Bat-Family Members Lose Their Independence

Robin, Nightwing, and the Birds of Prey get a wing-clip in February when their individual titles get axed.
DC Comics confirmed to Newsarama's MATT BRADY that the February-shipping Robin #183, Nightwing #153 and Birds of Prey #127 will be the final issues of those series, bringing to a close the era of Batman-related titles.

Birds of Prey (which debuted in 1999) currently is written by Tony Bedard and centers on Barbara Gordon, the former Batgirl (now Oracle), and Black Canary with a rotating cast of DC’s female heroes; Nightwing (which debuted in 1996) is written by Peter Tomasi and stars the original Robin, Dick Grayson; and Robin (which debuted in 1994), currently written by Fabian Nicieza, follows the adventures of Tim Drake as the Teen Wonder.

Sales-wise, the three series were roughly in the middle of DC’s lineup, with Nightwing selling over 50,000 copies to comic shops in September, while Robin and Birds of Prey saw sales of 32,000 and 21,000 copies, respectively.

DC declined to say if the series’ cancellations were due to sales, or if they would be replaced by three new titles in 2009.

Over at iFanboy, the resident bat-experts espoused opposing views on the cancellation reports.

CONOR KILPATRICK wasn't surprised at the news, considering talk of big changes coming after Grant Morrison's current "Batman R.I.P." storyline. Also tempering any concern by this acknowledged "big Batman fan" is his doubt about the finality of these cancellings; he pointed to Nightwing's aforementioned 50K average sales, as well as rumors that Robin would return under the new title Batman & Robin.

"On the other hand, this news is like a knife to my stomach," admitted Kilpatrick, who professed that the "family" books, which include those on the chopping block, "have helped define and flesh out a world."

He also expressed concern for Dick Grayson's future, in light of DC VP Dan DiDio's long-held desire to kill off the former Robin. "All I can do at this point is wait and see."

While PAUL MONTGOMERY thinks the death of Nightwing the comic series "is long, long overdue," he agreed with Kilpatrick that the life of Nightwing the character indeed may be in danger. He blamed Grayson's failure as a hero capable of standing on his own, independent of his team collaborations.

"Barbara has clearly evolved and Tim's journey is just beginning," wrote Montgomery, "but Dick, it would seem, is fighting a losing battle with celebrity and legacy that we've seen destroy former child stars, time and time again. Truly, Dick is the Gary Coleman of the Bat Family."
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