Robin, Nightwing, Birds of Prey Cancelled
Batman #681 won’t be out until November 19, but its effects are already being felt as DC Comics has confirmed that three of the satellite titles, Robin, Nightwing, and Birds of Prey will be cancelled in February. Another related title, Catwoman, was cancelled earlier this year.
All three titles were launched in the 1990s as the Batman line rapidly expanded under editor Denny O’Neil and the supporting cast grew by leaps and bounds. Given their middling monthly sales and decreased trade collection volume, the cancellations were not a surprise.
The timing was also carefully planned; something confirmed by Robin writer Fabian Nicieza who told ComicMix, "I knew the plans for Robin since I was first offered the assignment. Part of my enthusiasm all along was knowing the responsibility I had to get the character to a very interesting new phase of his life. It’s only the start of very exciting things for Tim Drake."
The next phase of Bat-continuity kicks off with the two-issue Battle for the Cowl to be written by Judd Winick. What follows remains a closely guarded secret. By then, the Bat-family of titles will be reduced to Batman, Detective Comics, Batman and the Outsiders, Superman/Batman and a cycle of The Brave and the Bold. The latter series will be featuring Bruce Wayne in the cowl so as not to distract readers drawn to the issues which will introduce Archie’s Red Circle super-heroes to the DC Universe.
Robin finally gained his own solo ongoing series in 1994 after three well-received miniseries from Chuck Dixon and Tom Lyle. Dixon returned last year to handle the character in the wake of One Year Later but was summarily removed and Nicieza replaced him.
Nightwing was awarded his own ongoing in 1996 after just one tryout miniseries by O’Neil and newcomer Greg Land. Again, Dixon wrote the project for its first seven years before ceding to Devin Grayson. Currently being produced by Peter Tomasi and Don Kramer, the character is also seen in Titans and across the DCU as a popular guest star.
Birds of Prey was originally a one-shot featuring Oracle and Black Canary from Dixon but it spawned one-shots and a miniseries before gaining its own monthly in 1999 with Dixon and Land at the outset. Its popularity and creative success led to the one-season WB television series. Gail Simone succeeded Dixon and at Dixonverse, she noted that since her departure followed by Black Canary being switched from BOP to JLA, “It’s just that the emotional core was removed and that’s always a bad idea. It wasn’t my idea, but it was a bit of a trade-off because her popularity in bop meant she could do things like lead the JLA and have a book with her name on the cover. And since I loved the character that seemed a fair trade to make, to help move her up the ladder of importance.” Currently written by Tony Bedard, it’s been much more of a team series far removed from Gotham.
The final issues will be Robin #183, Nightwing #153 and Birds of Prey #127.