A Brief History of Black Canary

Grab your earplugs and put up your fists for this month’s Superhero Sunday with DC’s Black Canary.

The History

Black Canary was created by Robert Kanigher and Carmine Infantino, Debuting in Flash Comics #86 (Aug 1947). This was the character’s start in comics but it wasn’t until 1983 when Roy Thomas had a crack at Black Canary that she became the recognizable figure we know today. Black Canary would continue to grow and become a known name and eventually move past the pages of comics and onto the television screens in the hit cartoon series Justice League, and live action show Arrow.

The Character

The original Black Canary was Dinah Drake she was a crime-fighter who infiltrated and took down gangs. At the start, she was merely a companion to Johnny Thunder but quickly become her own hero. Back in 1948-1950s Dinah, who would become the Black Canary, was a black haired florist in love with Larry Lance a GCPD Detective. She would fight crime and even join the Justice Society. Note: Comics got messy when Earth One and Earth Two crossed over providing Dinah with magic gift of “canary scream” from Aquarius (Later many things were retcon).

Let’s jump to 1983. Black Canary was revealed to be the daughter of Dinah and Larry Lance, she is Dinah Laurel Lance (during retroactive continuity). Moving forward Black Canary moved up from stopping street crime and becoming a full on member of the Justice League.

While a team member of JL she was a key member of the Birds of Prey a team that consisted of Oracle (Barbra Gordon), The Huntress, and herself. This team forms while trying to take down the Suicide Squad, and after that mission they stay together and continue to fight crime. Black Canary also popularly has a relationship with Green Arrow; for years in DC she would partner with him both romantically and for fighting for justice.

The new new new story has their lives retconned but reuniting in DC REBIRTH.

Why this hero?

It is amazing how cartoons as a child exposed me to so many characters in the superhero universe. Black Canary being one of those characters. I grew up on comics and cartoons and for DC that meant Batman the Animated Series and Justice League Unlimited. Black Canary was one of those characters I enjoyed watching fight alongside Green Arrow and Batman, but never followed. Then she pops up in Young Justice (a must see DC cartoon) as the Trainer and advisor to a young team of new superheroes. I have since seen her in Arrow and read several stories and now appreciate Black Canary as a superhero who deserves your attention. She is tough, confident and can kick your butt.

Recommended Reading:


Bonus Chart of Canary outfits