5713 in-depth character profiles from comics, games, movies

Doctor Mid Nite and his owl, over a white background

Doctor Mid-Nite

(Dr. Charles McNider)


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

Context

Doctor Mid-Nite is a Golden Age  DC Comics super-hero, who appeared in 1941. He’s often one of the characters who come to mind when discussing the transition from the mystery men to the super-heroes during the late 1930s and early 1940s.

The following notes are very basic – a small evolution over the standard stats and biography. Consider it a robust placeholder until we can truly dive into our All-American Comics scans and microfiches.


Background

  • Real Name: Dr. Charles McNider
  • Marital Status: Unknown
  • Known Relatives: None
  • Base Of Operations: An unidentified American city
  • Group Affiliation: JSA, All-Star Squadron
  • Height: 5’11” Weight: 179lbs
  • Eyes: Blue Hair: Blond


Powers and Abilities

Doctor Mid-Nite’s power was 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.
  • 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. Thus, his infra-red goggles were updated with technology designed by an old medical school colleague, Dr. Gordon Ogilvy.


History

In 1941, the police called Dr. Charles McNider to treat a wounded informant. The highly skilled physician and medical scientist did save his patient. However, a mobster sent by “Boss” Maroni hurled a grenade in the hospital room to finish the snitch. Only McNider survived, but he was blinded for life.

Doctor Mid-Nite recaps his origin

Dr. McNider’s faithful nurse Myra Mason followed him in his new career. Though he could no longer be a doctor, she acted as a stenographer as he became a crusading writer. McNider denounced crime and criminals in exposés and novels. Yet, he felt that it wasn’t enough.

A familiar scene occurred as a owl crashed through McNider’s study’s window as he was pondering his situation. Reflexively taking away his eye bandages, the ex-doctor discovered that he could actually see — but only in darkness. He soon designed special infra-red lenses that allowed him to use his night vision even in broad daylight. He also tamed the owl, and named him Hooty.

(The period text explains that McNider’s eyes are like an owl — “the iris of the eye cannot close off light to the proper degree and so the owl is blinded by daylight”.)

As his “Doctor Mid-Nite” identity emerged, McNider also built “blackout bombs”. These were smoke grenades creating darkness in which he could easily see but his enemies couldn’t. He also decided to deceive everyone — including Myra — and pretend that he was still blind, to protect his new secret identity.

Dr. Mid-Nite then saved a witness whom Maroni had nearly killed. He came to the hospital and operated anonymously and in the dark, as only a surgeon of his skill could hope to save the witness. Dr. Mid-Nite then arrested Maroni.

Trust him, he’s a doctor

As McNider, he continued to write (including about Dr. Mid-Nite’s adventures) and do scientific research for medical applications. He also occasionally consulted for the military during the war.

As Dr. Mid-Nite, he chiefly battled the mob and other ordinary criminals. He was a founding member of the All-Star Squadron and the Justice Society of America, but did not operate on the level of the better-known members of these organisations.

Doctor Mid-Nite by George Perez

After the war, Dr. Mid-Nite graduated to minor super-villains such as sort-of-nemesis Doctor Light, or forgotten criminals such as Sky-Raider or the Baleful Banshee. He also focused on his research at his expense of his writing – specifically optics and means of curing blindness. In 1951, along with the rest of the JSA, he refused to unmask and disappeared.

When the JSA reassembled in 1963, Dr. Mid-Nite was among them. However, his priority by that point was medical research and ophthalmology. With age his eyesight failed and he became fully blind. However, fellow researcher Gordon Ogilvy built a device allowing a very low level of vision, upon which McNider could then considerably improve.

Crises

In the 1980s, McNider was working as a physician in Los Angeles. He also occasionally consulted for the young heroes of Infinity, Inc.. His most gifted resident, Dr. Beth Chapel, was blinded by an explosion during the Crisis on Infinite Earths. However, she discovered she could see in darkness and became Dr. Midnight.

Doctor Mid Nite has his Batman moment

As to McNider, he joined the JSA in Limbo and was thought gone forever in order to forestall Ragnarok.

During the Zero Hour  crisis, Dr. Mid-Nite and his JSA colleagues engaged Extant but were hit by a brutal ageing attack. He, Hourman and the Atom died of old age as a result. As to Dr. Chapel, she was slain by Eclipso.

Thus, the Dr. Mid-Nite legacy remained abandoned until Dr. Pieter Anton Cross became Dr. Mid-Nite II.


Description

See illustration.


Personality

Charles McNider was a dedicated physician. He worked diligently to expand medical knowledge through research and to aid the community through his clinic.

For McNider, his superheroic persona was a means of stopping others from getting hurt. It was thus secondary to his role as a doctor under normal circumstances.

Like most of the Golden Age JSAers, McNider takes the role of mentor seriously, though his focus was more on training new medical workers at his clinic. He still provided support to his colleagues whenever they needed him.


Sharing

The links to follow us and/or subscribe to our monthly newsletter are at the bottom of this page.



Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Doctor Mid-Nite I

Dex: 07 Str: 04 Bod: 05 Motivation: Upholding the good
Int: 08 Wil: 06 Min: 06 Occupation: Physician
Inf: 05 Aur: 06 Spi: 07 Resources {or Wealth}: 005
Init: 024 HP: 075

Powers:
Ultra-vision: 09

Skills:
Acrobatics: 04, Artist (Writer): 04, Detective (all save Law): 06, Gadgetry: 06, Martial artist*: 07, Medicine: 10, Scientist: 06, Thief: 05

Advantages:
Lightning reflexes, Pet (Hooty).

Connections:
JSA (High), All-Star Squadron (Low).

Drawbacks:
Secret identity, MPR (Doctor Mid-Nite cannot see in daylight without special infrared glasses or goggles).

Equipment:

  • Goggles [BODY 01. With the goggles he can see in daylight ; he wears a special version of the goggles that look like black glasses as McNider].
  • Blackout Bombs [BODY 01, Darkness: 05, Fog: 10, Ammo: 06, Bonus : the Darkness is active thorough the whole Fog (+1)].

Hooty

Hooty is Mid-Nite’s pet owl. His stats are as follows :

Dex: 04 Str: 01 Bod: 01
Int: 03 Wil: 02 Min: 02
Inf: 02 Aur: 02 Spi: 02
Init: 09

Powers:
Claws: 03, Flight: 02

Compiled by Sébastien Andrivet — stats from the World at War sourcebook.

Helper(s): Roy Cowan.

Source of Character: JSA comics (DCU).

Subscribe to our MINI-NEWSLETTER !

One bare-bones e-mail per month. Plain text. Short. To the point. Learn more.