Birds of Prey recently made its debut in theaters and it definitely deserves the praise it has gotten. For all of its stellar fight scenes, irreverent nature, and the top-notch cast, I’d personally have to say that the best part of the movie was Jurnee Smollett-Bell’s performance as Dinah Lance/Black Canary. The Black Canary has been one of my favorite characters in the DC Universe since I was a teenager and Smollett-Bell embodies her spirit perfectly. With that being said, here is my list of stories featuring Black Canary for fans who loved Smollett-Bell as Canary and want to know more about her.
Black Canary: Ignite by Meg Cabot, Cara McGee, and Caitlin Quirk
This young adult graphic novel presents a modern take on Dinah’s origin story by reimagining her as a teenager who slowly comes to terms with her metahuman abilities as well as her mother’s secret past as the Black Canary. Not only does this YA graphic novel perfectly capture the ups and downs of adolescence, but it also happens to be the perfect read for Black Canary fans, new and old alike. Dinah’s struggle with her powers, as well as her fledgling vigilante activities, are outlined in rich detail by Cabot, McGee, and Quirk. You can get the book here using our Comixology affiliate link.
Birds of Prey: Endrun by Gail Simone, Ed Benes, Adriana Melo, Alvin Lee, Mariah Benes, Jack Purcell, JP Mayer, and Nei Ruffino
Before the film, if you asked comic fans about the Birds of Prey, they would say the membership consisted of Black Canary, the Huntress, and Oracle, aka Barbara Gordon. They would also list Gail Simone’s tenure on the title as the defining run for the Birds. During the Brightest Day storyline, Simone reunited with artist Ed Benes to propel the Birds into a new adventure as they were targeted by a new enemy hellbent on destroying their lives. This storyline also introduced the White Canary, who would later inspire the character of Sara Lance on DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. You can get the book here using our Comixology affiliate link.
Green Arrow/Black Canary: Family Business by Judd Winick, Mike Norton, and Cliff Chiang
Dinah has had a tumultuous, yet passionate relationship with Oliver Queen, aka the Green Arrow. In 2007, the two finally tied the knot which led to a new series detailing their exploits by writer Judd Winick, who had previously written the Green Arrow solo series that dealt with Queen’s return from the dead. Though they had finally tied the knot, the newlyweds had no time to celebrate as they embarked on a mission to rescue Queen’s son Connor Hawke, who had been kidnapped by the League of Assassins. Winick, alongside artists Norton and Chiang, dove into Dinah and Queen’s relationship, and how marriage changed their dynamic as lovers and heroes. You can get the book here using our Comixology affiliate link.
Black Canary: Kicking and Screaming by Brendan Fletcher, Annie Wu, and Pia Guerra
The New 52 had its ups and downs, and among its ups were its revamp of Dinah’s origin by writer Brendan Fletcher and artist Annie Wu. In this continuity, Dinah was the lead singer of a rock band, trying to leave her life as a spy behind. However, she found herself using her skills to defend the innocent as her band, which was also named Black Canary, traveled across America. Making Dinah a singer was an inspired choice, and Fletcher and Wu combined musical mayhem with superhero action and a dash of sci-fi. You can get the book here using our Comixology affiliate link.
Black Canary/Zatanna: Bloodspell by Paul Dini and Joe Quinones
Bloodspell was an interesting change of pace for Dinah, as she found herself dealing with a supernatural threat. Years ago, Dinah Lance and Zatanna Zatara met in the Himalayas and forged a fast friendship. Now, members of a gang Dinah infiltrated are dropping dead and black magic is involved. Quinones’ art brings a delightfully animated vibe to the proceedings, and Dini, who penned several Zatanna stories as well as episodes of Batman: The Animated Series, perfectly captures the voice of the leading ladies. You can get the book here using our Comixology affiliate link.
With the reception the Birds of Prey movie has been getting, Black Canary is sure to gain more popularity as time goes on and she definitely deserves it as one of the best superheroines in DC’s history. Whether it’s working with the Birds of Prey, Green Arrow, or by herself, Black Canary will always fly high. Are there any Black Canary stories you’d recommend to new readers? Let us know on Twitter.
Collier “CJ” Jennings is a freelance reporter and film critic living in Seattle. He uses his love of comics and film/TV to craft reviews and essays on genre projects. He is also a host on Into the Spider-Cast.