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Rejected Pitch Shows Nightwing's Worst Story Could Have Been So Much Better

One of the most critically maligned and reader-despised Nightwing stories had an entirely different pitch from writer Tom King ("Mister Miracle") that would have made a terrible story potentially great. And DC Comics rejected it.

On his Twitter account, the writer shared he had also pitched a "Nightwing" story involving Dick Grayson after the hero was nearly killed after being shot in the head. However, instead of the version DC published, where Dick was shot in the head and took on an entirely different persona as Ric Grayson while struggling with memory problems that ran for more than 20+ issues and multiple crossovers, King's take would have been much shorter and concise. Additionally, it would have changed the Bat Family in a significant way, as his take would have featured Tim Drake taking on the mantle of Nightwing as Dick recovered.

King, whose writing style often packs an emotional punch, would have focused the arc on Tim and Dick bonding like brothers as one deals with a significant tragedy and the other graduates to Nightwing. Unfortunately, while King's pitch sounds better than what actually happened, DC Comics did not move forward with it, instead opting for a much more controversial, long-winded storyline that has often been considered the worst Nightwing story ever published.

Ric Grayson changed Nightwing for the worse

Though Nightwing has done some terrible things, becoming Ric Grayson was one of the worst things DC has ever done to the character. After Nightwing was shot in the head by KGBeast, Scott Lobdell and Travis Moore's "Nightwing" run introduced a version of Dick Grayson plagued by memory loss. Dick became Ric, a heavy drinker who shaved his head and became a different kind of masked vigilante while moonlighting as a taxi driver in his home city, Bludhaven.

With the writing being the main problem of the arc, the fan-favorite character was transformed into someone who was practically unrecognizable, as he was essentially taken away from the Bat Family to become a new hero who didn't resemble Dick Grayson at all. And to make matters worse, the transformation lasted for more than a year in the comics. As a result, even longtime Grayson fans dropped the title as it continued due to the controversial storyline.

So why make the change to Nightwing? Well, it likely ties back to former DC co-publisher Dan DiDio. DiDio had previously mentioned he wanted to kill Dick Grayson in the "Infinite Crisis" event, with rumors suggesting he intended to replace him in the role of Nightwing with Jason Todd. Ultimately, that didn't happen. Still, DiDio's apparent distaste for Nightwing (and Wally West's Flash) would be evident throughout his time as DC, as both heroes underwent some strange storylines that ticked off longtime readers. Dick Grayson becoming Ric Grayson was the storyline DiDio chose for Nightwing — but as writer Tom King recently revealed, there were much better options at play.

How Tom King's pitch would have changed the storyline

Tom King, who worked on Dick Grayson in the "Grayson" series alongside Tim Seeley and Mikel Janin, shared a tweet about his rejected pitch for Nightwing after the KGBeast shot him.

He described his Nightwing story as being much more condensed while focusing on the hero's recovery from his near-death experience. King explained his run on "Nightwing" would have focused on Dick learning to be his usual self again while working alongside Robin Tim Drake. However, Tim would have taken on the role of Nightwing in the book, with the 6-12 issue comic highlighting his relationship with Dick Grayson as they care for each other. 

While it's impossible to know how exactly King's pitch would go if approved, the reactions to the rejected pitch had fans reeling. Multiple Twitter users responded to King, telling him they would have loved to see that version of Nightwing instead of the Ric Grayson storyline they got. Meanwhile, Tim Drake fans said they would have loved to see him in an elevated role.

Where Nightwing is at in the current pages of DC Comics

While the 20+ issues of Dick Grayson becoming Ric Grayson were poorly received by fans, the troubling time for the hero eventually led to the perfect creative team taking the reigns — bringing him back to his former glory. Starting with "Nightwing" #78 by Tom Taylor and Bruno Redondo, Dick was brought back to basics as he returned to Bludhaven to help transform his home and fight crime. With a billion-dollar inheritance from the late Alfred Pennyworth, Dick, alongside Barbara Gordon, invested in Bludhaven to tackle issues within the city, including homelessness.

Nightwing would go on to play a key role in the "Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths" event, being an integral part of saving the Multiverse. Meanwhile, Nightwing has rejoined the Titans, as the superteam will take the place of the Justice League in Taylor and Nicola Scott's upcoming "Titans" series in May. His romance with Barbara is also back on.

There's no question Nightwing is back in a deserved spot in the DC Universe. But, considering how bad the Ric Grayson arc was, how much damage it did to the character at the time, and how long it ran, it would be hard to imagine back then he would find his rightful place after the controversial storyline. King's pitch would have been an excellent stopgap for Grayson to find himself again alongside Tim Drake. Thankfully, despite the rejected pitch, Dick would find his footing a few years after his turn as Ric.