Haly's Circus

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Haly's Circus
A circus poster as it appears in Young Justice.
Publication information
PublisherDC Comics
First appearanceDetective Comics #38
(April 1940)
Created byBob Kane, Bill Finger
In-story information
Type of businessCircus
Base(s)Gotham City
Owner(s)C.C. Haly and Norton Bros
Employee(s)Flying Graysons
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 Grayson's origin and his history as Robin.

Fictional history[edit]

Haly's Circus, more completely referred to as C.C. Haly and Norton Bros. Circus, formed by C.C. 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.

Loss of The Flying Graysons[edit]

Haly's Circus travels into Gotham, where they are set to perform. C.C. Haly is confronted by Tony Zucco and Edward Skeevers, who demand protection money from the Circus as well as the use of their trucks to transport drugs. When Mr. Haly 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.[1]

The 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 Vestri, 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. In the end Saiko, revealed to be Dick's former friend Raymond commits suicide and Raya who had a change of heart and allowed the bystanders to escape turns herself in to the police with Bryan also arrested as well. 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.

Following Saiko's death, Dick decides to have Haly's Circus remain in Gotham and decides to invest to setting it up at an abandoned amusement park known as Amusement Mile. However difficulties begin to rise as Dick is having trouble with getting an investment because of liability issues due to Saiko's recent attack on the circus with the one handling the investment Sonia Branch, who is actually the daughter of Tony Zucco, the man responsible for the death of Dick's parents. In addition, many of the circus performers are also having doubts of Dick's reliability of being able to run the circus because of the recent incidents and many decide to leave and join other circus groups out of fear for their own circus, making things more difficult for the members who decide to stay.

Ultimately, Haly's Circus disbands following the Death of the Family event where the Joker murders the star clown Jimmy Clark whom he considered a knockoff of him, breaks Raya out of prison and poisons her with his toxin to have her fight Nightwing which ultimately kills her, and then does the same thing with the other members of Haly's Circus (though with a less lethal toxin). In the end the circus was burnt down with Dick broke for having lost his investment, the other members leave after Jimmy and Raya's funeral though deep down they know Dick was not at fault.

Other versions[edit]

  • Deadman appeared as a "Haly Circus" performer in the Batman & Robin Adventures comic (based on Batman: The Animated Series) 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.
  • 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 the Flashpoint universe, Haly's Circus is home to the Graysons, Boston Brand, Doctor Fate, King Shark, and Rag Doll, 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.

In other media[edit]


  • Haly's Circus appears in the Batman: the Animated Series episode "Robin's Reckoning Part 1" (1993), which details Robin's origin. When Tony Zucco demands protection money from Mr. Haly (voiced by an uncredited Ed Gilbert), Tony Zucco sabotages the trapeze set which leads to the death of John and Mary Grayson.
  • In The New Batman Adventures, 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 an old friend who is training the animals is a thief, but is later revealed to be the Mad Hatter using his mind control technology.
  • The Grayson's deaths, and by extension the Circus, appear briefly in a flashback in the Teen Titans episode "Haunted" (2004).
  • The Circus appears in The Batman episode "A Matter of Family" (2006), which features Grayson's origin. The episode depicted John Grayson also working as the manager.
  • In the Young Justice episode "Performance," the Team joins the circus undercover to locate a thief stealing weapons technology at each of its stops across Europe. Although Robin claims that this was a mission assigned by Batman, he actually came up with it himself to protect Jack Haly (voiced by Stephen Root), whom King Faraday suspects is involved in the thefts. The Team eventually discovers that Parasite has infiltrated the circus on Intergang's behalf and pulls off the crimes using abilities he steals from the various performers. After Parasite is defeated, Haly reveals that he already recognized Robin as Dick Grayson, and the episode ends with Dick performing one last act on the trapeze before returning home.
  • Haly's Circus appears in the Gotham episode "The Blind Fortune Teller." In this show, Mary Grayson started out as Mary Lloyd where her family led by her uncle Owen Lloyd had been in a feud with the Flying Graysons led by John's brother Alphonse Grayson. After a snake dancer named Lila Valeska at Haly's Circus is murdered, Gordon and Thompkins start investigating suspects. After much investigation, they discover the killer is Lila's psychotic son, Jerome Valeska, who claims to have hated her for her insistent "nagging".
  • Haly's Circus appears in Titans episode "Jason Todd," which features Grayson's origin.


  • Haly's Circus appears in the film Batman Forever (1995) 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".
  • Haly's Circus and Jack Haly makes a cameo in final scenes of Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders (2016).

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.


  1. Detective Comics #38. DC Comics.

← The character Luthor was debuted by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. See Lex Luthor for more info and the previous timeline. Timeline of DC Comics (1940s)
April 1940 (See also: Dick Grayson, Robin (character), Flying Graysons and Tony Zucco)
Batman series was released. See Batman (comic book) for more info and next timeline. →

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