Chuck Dixon/Nightwing

Does anyone happen to know WHY Chuck Dixon left Nightwing after issue #70? He was in the middle of a very long and intricate on-going story, with multiple sub-plots and moving parts and such, and there’s an immediate shift in tone and priority starting with the very next issue. For example, Nightwing himself all of a sudden seems a lot more… Spider-Man-y (climbing the Eiffel Tower, dangling from ropes, making wisecracks, etc.). This stuff just seems to come out of nowhere. :frowning:

I hate it when a creator leaves in the middle of a long story that they’re working on, only for it to continue on. It almost always fouls things up by going in a different creative direction. It stinks that we’ll never know how Dixon would have finished his story. I know this all happened decades ago already, but still, I’m reading it for the first time now. Oh well, at least I still have Nightwing Year One to look forward to.


Chuck Dixon stepped away from his DC books around 2001 in order to work for CrossGen, an upstart third party publisher which made him a better offer. He wrote for them quite prolifically until they shuttered down in 2004. By the time CrossGen was closed, DC had long replaced Dixon on the books he left behind.

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The idea behind CrossGen was that rather than paying its star writers and artists as freelancers, they would be salaried employees of the company. That kind of offer was hard for many big names to pass up. Mark Waid, Ron Marz, and Barbara Kesel also worked there, under this new paradigm for the comic industry. But the business model proved unsustainable, as CrossGen was forced to declare bankruptcy and let its talent go in 2004.


I should note though that it wasn’t the practice of hiring talent full time that bankrupted CrossGen, but the way they turned out to be financing themselves through risky stock market investments.


Interesting. Thanks for the history lesson, HCQ. Did CrossGen end up publishing anything good/interesting that you’d recommend checking out?


Sure they did. I’d check out Mark Waid’s “Ruse,” a Sherlock Holmes pastiche; Ron Marz’s “Sojourn,” a high fantasy epic; and CrossGen’s anthology titles, “Forge,” “Edge,” and “Vector.”


I’m sure HSQ is right about Dixon leaving for Crossgen, but I don’t know that this is the full story of why he left and I’m sure it’s not the full story of why he’s stayed out of mainstream comics. People have left the mainstream comics and been welcomed back eagerly by DC and Marvel as soon as they wanted to return even if in leaving they didn’t tremendous damage. Look at the guys who went on to found image like Jim Lee and Rob Liefeld. They wrecked Marvel when they left and yet they are still participating in mainstream comics today. As long as you are a proven earner, there’s a place for you.

Dixon was a huge talent who I would argue created the modern Bat Family. When he started, Batman was the only character to have his own book, but while Dixon shepherded the Bat Family in the 90s being a leading voice behind Knightfall and many other stories, he launched Robin, Nightwing and Birds of Prey all series that had tremendous success. It was also his era that launched Catwoman and he was one of the many writers who worked on her series in the early days. He’s an extremely talented writer who played a huge role in helping DC.

Dixon believes he’s been blacklisted because he is conservative. Considering the way progressives often try to get people fired for having different views and the particularly sharp divide in media and comic books in particular where it’s hard to name a single working conservative and yet you couldn’t throw a stone in the creator area of a comic-con without hitting 52 outspoken progressives, I absolutely believe it. There’s very little tolerance for intellectual diversity in the comic industry.


So, before I say anything else, let me be upfront with my bias: I agree with different ideologies on different issues, but if I had to use a blanket term, I’d call myself a moderate with vaguely libertarian/soft-conservative leanings sometimes. Based on some of the comments that come up in his writing, I don’t entirely agree with some of Dixon’s views, but I don’t entirely disagree with some of them either.

Now, the subject at hand:

I think that it makes people feel special to think that someone is out to get them. So, conservatives sometimes see campaigns against their free speech where none exist.

