Doctor Mid-Nite (also Doctor Midnight) is the name of multiple fictional superheroes in DC Comics. The figure has been represented in the comics by three different individuals, Charles McNider, Beth Chapel, and Pieter Anton Cross. Dr. Mid-Nite was originally created by writer Charles Reizenstein and artist Stanley Josephs Aschmeier in 1941. The hero, represented first by Charles McNider, appeared for the first time in All-American Comics #25 (April 1941). He continued in All-American Comics until issue #102 (Oct 1948).
Cover to JSA: All-Stars #6. Art by John Cassaday and Mark Lewis.
All-American Comics #25 (April 1941)
Infinity Inc. #19 (October 1985)
As Doctor Midnight:
Infinity Inc. (vol. 1) #21 (December 1985)
Doctor Mid-Nite #1 (September 1999)
Stanley Josephs Aschmeier
John K. Snyder III
|Alter ego||Dr. Charles McNider|
Dr. Elizabeth Chapel
Dr. Pieter Anton Cross
|Team affiliations||Justice League|
Justice Society of America
U.S. Medical Corps
Black Lantern Corps
Perfect night vision
Ability to see in the dark via infrared lenses
Brilliant doctor and mathematician
Gifted physician and author
Superb athlete and hand to hand combatant
Employs "blackout bombs"
Great physician and scientist
Employs special ultrasonic lenses and "blackout bombs"
Like many Golden Age heroic characters, the original Doctor Mid-Nite appeared as a member of DC's Justice Society of America. His two successors were also represented as members of the group or an offshoot. Doctor Mid-Nite has never appeared as the solo protagonist of a regular title magazine, but the figure has been the subject of an anthology and a mini-series.
All three versions of Doctor Mid-Nite have exhibited the same basic features: a cowled costume featuring a crescent moon symbol, keen ability to see in the darkness at the cost of near or total blindness in sunlight, the use of special visors and “blackout” smoke bombs to gain tactical advantage in combat, a high degree of skill in martial arts, and jobs as physicians serving both normal human beings and "metahuman" superheroes. Additionally, two of the doctors have been accompanied by sidekick owls.
As a blind character, Doctor Mid-Nite is widely regarded as the first superhero in comics to exhibit a physical impairment, pre-dating the creation of Daredevil of Marvel Comics by more than twenty years.
Dr. Mid-Nite made his live appearance on the second season of DC's Legends of Tomorrow played by Kwesi Ameyaw. Doctor Mid-Nite appears in the DC Universe series Stargirl and is portrayed by Henry Thomas. Anjelika Washington portrays Beth Chapel on the series as well.
Fictional character biographiesEdit
Charles McNider is the original Doctor Mid-Nite appearing in All American Comics #25 (April 1941) in the Golden Age of Comic Books and is a common member of the Justice Society of America. McNider, a young surgeon, was blinded when a grenade went off in front of him caused by gangster "Killer" Maroni, but he found that he could see in the dark. He made special goggles that allowed him to see in the daylight, and decided to use his special power to fight crime. In his civilian identity, he pretends to be a helpless blind man.
As the aging McNider spent less time in action, Beth Chapel, a medical doctor, stepped into the role of Doctor Midnight. Beth Chapel was a native of Orangeburg, South Carolina, with a pastor father, a mother who sang in the church choir, and four brothers. Chapel first appeared when Jade of Infinity, Inc. was rushed to her hospital for treatment after encountering Mister Bones' cyanide touch. During the onset of the Crisis on Infinite Earths, Beth was blinded by an oxygen explosion, only to be rescued by Hourman's son Rick Tyler, who had taken McNider's drug that enhances ability to see in the dark. Beth used the formula to similarly treat her blindness, and she and Rick assume the mantles of their predecessors as Doctor Midnight and Hourman, with her mother crafting a super hero costume from a choir robe. Along with a new Wildcat, Chapel and Tyler applied for membership in Infinity, Inc, eventually gaining admission; however, the association was short-lived, as Infinity, Inc. disbanded shortly thereafter, though Chapel and Tyler began a romantic relationship during their tenure.
