Did Nightwing have a bad costume?

An alert reader sent me Nightwing's classic costume for our "Bad Costume Wednesday":

But here's the thing -- I'm not so sure this is a bad costume. I mean, you can make fun of his long, flowing, romance-cover raven locks if you want, I suppose, but remember that this was an era in which Superman had a mullet. So you kind of can't totally blame the guy.

The big yellow glove wedges and giant glowing chest wing are perhaps not ideal for a night-stalker, but I don't think they look bad.

I kind of dig the stylized Bat symbol on the belt, I think it helps establish him as his own person without totally losing his history.

About the only thing I am not down with is the belt itself, which always bugs me when it's not actually holding up anything. But that's a pretty minor point.

Still, this particular alert reader has good taste and sound judgement, so I'm willing to concede I might be wrong on this. What do you think, was this a good or a bad super hero costume?

23 Responses to Did Nightwing have a bad costume?

  1. Looks good to me, for the most part. I think that his symbol should look more like a wing than some kind of double-headed tool or barbell.

  2. I do think it’s a definite improvement over the disco collar costume. It’s not a bad costume- the light blue parts and the gold bits do look quite striking, if a little odd. And you can see the shape of his future Night-symbol in the gold chest shape.

    Doesn’t excuse the hair, though, and he also sported a mullet at one point: http://images1.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20091104203013/marvel_dc/images/6/6c/Nightwing_0001.jpg

  3. Hammerknight

    I think that his costume was find. He wanted to be seen as something other then Batman’s side kick, but still stay in touch with his history as Jeff stated. I have been away from reading the comics for some time now. When Dick filled in as Batman did any of the other Robins fill in for Nightwing? I think that would be a cool family thing. Maybe Bruce becomes Shadow Bat, Dick becomes Batman, one of the other Robins becomes Nightwing and someone else becomes Robin. Shadow Bat would be a cool name for a semi-retired older Batman that is still out there in the shadows waiting to join the fight against crime if needed.

  4. Trailerhood_Outlaw01

    NIghtWing’s best costume is in Arkham City

  5. Costume seems reasonable to me. I’ll admit I’m no expert, but it does work well to my eyes. (I’m presuming Mawster Grayson is using some form of padding as a bullet shield as/under the gold; it’s not ‘sculpted’ the way the rest of the spandex is. We know the Bat’s done it that way in at least one continuity.)

    And Jeff, I’d like to point out the belt technically is holding something up – the pouches. For a bat-family member, the pouches are legit – the utility belt’s been part of the Bat’s arsenal for a long time. (Hey, at least they aren’t strapped around every limb and the neck…)

  6. I always kind of liked Nightwing’s costumes–even the disco one (because, heck, it was still George Perez). And I liked this one fine. His stylist has something to answer for, though.

    I don’t especially like the red costume just because of the red–it seems to go against “tradition” for him (although I recognize the nod to his old Robin costume, of course).

    This Earth-2 Robin costume might deserve a nomination, though: http://myweb.cableone.net/csarton/E2Robin.jpg

  7. is original is worse , with the huge collar.

    http://www.hyperborea.org/flash/bigimages/grayson2.jpg

  8. It’s okay. Not great, but it’s not the usual bad costume. The combination of sectioned yellow paneling and long hair give it sort of an inexplicable native feel.
    You mention the belt, Jeff, but I counter on two points: First, Dick’s part of the Batman family, and that means utility belts. There are pouches there, so Dick must be using them for something, whether it is to carry smoke bombs, breath mints, or spare change. Heck, given that this was the Liefeld ’90s, the pouches’ smaller size is actually on the side of restraint. Second, I’ve heard you say enough times that any time a male character wears a bodysuit of this kind, he needs to break up the middle, usually with a pair of shorts or a belt, which this does. Mocking the belt sounds kind of self-contradictory.
    I give thus one a C. Nothing memorable, but hardly a fail.

  9. This wasn’t a completely bad costume. I mean, the only bad points are the belt and the mask, which somehow connects to the just the ears and the neck. I mean, it’s the Nightwing mask we al know and love, but blue and way too Booster Gold-ish in design. I mean, if he’sd had a blue windshield covering his eyes, I’d be pretty sure this mask had been designed by either Booster Gold or his “trusty” sidekick/Kelex knock-off Skeets.

  10. Nightwing has gone through several costumes. This one isn’t his best, but it’s not his worst either. The original Nightwing costume, apart from the hilarious disco collar, also had bright yellow feathers running across the chest (right where the yellow parts on this costume are, as it happens). I think Nightwing: Year One tried to retcon it as an affectionate nod to his old role as Robin, but that didn’t make it any less silly.

  11. Rob Rogers:
    This Earth-2 Robin costume might deserve a nomination, though: http://myweb.cableone.net/csarton/E2Robin.jpg

    Oh. My. God.

    We have officially found the Worst Superhero Costume Ever.

    Pack it in, people. The search is over. We can all go home.

  12. This is surely one of the more tasteful costume designs of the ’90s. Pouches sensible and accessible. No extra geegaws. Not even a six-foot-long ponytail. Compare it to the insanity of the Asrael/Batman costume of the same era and it’s downright muted.

    I agree with Rob. I don’t like the red and black costume of the current series, anymore than I like that the new Green Arrow has no beard or mustache.

    And speaking purely as a person of great hair quantities, I see nothing wrong with his ‘do, either.