That said, this brand of paranoia is often born out of a nugget of truth. For instance, I’ve seen firsthand that academia has extremely little tolerance for any thought that isn’t from the extreme left. With the tenure system, this becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. If any area of society can match universities for intellectual homogeneity, it’s entertainment. Getting a job anywhere in the industry is about who you know, and the best people to know are probably liberal artsy types who aren’t comfortable dealing with conservatives. So, yeah, Dixon’s politics probably shut him down. Which is a shame, since he’s a really good writer, and art and media more than anything else are where a diversity of perspectives is important.


I’ll admit to be left lean, certainly on the “social issues” side of politics. I have and will continue to vote my conscience over my pocketbook every time.

I’ll take the counter point. As we saw with Swamp Thing, media is a coin operated machine. In the end, sustained creative employment is based on “Do you make money. Does your work turn a profit.” Is it really that “liberal artsy” types are creating media that more consumers want, and not the other way around? I’d argue, based on sheer profit motive, that is ultimately the case. Media sales aren’t based on an “electoral college” type vote but based on a “popular vote” using $$$.

Pretty much all media companies are publicly trade companies. That financial market is a traditionally “conservative” heavy when it comes to employment weighting.

The arts historically, certainly dating back to the renaissance, has had more people of a “liberal bent”. So if “liberal media” is an issue, it certainly is nothing new.

There is also the theory that more “liberal” people are willing to take lower potential paydays because if there Work doesn’t resonate, they won’t make money. More “conservative” are often more interested in securing a better or certainly more likely payday. So perhaps “conservatives” are less likely to go into one field over another as well.

It also comes down to target markets. If the demographics of who you are selling that media to. We know that conservative “media” is generally consumed by an older demographic, which is historically more “conservative leaning” and the older the demographic, historically spends less on media. We also know that comics are generally consumed by a younger demographic, historically more “liberal leaning” and historically spend more on media.

“Fair and balanced” media has certainly, Renaissance and later, never been the case. Why should we expect that would change? Look at the “conservative” leaning comics took when the Comics Code Auth came into being. That was in part driven by who was really shelling out the money to buy comics and at that time, those people (mostly parents of children) were more “conservative leaning”.

When in doubt, follow the money.

As for academia, that has historically been bent towards the “liberal” side of thought dating back to Ancient Greece and Rome. Certainly within the 20th and 21st centuries we know that most educators make far less than they could in the public sector. So again, perhaps more “conservatives” are more likely to want the bigger payday and are more likely to embrace the private sector than academia. Again, going back to the late 19th and early 20th century, universities had more “conservative bent” because a majority of students were coming from higher income families that historically were more conservative. Again, follow the money.

While I see the aspect of your argument, it is, IMO, only skin deep. When you peel back “this onion”, I don’t think the argument holds up.

Dixon was dissatisfied at DC, which is part of why he went to CrossGen. After CG folded, he returned to DC periodically, including a run on Nightwing (# 101-106) and a return to Robin (# 170-174). Dixon was fired abruptly from all of his DC books in 2008 due to a very public (and not political) feud with Dan Didio.

Dixon worked on the Bane maxi series in 2017-18 so presumably there has been some thawing of that relationship.


Dixon’s feelings about his conservative ideology being in conflict with the comic industry as a whole didn’t really factor in until much later. Remember, these are the early Bush years we’re talking about. In the time period that Dixon left DC the War on Terror was more popular amongst Americans than ever.


The only time I remember Dixon’s conservative politics coming up with regards to comics was when he was upset fans thought Connor Hawke was gay. But when you write a male character who is being hit on by every single woman he meets and he shows little to no interest in them, fans are gonna speculate.

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Way too complicated. The reason entertainment and the arts tends to lean left is because their products are bought with “disposable income”. And if someone, say, the government were to cover (at least in part) essential expenses, like food, healthcare, housing, education, etc wouldn’t that leave more people with more “disposable income” to spend on comic books/movies/(time to spend watching)tv shows etc and their assorted merch? I’m sure that lefty (and non-lefty) people are drawn to the arts for all kinds of reasons, but the future of your chosen industry (and career) is a pretty compelling reason to hold a political opinion.

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