Dick Grayson

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Name: Dick Grayson
Robin, Nightwing, Red Robin, Batman, Red X
Occupation: Superhero, circus acrobat, police officer
Relationships: Mary and John Grayson (mother and father); Bruce "Batman" Wayne (legal guardian, adoptive father, crime-fighting partner); Clark Kent (friend); Teen Titans (friends and teammates); Koriand'r/Starfire (major love interest); Barbara Gordon (major love interest); Batfamily; Damian Wayne (brother, sidekick)
Fandom: DC Comics, Batman, Teen Titans; Batman: The Animated Series/DC Animated Universe; Nightwing; Teen Titans (animated TV series), The Batman, Young Justice (TV series), LEGO Batman
art by thisafterpartyisawingding (2017)
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Richard John "Dick" Grayson is a fictional character from the DC Comics universe. He is the original and most well-known Robin, and as an adult goes on to become the hero Nightwing. At different times he has also taken the mantle of Batman. He appears in many different DC media properties related to Batman, Teen Titans, and Young Justice.



Dick Grayson was introduced in Detective Comics #38 in 1940, and has remained a staple of much of the Batman mythos in the 80 years since.

He was born as the son of John and Mary Grayson, a young aerialist couple, and part of the "Flying Graysons". In his introduction story his parents are murdered and in the process of solving the case of their murder becomes Batman's partner as well as the ward of Batman's alter ego Bruce Wayne. Later the character was used with other mentored characters in the Teen Titans title, where Dick as Robin took a leading role. His role as part of the Teen Titans later leads to a split between him and Batman and he goes on to become the hero Nightwing. He was popular enough to get his own ongoing book as Nightwing in 1996. During the Prodigal Son story line and later during the events of Batman Reborn, when Bruce Wayne was thought to be dead, Dick also took on the costumed identity of his mentor.

Batman (1966)

In the three-season TV series and 1966 spin-off feature film, Batman, the Dick Grayson version of Robin was portrayed by Burt Ward. He later provided the voice for animated versions of the character, and the actor's likeness was used in tie-in comics and crossover mini-series.


Dick Grayson first appeared in the 1995's Batman Forever, portrayed by Chris O'Donnell. He takes on the persona of Robin after his parents and older brother was murdered by Two-Face at the annual Gotham Circus. He discovers Bruce Wayne's identity as Batman, he joins Bruce in crime-fighting. O'Donnell reprised the role in the 1997's sequel, Batman & Robin where Robin has grown frustrated with playing second fiddle to Batman and feels held back as his overconfidence causes Batman not to trust him.

DC Animated Universe / Batman: The Animated Series

In the 1990s animated series we see Dick's transition from Robin to Nightwing, and Tim Drake becomes the second Robin. Dick is also in a romantic relationship with Barbara Gordon (Batgirl).

Teen Titans (2003 cartoon)

Dick is Robin in this series, and he is the leader of the Teen Titans. His main love interest is Starfire, this relationship will later become canonical.

The Batman (2004 animated series)

Dick is a young boy in the series, and features a similar background to the comics in that Dick is adopted by Bruce Wayne. The biggest change in the series is that Barbara Gordon as Batgirl becomes Batman's sidekick first, before Dick becomes Robin.

Young Justice (2010)

Dick is Robin at the beginning of the series, and was the leader of the team at one point, but later steps down. After a five year time-skip, Dick has transitioned to the persona of Nightwing, and takes more of a supporting role.

Titans (2018 TV series)


  • Arkhamverse - Nightwing is a supporting character in the Batman: Arkham video game series, and is a playable character in an Arkham Knight DLC.
  • Batman: Under the Red Hood (2010) - Dick Grayson, and his Nightwing identity, is featured in the film as a supporting character. He returns with additional scenes in the interactive movie Batman: Death in the Family (2020).
  • Harley Quinn: The Animated Series
  • Gotham Knights (2022) - Nightwing is one of the playable protagonists of the 2022 video game Gotham Knights.


