Shell's guide to... Black Canary

The next instalment of my guides to. Previously: Catwoman and Batgirl.


1. Black Canary was one of DC Comics first female super heroes, first appearing in Flash comics #86 in 1947 as the alter ego of Dinah Drake.

2.  In that issues she appeared as a fishnet and leather jacket wearing villain who is later revealed to be infiltrating a criminal gang.

3. The following year she was given her own origin story which depicted her as a florist in love with police detective Larry Lance! She then joins the Justice Society of America and appears in All Star Comics as part of the team.


4. Black Canary was brought back again in the 1960s featuring in DC's parallel universe Earth-2. Married to Lance she takes part in team ups of the Justice Society with Earth-1's Justice League (JLA).

5. In a 1969 story Larry Lance is killed saving Dinah's life. Stricken with grief Dinah moves to Earth-1 and joins the Justice League. 

6. She begins a relationship with fellow JLA member Green Arrow. Around this time Dinah discovers her power: an ultrasonic scream known as the canary cry that is strong enough to cut through metal.

7. Throughout the 1970s Black Canary makes guest appearances in Batman and is a regular sidekick to Green Arrow in Action Comics.

8. In the early 1980's Dinah's backstory was further explained. It was pretty complicated and involved her and Lance having a daughter that got cursed and was suspended in animation. During the battle that kills Larry, Dinah gets radiation poisoning. As she is dying she asks to see her daughter one last time. Dinah wishes her daughter could take the mantle of Black Canary. Thanks to Superman and Thunderbolt, Dinah's memories are transferred to her daughter and she becomes the new Black Canary (and this was all just to explain why Dinah hadn't aged since her creation!)


9. In 1986 the previous back story was shelved and a new one was introduced. This time Dinah Laurel Lance simply inherits the Black Canary mantel from her mother Dinah Drake Lance.

10. In this version Dinah Drake becomes Black Canary after being trained to fight by her police detective father. She plans to follow him into the police force but gets turned down. Her father dies shortly after and she honours his memory by fighting crime as a vigilante.

11. She marries private eye Larry Lance and they have a daughter Dinah Laurel Lance. She is born with her own canary cry that she can control.

12. Dinah dreams of being a costumed hero like her parents and their JSA friends. With the help of certain JSA members she trains and builds her skills. Later she takes on the Black Canary name and joins the Justice League.

13. This is where she meets Oliver a.k.a Green Arrow. They begin a romantic relationship and eventually get married. Once her mother dies they leave the JLA and move to Seattle where they open a flower shop called Sherwood Florist (what a glorious pun!)


14. In the 1990s former Batgirl Barbara Gordon (now known as Oracle, see my guide to Batgirl!) decides to set up a covert mission team. Her first choice is Black Canary who she invites to be a part of the Birds of Prey.

15. Black Canary reinvents herself, dying her hair bleach blonde (it was a wig before ok!) and after a rocky start becomes close friends with Barbara. 

16. The Birds of Prey become a popular long running series making up sixteen books (TPB's) prior to the new 52 relaunch, and Canary fights alongside many members, but the core team usually consist of Oracle, Huntress and Black Canary. 

17. In 2007 Black Canary is given her own mini series in which her and Green Arrow join the Justice League and are tested by one of the founding members Batman.

18.  Later that year there are a number of tie ins leading to Dinah and Oliver's wedding, Including the Black Canary Wedding Planner, and Justice League Wedding Special. Bad luck for them the Injustice League plan to attack the wedding.

19. After the wedding a lot of shit goes down between Dinah and Ollie that includes Dina resigning as chairman of the JSA, Ollie dies and gets resurrected by villain Nekron, he regains control of his body but discoveres he has committed murder and goes on the run. Eventually he surrenders and goes to prison, where Dinah visits him. She realises he wants to be left alone, and leaves with her wedding ring abandoned. 

20. Dinah returns to Gotham and rejoins the Birds of Prey. She meets and eventually defeats her nemesis White Canary, a villainess who reveals Dinah's secret identity.

21. In 2011 DC comics reboot the DC universe with the New 52. In the new timeline Dinah Lance is the founding member of the Birds of Prey. In this timeline she was never married to Oliver, and she is a reserve member of the JLA.

22. During this reboot Dinah is also given a new origin story. She is the daughter of a teenage single mother, and gets put into foster care at four. She is a street smart trouble maker and gets moved from different foster homes until at ten she runs away. 

23. Ex special forces agent Desmond Lamar takes her in. He runs a dojo as a martial arts sensei and gives her a job. Dinah asks him to train her, which he does. When he dies he leaves her the dojo, which gets attacked by a gang of ninjas and burns down. Thanks to her martial arts skills during the attack she gets recruited to Team 7, in which she works as a covert ops agent specialising in infiltration.

24. During this time she marries long time partner Kurt Lance. After a mission Kurt is left presumed dead, and Team 7 folds. Dinah is left a fugitive on the run and an outlaw code named Black Canary. Kurt later resurfaces but his memory is damaged.

25. Dinah moves in with Barbara Gordon as her dojo is burnt down. She gets her own series which follows her as the lead singer in a rock band called Ashes on Sunday. The series follows her attempts at keeping her music career and secret life as a vigilante separate.

26. The series runs for twelve issues and follows Dinah as she joins cult punk band Black Canary, as the myterious singer known only as D.D. and alongside her all girl band members learns more about her past and where her canary cry came from. 

27. Black Canary is a badass leather jacket wearing hand to hand combat expert. She rides a motorcycle, and has a DGAF attitude. She is a great leader and always looks out for her friends- especially Barbara Gordon. 

This takes us right up to Rebirth, where she now features as part of Batgirl and the Birds of Prey. Here's some recommended reading...

1. Green Arrow Black Canary Wedding Album. (here) This features the stories surrounding Dinah and Ollies ill fated wedding.

2. Green Arrow Black Canary Family Business. (here) Dinah and Ollie work as a crime fighting married duo. 

3. Birds of Prey vol.1 (here) goes back to the very beginning of the Birds of Prey where Oracle recruits Dinah. There are loads of books to collect and it's well worth reading the Gail Simone ones especially.

4. Birds of Prey Vol.1 New 52 (here) Rebooted and collected across four volumes featuring tons of kick ass DC women! 

5. Black Canary and Zatanna: Bloodspell. (here) A stand alone graphic novel about Canary getting caught up in some black magic and having to turn to her friend Zatanna for help.

6. Black Canary Vol.1 Kicking and Screaming (here) Canary's only stand alone series, this is collected over two volumes and sees Dinah join a band. Beautifully drawn by Annie Wu and written by Brendan Fletcher and Cameron Stewart (two thirds of the team behind Batgirl of Burnside and Motor Crush). Read this series!

7. Batgirl and the Birds of Prey Rebirth Vol.1 (here) The sisterly crime fighting trio of Batgirl, Black Canary and Huntress being badasses and having fun.

So that's my guide to Black Canary! Next time: Wonder Woman!


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