bruce-jonesIn March, as part of the creative shuffle that accompanies the “One Year Later” shift of all the DC Universe titles, Bruce Jones is taking over Nightwing with issue #118, joined by the art team of Joe Dodd and Bit, with covers by Jock. The first issue, as the cover shows, gives Nightwing a possible/probable change in location, and a role as something more like a fugituve than a hero. Jones agreed to answer a few questions for First Comics News about his new gig, and where Nightwing might be headed.

First Comics News: First off Bruce, how did DC approach you to take this assignment?

Bruce Jones: It was actually [editor] Nachie Castro who approached me for Nightwing. We had been doing some work together with Matt Idleson on Man-Bat, Scarecrow Year One, etc. and the team seemed to click. They’re great guys to work with and it’s been a lot of fun. And a lot of work.

1st: You are starting on Nightwing with “One Year Later“. The year the readers missed – was it an important year in Nightwing’s life or was everything pretty much status quo that year?

Bruce: There really was very little status quo going on that year for anyone it seems! DC has been turning both it’s own and the known universe on their collective heads over the past months. It can be dizzying. But not so dizzying its kept sales from shooting up.

1st: For the readers that have been reading Nightwing from the beginning, will they see the return of the rouges say from the Chuck Dixon and Devin Grayson eras at some point, or is this a fresh start?

Bruce: A little of both. We’ve tried to give it a fresh feel—after all, a year is a long time in the life of a superhero—but we’ve still got one foot firmly entrenched in the DCU. The trick has been in striking the right balance. Hopefully readers will feel at once comfortable and delighted, like greeting an old friend. One that has, well…changed a bit, like we all do.

1st: Is the series still set in Blüdhaven?

Bruce: The most I can say at this point without involving spoilers is that Blüdhaven is a different town these days.

1st: How do you view Dick Grayson/Nightwing?

Bruce: You’re assuming, of course, that Dick Grayson is Nightwing. Ya get nothing from me, ya lousy screws!

1st: So there’s a possibility that Dick isn’t Nightwing?

Bruce: Next question.

1st: Given that he was trained by him, Dick always seems to flirt with the line of beocming just as grim as Bruce Wayne/Batman, and totally divorcing himself from Bruce’s worldview. What makes him unique from Batman?

Bruce: Well, everybody’s unique compared to Batman I guess, but I’d say the thing that makes our title character the most unique now is what you hit on earlier: that year when he wasn’t under public scrutiny. See, what happened was, this big…well, you’ll see in issue #118…

1st: This is your first outing with the spandex set in a while. What’s it like for you to work with a more traditional super hero?

Bruce: Actually I’ve done my share of superheroes along the way. It’s great. A lot of writers carp at continuity baggage, I’ve been guilty myself, but one of the perks with known commodities is the gift of being able to jump right in, more or less, without the normal amount of exposition and character delineation you just about have to impart to one shot creations and episodic books, which is why anthology comics can be so tough to do. And, of course, with the continuity goes the blessing of being able to get into your protagonists psyche in ways you can only do with ongoing series.

1st: Is Nightwing still going to be member of the Outsiders and the Batman family?

Bruce: If you don’t quit picking at those packages under the tree, young man, your father and I aren’t going to give you any Christmas at all!”

1st: What type of restrictions are there when you work on a character that appears in more then one comic each month?

Bruce: Not as nightmarish as you might imagine. Everyone kinda follows the rule of thumb of going with the flow and doing your homework as much as you can, but also trying not to feel like you’re writing in a straight jacket. Some readers will always gripe because all these different people are writing the same character and some don’t hone to the strict rules of continuity (whatever they may be) and that same reader will then gripe because there aren’t more titles featuring his or her favorite character. The very thing that makes a writer or creator most interesting—his uniqueness—doesn’t seem to enter the picture. Go figure. Personally, I work hard at it, but I never try to lose sight of having fun. If it becomes laborious for me, I can only imagine what the reader must be thinking. If you don’t love comics, you should probably try your hand at something else.

1st: Different track – Dick Grayson has always been a ladies man, from Wonder Girl, to Batgirl /Oracle, to Starfire, is this going to continue or is Dick going to take some down time from the ladies?

