Birds of Prey | Book Club | More ORIGINS: Black Canary

Heya there, bird-watchers! :purple_heart: This holiday season we’re rewinding the clock to look at some original origins of one of our most favorite leading ladies: :00_black_canary: Black Canary!

Thanks to the magic of DCUI Ultra, we now have access to these ancient archival secrets in her earliest adventures, so please dive in—but be careful with the old pages! And if you don’t yet have Ultra, not to fear :muscle: We have something for you too! Let’s take a l​:eyes:k!


:boom: On Ultra:
The Black Canary: Bird of Prey (2021)
A comprehensive collection of issues from ye olden days including Dinah’s first appearance in Flash Comics #86 (1947)! So feel free to pick and choose a la carte, whatever story or comic speaks to your heart! :purple_heart:


:boom: And if you’re not on Ultra:
Black Canary (1993) #4-12
For our previous Canary Spotlight we started on her amazing 1993 solo series. Well, it’s time to wrap it up—fishnets and blonde wigs, what could be more festive? :christmas_tree: (Bonus: This run has our main three ladies work together for the first time in Black Canary #10!)


:books: This activity will be running all month long!

You know the drill: We’ll take the first 2 weeks (12/5-12/18) to read (or as long as you need), then discuss during the last 2 weeks (12/19- 1/1). Please note that even if it’s later, we always welcome your thoughts, so there is no real time limit to read these books! Did you enjoy them? Have you read them before? What did you think of the dialogue, plot or artwork? Anything about the reading you’d like to discuss—drop your thoughts below when you’re ready. :purple_heart: See ya soon!

:birds_of_prey_club_oracle: You can join or learn more about Birds of Prey HERE.

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That Golden Age book was definitely one I definitely was interested to read when I saw that drop on Ultra, so thanks for giving me a better reason to start it immediately. :smiley:

Also, I’m surprised I’m the one that’s dropping the Casually Comics link, since she talked about those stories specifically fairly recently.

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The 90s Black Canary series is an odd one - so few people seem to know it even existed, and it doesn’t seem to be brought up that often. I believe I have at least one of the Huntress teamups, which is why I got it. I am curious to know if people think that this 90s series or the DCYou Rock Star series is more memorable/should be referenced more!

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I’ve read it before and will read again for this book club, but I really like that 1993 Canary series! It’s a great prelude to the late 1990s start to the official BOP specials.

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Do you know of any major events, characters, or details that made it from the 90s Canary series into Birds of Prey or other stories? It’s always struck me as a bit unfair how “orphaned” the series seems, but maybe I just don’t know about it!

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It’s actually a really great prequel, like I said. This is where Black Canary and Huntress first team up I believe, and as mentioned in the intro, Oracle also helps them out, so issue 10 could actually be considered the first BOP issue! So this very nicely flows into the origins of BOP we covered at the start of our club reading:

I really love the style and the grounded nature of these 1990s stories and adventures!

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I have wanted to read the Golden Age Black Canary stories for a long time… Glad I finally can!

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Same here, Mothy! Can’t wait to get cozy and read these artifacts of yore!

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And Sasha with another perfectly timed vid:

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As usual, a great vid from Sash. Very curious to see what happens next with Red Canary (and Steph! :wink: )

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Reading the initial first issues, it is hilarious to me that she starts off as a Johnny Thunder side character and she quickly just takes over his spot in Flash Comics. That said, I have to say I did find his stories charming, like I kind of want to see more of this lovable loser.

I think he’s prime for a comeback – I think someone like Tom King could take this character and keep him funny but maybe also find some untold depth with him in a twelve-issue maxi.

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Some choice panels from those initial adventures:

A great first appearance from panel 1!

The Thunderbolt’s secret power: super c*ckblocking (not that Johnny probably has much of a shot, but yeesh!).

The hilarious thing is that despite the modern Dinah being most known for her martial arts skills and sonic scream, the skill we see her implement the most is throwing crap. :rofl:

I really want to know what the origin is with this kid, because… look, I know sidekicks were all the rage at this point, but who the FLIP thought it was a good idea to give Johnny Thunder a kid to take care of?

Dinah is really looking at Johnny like “Wow, are there any brain cells rattling in this man’s head?”

See what I mean? In this Era she has super yeet powers!

I have never seen someone eat pie so determined like. It’s both hilarious and horrifying. And you can just TELL that the creators just realized they only had a page left to finish the story.

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First time I’ve seen Sasha, I like her stuff, thanks for Posting her!

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She’s one of the very best comic book youtubers out there!

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Admittedly, not the highest bar to cross, but she definitely does by a mile.

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I’ve read a bunch of Golden Age stuff, and I am afraid that Johnny Thunder is not one of my favorites. I’ll stick with Wonder Woman for that era. Despite that, I was glad to see the first Black Canary appearances. I always find origins to be worthwhile reads.

