Black Canary's Perch - Page 6

Turning Back The Clock

To those of us eager to see more of the Golden Age stories than the few reprints scattered though a couple of dozen DC books the DC Archives volumes are a godsend. It's also a lot cheaper than tracking down the originals. Having made a start on the Wonder Woman Volumes and now it's time to scan from the Black Canary one and her origins. The Black Canary first appeared in Flash Comics 86 (August 1947) in Johnny Thunder. Johnny was an amible and well meaning if not overly bright guy with a knack both for getting into trouble and triumphing despite his own incompetence. Of course it helped that he was the master of a Bad Ass Living Thunderbolt. Sorry, that should have read Bahdnisian Living Thunderbolt. At any rate Johnny's comedic misadventures had been appearing in Flash Comics since the first issue and while other features had fallen by the wayside it seemed he was there to stay. But that all changed when the Black Canary made her debut. Back then she was thief who stole only from crooks but it didn't take her long to morph into a crimefighter who didn't finance herself by looting from criminals. At any rate while Johnny had a crush on her from the moment they met (which Thunderbolt disapproved of as he was tired of the hero always falling in love with beautiful villainesses) there was never anything romantic between them. While it's pretty obvious Johnny was originally just an easily manipulated resource for Black Canary she came to like him but only as a friend. So it's ironic she's the one who pushed him out of Flash Comics. We'll get to that in a moment but first a note about art. While all the Golden Age Black Canary art is attributed to Carmine Infantino in the Archives Volume fan artist and Golden Age comics guru Bill Kropfhauser (who also sent me this wonderful Wonder Woman scan) informs me that isn't accurate and that this next story was done by an unidentified artist. I'll also note the other non-Infantino art when I get to stories in question so unless it's specified assume Carmine Infantino drew them.. Having first met Black Canary in the previous issue Johnny ran into her again in Flash Comics 88 (Sept '47) when she asked him to hang onto a stuffed owl for her which lead to Johnny being lowered into a pit full of man eating alligators (and possibly cows). Not long after that Black Canary got to follow him.
When she returned in the following issue (Flash Comics 88 Oct '47) Black Canary had ditched the mask and was beginning her transition from the ambiguity of her first two appearances. Needing to attract Johnny's attention she sent him a pie with a black canary in it. Unfortunately he didn't figure it out but chasing the bird did make him run into the crooks his friend had tangled with.
Dumb as he was since he commanded the Thunderbolt our Johnny had his uses. He could also make good use of his Kung Fool approach to fighting as it was his blundering rather than Black Canary or Thunderbolt that beat the crooks in the rematch. So despite what you'd think Johnny and Dinah made a good team. But he couldn't match her popularity so Johnny Thunder's days were numbered

Back to Black Canary getting into Heavy Metal Return to Black Canary's Judo Instructing Mishap Revisit Dinah's Romance with The Joker! Step back to her more Contemporary Troubles
Back to the D.C. Main Page