Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Other Owls, Number Three – Nite Owl

Okay, so this guy isn't really an owl. But I like him.
This is Dan Dreiberg, better known as Nite Owl from Watchmen by Allan Moore and Dave Gibbons. If you only know Watchmen as a movie, you have missed out. It is one of the best books I've ever read. Nite Owl is a character who resonates with the comic book geek that I used to be. An intelligent guy who becomes what he admires most, a costumed crime fighter. Batman became Batman because of an obsession; to avenge the murder of his parents and to terrify the criminal underworld as he had been terrified as a child. Nite Owl became Nite Owl because he wanted to dress up like a bird and do good, flamboyantly. In fact, as we learn in the book, it is only when Dreiberg is behind his mask and fighting evil does he feel fully himself and fully a man. It's a little pathetic and, to me, touching.
Putting the abnormal psychology aside, Nite Owl is a pretty cool superhero. He's broadly in the Batman mold as has no super-human powers but relies on his brains, an array of amazing gadgets, and a gigantic bankroll. His greatest gadget is the Owlship, which he calls Archie (short for Archimedes, the owl in The Sword and the Stone). One of the greatest rides ever, it flew and floated with no visible means of support, was a good thing to have in a fight, and was a total chick magnet.
So here's to Dan Drieberg, for dressing up like an owl and fighting bad guys. How cool is that?

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