Saturday, March 7, 2015

Episode 2: A Couple of Firsts

Reviewing the first issue of Black Canary's ongoing series from 1993 as well as her debut appearance in FLASH COMICS #86 from 1947.

Flowers & Fishnets is available for download on iTunes by clicking here, or you can check out the show's RSS feed by clicking here.

I have never reviewed Black Canary #1 on this blog, but I did previously cover the story from Flash #86, which you can see right here. The creative team of Sarah Byam and Trevor Von Eeden worked on the Black Canary miniseries "New Wings". To see my review of that series, click here for issue #1, here for issue #2, here for issue #3, and here for issue #4.

Sample pages from Black Canary #1--click to enlarge:

Music this episode:
"Who's That Chick?"
David Guetta featuring Rihanna
Virgin Records, 2010.

Fiona Apple
Columbia Records, 1996.



  1. That homeless guy's heard the old "this suit doesn't have any pockets" excuse a thousand times. It stings a little more when Cable uses it, though.

    One if the less obvious hurdles faced in offering more comic writing assignments to women back in the day was the tendency to seek out ladies who weren't familiar with the structure of comics. That's why comic book editors like Louise Simonson's and Ann Nocenti bucked that trend, and why best selling author Jodi Picoult made less than a splash in this medium. I read "New Wings," and found it much too plodding, decompressed, and TV conventional to work as a comic in 1991. It would stand out less today, when all the guys are just hacking out lame screenplays with overdeveloped storyboards.

    I love the Trevor Von Eeden of a few years prior to this series, but Black Canary marked the point where he began to abandon his angular minimalism in favor of Neal Adams by way of ballon animals. Everyone looks rubbery and overinflated with unnecessary cross hatching. If I recall correctly, Dick Giordano inked the mini-series, and assimilated TVE. This issue explains why. Oh, and hey, a spiked pink Mohawk in 1993? Even comics were doing Mohawks in 1983, and punk was already dead by then. He could have at least done a Jane Child and only been three years late.

    Black Canary debuted on a Johnny Thunder strip! So something good came out of it!

    Frank's Tablet

  2. Giordano's inking definitely kept Black Canary in the vicinity of on-model in the "New Wings" mini, but inking doesn't explain the difference completely. "rubbery and overinflated" and "balloon animals" are apt descriptions for what Von Eeden's art became in this series.

    Sharon Wright, another example of a non-comic writer brought in to helm Black Canary's feature in Action Comics Weekly, was a poor fit for the medium. Dinah's first story in that book would have been better suited for prose fiction or film--basically anything but a comic. On the other hand, Wright's second arc on ACW--under a different editor--is one of my favorite Black Canary stories.

  3. I haven't read any of this Black Canary title so I am glad you are reviewing it. And I think your critique sounds on the money. From the weird political plot to the lack of flashback warnings, it sounds like something that could have used some polishing.

    Looking at the pages, hearing the plot, I wonder if this was DC's attempt to cash in on Miller's Sin City which had debuted the year before. From Von Eeden's look to the peekaboo skin by Dinah, to the rage against the political machine, it sounds like Sin City lite. Venial Sin City? I suppose if you wanted to do a Sin City copy, Canary is a decent character to start with just from her look.

    As for the flashbacks, there are so many ways that can be conveyed, from coloring with sepia tones to rounded panels. Nothing can break me out of the story more than wondering if I skipped a page or flipping back and forth to try to figure out what is happening ...

    I have the Canary Archives and love the early stuff so glad you threw that review in too!

  4. Hey, great podcast! Nice job on the first two episodes, Ryan.

    I've always liked Black Canary. Maybe it's because of my probable first exposure to her, a World's Finest Dollar comic in the 70s (the issue escapes me) where she is shown disrobing in front of werewolf. No, I'm not kidding. Obvious female attributes aside, I've always admired Dinah's character in all her various incarnations.

    I've had that Secret Origins special you covered in issue #1 since the mid-80s. Conway is indeed underrated, I think because he was so omnipresent in comics in the 70s and 80s. The man was a workhorse. He does a good job of giving Dinah a solid backstory. But reading these stories makes me REALLY uncomfortable with the eventual retcon that THIS Canary is the daughter of Larry. She's thinking back to her Dad, and their wedding and...UGH. No one thought that one through, and Gerry Conway was involved with that one too. You can't win them all.

    Your second episode was interesting. I'll be honest, Von Eden's new art style REALLY turned me off the 90s Canary series. Frank came up with an apt description. Looking at the covers, it seems Dinah went a little overboard on the thigh-master in the 90s. It takes talent in the wrong direction to make Dinah unattractive. I liked his 70s/80s GA/BC material, but not this. The story sounds really pedestrian as well. I know Green Arrow was more "urban" than most DCU titles of the time, but this plot sounds like a snorefest.

    Yes, Johnny Thunder's greatest gift to the DCU, and comics in general was giving us Black Canary. Beyond that, he's Snapper Carr with a much more "sidekick" in the Thunderbolt.

    Looking forward to more each week!

    Chris Franklin
    Super Mates Podcast
    Power Records Pocast

  5. I meant to say "much more interesting 'sidekick' in the Thunderbolt." It pays to read over what you type before hitting "publish".


  6. Thanks for your comment, Chris!

    (No kidding, I just started listening to the Super Mates Podcast yesterday--really enjoyable show!!!)

    The reason I never reviewed this Black Canary comic on my blog was because the first three issues are so hard to get through. The story and art are pretty hard to digest a lot of times. The series picked up with issues #4 through #8 and then went downhill again at the end.

    As for the crazy Canary retcon from JLA #220 where Dinah has a daughter/clone, yeah, I'm going to have a LOT of fun covering that one some day!

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