Haly's Circus

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Haly's Circus
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
First appearance Detective Comics #38
(April 1940)
Created by Bob Kane, Bill Finger
In-story information
Type of business Circus
Base(s) Gotham City
Owner(s) C.C. Haly and Norton Bros
Employee(s) Flying Graysons, Deadman, Dick Grayson

Haly's Circus is a fictional traveling circus in the DC Comics universe. It was once home to the Flying Graysons, and is currently owned by their son, Dick Grayson. The circus is tied to the origin of Batman's sidekick Robin.

Fictional history[edit]

Haly's Circus, more completely referred to as C.C. Haly and Norton Bros. Circus, formed by CC Haly and the Norton Brothers. It is a typical travelling circus that has been known to perform in the United States and Europe, and hosts a variety of performers, including acrobats, jugglers, and trained animals. The Circus' most notable performers were the trapeze act known as the Flying Graysons.

The Flying Graysons[edit]

Haly's Circus travels into Gotham, where they are set to perform. The ringmaster is confronted by Anthony Zucco and Edward Skeevers, who demand protection money from the Circus as well as the use of their trucks to transport drugs. When the ringmaster refuses to give into their threats, Zucco and Skeevers sabotage the trapezes of the Circus' most popular act, the Flying Graysons. This causes the elder Graysons, John and Mary, to plunge to their deaths, leaving their son Dick Grayson orphaned. Bruce Wayne assists the Circus on behalf of Grayson, who he adopts, helping to expose Zucco's part in the tragedy and free the Circus from the threat.

New 52[edit]

The circus returns to Gotham City after many years and Dick Grayson, recently returning to the Nightwing identity, decides to visit after many years. After greeting some of his old extended family, including former crush Raya Vestri, he decides to participate in a practice session with the rest of the high wire performers. Later, Raya informs Dick that the two of them need to go to Atlantic City, being called for by Mr. Haly himself. After arriving at a large warehouse containing different props and scenery from the circus, Mr. Haly informs Dick he knew of his identity as Robin and Nightwing, giving him the deed to the circus. Mr. Haly is killed soon after by the killer Saiko, putting the change of ownership into effect, his last words to Dick being, "...answers in the heart..."

While investigating the circus tent for an answer to Mr. Haly's cryptic message, Dick uncovers a black book containing several names, the last being his own. Later, a tribute show to the Flying Graysons is held for the anniversary of the Dick's parents deaths. This is a plot between Saiko, Raya, and Bryan Haly to exact revenge on Dick, ultimately leading to a battle between Nightwing and Saiko in the rafters, the former eventually detonating explosives on the ground to destroy the big top. Dick knocks down the large screen in the middle of the tent to break open the ground and send the flames into the catacombs of Gotham's underground to put it out. Revealed in the New 52 Batman series, Haly's circus had a deal with the Court of Owls, a longtime gang that was ruling Gotham from the shadows for years. Their deal was that Haly's would exhibit their youth to the Court and the gang would choose one to succeed their current Talon. Grayson, as a child, was chosen to become their assassin and was even unknowingly given an electrum alloy tooth with the Court's marking in it. But, after the death of his parents, Bruce Wayne adopted Grayson before he was handed over to the Owls.

Other versions[edit]

Flashpoint[edit]

  • In the Flashpoint universe, Haley's Circus is home to the Graysons, Boston Brand, Doctor Fate, King Shark, and Ragdoll, among others. The Circus, travelling through Europe and fleeing the war, is attacked by the Amazons who are searching for the Helmet of Nabu. The members of the Circus scatter, and several of them die in the attack or its aftermath.

Batman: The Animated Series (Comic)[edit]

  • Haly's Circus was in issue #6 of the comic book Batman: Gotham Adventures (based on Batman: The Animated Series) where his origin was very much alike to his mainstream comic except he was in the Haley Circus and Rama Kushna was male. He was friends with Dick Grayson, and he was in an issue before he gained his powers in The Batman and Robin Adventures #15.
  • Deadman previously appeared as a "Haly Circus" performer in the Batman & Robin Adventures comic and meets Dick Grayson for the first time since taking over for The Flying Graysons. Issues of the follow-up series, Batman: Gotham Adventures, featured his assassination and transformation to the supernatural Deadman. His killer, Hook, appears as well.

Young Justice TV series (Comic)[edit]

  • Haly's Circus appears in issue 6 of the Young Justice comics. He was featured in a flashback when Robin recaps his history. Like the comics, Tony Zucco tried to offer protection money to Mr. Haly who denied him. On April 1, 2006 during a trapeze routine without a net, Tony Zucco's men sabotaged the trapeze rig which broke during the act killing Dick's parents, aunt, and cousin while his uncle survived but was paralyzed. When Dick Grayson became Robin for the first time, he helped Batman bring Tony Zucco to justice.

In other media[edit]

Television[edit]

Batman: The Animated Series[edit]

  • Haly's Circus appears in the Batman: the Animated Series episode "Robin's Reckoning Part 1", which details Robin's origin. Dick Grayson visits the circus again in the episode "Animal Act" after a series of thefts is being committed by circus animals. Dick believes that old friend that is training the animals to steal, but is later the revealed to be the Mad Hatter using his mind control technology.

Teen Titans[edit]

  • The Grayson's deaths, and by extension the Circus, appears briefly in a flashback in the Teen Titans episode "Haunted".

The Batman[edit]

  • The Circus appears in the The Batman episode "A Matter of Family", which features Grayson's origin.

Young Justice[edit]

  • The Team go undercover in the Haly International Traveling Circus in the Young Justice episode "Performance" to locate a thief stealing weapons technology across Europe. Agent King Faraday suspecting that Jack Haly's circus performers are responsible. The experience of working with the circus again drives Robin to distraction as he reflects on his family's death and the possibility of Jack Haly losing the circus if the thief isn't caught. As the circus moves location, the Team encounters the thief: Parasite. The Team track down Parasite and defeat him with Parasite being arrested by Agent King Faraday. Afterwards, Jack Haly reveals to Robin that he knows and remembers him, and implores the Boy Wonder to perform for the circus one more time.

Films[edit]

  • Haly's Circus appears in the film Batman Forever showing the origin of Robin. After meeting psychiatrist Dr. Chase Meridian Bruce Wayne invites her to a charity circus event. There, Two-Face and his henchmen storm the event in an attempt to discover Batman's secret identity, and in the process murder The Flying Graysons, a family of acrobats. The youngest member, Dick, survives and throws Two-Face's bomb into the river. Bruce assumes responsibility for Dick and allows him to stay at Wayne Manor. Dick then declares his intention to kill Two-Face and avenge his family's murder, and when he discovers Bruce's secret identity as Batman, he insists on becoming his partner, "Robin".

Video games[edit]

  • Haly's Circus is referenced in Batman: Arkham City on a poster saying cancelled showing the Flying Graysons.
  • Haly's Circus is referenced in Batman: Arkham Origins on a poster saying coming soon showing the Flying Graysons.

References[edit]