “Batman Beyond” series and more.
On “Nightwing” moving to Chicago: The twist at the end of issue #18 was that Tony Zucco, the man who killed Dick Grayson’s parents, is still alive. Dick Grayson heads to Chicago with two pennies and a Nightwing suit to his name and he’s basically looking for the closure on this event that he never really got. There’s a big mythology in Chicago that Brett [Booth] and I are building. The idea there is that there used to be masks, there used to be costumed vigilantes and there aren’t anymore, for the last several years. They’re all dead. There’s the undercurrent of the mystery of who killed the masks, what happened to them, which may or may not pop up once Nightwing shows up in the city. In addition to that, we’ve got some new villains. … It’s a lot of fun. As much as I love Nightwing in Gotham, the opportunity to bring him into a real city in the DC Universe, a place that hasn’t been really explored, a chance to develop this world that — with any luck — will be inherent to Nightwing, that’s pretty cool.
On how he approaches Nightwing as a character: I feel like we’ve been running the risk of putting a glass ceiling on Nightwing. The crossovers are a blast, like “Court of Owls” or “Death of the Family,” but at the same time, by really having him as involved in the crossovers as well as in the same city as Batman, you’re essentially taking this character who, if you were to pitch him to people who don’t know anything about comics or don’t know that character, and they say, “Who’s Nightwing?” You say, “Well, he used to be Robin.” That’s the first thing you’re going to say. The stories we’ve been working in Gotham, it’s really tough to get away from that when you’re in that close proximity with Batman and his rogues. I’m looking at Dick Grayson through the lens of Tony Zucco and the event that really shaped him. If you were to define Dick Grayson as a former circus acrobat who watched his parents fall to their deaths when Tony Zucco cut their trapeze lines, then I’m looking at that and saying, “As a result, why does he do what he does as Nightwing?” Because he wants to catch people when they fall. Him heading to Chicago in search of the man who created him, it’s difficult.
On taking over for the “Batman Beyond” digital-first series: When the first issue launches, a significant amount of time has passed. Terry’s no longer in high school, so he’s in college now. He and Dana no longer speak. The relationships between Terry and everyone we know and love are different. I don’t want to give too much away to the specifics of those, but something happened in this time between Adam’s last issue and my first issue. Something happened that changed a lot of these dynamics. There’s going to be some stuff that we flashback to the past and we see not only what changed there, but possibly some other stuff that happened between Dick and the sidekicks during the old animated series continuity. All of that is told through the lens of a modern murder that happens in the first two pages. It’s someone very significant in Gotham that dies.