Saturday, March 21, 2015

Episode 4: Golden Oldies

A brief overview of Black Canary's Golden Age appearances in FLASH COMICS from the late 1940s. Also reviewed: Black Canary #3 (1993) and listener feedback.

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

Click here to see my review of Black Canary's first solo adventure from Flash Comics #92.
Click here to see my review of "The Mystery of the Crimson Crystal" in Flash Comics #93.
To see my other reviews of Black Canary stories from the Golden Age, use the search bar to the right or click on the tabs for Golden Age, Flash Comics, Robert Kanigher, or Carmine Infantino.

Sample pages from Black Canary #3--click to enlarge.

Music this episode:
"I've Told Every Little Star"
Linda Scott
Canadian-American Records, 1961.

"Die Young, Stay Pretty"
Chrysalis Records, 1979.



  1. Definitely enjoying the podcast so far. I've long been a fan of Aquaman and Green Arrow and I think one of the reasons is because of their association with strong female partners who are heroes in their own rights. Of course, I'm talking about Mera and Black Canary. I'm always happy to see Black Canary whether she is in her own title, Justice League, Birds of Prey, or Green Arrow. I'm looking forward to continuing to hear more about the character as your podcast continues. Good luck.

  2. Thanks! I'm a huge Aquaman fan, too, and my fondness for Mera had grown tremendously over the past couple years!

  3. My introduction to Black Canary was in Justice League International #11. Didn't really know much about her (despite seeing her here and there in the DCU, mostly in team books where she was side-by-side with Green Arrow) until JLA: Year One which is where most of my knowledge of her comes from. My interest in the character didn't really start until I started watching Arrow and while I like(d) Sara Lance I was much more excited when Laurel (played by Katie Cassidy) finally got to suit up as the Black Canary. I think she has a long way to go, but hopefully with Nyssa Al Ghul training her now she can start to make some real progress. Looking forward to the new Black Canary solo series. Great work on the site and the podcast. Very informative.

    1. The end of the last episode with Laurel walking off with Nyssa was certainly interesting. If it leads to Laurel becoming a more focused and dangerous fighter, I'm very cool with that.

      I was disappointed with where the Ted Grant/Wildcat training storyline went. If Ted was meant to train and indoctrinate Laurel into the vigilante world, the show should have cast an older actor to play the rough-edged fatherly drill sergeant type. When they chose to make Wildcat young and attractive like everyone else in the show, he should have become a potential romantic interest at least.

  4. As I understand it, the writers did intend to make Wildcat a new love interest for Laurel but the actor got cast as a regular in another TV show so they weren't able to use him after the episode where Oliver returned from Nanda Parbat to stop Brick.

  5. Another great episode. I'm starting to think Von Eden was caught up in the Image-mania sweeping up many veteran comic artists. Where they were either forced, or chose to, emulate the "hot" artists of the day to stay relevant. Look at Herb Trimpe's work at the time. Not his best stuff. That splash page is WAY over the top. Dinah has always been well-endowed, but she seems to be smuggling watermelons in her bustier there.

    I recall liking the idea of Dick Grayson as a cop. It's been years since I read it, but Dick had no identity outside of "youthful ward" and Robin/Nightwing. Dixon made it a part of Dick's way of infiltrating the Bludhaven infrastructure, I believe. Again, it's been a long time since I read it, but I recall thinking it made perfect sense at the time, and also created a bit of conflict with Batman, especially since Dick was forced to carry a gun while on duty. Now the New 52 version is packing heat as a secret agent. Go figure.


  6. I think if I was buying and reading this book when it came, this would unfortunately be my 'jump off' issue. The staged fight with overly crazy coincidences (standing under the flaming can at just the right time!), the 'wall grab', and the thick art might be too much for me to take.

    You are so right that you need the right artist and right angle to pull off the 'sword poised over the head' image. And this one simply doesn't work. Is that a floating diamond. And boy o boy ... talk about pulchritude!

    Even though the golden age stories are formulaic and in some senses as problematic as the modern book (always being knocked out, always having right trinket in her choker to save the day), they are just more fun. It was a simpler time and so are allowed to be simpler. I can tolerate the missteps more.

