Superman as Nightwing
The Prussian blue color of Superman's Nightwing costume is reminiscent of the plumage of the nightwing, a Kandorian bird. Superman and Jimmy Olsen first adopt their Nightwing and Flamebird identities during an adventure in Kandor in January 1963 (S No. 158: "Superman in Kandor" pts. I-III; "Invasion of the Mystery Super-Men!"; "The Dynamic Duo of Kandor!"; "The City of Super-People!"). They employ them again during a second adventure, in August 1964 (WF No. 143: "The Feud Between Batman and Superman!" pts. I-II -- no title; "The Manhunters from Earth!"). (TGSB)
In the course of a Kandorian adventure in January 1963, during a period when it is unsafe for Superman to move about in Kandor due to the lies that have been spread about him among the people by the â€œfanatic scientistâ€ Than Ol, Superman and Jimmy Olsen decide to emuLate their friends Batman arid Robin by adopting a pair of alternate identities and working together as a team. Inspired by the names and plumage of a pairof Kandorian birds, a â€œnightwingâ€ and a â€œflamebirdâ€, owned by their friend Nor-Kan, Superman and Jimmy adopt the alternate identities of Nightwing and Flamebird and fashion a pair of colorful costumes evocative of the plumage of the two Kandorian birds.
For his role as Nightwing, Superman wears black eye-mask and a Prussian-blue costume consisting of Prussian-blue tights, trunks, cape, wrist-length gloves, and ankle-length boots. Emblazoned on his chest is a highly stylized black bird emblem inscribed inside a white circle. Around his waist is a yellow utility belt equipped with â€œpersonal jet-motorsâ€ which endow him with the power of self-sustained flight.
For his role as Flamebird, Jimmy Olsen wears a black eye-mask and a bright red costume consisting of red tights, trunks, and a deeply scalloped red cape, complemented by yellow boots and yellow elbow- length gloves. Emblazoned on his chest is a highly stylized yellow sunburst, and around his waist is a yellow utility belt, almost identical to Nightwingâ€™s, equipped with personal jet-motors for self-sustained flight.
Equipment contained in the utility belts includes â€œsmoke cylindersâ€ to enable Nightwing and Flamebird to stymie their pursuers by enveloping them in clouds of thick black smoke; â€œcutting-torchesâ€ for cutting through walls and other obstacles; and special â€œlead cloth capsâ€ designed to enable the duo to â€œshieldâ€ their thoughts fromâ€”and thereby elude, if necessaryâ€”the fearsome â€œtelepathic houndsâ€ of Kandor, â€œstrange beasts,â€ yellow in color, with tails like wolves and snouts like wild boars, â€œthat can locate people at any distance by reading their minds to learn where they are!â€ Because of their unique abilities, the creatures are employed by the Kandorian authorities as telepathic bloodhounds.
Beneath his lavish home in the Kandorian suburbs, Nor-Kan has constructed a â€œsecret underground labâ€, with a camouflaged entrance built into a grassy hillside, to prevent intruders from tampering with his delicate scientific instruments. With NorKanâ€™s blessing, Nightwing and Flamebird christen this laboratory the â€œnight-caveâ€, or â€œnightcaveâ€, and transform it into their secret subterranean headquarters, while simultaneously converting NorKanâ€™s automobile into a swift, specially equipped â€œnightmobile.â€
By the time this Kandorian adventure draws to a close, Nightwing and Flamebird, the so-called Dynamic Duo of Kandor, have revealed their true identities to the Kandorian people and the Kandorians have erected a colorful statue of the two heroes in the heart of the city (S No. 158: â€œSuperman in Kandorâ€ pts. I-IIIâ€”â€Invasion of the Mystery SuperMen!â€; â€œThe Dynamic Duo of Kandor!â€; â€œThe City of Super-People!â€).
Van-Zee as Nightwing
In May/June 1977, Nightwing and Flamebird team up for the 1st time to stop Brainiac's plot to destroy Kandor (SF No. 183: "Death Is a Computer"). Later in July-August 1977 , Nightwing and Flamebird stop the assassin Zim-Ra, who is disguise as a Kryptonian archer-hero, from assassinating Ner-An, who is the president of Kandor, on behalf of The Separatists, a radical faction of Kandorians who want to be able to live outside their bottle city (SF No. 184: "Comes a Revolution").
Dick Grayson as Nightwing
Later still, Dick Grayson, the original boy wonder Robin, takes the name—but not the costume—of Nightwing as his new heroic identity (Tales of the Teen Titans No. 44, Jul 1984: "There Shall Come a Titan!").