Fanon and common tropes in fan works

  • Bruce Wayne: exploring his relationship with his adoptive parent, be it positive or contentious
  • Batfamily: focusing on his interactions with the other members of the extended Batfamily
    • Robins: concentrating on his relationship with the other Robins, Jason, Tim, and Damian, often with him taking on a mentoring or protective role, sometimes to the extent of being a doting mother hen. Although, sometimes these roles can become combative, especially as his brothers mature and want to choose their own paths
  • Officer Grayson: Fandom loves a sexy man in uniform. Dick joined the police academy in Nightwing 1996 #31. He was a police officer with the Bludhaven Police Department in 1999-2003 comics, until he was sadly fired from his beloved job in 2003's Nightwing #83. He's also a police detective in the 2018 Titans TV series. Fans have used Dick's double-life as a vigilante and a police officer as the premise for many fan works—and many enjoy the "man in uniform" trope showing off Dick as a sexy police officer in fan art. However, some fans have since soured on Dick's role as a police officer, due to a cultural shift in mainstream attitudes about the police in the 2010s and 2020s.
  • Cereal: Dick is a cereal-powered hug-maniac [1] [2]
  • Butt: Dick's rear is appreciated.
  • Talon: AU in which Dick was kidnapped and conditioned by the Court of Owls, before Batman could intervene.
  • Apprentice or Renegade - Dick is Deathstroke's apprentice. Based off of the apprentice arc in the 2003 Teen Titans cartoon and the brief Renegade arc in the comics.[1]
  • Crossovers: Usually only within the larger DC universes, there appears to be only a very small amount of fic that takes place outside of DC, the most common being in the Marvel universe
  • The Hawkeye Initiative: Some fans have expressed confusion over the Hawkeye Initiative, claiming that Dick Grayson, canonically the most beautiful human man in the DC Multiverse, already fulfills the purpose of an attractive male character contorting his body in a skin-tight outfit, and would be better fit for such an initiative, instead of Clint "Hawkeye" Barton.

Romani background

Grayson's ethnic background was retconned to be partially Romani on his father's side via a brief mention in the comics in 1997, further elaborated in a generally overlooked storyline in 2001. Fans debate the pros and cons of designating Dick as a Romani character or a "non-white" character.


Fanon Dick is an extra sensitive guy who wants everyone to get along and is always happy and quippy. He’s emotionally affirming, gives out hugs often, eats cereal constantly, and depending on where you are in the fandom, his most noticeable trait is his ass. Fanon Dick is portrayed as effeminate to varying degrees and tends to be highly emotive and sentimental. His intelligence usually suffers from this treatment, and he’s often taken at face value for his quips and treated as the Batfamily’s sole comic relief. He’s spontaneous and reckless, jumping into battle without a plan and making things up as he goes along while shooting off a bunch of one-liners.[2]

Occasional fanon: happy-go-lucky, extremely tactile/octopus hugger, a bit dumb.[3]

Something fandom often forgets is that Dick is a lot like Bruce. He’s incredibly responsible and very occupied with the Mission. He’s far better adjusted when it comes to his parents’ tragedy, so it’s not so much about fighting back the bad in the world but about protecting the good. Dick is what Bruce is most proud of in his life; he’s canonically Batman’s heir as the world’s second best detective as well as Bruce Wayne’s legal heir for the company. Fandom often turns him into a goofball or a ditz or someone who is extremely easygoing, and that is inaccurate.[4]

Some fans find it hard to believe that this Robin [in the 2003 Teen Titans animated series] is intended to be Dick Grayson, arguing that his more brooding, obsessive, and morally questionable behaviors (especially in season 1) are [thought to be] more in line with Jason Todd or Tim Drake. Reading back through the original New Teen Titans comics, however, this is exactly what Dick Grayson was like, especially in the issues leading up to him quitting being Robin and becoming Nightwing—the Runaways/Scarapelli arc featured the exact same "Robin pushing everyone away to work on a case while Starfire attempts to get him to open up more" plot thread as [the TT03 episode] "Masks".[5]

The concept of Dick being unable to cook is a testament to his competence. When a character is hyper competent and basically fits the “I can do everything I set my mind to” stereotype - Fandom tends to assign them incompetence traits of day to day life. The inability to cook. Living like a slob. Skipping meals. Forgetting to shower. Drinking too much coffee.[6]

