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Nightwing Mini Series Plans 1991

Nightwing Mini Series Plans 1991
There was a planned NIGHTWING mini-series planned as far back as 1991; Originally, it was going to be done by Art Thibert. There was even a promo-poster for it in TITANS $ELLOUT SPECIAL. It eventually was scrapped and Nightwing later had a mini series by Dennis O’Neil and Greg Land in 1995.


The Plot: Art Thibert on the Nightwing Mini-Series

I asked Art Thibert about the aborted Nightwing mini-series at the 4th Annual New York International Sci-Fi & Fantasy Creators Convention in 2003. He told me the whole overview.

As the mini-series opened, Starfire confronted Nightwing about ‘where their relationship was heading’. They had been dating for a few years and reached the point in their relationship where it had to take the next big step. Before any decisions were made, an alien invasion threatened the earth, taking Starfire hostage. Nightwing investigated and started formulating a plan to stop the invasion and rescue Starfire.

Meanwhile, the other heroes in the DC Universe learned of the alien threat and mounted a counter-offense. But Batman stopped them from taking any action when he realized Nightwing already had the situation accessed and was confident his former sidekick could handle it on his own.

Nightwing is able to reach the aliens and stop the invasion – as well as rescue Starfire. The mini-series would end with Nightwing cradling Starfire in his arms, emerging from the alien stronghold. A crowd of DC heroes would part to watch Nightwing emerge with Starfire in his arms, having defeated the alien threat. Now reunited with Kory, Nightwing proposes marriage and she accepts.

The mini was geared to establish Nightwing’s ‘coming of age’ as a major, competant hero in the DC Universe. Art Thibert said Marv Wolfman read the overview to the mini-series and approved it. Unfortunately, there was a major editorial shift and Thibert was offered a very lucrative offer from MARVEL to do CABLE. With NIGHTWING in doubt, Thibert opted to take the CABLE assignment, much to the loss of Titans fans.


Wizard Interview:
Art Thibert on the Nightwing Mini-Series

Art Thibert: I’ve never pledged my allegiance to a company, but to a person or an editor – someone I liked or felt comfortable with. Mike Carlin, the Superman editor, is a person I’ve always looked up to, and he did a lot for me in my early career. That’s why I agreed to stay on the Superman books, even if it’s only covers. I really like Bob Harras; I think he does a tremendous job. I really like Jonathan Peterson at DC, with whom I’ve had a long-lasting relationship – even though I’ve never had anything come out from his office. That’s why I’m doing Nightwing for him, coming out in December.

Wizard: As long as you brought it up, is Nightwing still in process?

Art Thibert:It’s still in process, now; after I finish X-Men #13, then Pamela Winesette, who is co-writing with me, and I will be starting on it full time. We already have the basic plot break-down done for the four issues; next I’ll start penciling, then we’ll start scripting together.

Wizard: This is your first real writing assignment?

Art Thibert: Yeah – I get back into pencilling – and somebody I’m writing, too! Am I a nut or what?

Wizard: Depends on how good you think you are.

Art Thibert: We’ll see.

Wizard: You’re tying into a line of books that have always been viewed as pretty writer-driven. Mary Wolfman has been the motivating force on the Titans material for so long.

Art Thibert: He still is. At the beginning, I was a little skeptical, because what Pam and I were proposing was a plan to really shake up the character of Nightwing. At one point, I went out to lunch with Marv, to get his OK and his blessing. He was all for it; he was really excited about it. I hope we live up to the tradition.

Wizard: What draws you to Nightwing?

Art Thibert: It was a major challenge. Jonathan said he had an idea to launch his whole Titans invasion, and asked if I’d be interested in Nightwing. I said I’d get back to him, because I had to figure out if I had any affection for him and what I could bring to him. As I talked to Pam about it, we started coming up with ideas; it was amazing how we started going nuts with plans for a character I thought I had no thoughts about. So I told Jonathan I’d do it if Pam and I could write it.

He wasn’t sure and asked us to send in a sample script and he thought it was great. It was official this time last year, so it’s been a year in the making. We got carte blanche to mess with the character – new costumes for both him and Starfire. Basically, we want to redefine Nightwing for the ‘90s. Bring him out of the “disco Elvis” look, at Pam calls it. We’ll give him some high-tech equipment, things like that.

Wizard: With the high profile you’ll get from the X-Men and then the Nightwing project, how do you envision your future?

Art Thibert: Marvel has offered me the ongoing Cable series, to start in the summer of ‘93, scripted by Fabian Nicieza. That gives us time to get some material in drawer, so to speak.

