Grayson vs. Grayson: Solo Nightwing in Live Action Webseries

In 2006, I got an email from a friend. The subject line read something like ‘HOLY FUCKING RED HOT SHITBALLZ!!!!!11!!!!’ There was no message, no preamble; just a YouTube link. Hoping vaguely I wasn’t about to see a trailer for ‘GOATSE: THE MOTION PICTURE’, I clicked, and was rewarded with this a longish trailer for an amazing vanity project called ‘Grayson.’ The trailer set a world where Dick Grayson was grown, retired with a family, and Bruce Wayne continued his one man war on crime until somebody put a slug in him. The plot seemed to follow Grayson as he came out of retirement to find who murdered Batman, with strong implications that it was a huge conspiracy involving pretty much everyone in the DC Universe. It smelled a lot like ‘The Dark Knight Returns’ with a nice twist. The trailer never went beyond YouTube, there was never a Kickstarter or any other fundraising campaign (Jesus, was 2006 that long ago??), and today ‘Grayson’ sits on YouTube as a testament to Untamed Media’s passion and talent -- but not much else.

Yesterday, another ‘Grayson’ came along. This time, as ‘Grayson: Earth One’, a project helmed by a talented creator by the name of Hisonni Johnson, who has taken the idea of Dick Grayson’s coming of age a step further. This time, it’s as a serial webseries, chronicling a very Nightwing-esque Grayson in a Gotham City that never had a Batman. It’s an interesting premise. CW has turned ‘Arrow’ into a compelling, watchable series that successfully juggles well-choreographed action, DC canon (sprinkled with liberal retconning), and telenovela hijinks. It’s proof that there is an audience for ‘comic book TV’ that balances television’s conventions with comic book dorks’ continuity zeal. So going that route with a property like ‘Grayson’ makes total sense.

The 16-minute pilot is up now. Production values, stuntwork, fight choreography, acting -- they’re very good for an indie production of this scale. The script works, the characters Hisonni has added or altered to this version of Gotham work really well. I’m a little shaky on the premise: who would Dick Grayson be without Batman? What would that world look like? Is Nightwing compelling without that backstory? The pilot sells me on the possibility. That’s a victory in itself.

‘Grayson: Earth One’ is on YouTube now and an IndieGoGo campaign running right now. If you like the premise, I strongly recommend you support the project, and bring Hisonni Johnson’s vision to it’s full potential.

'Grayson: Earth One':