It sure wasn’t the typical portrayal in fanon pre-Flashpoint. There was maybe a little bit of it when he was shown specifically being big brother to Tim, and then more came in with Damian. I think it was a somewhat slow thing that actually had basis in how canon changed. And then there was the New52. Dick wasn’t exactly the same he’d been and tons of new fans jumped on with the New52 and animated shows as their main introduction to DC characters. Eventually, Dick shifted from a competent, capable crimefighter and detective and leader to an always smiling perfect boyscout big brother (which is a bit of a paradox because he was also a slob and couldn’t cook and lived off of cereal). The team dynamic trope took over as the bat family expanded; Dick was the happy leader, Jason was the angry but angsty one, Tim was the smart one, and Damian was the one trying to prove himself (some of the tropes changed a little, but yeah, think TMNT or Power Rangers). And as the team tropes took over, you could only have one of each kind of character. So many of the old standard characterizations in fanfic changed. Fanon Dick used to align a lot more with, for example, Outsiders era Dick. He was a bit more serious, had some angst issues sometimes, definitely had some issues with Bruce, both in and out of costume. He was reliable though, and Bruce’s right hand man. So maybe just being the oldest in an expanding family, the fact that he didn’t always hold onto old hurts the way Bruce did but actually moved on eventually and was relatively well-adjusted (compared to the rest of them) with some occasional humor and the in canon comments about how he brought light back to the Manor and in effect saved Bruce came together with the aforementioned influx of fans and the characterization shift from the New52 and animated versions until he was the happy go lucky, look before he leaps cereal fiend of fandom portrayal. I think there were a few fics with super happy hug monster Dick in 2009/2011. There were a ton by 2017.[7]

[Re: "What are some of the Dicks skills that fic writers pawn of to Tim and Jason? I get what you mean usually they lower dick to elevate literally anyone he's come into contact with but I was wondering what you've seen?"]

To clarify, its more Dick’s dynamics that get transplanted onto Jason and Dick’s skills that get erased to focus on where Tim has the same or similar skills. And I already went into the stuff with Dick’s dynamics with Roy and Kori and others, so to focus on the latter:

Computer skills is the most notable - I’ve posted about this a lot before because its a pet peeve, that so many people think Tim like, invented hacking and Dick ‘stole’ it from him for the YJ cartoon. When actually hacking started being a thing people were obsessed with movies and such about all the way back in the early 80s, almost a full decade before Tim was created, and Dick was established as pretty much THE first hero to make a skillset out of that, even before Babs did. He’s hacked alien technology using Tamaranean programming language he learned from Kori.

And just his detective skills in general. People put a lot of emphasis on Dick’s athletic prowess and then take that to the extent of treating it like it makes him the ‘dumb jock’ of the family, like there even has to be one, which….I don’t get but whatever. But basically, there’s a tendency to slot Dick into the athlete role and have him sit back and let the others take over (largely Tim) and do the intellectual heavy-lifting which they’re supposedly better at when like…..Dick played more of a role in teaching Tim to be a detective than Bruce did, arguably. He’s a master strategist and tactician, and there are canon panels of him solving cases on television shows like America’s Most Wanted, and calling in the tips anonymously, because he’s supposed to be relaxing with an injury and he’s bored and needed to stimulate himself so he just…solves high-level cases from his couch.

Like I always say, the Batfamily are a family of Mary Sues. They’re all capable of whatever the plot requires them to be capable of, at any given moment, which makes trying to ‘rank’ them in terms of skills utterly pointless and arbitrary, IMO. My only concern is when people take away things they’ve been shown doing for years because they feel there’s only room for one hacker or one weapons master or one acrobat….and its like…why? They’re all hypercompetent and emotionally dysfunctional and there’s so much to mine in that dichotomy.[8]

I haven’t been a Dick fan since I was a kid and that’s because while back then I saw a super cool badass, nowadays I see him as one of the most boring heroes in the DCU, among other things.[9]


Gen Relationships


Dick is one of the Little Black Dress characters who is shipped with many other characters. On the slash side Bruce/Dick, Dick/Tim and Dick/Jason are probably the most common as they are intra-Batfamily pairings, but he's also paired with Roy Harper (aka Speedy and Arsenal), Garth (aka as Aqualad and Tempest), with other (former) Teen Titans, and with other superheroes whom he is friendly with in canon such as Clark Kent (aka Superman), and many others. The character is also popular with het pairings, especially with some of his different canon love interests like Barbara Gordon and Koriand'r, but is also shipped with other female characters.

In the DCAU, he is mainly shipped with Barbara Gordon, his main love interest, however some shipped him with Catwoman.

In the Teen Titans cartoon, Robin mainly shipped with Starfire and Raven. Slade/Robin is a common slash pairing, particularly in darkfic.

In The Batman series, Dick/Babs is a popular pairing.

In the Young Justice (TV series) fandom, Robin/Kid Flash, Robin/Superboy, Robin/Artemis, and Robin/Zatanna (DickZee) are popular.

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