I suppose I should say near-perfect, as true perfection is impossible. However, that makes a much less classy title, so I’m sacrificing substance for style. Deal with it.
I dedicate this post to my cousin (who just finished her first year of college!), with whom I first discussed this possibility. That conversation was sort-of a joke, making this post also sort-of a joke. But let’s be honest people: it’s also sort-of serious. I write a blog about Richards, for crying out loud – I take my Dicks seriously!
As a note before we proceed, I’m only comparing Dick to other members of the Bat-Family. There are hundreds of superheroes out there, and I only know a fraction of them (basically, only the ones who interact with Dick, which, while a surprisingly large number, is still only scratching the surface. I know almost nothing about Marvel heroes. Does Marvel have a Richard? If so, I should get on that.)
All-righty then! Without further ado, I give you:
Why Dick Grayson is the Perfect Man
Let’s start with the basics before we break it down. Dick Grayson is funny, smart, compassionate, a good person, optimistic, trustworthy, exceedingly attractive, rich, emotionally available, and fictional. The fictional might detract from his perfection in the eyes of some people, but I consider that a plus: he won’t distract me with his “needs” when I’m trying to get my own work done.
-Funny. Dick is freaking funny. Whether he’s cracking groan-worthy “Holy something’s” in the 1960s (and I maintain those are funny. I am still waiting for someone I know to be kidnapped so I can shout “Holy Robert Louis Stevenson” when informed.), making sassy yet sarcastic statements in Batman: The Animated Series (greatest cartoon ever, by the way), or parceling out the puns in the comics, Dick is your go-to guy for crime fighting with humor. And it is awesome! I recognize that some utterly uncool people might find the puns lame, but they have no souls.
-Smart. Despite not finishing undergrad (I guess saving the world got in the way of classes), Dick is super smart. He knows at least ten languages (which is just ridiculous, actually), plus all kinds of obscure Batman-esque knowledge. I realize that Dick is not quite at the same genius-level of intellect that Tim Drake (Robin #3, now Red Robin) is, but he’s still way above average. Just because Tim is all Sheldon Cooper-smart (from The Big Bang Theory, kids) doesn’t mean Dick (and Leonard, Howard, and Raj) aren’t also smart. Plus, I don’t want my man (as it were) to be leaps and bounds ahead of me. I want us to be about the same amount of smart, making Dick the perfect choice. (Okay, so Dick might still be smarter than me, but I could totally take him in any contest involving Richard III or feminist theory or queer theory. Or certain marsupials. I have many and varied interests.)
-Compassionate. Dick truly cares about helping other people, especially those in trouble. Always ready to lend a helping hand or punch somebody out – you name it, he delivers! Even Bruce Wayne (who is not exactly a cuddly ball of emotional stability) recognizes this and praises Dick for it in the panel pictured below (from Gotham Knights #21).
A minor example I just ran across occurs in Justice League of America #49 (when Dick is Batman). Kara/Supergirl is helping Dick move some items and he senses that she’s really lonely. He invites her to stay for some chicken salad and conversation, even though it means interrupting crime fighting (not to worry, they hit the streets again at the end of the comic). It’s very sweet.
-Good person. Despite his name, Dick is not a dick. He’s friendly, approachable, and always eager to help. He’s also a decent, moral fellow. In Infinite Crisis #3, Superman (from Earth-2; long story!) even tells Batman that Dick Grayson is not a corrupted version of the Dick from Earth-2, which gives Supey 2 pause. Basically, Batman is pulling an Abraham here and trying to convince God (Superman 2) not to destroy Sodom (Earth-1) if he finds at least one righteous person (God seems to want at least ten – see Genesis 18: around verse 32, depending on translation – but I think Supey 2, since he’s not God, should be satisfied with a lower number). Batman is telling Superman 2 that he can’t destroy Earth-1 because Dick Grayson is a good person – and Supes agrees! That is some serious good-person-ness right there, folks.