No kidding. There is something going on here. Thunderbolt doth protest too much.

This trend continued into the Silver Age:

I know this is a Black Canary thread, but I have to point out that the Sportsmaster is kind of hilarious. His fly fishing outfit is on point:

Flying skis just make good sense.

And, of course, his flying putting green is the icing on the cake. His wife is known as the Huntress and she looks amazing in that getup.

He did all of that nonsense just to steal a sportsman trophy from a sportsman club. Now that is a villain who sticks to his gimmick.

Special guest appearance from Wildcat as he beats the crap out of a kangeroo.

And finally Black Canary’s martial arts skills come into play:

An interesting collection overall, but I would only recommend it for skimming to satisfy your origins curiosity.

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I’ve been plugging my way through this, now at her solo adventures and I was floored by this bit:

Were…were they thinking about giving her the power to control birds? With a mantra similar to Green Lantern’s? That is WILD.

Also, no specific pic for this but I love how many of her adventures depend on having just the right gadget inside of the locket on her choker.

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I really loved that “Black Canary oath” moment, too. So, Flash Comics used to be published by All-American Publications. In 1946, All-American was purchased by National Periodicals after a long on and off partnership (that, in part, lead to the creation of the Justice Society). National is the company that we would come to know as DC Comics. For a while, though, National and All-American were separate companies, and Green Lantern was one of the most popular All-American characters. Long story short, in this early story where they were still trying to figure out who Canary was, I can see why the All-American creators wanted to channel a bit of Green Lantern to help her popularity. Also, if that 1946 purchase never happened and All-American walked away from the partnership with National (which they were in the midst of doing), then the following characters may never have been part of the DCU: Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, Black Canary, Hawkman, Hawkgirl, The Atom, and more. That’s a tangent, but it’s wild to think about.

Anyway, I finished the entire book and I loved it because I’m a Golden Age nerd and I love this stuff. To start, I actually like Johnny Thunder. My experience with Johnny prior to this comes from reading his appearances with the JSA in All-Star Comics. I appreciate Johnny because he gave me something different to read in those books. In a world of grim-faced mystery men delivering two-fisted justice, Johnny Thunder was just there to make you laugh. I appreciated that for what it was.

However, it’s easy for me to see why Black Canary eventually took over his feature. Most Johnny Thunder stories are, essentially, the same story: Johnny stumbles into trouble, accidentally says “say you” summoning the Thunderbolt, he gets out of trouble through the Thunderbolt and a bit of luck, and the story ends. That was the formula, and I can see how that would get old after 8+ years.

What I loved about Dinah’s first appearance was her original MO. The fact that she would rob criminals of their ill-gotten gains made me think that she started as a combination of Golden Age Catwoman and a Lev Gleason character known as Young Robin Hood. I was a little disappointed that they dropped that aspect of Black Canary’s character so soon. It made her more of a Robin Hood character than Ollie was at the time.

Of course, I did notice that the Black Canary stories also inevitably fell into a formula. Dinah and Larry would discover a case and/or get framed for murder. Canary would get knocked out by being hit on the back of the head with a gun (apparently her only weakness).
Black Canary knocked out
She would wake up in a death trap and use whatever was in her choker to escape. Finally, she would save the day. We loved our formulas in the Golden Age…

Also, I got to see where Dinah’s love of jerks came from. A recurring theme of my posts for these BoP discussions is to marvel at Dinah’s poor choice in men. I present to you the original creep Dinah fell for:
Larry Lance cad
Say what you want about Johnny Thunder, he is a dope, but he did not engage in the casual sexism of one Larry Lance. After getting acquainted with Larry, Dinah’s attraction to Ollie and others made a lot more sense.

I was also really glad that Canary’s Earth-Two team-ups with Starman were in this anthology. I was aware they happened from the 90’s Starman series, and well…
Starman the only cheating
Really, Starman??? Are we sure that’s the ONLY cheating going on???

I am glad that they digitized these stories. It allowed me to finally read Dinah’s Golden Age tales and taught me things about her character that I didn’t know before. Now I’m waiting for them to digitize All-Star Comics #41 so I can read her induction into the Justice Society. That’s an important piece to this puzzle.

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Dearest Moth! Thank you for this wonderful stream of thoughts and facts! :nerd_face: I’m very happy you found this an enjoyable read, and I completely agree with all of your takes, and that “And don’t call me baby!” made my laugh proudly with our girl :muscle: :00_black_canary:

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Thank you, @Mae :slight_smile: ! That was a great moment from Dinah! There were also a couple times where she ended the story basically telling Larry that she was the Canary and he just didn’t get it. It was like her version of the Clark Kent wink at the end of Superman stories.

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