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Doctor Mid-Nite

Charles McNider

Residence: New York City; later Los Angeles, California
Occupation: Physician, Author

First Appearance (Golden Age): All-American Comics #25 (April 1941)
First Appearance (Silver Age): The Flash vol. 1 #137 (July 1963)


Character History


Little is known of the early life of Charles McNider. In 1941, McNider was an accomplished physician and researcher working in New York City. Late one evening he was called upon by police to treat a mob informant by the name of Brown. Brown had run afoul of local Mafioso "Boss" Maroni. As McNider tended Brown, a local gangster threw a grenade into the room and the resulting explosion killed Brown, his nurse, and the attending police officer. McNider survived, but the explosion left him blinded for life. He abandoned his medical practice at this point, devoting himself to research. His nurse, Myra Mason, became his personal assistant.

McNider was meditating in his study one fateful evening when an owl broke a window, startling the physician. In his haste, McNider loosed his bandages and discovered that, in the darkness, he had the ability to see. However, upon turning on the lights, he was blinded once again. His vision was only functional in the absence of light. Energized by this discovery, McNider studied a variety of lenses in an attempt to find a kind that shielded him from the light and heightened the infrared in the darkness. He also adopted the owl who had led to this discovery, naming him Hooty. Eventually, McNider perfected his lenses and decided that his ability to see in absolute darkness would give him an advantage in battling the criminal element. He devised a series of chemical explosives called "blackout bombs," which produced thick clouds of black smoke in which only he could see. McNider also devised a costume and code-named himself Doctor Mid-Nite.

Doctor Mid-Nite's first act as a "mystery-man" was to track down the criminal that had led to his blindness: "Boss" Maroni. After saving the life of an informant critically injured in a Maroni reprisal, Doctor Mid-Nite ambushed Maroni in his lair. Cutting off the power to his home left the crime lord and his lackeys in complete darkness, allowing Mid-Nite to thrash them as they fumbled blindly. With Maroni in jail, McNider worked harder in his writing and promoting anti-crime messages. Eventually, McNider chronicled some of his own exploits as Doctor Mid-Nite (All-American Comics #25).

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As a mystery-man, Mid-Nite was an inveterate foe of organized crime. McNider also resolved to battle crime through other media, by writing scathing editorials and detective stories based on figures in organized crime, which also provided an effective cover for his knowledge of Dr. Mid-Nite's activities. Indeed, throughout the 40's, Myra Mason appeared blissfully ignorant that that the two were one in the same (tho some criminals came close - All-American Comics #88). He also continued making contributions to medical research and serving as a consultant to the military (Wonder Woman vol. 1 #234-235).

In 1941, Doctor Mid-Nite joined the Justice Society of America as Green Lantern resigned his active membership (All-Star Comics #8). Mid-Nite was also a charter member of the All-Star Squadron called together later that year by President Franklin D. Roosevelt (All-Star Squadron #3). Throughout World War II, Doctor Mid-Nite rarely involved himself individually with national-level cases but was a steadfast member of the JSA.

After the war, Mid-Nite encountered occasional costumed villains such as The Baleful Banshee (All-American Comics #65) or the Sky-Raider (All-American Comics #98). A recurring foe was Doctor Light, a scientist with a rather odd appearance (All-American Comics #82, 89, 91) who countered Mid-Nite's science with science of his own. As McNider, Mid-Nite largely abandoned his writing as his medical research contributions reached a prominence they had originally held before his career as a mystery-man. He particularly excelled at optics research as he tried to apply the work on his own blindness to blindness in general.

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Doctor Mid-Nite was an active member of the JSA during its last case in 1951 (Adventure Comics #466). Along with the other JSA members, he retired from active service rather than expose his identity to the world. Doctor Mid-Nite's subsequent activities are unclear. No mention of a marriage has been made, nor have any children come forth to claim his heritage. When Vandal Savage kidnapped several members of the JSA in 1963, Doctor Mid-Nite was among them (The Flash vol. 1 #137). He then returned to active duty in the JSA for several years. Aside from these duties, McNider's activism as a costumed adventurer seems to have taken a back seat to his medical duties. It is known that as he aged, his eyesight began to fail, and McNider seemed to become truly blind. A medical school comrade, Gordon Ogilvy, perfected a device that allowed the blind to see shadows in the dark, though little more. As an ophthalmologic researcher, McNider was able to use this technology to improve his ailing vision (DC Comics Presents #29).

In the 1980s, Doctor Mid-Nite was rarely active, but it is known that he moved to Los Angeles to become private physician to Earth-2's second-generation super-team, Infinity Incorporated. One of his star pupils, Dr. Beth Chapel, was blinded during the Crisis on Infinite Earths, but later took up the  mantle of Mid-Nite as "Doctor Midnight" (Infinity Inc. #21). In 2005, a breach between New Earth and Earth-Two revealed that Dr. Mid-Nite survived into the new millennium but had largely retired due to advanced age.  His ultimate fate on Earth-Two is yet to revealed.

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Power and Abilities

Doctor Mid-Nite's only "power" is the ability to see in total darkness. In addition, Mid-Nite used a combination of athletic training and equipment designed to compensate for his principal liability, a lack of "day vision." This equipment included a specialized pair of goggles that gave him the ability to see during the day, and a variety of "blackout bombs" that created clouds of blackness in which only he could see. In recent years, Doctor Mid-Nite's vision had begun to fade, and the infra-red goggles were updated with technology designed by an old medical school colleague, Dr. Gordon Ogilvy.

Weakness and Limitations

Doctor Mid-Nite, like many of his comrades, relied on his equipment for his skills. Without it, he is merely mortal and blind besides

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Golden Age Appearances of  Doctor Mid-Nite
 Post-Golden Age Appearances of the Doctor Mid-Nite of Earth-Two
Rogues Gallery