(This might actually be from Infinite Crisis #4)
-Optimistic. Dick’s a glass-half-full kind of guy. He has his dark moments, but he generally makes the best of things, and is the Doctor Pangloss of the Batman Family (content to live on Earth-1, “the best of all possible worlds”). I really think Alfred says it best, though, in Nightwing #99:
-Trustworthy. Everybody trusts Dick. And I do mean everybody – Batman, Robin, Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, Green Arrow, Arsenal, superheroes no one cares about. Batman knows Dick will prevent him from swerving from the path of righteousness and always be ready to lend a hand fighting crime and corruption. He just trusts that he will be there. And the other heroes know that they can count on Dick to be frank with them, as was freely admitted in The Brave & the Bold #15.
-Exceedingly attractive. Dick is hot. In a world populated by ridiculously-attractive people (seriously, are only a select few male villains ugly in comic books?), Dick is above average. Barbara Gordon (Batgirl/Oracle/Batgirl again) sometimes calls him “Hunk Wonder;” others have called him a “pretty boy.” And he apparently has an incredibly-nice ass. Fellow fictional heroes (and villains, I believe) have commented on it numerous times. People in the real world have also spoken: Dick’s ass has several Tumblr appreciation sites. I jest not – click the links if you dare.
-Rich. So Dick isn’t Bruce-Wayne rich (but I’m pretty sure not even God and Bill Gates combined are as rich as Bruce Wayne), but he’s got many millions of his own. How, you ask? Well, it was conveniently revealed in the Nightwing comics that Bruce had set up a trust fund for Dick, which Bruce’s buddy, business-god Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman in the movies), turned into a shit-ton of money. Plus, Dick has access to Bruce’s money and stuff, for those times when he needs something really expensive – such as five buildings in New York City. I kid you not, at one point Dick was all “Bruce, pretty please buy me these buildings in Manhattan. I need them to fight crime.” And Bruce was all “Excellent choices, Dick. Just let me get my checkbook.” Seriously!? Money is a superpower.
-Emotionally available. This can probably best be summed up in a few, simple words: Dick is not Bruce Wayne/Batman. Unlike the Bat, who desperately needed therapy to help him overcome his childhood trauma, didn’t get it, and consequently pushes away the people he loves (out of fear said people will die), Dick is not afraid to get emotionally close to people. He has friends (Donna, Wally, Roy, Garth, Kory, Vic, Gar, etc.), a deep brotherly bond with Tim (even before they were both the sons of Bruce Wayne), and, despite all the crap Bruce puts him through, he deeply loves and is always there for his father. He gets mad at Bruce, but he doesn’t shut him out (the way Bruce does with people). He isn’t afraid to share his feelings or listen to other people’s problems. What a nice guy!
Loyal. I hinted at this above, when I noted that Dick is always there for Bruce. Comics abound with examples of Dick dropping everything because Bruce called him, but it’s always nice to see Bruce recognize that Dick will never let him down.
(From Batman #590)
Other things to consider:
-Sexual experience. Dick’s been around the block a few times, shall we say. People love to joke that he’s DC’s town bicycle (or similar sentiments), but I don’t think he can truly compete with Bruce Wayne. No one can compete with the billionaire playboy in terms of tail. But whereas Bruce has every blond bimbo in the tri-state area itching to get with him, Dick/Nightwing is the crush of tons of super-powered females. And Dick is a flirt (both in and out of the costume). Bruce probably just waves a stack of hundreds in a woman’s face; he doesn’t need to charm. (And why not let Ben Franklin do the work for you? The dude was our most pimptacular Founding Father. French ladies love them some Franklin!). Anyway, point is: Dick’s experienced. And provided he doesn’t have any STDs (or is it STIs now?), he’s good to go. With all his experience, he should be able to make sexy time a good time. And isn’t that what it’s all about, ladies?
And Bonus: Devin Grayson (no relation to Dick), a DC writer, once revealed she thought Dick was bisexual. That means there could be some Dick Grayson for everyone. Diggity dank!