    1. I agree about the Golden Age stories, and I think Black Canary lucked out in how well Kanigher wrote her stories. I've read maybe a dozen Archives or Chronicles books from the 30s/40s and some of them are nearly unreadable (to me), and that's including Superman and Hawkman's earliest appearances. But I think Black Canary and Wonder Woman benefited from strong, funny, and entertaining scripts.

  7. I don't have the same issues with ethics regarding the Kate Spencer Manhunter that you do, though I've yet to have a reason to see the character as anything other than DC's Daredevil knock-off either. In fact, she switched to being a defense attorney partway through her series as part of Marc Andreyko's hamfisted character arc. See, she was a rigid conservative and terrible mother who gets "better" across the series. Groan.

    In my experience, the people in high stress professions that are commonly held to the highest moral standards are usually the most compromised in their areas of expertise. It's easy from the outside for the public to decide what a professional should do, and quite a different matter what human beings in constant high stress situations with limited resources will be able to accomplish. How often does a cop have to get jammed up trying to serve a greater good before getting home safe becomes their highest priority? How often does a fire fighter need to get burned thanks to inadequate outdated equipment before they hang back? How many ambulance rides for the same junkie bum while hearing about some kid dying on a 911 because you were tied up before you figure "screw this loser?"

    A prosecutor working under a budget in the Tea Party era of governance who "borrows" super-villain evidence to supplement her legal resources makes far more sense to me than a violent urban vigilante who takes on low-paying underdog cases as a career. It doesn't necessarily make for better story conflict though, unless you keep Spencer as a prosecutor who breaks the law in a sometimes very misguided attempt to defend it. Not unlike comic book fans, the thing you're most identified with and preoccupied by is often the source of great personal ambivalence where you seem to hate your chosen path at least as much as love it, so of course you won't pursue it as a Platonic ideal, but as a chore. My problem isn't with Nightwing being a cop who fights crime through unlawful methods, but as an affluent connected vigilante who would waste his precious time needlessly playing cops & robbers. Plus, there's no contrast when your work and personal lives are nearly identical.

    One thing I like about Arrow is that it figured out how to make Dinah the legacy heroine that has been one of her primary defining characteristics since the late Bronze Age within the context of super-heroes being a recent phenomenon as in the New 52. In the absence of a WWII era heroine mother, create a sister who was part of the cult of assassins Black Canary herself was sortassociated with a continuity ago. The Larry Lance thing is still weird though.

    Speaking of which, if we have a singular "ultimate" Dinah Drake, should Larry Lance still be her dad or revert back to her beau so that the concept is more fully restored as self-contained rather than a Green Arrow adjunct? It restores the classic alliterative names and the "Drake" pun.

  8. I'm trying to work out how the Lance sisters descend from Stephanie Horton. Hoping Don Draper can still get worked into their bloodline. Larry Lance sharing DNA with him would explain a lot.

    Please don't start a feature called "Black Canary's Adversaries" on this podcast. That sounds like the tagline for a dollar store Coke. "Soda Flavored Beverage." How about "Black Canary's Caged Birds" or probably more appropriately, her "Jailbirds?"

    Enjoyed the early ska of Blondie here, and the more atypical girlie cuts chosen.

    Dinah grabs that extremely vague ledge-y thing, whatever that was supposed to be. Say, why the hell was the story arc called "Hero Worship" anyway?

    I haven't seen enough of Arrow yet to speak definitively about their Ray Palmer interpretation. I will say that JLI strongly influenced my impression of Blue Beetle as a lovable loser gadgeteer, where Palmer on the show is much more of a focused A-type. From what little I've seen, Arrow Palmer seems more like an alternate road for Ray rather than an accurate representation of Ted Kord. Brandon Routh is probably too sweet and charming for Ray, though, and I can't see him ever going savage ala Sword of the Atom.

  9. One other thing: My fondest memory of Dr. Destiny will probably always be his Who's Who entry with art by Rudy Nebres that was a highlight of the only issue of that series I ever bought off the newsstand. There's also a Martian Manhunter connection here, as The Getaway King made his second and final appearance as a member of Destiny's super-gang in his debut story.