Monday, April 25, 2016
Because the super-spy agency he worked for, Sypral, employed some kinda high-tech perception warping thingamajigs they called "hypnos," it didn't really matter that Dick didn't wear a mask, as no one would be able to "make" him even when looking directly at him, and his clothing was pretty much irrelevant in terms of an in-story rationale.
I recently picked up the first collection of Grayson (having previously read the individual issues it contained), and was surprised by the back-matter, which included co-writer Tim Seeley's five-paragraph pitch for the series and several designs, which show what Dik Grayson might have worn instead of the costume above.
The first image, labeled as an early character design by Seeley, was paired with this pitch:
Like the one he ended up wearing, it more closely reflects his original Nightwing color scheme rather than the green, red and yellow of his Robin days or the black and red and of his post-Flashpoing Nightwing costume. And, unlike the final costume, it has a Spyral logo on the chest, which makes more sense than a big blue G, given that he's an agent of Sypral and all.
The pitch is somewhat noteworthy in that it refers to Spyral's head as Kathy Kane, the original Batwoman, rather than Helena Bertinelli, who was the "Matron" of Spyral in the version of Grayson that eventually saw print. I'm not entirely sure why DC would have preferred a new character whose name was the secret identity of the post-Crisis, pre-Flashpoint Huntress instead of Kane, who appeared as an agent of Spyral during Grant Morrison's run on Batman Incorporated.
Bertinelli is also drawn in an alternate costume, a black and purple version of the costumes the girls at St. Hadrian's Finishing School wore in Batman Inc which were themselves derived from Kathy Kane's Batwoman costume. She ended up just wearing a very tight T shirt with the white cross on black design of The Huntress' costume and a pair of functional pants, like Grayson is wearing in the image at the top of the post.
Here's Seeley's apparent next pass at a costume for Grayson:
He still retains a Spyral logo instead of a big, blue G, and it radiates a hypnotic spiral costume that covers his entire torso; it's a "hynpotic suggestion shirt," according to the notes. It's a very striking design, and one that would stand out in pretty much any crowd of superheroes.
I really like the fact that the pattern suggests that of the old Steranko Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD covers (SHIELD being a pretty obvious inspiration for Spyral, and Steranko's iteration of SHIELD being the most influential one). This version of Dick keeps a mask, which seems like it would be a good idea to have whether you're concerned about a "secret identity" or not. Even as a super-spy, such a mask could and would have some functionality, like particular lenses or communications capabilities. Plus, it looks cooler (I would have preferred a domino mask to such a big one, actually). The pants and boots look more para-military than what he ultimately ends up with, or the pair of super-tight jeans Seeley gave him in the first design.
Next up is series artist Janin's sketch:
This series was a real surprise, as the set-up doesn't make a whole lot of sense, or stand up to a few minutes worth of scrutiny, but what Seeley and co-writer Tom King managed to do with that extremely forced and unnatural-feeling premise turned out to be incredibly solid. Once you got over the conceptual hump and managed to suspend your disbelief long enough to make it through the first issue or so, Grayson was one of the better-written and often better-looking (although Janin's particularly style isn't one I'm personally drawn to) DC books of the last few years.
Grayson Vol. 1: Agents of Spyral contains another surprise: Dick Grayson almost had a totally awesome costume with a hypnotic suggestion shirt.