-Cooking and cleaning. My cousin mentioned this and I must admit that Dick’s not great on the cooking and cleaning. But hey, he’s rich! Hire someone to do that shit! You could have your own Alfred, which would be awesome. (Alfred, obviously, is the second-most perfect man in the Bat-Family. He cooks, cleans, was once a secret agent, has the medical knowledge of an ER nurse/doctor, and is British.)
-Good leader. Dick leads by example, not by tyrannical douche-baggery (ahem, Batman). He has excellent inter-personal skills and knows how to work and play well with others. He’s been leader of the Teen Titans, the Titans (when they were no longer teens), the Outsiders, and even the Justice League of America. According to the short bio of Nightwing in 52 #25, he is “a team leader without equal, a trait not even his famed mentor shares.” Take that, Batman! Furthermore, I even saw an article once that ranked Dick as one of the five best team leaders in comics. Well then.
-Diverse. Technically, Dick is part Romany (gypsy to the less politically correct). While Dick is pretty darn white in the comics, he still has the twinge of ethnic diversity, pumping some much-need new life into your blasé gene-pool.
-Knowledge about the Middle Ages. This is a specific one, but it blew my mind and initially made me a little bit angry. At one point in the comics, Dick moved to New York and got a job (or maybe Bruce bought it for him, so to speak) as the curator of the Cloisters Museum. In case you don’t know what the Cloisters Museum is, it is the premier museum of medieval art in the USA. A part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Cloisters is located in Fort Tyron Park. Part of the museum consists of a reconstructed cloister (brought over from France); other rooms are filled with medieval stained glass (some of the best stained glass ever made. I kid you not, medieval people were the shizz at making stained glass), tombs, carvings, manuscripts, and more. Anyway, it’s an awesome museum and (did I mention?) it’s the best medieval art museum in the US. PhDs in medieval art history dream about a job at the Cloisters. You need to be pretty damn qualified to work there, let alone be the curator. I bet the job doesn’t just require a PhD (and Dick, you don’t even have a bachelor’s – arghh!) in medieval art history, but also a specialization in an area in which the Cloisters excels (so maybe Carolingian ivories or twelfth-century capitals).* You have to earn that job! You can’t just have your daddy buy it for you! And if he does buy it for you, you just took away a job from a medievalist! A medievalist! When we go job hunting, it’s like the freakin’ Hunger Games, except 250 people are scrambling for one spot, not 24 (oh, and we don’t kill each other. But we think about it.). Dick Grayson, you stole my job! (Really, a friend’s job. I’m not an art historian).
*The current curator of the Cloisters did his graduate work at Yale! And he worked at the Detroit Institute of Arts before moving up to the Cloisters.
After much wailing and gnashing of teeth, I got over it. One: it was fictional (but I was still pissed). Two: Dick’s clearly a novice (haha, pun SO intended), so he’d need some help. Oh, Mr. Grayson, I could hook you up. (Lesson One: Richard III!) And he wouldn’t really know what he was doing, so you could walk all over him in getting access to manuscripts and such. It would be so great to have a friend working in such an important museum, in such an important job.
Plus, Dick realized he had a huge knowledge gap and he started reading about the middle ages. And he seemed to like it. I mean, how could you not? It’s only the best kind of history to study, bar none (yeah, I’m looking at you Twentieth-century US history. *rolls eyes* Journalism). So Dick has some knowledge of medieval history and likes learning more. Perfect.
Suck it, Dick. I could have spouted out that information in my sleep. When I was twelve. [from Nightwing #141]
-His name. Dick’s full name is Richard John Grayson. His name is Richard. Perfection achieved. I can’t believe I even bothered with all of these other categories!
So, Grayson fans (who may or may not be reading this) what did I miss?
I am so perfect. Except for my clothes. I can really only put together an outfit if it involves a one-piece leotard. [from issue #1 of the Nightwing Mini-series]