Wizard: Do you ever see yourself in the same position as the Image founders were when they made the jump.?

Art Thibert: It’s hard to say. For me, if I’m happy with what I’m doing, that’s what counts. The Nightwing series is a labor of love and I have an affection for Cable. If it works out that I get to that level and the readers like what I’m doing, it could happen. I’m just doing it for a kick right now. I don’t think of it in those terms.


Editor Jonathan Peterson on the Nightwing Mini-Series:

TTC: Were the creators lined up or did you seek them out?

JP: I basically called in favors. I called up friends, and one of the people I called was Art Thibert. I met Art when he first came to New York, [when he was] first breaking into comics. In fact, one of his earliest pencil jobs was for Barbara Kesel back when she was editing both New Teen Titans and Titans Spotlight, if you remember that title. Art drew an issue centering on Aqualad. In the case of Art, I really wanted him to be on “my team,” so to speak.

Here is – or I should say “was” – my comic editorial philosophy. I say “was” since now I’m working in Hollywood towards other goals these days. But basically, when I was editing, my core belief was 1) what I said before. Have fun. If you have fun it’ll show in the books, and that’s good. 2) To have fun… work with people you like. I’d rather work with a lesser talent that I can get along with and try to editorially shape or groom than to work with a “big name” comic star who’s such a headache, you hate going into the office.

Art was doing more stuff for Marvel, but he started at DC, so I called him up to say, “What would get you back to DC?” and I knew he was a big Batman fan, so I dangled the idea of Nightwing as part of that. I said to Art, “I have an idea. We’ve given Deathstroke his own book, and now I want Nightwing to get the next spin-off.” Well, Art loved the idea and asked if he and his wife Pamela, who wanted to write and work with Art, could have the book, and I said, “Dude! Why do you think I’m calling you!” and he said, “Oh man, count me in! Is this gonna be cool with Marv though? I hear he’s pretty protective about the characters.” I said “Well, he’s really having fun these days. He’s a real team player. And no, I haven’t told him yet, but I will now!” [laughs]

So I sat down with Art, and we discussed what we would do. Looking at my master game plan, I basically told Art that I wanted to push Dick and Kory along, that it would be his job to do that, in an initial miniseries. Art went off to talk to Pamela, and came back and said “How far can we push them?” I said “How do you mean?” and it was Art and Pamela who then said “Well, can we marry them, so the end of our trial mini has some real weight?” And I just lit up over that. I said “Yes! That’s it. That’s what we need to do. Go all out! Good plan!”

[…]

TTC: So you tossed out these ideas and weaved them together, knowing the endpoint was Deathstroke killing Jericho. A bit of reverse plotting?

JP: We actually even knew one step further. We were actually ultimately building to New Titans #100, which was two steps beyond. Phase One was “Titans Hunt.” We kill Jericho, get a real Wildebeest and some other new characters like Pantha. Phase Two is dealing with the idea [that] they are mature. Let’s make the New Titans kick-ass adults. That was when I turned to Art as the lynchpin, to do a Nightwing book. As part of that, I wanted to push the Dick and Kory romance along. I thought that had gotten too stale. I mean, it was just out there, but not really going anywhere. So to me, it was like telling Nightwing and Kory, “Crap or get off the pot.” [laughs] We wanted the endpoint to be that Nightwing would actually marry Starfire in New Titans # 100, because we could do that. There was a Robin in Batman, so it didn’t matter. I thought it would be like marrying Reed and Sue in Fantastic Four. That was a momentous occasion, so let’s build to it.

So I turned to Art. I wanted him to do a Nightwing six issue mini-series right around New Titans # 93. It’ll ship with New Titans up until New Titans # 99, at which point Art could have Nightwing proposing to Starfire in the last issue, and then issue # 100 would be the wedding issue. That was endpoint two.

Then there was phase three. I wanted to get the Teen Titans back, so I explained my whacked out idea. I really wanted Robin, Wonder Girl, Kid Flash, Changeling, Raven, Starfire and Cyborg back to what they were originally, so I wanted to do an alternate dimension or timeline, and I turned to Kevin and said “You get to launch an all-new Titans book and design them from the ground up.” Not only that, but this alternate universe would have an alternate young Robin, and alternate young Starfire and all the rest. The plan for Team Titans was a secret one. With the first Team Titans Annual, or at the end of the first 12 issues, I told Kevin he would then be relaunching the Teen Titans with alternate versions of the core-seven members.

[from The Titans Companion, 2005]

 


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