  13. Sh-yeeahhh… he’s way over-dressed for a cameo in He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.

  14. not bad for 90’s, but I personally always think that night identic with black or dark color, so his costume was a little mismatch (black and yellow)

  15. Should I change my name to “Alert Reader”? I did send this one to Jeff, and I will say, it’s not the worst costume I’ve ever seen. Besides the mullet, I guess what I didn’t like was this was supposed to be his big new costume to replace the Disco-Elvis one, and to me it just fell flat. What you don’t see in this picture is that he also has Spider-Man web armpits, and high heels. Until the Mid 90’s Black with Blue stripe one that he’s most famous for now, Richard wasn’t exactly know for his fashion sense. Case in point. I’m also willing to admit I’m wrong, so maybe it wasn’t as bad as I remembered it . At least it didn’t have elf shoes.

  16. Not the best costume, not the worst. Perhaps just a little dated in its early 90’s Extreme! sort of way. The hair certainly doesn’t help, and neither does the pose – I’m half expecting him to pull out a saxophone from behind him and launch into a Curtis Stigers type number.

  17. Dan:
    Until the Mid 90′s Black with Blue stripe one that he’s most famous for now, Richard wasn’t exactly know for his fashion sense. Case in point.

    Gaahhhh! Polka Dot Man just called, he wants his shirt back, Dick. Now, can anyone spare some eye bleach?

  18. Doornik1142: Oh. My. God.

    We have officially found the Worst Superhero Costume Ever.

    Pack it in, people. The search is over. We can all go home.

    Balderdash, sir! Captain Ultra’s hot mess of a costume is far worse:

  19. P.F. Bruns: Balderdash, sir!Captain Ultra’s hot mess of a costume is far worse:

    As bad as Captain Ultra’s might be (I can’t see your link) Earth-2 Robin still wins (loses?) for sheer abject laziness. It’s literally a stock Batman costume with the cape dyed yellow and an Arial font “R” taped over the bat symbol.

    I can’t even conceive of a lazier costume design. Even a superhero who goes out in civilian clothes would at least be interesting. But that thing…it reminds me of those “superhero” costumes you find at discount costume stores that are just a plastic mask and a t-shirt with a picture of the character on it.

  20. i think it’s fine, except the hair. that’s a bit over the top. (sorry about the pun)

  21. Doornik1142: As bad as Captain Ultra’s might be (I can’t see your link) Earth-2 Robin still wins (loses?) for sheer abject laziness. It’s literally a stock Batman costume with the cape dyed yellow and an Arial font “R” taped over the bat symbol.

    I can’t even conceive of a lazier costume design. Even a superhero who goes out in civilian clothes would at least be interesting. But that thing…it reminds me of those “superhero” costumes you find at discount costume stores that are just a plastic mask and a t-shirt with a picture of the character on it.

    Ah. The site script seems to disable the IMG tag in HTML, and for some reason, editing existing posts is a nonstarter on both of my Macs running Lion with Firefox 11. The link is here.

    Of course, now that I see the note at the bottom of the comment dialog, that should have been obvious. Oh, and look, there’s a preview button. I’ll be making use of that. Sorry!

    As to your actual point: Absolutely. The Robin costume from Earth-2 that you cite is an absurdly lazy ensemble. But I submit that by trying too hard, the creators of Captain Ultra actually made matters worse. At least the worst insult I could level at Earth-2 Dick Grayson would be, “Do you do birthday parties?” With poor Captain Ultra, there are all kinds of barbs I could throw at him:

    1) “Daredevil’s first costume looks better, and he’s actually blind!”
    2) “Did you get your trunks at a Stark Enterprises yard sale?”
    3) “What college are you the mascot for?”
    4) “Man-At-Arms called, and he doesn’t want his prototype chest protector back.”
    5) “Hey, you go to the costume shop on October 30, and this is what you get.”

  22. While I’ll agree that Captain Ultra’s costume is more garish than Earth-2 Robin’s, I’d argue that Captain Ultra’s costume was intended to be hideous, whereas I think Earth-2 Robin’s achieved that status more or less accidentally.

    That said, I quite like another version of Earth-2 Robin’s costume: http://comicbookmovie.com/images/users/uploads/27306/ROBIN_earth2_2_041311.jpg

  23. Rob Rogers:
    While I’ll agree that Captain Ultra’s costume is more garish than Earth-2 Robin’s, I’d argue that Captain Ultra’s costume was intended to be hideous, whereas I think Earth-2 Robin’s achieved that status more or less accidentally.

    That said, I quite like another version of Earth-2 Robin’s costume: http://comicbookmovie.com/images/users/uploads/27306/ROBIN_earth2_2_041311.jpg

    I can understand the nod to his history that the red-and-yellow-and-green version of Earth-2 Robin’s costume represents, and the tapered utility belt was kinda cool (though I’m not sure of the functionality). But it still screams “Shoot me!” in too much the same way as the teen version.

    And yes, I can understand that Captain Ultra’s costume wasn’t intended to be entirely serious. And wouldn’t you know it: his creators were Roy Thomas, Joe Sinnott, and our old friend George Pérez (he of the disco collar fetish). They must have had some good stuff available to trip on in 1976.

    Then again, if super-character costumes were practical, they’d all tend to look much more similar. You’d basically have everything done up in location-appropriate colors or camouflage, and everything would be some variation on military/SWAT outfits combined with segments of armor here and there. Only the really powerful and really crazy supers would wear anything else.