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Charles McNider is a surgeon who was called one night to remove a bullet from a witness set to testify against mobsters. A mobster named "Killer" Maroni threw a grenade into the room, killing the witness and blinding McNider, with the injury causing him to believe his career as a surgeon was over. One evening, as he was recovering, an owl crashed through his window. Removing the bandages covering his eyes, McNider discovered that he could still see, but only in perfect darkness. McNider developed a special visor allowing him to see in the light and "blackout bombs" capable of blocking out all light, becoming a costumed crime fighter. He adopted the owl, naming it 'Hooty', and it became his sidekick. Upon becoming Doctor Mid-Nite, his first outing had him bringing "Killer" Maroni to justice.

He later joined the Justice Society of America (JSA) and the All-Star Squadron. In 1942, McNider enlisted in the U.S. Medical Corps as a physician during World War II, rising to the rank of captain. Ten years after his debut, McNider briefly assumed the role of Starman after the JSA disbanded when Ted Knight, the original Starman, suffered a nervous breakdown as a result of his participation in the development of the atomic bomb.

According to Jess Nevins' Encyclopedia of Golden Age Superheroes, "his opponents include the minstrel the Baleful Banshee, the hypnosis-wielding Doctor Light, the angling-themed Fisherman, and the gang lord Tarantula".

McNider suffered a devastating event in 1953, when the woman he loved, Myra Mason, was murdered by the Shadower, a foe who had learned Doctor Mid-Nite's secret identity. McNider's later romantic history is unrevealed, but another "old friend" of McNider, Miss Alice King, made an appearance in All-American Comics #90 (October 1947). McNider apparently had no children, but at one point McNider rescued a pregnant woman from attack in Sogndal, Norway and delivered her baby, Pieter Cross, who later became the third Doctor Mid-Nite. McNider was also one of the JSA members captured and placed in suspended animation by the Immortal villain Vandal Savage, before being freed by the Flash.

Charles McNider eventually met his end as one of the casualties of Zero Hour, when he and fellow JSA member Hourman were aged to death by Extant. He was briefly reanimated as a member of the Black Lantern Corps during the Blackest Night event, only to be destroyed by Mr. Terrific.

Powers, equipment, and abilities[]

McNider possesses the metahuman ability to see perfectly in the dark. Utilizing special infrared lenses, McNider can see in light; later in his life, his lenses become more ineffective as his eyesight continues to deteriorate even further, inhibiting his daylight vision. McNider also employs "blackout bombs" which release pitch-black gas that blinds villains yet allowing McNider to see. For a time, he used a weapon called a "cryotuber" which can either control the nervous system of an opponent or fire bursts of heat or cold. He is also a brilliant doctor and a mathematician. In All-Star Comics #13, he is able to communicate with a Neptunian using mathematical equations. As Starman, McNider uses various star-themed gadgets, including an airship designed by the Red Torpedo. McNider is also a superb athlete and fighter, as well as a gifted physician and author.

In other media[]

  • Charles McNider as Doctor Mid-Nite appears in the DC Universe and The CW series Stargirl, portrayed by Henry Thomas in season one and by Alex Collins in season two. This version sports longevity and wears special glasses that can sync with his Doctor Mid-Nite goggles. In the pilot episode, he was with the Justice Society when the Injustice Society of America (ISA) attacked their headquarters. During the battle, Shade pretended to attack McNider to save him from the ISA, but accidentally lost him in the Shadowlands, leading to the latter being presumed dead. In the present, Beth Chapel assumes the mantle of Doctor Mid-Nite after she discovers McNider's googles, which are programmed with an A.I. modeled on the seemingly deceased McNider, including his voice (also provided by Thomas in season one and by Collins in season two) and memories. In season two, McNider eventually makes contact with Chapel and later encounters Courtney Whitmore and Cindy Burman after Eclipso sent them to the Shadowlands. Once Shade uses his abilities to free the trio, McNider and Chapel work to find Eclipso. After Whitmore's JSA defeat Eclipso, McNider gives Chapel his blessing to continue operating as Doctor Mid-Nite before she informs him that his wife has settled in Melody Hills, where she now has a son.