Birds of Prey #57 (Gail Simone)
I cannot get over how much I love this damn comic.
This arc was my first DC work. I had always loved the Black Canary, but as a female reader, I’m sure many of the male writers who had worked on her had no idea how painful it was to see her written as no more than a hostage SO often.
And she was always a wet blanket, Green Arrow’s Jiminy Cricket (until Birds of Prey and a few scattered appearances elsewhere). It used to just drive me crazy. But the hostage thing was the worst, it just killed me. They were always, always trying to make her an object, someone who needed rescuing. It was very frustrating.
So I thought, let’s break this stupid trope. Let’s destroy it and bury it and pee on the grave.
The idea was, have her get taken one last time. But the entire story, even in handcuffs, even with two broken legs in casts, she is the one making things happen, she manipulates and controls her captors, she has all the real power.
And then when it’s time to break out, she does it so hardcore that Green Arrow would pee his pants thinking about it.
I loved that. And OH MY GOD did we get hate mail those first two issues. People were sure I was betraying the character and my gender and all that stuff. The third and fourth issues showed where were were going and announced that Black Canary was no longer available for mushy sidekick and dishrag roles. The fun thing was, suddenly every book wanted to use her, wanted her to guest star. Other writers wanted to do guest issues of Bop. It made a big difference.
In a way, the success of rebadassing Black Canary led to the downfall of Bop…because she became popular and tough enough that the powers that be decided she should lead the JLA, and I had to let her go. But I got a rep as someone who could ‘rehabilitate’ characters and that’s been kind of a fun element to my career as well.
Sure enough, in her very first appearances outside of Bop, they made her a hostage again in the goofiest scene ever.