The debut of Black Canary #1 last week featured Dinah Lance as we’ve never seen her before: a rock singer leading the “world’s most dangerous'” band.
In a short phone interview last week with the creative team, it became clear that this Canary was inspired equally by the Black Canary that’s existed in comics since 1947 and by creators Brenden Fletcher and Annie Wu‘s love of music. They managed that fusion well in the first issue, with Canary’s protective instincts being aroused by strange beings pursuing a member of her new band. The band includes Lady Byron, the drummer and songwriter; Paloma Terrific, who can play multiple instruments; and then there’s Ditto, the mysterious young guitar player who lets her do her talking for her. There’s clearly more we’ll learn about all of them.
GeekMom: How much do you know about Black Canary?
Brenden Fletcher: I’ve been reading as much Canary as I can get my hands on; BoP, 1990s solo series, Action Comics weekly stories from the 1980s. I want to ingest as much as possible. [Note: for more on Canary’s history, see ‘The Many Lives of Black Canary.’]
Annie Wu: I’m not as familiar as Brenden, but he gave me the crash course in Black Canary and we’ve tried work some of her history into this. I’m a big fan of meta in-jokes and Easter eggs in writing.
GM: Who does you see Canary as right now?
BF: This series has to be a natural growth of the story introduced in the New 52. I’m writing that Dinah Drake Lance and she’s a different character than Dinah Laurel Lance.
However, I want to kinda nudge her slowly toward the character we all know and love. I want to create an iconic version of this character. That’s why we went back to the iconic costume, though there is a reason in-story now for her to wear what she does.
Wu: On Canary’s appearance, there’s a demarcation between the off-stage look (softer) and the on-stage look, and in her body language, and how she moves. By the way, fishnets aren’t that hard to draw unless you put holes in them and then have to keep track of them from panel to panel.
For me, each character has to look like a person. I want diversity in body shape and posture as well as differences in looks between on-state and off-stage personas.
GM: Where does the music come in?
BF: I pushed for this product and I asked for Annie. We listen to a lot of the same music and came from a similar background where we’ve performed. There are narrative reasons for each of these people to be who they are in the band as well. I sent descriptions of the characters to Annie to look them over but, one, Lord Byron was 100 percent Annie.
We also have a huge Rolodex of visual inspiration in rock history, and that includes lots of Grace Jones and Annie Lennox.
GM: What about the venues played by the band?
BF: We have similar points of reference for the music but not the same venues, so this leads to an amalgam of the places where the band performs.
AW: The clubs are mostly places I’ve been in to keep it consistent and, later on, maybe we’ll get more specific.
BF: When I was at the biggest venue in Montreal, I took a lot of photographs for reference.
AW: Funny, I had the opposite experience. I went to a place in Brooklyn and it was just awful, so I noted down a lot of things to use later in a story.
The creative team are on board for the first arc, which will be seven issues, though Pia Guerra (Y-The Last Man) will be the guest artist on issue #4. So far, Wu and Fletcher have managed interesting fusion, one that unexpectedly works for Black Canary, perhaps the most impulsive of DC’s heroes. I especially love that they gave her a sort of “family” right from the start, as she’s a character that works best in a group.
Black Canary #2 is out on July 15. Both issues are available digitally at Comixology.com and local comic shops.