Doctor Midnight and Wildcat were subsequently recruited by the U.S. government for a mission to defeat the supervillain Eclipso, only for Chapel to die on the mission along with Wildcat, the Creeper, Commander Steel, Peacemaker, and Major Victory.
During the events of Doomsday Clock, Beth Chapel was returned to life alongside the rest of the restored Justice Society of America thanks to the influence of Doctor Manhattan. She now sports a more traditional costume resembling that of McNider and Cross.
Owls of Doctor Mid-NiteEdit
Both Charles McNider and Pieter Anton Cross train owls as sidekicks.
McNider trains the same owl which crashes through his window, an event that leads to the discovery of his powers. This owl, named "Hooty" (sometimes "Hootie"), shares many adventures during the Golden Age.
Cross keeps company with an owl named "Charlie". The bird is named after the original Doctor Mid-Nite, Charles McNider. Charlie keeps a mini-camera around his neck that can feed video directly to a display in Cross's goggles.
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Each incarnation of Doctor Mid-Nite has fought different enemies:
- "Gallows" Gallagher - A gangster who had his brother take his place in prison with help from a corrupt prison warden.
- "Hands" Hannigan - A gangster who wanted to take advantage of Regis Morgan's telescopic vision and make him a lookout for his gang.
- "Killer" Maroni - A gangster who was responsible for the grenade that blinded Charles McNider and became Doctor Mid-Nite's first opponent.
- Banshee - 
- Big Mouth - The leader of a gang who worked with Jasper to set up hallucinations to frighten Japser's aunt Martha Yates and his uncle Ambrose Yates.
- Doctor Light - A villain who uses light technology.
- Dr. Gamwell - A man who used a home for the blind as a front for his criminal activities.
- Fisherman - Kurt Hartmann is a fisherman-themed criminal.
- Hans - A Nazi demolition diver.
- Herman Gherkin - A Nazi general.
- Ice Ingram - 
- King Cobra - A hooded gangster.
- Madame Zara - A criminal who operated as a psychic.
- Malcolm Mumm - An inventor who invented a sound-nullifying device and operated as the self-proclaimed Master of Silence. He used his invention to cover up the sounds related to his bank vault robberies.
- Mister Nitro - 
- Slim - A mobster that planned to sabotage the games of the Yellow Jackets football team.
- Tarantula - A crime lord whose minion Logger suspected that Charles McNider and Doctor Mid-Nite are the same people.
In 1965, DC Comics had no plans to revive Doctor Mid-Nite. DC editor Julius Schwartz gave M.I.T. student and comic book letterhack Rick Norwood permission to publish a Dr. Midnight story in his fanzine, Five. The story written by Norwood and illustrated by Steve Sabo features a doctor named Tom Benson who is blinded in battle. He discovers that his other senses are super-sensitive and dons the Doctor Midnight costume to fight crime.
Another version of the character was shown in Dan Jolley and Tony Harris' JSA: The Liberty File as a World War II United States intelligence agent code-named the Owl. This character, though a playboy, resembles other Doctor Mid-Nite representations. Though derided for his dalliances with the ladies, McNider was trusted as a valued field operative.
In the Tangent: Superman's Reign series, a version of Doctor Mid-Nite his body completely covered by a black cloak is briefly seen.
In other mediaEdit
- Doctor Mid-Nite also appears in the Smallville episode "Absolute Justice", not in person but in the painting showing the roster of the Justice Society of America.
- Different versions of Doctor Md-Nite make appearances in the CW's Arrowverse:
- A pre-Crisis Earth-1 version of Charles McNider appears in The CW series Legends of Tomorrow's second season as a member of a 1940s incarnation of the JSA, portrayed by Kwesi Ameyaw. This version is blind, but possesses the metahuman ability to see perfectly in the dark. According to his former teammate Obsidian, he was presumed dead after going missing on a mission in 1956. However, the Legends later learned that he was placed in the distant future of 3000, where he used their futuristic tech to restore his eyesight. He was later murdered by a brainwashed Rip Hunter as he was protecting a fragment of the Spear of Destiny.
