Charles McNider might not be the most famous DC character, but he does have one hell of a lineage of superheroes who have carried the moniker of Doctor Mid-Nite…
Doctor Charles McNider has become an intriguing character thanks to his inclusion in the DC Comics television series, Stargirl. While he doesn’t play a huge role, the AI in his goggles plays an important part for his successor, Beth Chapel. As the second season is due to drop in August, we thought we’d start our coverage as we wait. For this post, we’re going to jump back in time to all the Doctor Mid-Nites to have existed across DC Comics history.
Our first one will be the original; Charles McNider.
Without Charles McNider, the mantle of Doctor Mid-Nite cannot exist. Making his first appearance in All-Star Squadron #25 in April 1941, the character started out as a surgeon who was called upon to remove a bullet from a person who was due to testify against the mob. A mobster threw a grenade into the OR killing the witness and making McNider blind.
His superhero achievements were endless as he was a member of both the Justice Society of America and the All-Star Squadron. McNider also adopted an owl companion he named Hooty.
McNider at one point also became known as Starman after Ted Knight, the original Starman suffered a breakdown.
During the Season 1 episode, ‘Hourman and Doctor Mid-Nite’, Beth learns through the goggles that the OG Doctor Mid-Nite ended up blind after he fought the mob. This would be a reference to how McNider ended up with the ailment in the comic.
Thanks to Stargirl, Beth Chapel has been given centre stage as the successor of Charles McNider. The comics version of the character is a doctor who was blinded in an oxygen explosion after the superheroine, Jade is rushed to the hospital after being poisoned by Mister Bones and his Cyanide touch during Crisis on Infinite Earths.
Beth forms a close bond with the original Hourman, Rex Tyler’s son, Rick after he rescues her from the explosion that took her sight. She and Yolanda Montez are both killed by the supervillain, Eclipso.
The spelling used for Beth’s moniker in the comics is “Doctor Midnight” rather than the McNider spelling “Doctor Mid-Nite”. However, that version is used in Stargirl to avoid any form of confusion.
Elizabeth “Beth” Chapel was introduced into DC Comics in Infinity Inc #19 in October 1985.
Stargirl Fact #2
Beth forms a close bond with the goggles containing the AI of McNider. They become so close that they refer to each other as ‘best pal’ and she nicknames him “Chuck”. Finally, given her age, she is a high school student while her mother, Bridget, is a doctor which might be a nod to Beth in the comics.
Pieter Anton Cross
The second character in DC Comics to use the McNider “Doctor Mid-Nite” spelling, Pieter Anton Cross emerged in Doctor Mid-Nite #1 in September 1999. He was a doctor whose birth was conducted by Charles McNidr himself. Outside of his mother, he has no other known relatives. He also had the same power set as McNider.
Pieter was unable to save his mother’s life from Chagas disease.