Bruce: Sorry–who is this Dick Grayson you keep referring to? Seriously, whether I write him or someone else does, I think Grayson will always have that twinkle in his eye for the chicks, and he’s killer charming. Gee, I hate guys like that.

1st: What can we tell readers that may have drifted away from Nightwing over the years to get them to try the title again?

Bruce: Oh, there probably won’t be that much trouble getting people to pick the book up, it’s getting them not to put it back down again that I work to head off.

Some follow up questions Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Back on December 11th, I talked to Bruce Jones about the upcoming changes in Nightwing, however with some new revelations it is time to catch up with Bruce Jones again and get a few updates.

1st: When we last talked

1st: Is the series still set in Blüdhaven?

Bruce: The most I can say at this point without involving spoilers is that Blüdhaven is a different town these days.

1st: In this I assume you were talking about the series being set in New York City, or is Blüdhaven still a part of the series?

Bruce Jones: Let’s just say Nightwing will definitely spend some time in the Big Apple.

1st: Another thing I would like a little clarification about

1st: How do you view Dick Grayson/Nightwing?

Bruce: You’re assuming, of course, that Dick Grayson is Nightwing. Ya get nothing from me, ya lousy screws!

1st: So there’s a possibility that Dick isn’t Nightwing?

Bruce: Next question.

1st: Now That we know that Dick Grayson is no longer Nightwing, the rumor is that it is Jason Todd. Can you confirm or deny that at this point?

Bruce: Jason Todd is Jason Todd (when he’s not being The Red Hood) and Nightwing is Nightwing.

1st: In a recent press release from DC there was some new information about the Nightwing series

New writer Bruce Jones (Vigilantes) will be chronicling a new man behind the mask, So where is Grayson? Jones (whose artist still has not been released) isn’t saying. “readers will see a newNightwing,” says Jones. “Now established in New York City, he will deal with more formidable foes, new metahuman rivals and an unlikely new romance.”

1st: Is Dick Grayson still in the series or does it only focus on the new Nightwing?

Bruce: Some old familiar faces will be back to visit in our version—including Dick Grayson.

1st: Was this your idea to replace Dick Grayson or was that part of the OYL plan all along?

Bruce: The OYL and the DCU change almost weekly—and BTY, just FYI, I mean that ASAP. As soon as our new Nightwing appears we’re having a big party in which you’re expected to BYOB.

1st: It appears that Dick Grayson is now Robin again and Jason Todd is Nightwing, has Jason been rehabilitated into the Batman Family or is he still fighting against the rest of the Batman related heroes?

Bruce: Let me put it this way: Jason Todd is a legend in his own mind.

1st: With the series moving from Blüdhaven to New York City how are the Chuck Dixon and Devin Grayson villains brought out of Blüdhaven?

Bruce: Even I am not privy to that at this point.

1st: DC is well know for setting their heroes in mythological cities, why set the comic in New York City?

Bruce: Partly because of what has happen to the DCU post Infinite Crisis and partly because what has happened to Nightwing… whoever he may be.

1st: Does this present any challenges as real word events take place in NYC?

Bruce: At the point we’re open to using the naturally occurring changes that take place in any real-life big city environ, within the parameters of our stories. You won’t, for instance, see the World Trade Center in my outlines, unless in flashback.

1st: On the cover we see Nightwing with a sword, is this a hint of things to come, with more weapons and more violence?

Bruce: I’d say more like a different kind of violence and less dependency on traditional weaponry.

1st: For the readers that have been reading Nightwing from the beginning, will the series be at all recognizable to them?

Bruce: Oh, sure. As I mentioned, old faces will turn up and for the most part appear pretty much in character. This is not a revamp for the sake of doing a revamp or trying to claim new territory. This is a DC owned franchise, not a Bruce Jones owned franchise. Wait a minute…you’ve given me an idea…

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In March, as part of the creative shuffle that accompanies the 'One Year Later' shift of all the DC Universe titles, Bruce Jones is taking over Nightwing with issue #118, joined by the art team of Joe Dodd and Bit, with covers by Jock. The first issue, as the...