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Nightwing's Butt: How DC Fans Became Obsessed With Dick Grayson's Greatest Asset

The following article contains topics of comically framed sexual objectification

Selina Kyle isn't the only "Batman" character attracting a crowd of looky-loos, and while brazen gawking extends to almost every female-presenting figure in the Dark Knight's rogue gallery, it's Dick Grayson whose unofficial status as one of DC's sexiest heroes might surprise most casual fans. Long gone are his days wearing Robin's red tunic and green Spanx — he cast those aside when he changed his moniker. Bruce Wayne's first sidekick is all grown up and goes by Nightwing now, and his costume is permanently seared into the internet's collective memory. There's no boob window, no hint of thigh; just a perfect view of the professional gymnast's perfect butt. Hilariously, it's no more on display than the backside of any superhero who happens to wear a spandex onesie. But it's how Dick carries himself that draws attention to his greatest asset.

Speaking of drawing attention, a comic panel illustrated by Nicola Scott for Gail Simone's "Secret Six" arc is often credited as the origin of DC fans' obsession with Dick's dump truck. It's not the first time that Nightwing was seen from behind but it is considered the first time that he's posed in the same way that most female-presenting figures are — that is to say, with his butt and chest visible in the same shot. It's not ideal for the poor guy's spinal cord, but it's the kind of flexibility that wins over the, uh, hearts of enthusiastic readers. The funny thing? The scene the panel appears in is deeply serious, violent even, but sexy art has sexy consequences, and now Nightwing's butt is arguably his defining feature.

Nightwing's history set a precedent that modern iterations strive to match

Nicola Scott's illustration may have opened the floodgates for Nightwing fans to go feral over a fictional man's two-dimensional tushy, but DC writers like Devin Grayson — no relation, although it is a neat coincidence — paved the way for Scott's work by placing the hero's sexuality at the forefront of his character. During an interview with Shameless, Grayson said, "The way I think about [Nightwing], he likes everyone, he's ... just this incredibly physical (and attractive) person who lives wholly in the corporeal plane and responds with ... his body before his head or heart." Combine that with his demeanor, which is often depicted as light-hearted and flirtatious, and it's little wonder that Dick Grayson's journey led where it did.

In Tom King and Tim Seely's 2014 comic "Grayson #6," a villain who struggles to identify faces clocks Nightwing when he sees the hero bent over, saying, "I'd know that a** anywhere." More recently, the animated series "Harley Quinn," as well as its noncanonical comic adaptation "Harley Quinn: The Animated Series: The Eat. Bang! Kill Tour," locked in enough jokes about Nightwing's butt to guarantee at least another decade of DeviantArt posts. In Season 4 of the animated series, Nightwing is featured in the "Gotham's Hottest Hotties" tabloid. In Volume 3 of the comic, Harley Quinn nicknames him "Tushwing" and Poison Ivy says, "Objectification is wrong and women are better than that ... but, I mean, have you seen your a**?"

Nightwing's butt powers its own microeconomy

The popularity, and therefore the canonicity of Nightwing's glorious glutes is this cyclical, self-fulfilling thing. Whenever the fanbase gets fired up about any given comic panel or animated screenshot, the artists involved are positively reinforced to make it happen again. When the artists feel that way, the fanbase posts new Reddit threads and creates viral X (formerly known as Twitter) hashtags. They record lengthy YouTube video essays, purchase Nicola Scott's Nightwing prints, increase Google traffic related to Dick Grayson actor Brenton Thwaites' physical build, and read articles from popular websites that ask, "How did we get here of all places?"

And this train is far from slowing down. The 2023 run of "Titans" is illustrated by none other than Scott, the very woman who showed the world back in 2009 just how great Nightwing's butt could be if only given the chance to shine. It's no accident that Scott is once again in charge of a comic that heavily features Dick Grayson, just as it isn't coincidental that Polygon shared the news under the title, "The best Nightwing's Butt Artist is back on the Job." That's why fans are obsessed with Nightwing's greatest asset, because the artists are, too.