Welcome to the five hundred and twenty-second in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. Click here for an archive of the first five hundred (I actually haven’t been able to update it in a while). This week, why did Nightwing and Oracle get engaged? What was the strange reason behind the Flash being called Flush Man in Argentina? Finally, did classic cartoonist Winsor McCay help inspire the United States to go to war with Germany with a famous animated film?
NOTE: The column is on three pages, a page for each legend. There’s a little “next” button on the top of the page and the bottom of the page to take you to the next page (and you can navigate between each page by just clicking on the little 1, 2 and 3 on the top and the bottom, as well).
COMIC LEGEND: Nightwing and Oracle got engaged only because DC planned on killing off Nightwing.
STATUS: I’m Going With False
In this week’s batch of Convergence books, Nightwing and Oracle finally got their happy ending in Convergence: Nightwing and Oracle #2 by Gail Simone, Jan Duursema and Dan Parsons.
This, of course, is referencing the fact that Nightwing and Oracle got engaged at the end of Nightwing #117…
but then it was promptly dropped in the “year” that took place between Nightwing #117 and #118. The main reason why it was dropped is because Dick Grayson was not originally intended to MAKE it to Nightwing #118, as Bruce Jones was originally going to be writing Jason Todd as the new Nightwing when he took over as the writer on Nightwing with #118.
This was because, as noted in this old Comic Book Legends Revealed, Dick Grayson was originally meant to die in Infinite Crisis.
Cooler heads prevailed, however, and he was not killed off.
This, though, led to the pervasive (and quite rational, don’t get me wrong) belief that DC just decided to have Dick and Barbara get engaged to add a little more pathos to Dick’s death. After all, this is the same company that had Sue Dibny be murdered right before her husband learned that she was pregnant…
So it makes perfect sense, and honestly, it perhaps did play A role in the plot point getting APPROVED. However, the idea was actually Nightwing writer Devin Grayson’s and it had nothing to do with Nightwing’s then-impending death in Infinite Crisis. In fact, Grayson didn’t even KNOW that Nightwing was close to dying at the time.
In a great interview with Donovan Grant at the Bat Universe, Grayson answered this exact question:
TBU: During your final issue of “Nightwing”, Dick Grayson proposed to Barbara Gordon. Was that always the plan? Some fans have speculated that the proposal was there only because he was about to die in “Infinite Crisis”. Did you know their engagement wouldn’t survive?
Devin Grayson: It was always my plan, and it was my intention to have the engagement be meaningful and long-lived. But yes, by the time I wrote that scene, I knew it wouldn’t stick because I knew that upper management was opposed to any characters getting married and had no interest in the Dick and Barbara relationship. So was I allowed to do it because other people knew at that time that Dick was destined to die? I don’t know. I didn’t know about Dick’s ensuing death, but I did know that my run—and probably everything I had created in it—was over as of the very next issue. But the proposal was a genuine part of my story arc.
So yeah, it possibly played a role in the engagement getting approved by DC (sort of “Yeah, sure, let her do it. It won’t matter”) but it wasn’t his death itself that drove the idea – it was something Grayson wanted to do anyways.
Thanks to Devin Grayson and Donovan Grant for the information!
Check out some recent entertainment and sports legends from Legends Revealed:
What was the strange Deja Vu effect with the ending of the famed NBA “Phantom Buzzer” game?
On the next page, how did we get a comic called Flush Man in Argentina?
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