- A post-Crisis Earth-2 version of Charles McNider and Beth Chapel appears in the DC Universe series Stargirl, portrayed by Henry Thomas and Anjelika Washington respectively. Ahead of the series' premiere, Chapel made a cameo appearance in the Arrowverse crossover event, "Crisis on Infinite Earths".
- The Charles McNider version of Doctor Mid-Nite makes several brief appearances without dialogue in Justice League Unlimited, most notably in the episodes "Dark Heart", "Divided We Fall", and "Destroyer" (where he's highlighted along with fellow JSA members Doctor Fate, Hourman, and Wildcat).
- The Charles McNider version of Doctor Mid-Nite appears in the Batman: The Brave and the Bold episodes "The Golden Age of Justice" and "Crisis 23,000 Miles Above the Earth", voiced by Corey Burton. He is shown as a member of the Justice Society of America and the team's resident doctor.
- In the Young Justice episode "Coldhearted", Pieter Cross (voiced by Bruce Greenwood) appears as a surgeon who performs a heart transplant on Count Vertigo's niece Perdita. He is never named onscreen, but is identified in the credits. He later appears in the second-season episode "True Colors" assisting Ray Palmer and Bumblebee in attempting to remove the Blue Beetle scarab from Jaime Reyes following the discovery of its connection to the Reach.
- Doctor Mid-Nite appears in episode 46 of Mad, voiced by Kevin Shinick. In the "That's What Super Friends Are For" segment, Doctor Mid-Nite joins the other superheroes into asking Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman about being called "Super Friends." Doctor Mid-Nite's part has him mentioning how he once asked Batman to take him to the airport, but Batman answered that it was "best to take a cab."
- Dr. Mid-Nite also appears as a member of the Justice Society of America in the animated film Justice League: The New Frontier. He can be seen in a cameo at the opening credits of the film.
- Dr. Mid-Nite was featured as an action figure in the twelfth wave of the DC Universe Classics line. His accessory was his owl, Hooty, who rested on his arm.
- Mattel released an action figure of the Justice League Unlimited version of Dr. Mid-Nite in its DC Universe: Justice League Unlimited Fan Collection line in November 2011.
- DC Direct released two action figures of Dr. Mid-Nite (Charles McNider and Peter Cross). The Charles McNider version was released in 2001 and had exchangeable right wrists. One wrist came with Dr. Mid-Nite's pet owl, Hooty.
- Cowsill, Alan; Irvine, Alex; Korte, Steve; Manning, Matt; Wiacek, Win; Wilson, Sven (2016). The DC Comics Encyclopedia: The Definitive Guide pto the Characters of the DC Universe. DK Publishing. p. 92. ISBN 978-1-4654-5357-0.
- Greenberger, Robert (2008), "Doctor Mid-Nite I & II", in Dougall, Alastair (ed.), The DC Comics Encyclopedia, New York: Dorling Kindersley, p. 104, ISBN 978-0-7566-4119-1, OCLC 213309017
- Benton, Mike (1992). Superhero Comics of the Golden Age: The Illustrated History. Dallas: Taylor Publishing Company. p. 147. ISBN 0-87833-808-X. Retrieved 8 April 2020.
- Mitchell, Kurt; Thomas, Roy (2019). American Comic Book Chronicles: 1940-1944. TwoMorrows Publishing. p. 75. ISBN 978-1605490892.
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- Eclipso #13
- Doomsday Clock #12
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- Bucksbaum, Sydney (July 23, 2016). "Comic-Con: 'Legends of Tomorrow' to Tackle Legion of Doom Villain Team In Season 2". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 17, 2016.
- Byrne, Craig (September 29, 2016). "Commander Steel, Obsidian, Dr. Mid-Nite, Vixen & Stargirl In New "Justice Society of America" Photos". DCLegendsTV. Retrieved September 30, 2016.
- Agard, Chancellor (December 17, 2018). "DC Universe's Stargirl casts Haunting of Hill House star as the JSA's Dr. Mid-Nite". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved December 17, 2018.
- St-Louis, Hervé. "Golden Age Dr. Mid-Nite Action Figure". ComicBookBin.com. Retrieved 17 October 2016.
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