Black Canary Infiltrates Comics

Category: Black Canary
Last article published: 16 April 2018
This is the 14th post under this label
Black Canary was a late comer to the Golden Age scene, making her first appearance in 1947, but like Aquaman, she's been an enduring character. But it wasn't necessarily written in the stars that she would be. Unlike a lot of GA stars, she didn't premiere in her own strip, but instead, as a femme fatale type in the ailing Johnny Thunder strip (Flash Comics #86). How undignified!
As artist Carmine Infantino tells it, the strip was pretty juvenile and writer Robert Kanigher didn't care about it. Maybe this Black Canary character, which Johnny immediately fell in love with, would shake things up. She got an immediate response from readers and soon, she was revealed to have been undercover. She was a good girl all along!
The domino mask didn't last beyond her first two appearances, but though Dinah has had different looks over the years (if you allow me to treat the original and the modern day Canaries as one and the same), they always bring it back to the fishnets and leather jacket. It's as iconic as anything in DC's stable. Infantino considers it his first character design, given carte blanche to draw what he thought was a strong, sexy character (Kanigher's simple requirement). She was his ideal as much as Lois Lane was Joe Shuster's, and he in fact would eventually date a girl that was a "Canary type" for some three years. When superheroes made a comeback in the Silver Age, Black Canary was one of the few who didn't get redesigned. It just worked. They gave her a superpower and made her the daughter of the original, but physically, she looked as gorgeous as ever.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Where were we? Oh yeah, Dinah was still slumming it in the paltry Johnny Thunder strip, playing damsel in distress to a doofus in stories involving maps baked into pies and other nonsense.
By issue 90, the wind has changed direction, possibly, and the strip is renamed Johnny Thunder and Black Canary! No wonder the Thunderbolt looks like he's bristling.
Our girl is on the move, and it's an upward movement. Her next appearance is in All-Star Comics #38, where she meets the Justice Society of America, and is instrumental in solving the plot.
With quality guilt-tripping like that, she will join the team officially three issues later. And back in Flash Comics? She'll share a byline with Johnny only once more and then, with issue #92, take over completely, replacing Johnny with the equally blond Larry Lance who would become a more viable partner.
Sorry Johnny. The rest, as they say, is history.

 

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