Subject #26 Birds of Prey

Originally I had planned to do a write-up on Oracle but it turned into more a rant on the Batman Animated Killing Joke. Instead I thought something slightly less confrontational  was in order. Let's talk about Birds of Prey.

It was announced late last year that Gotham City Sirens was moving forward as a film. Right before that, a screenwriter had been tapped to begin writing Birds of Prey… I don't remember who, look it up, that's what google's for…

Black Canary/Oracle: Birds of Prey One-Shot (1995). If you've never heard of this book it's probably because you don't frequent CGC's forums. I don't. So when I found out about the controversy surrounding it I'll admit, it was impossible to swallow… at first.

CBSI member Justin Brar and I got into a huge disagreement about this book not too long ago. Which had we not, I wouldn't have spent as much time reexamine the research he and others had presented. CGC forum members have been discussing this book and championing it for a while. Turns out they were right.

Apparently this book came out in November 1995, even-though it has a June 1996 cover date. Which is where the whole problem really stems from. As crazy as it may sound. It's not outside the realm of possibility that someone at DC actually thought comic shops would give this One-Shot rack space for 8 months. Which is why the cover date is so far off from when it was released.

Comichron's sales information supports this also. But as we all know, that's isn't always correct. There's an ad inside that expires in December. If you've worked in advertising or periodical publishing you know that the beginning of a year frequently has wrong coupon and ad dates. When you just look at the cover date, Chron and the ad, it's easier to dispute this book. However…

The Birds of Prey TPB (1999) Black Canary/Oracle reprints this one shot. It has the copyright date as 1995 for the one-shot. It's a major piece of the puzzle supporting its release in November of 1995. At the end of the day, this was the one thing I couldn't dispute… lord knowns I tried. There was no reason why this would be wrong, there just wasn't. So I accepted the copyright information as the one solid piece of evidence presented by its supporters. Arguments that I found to be easily dismissable before, like Comichron and the ad, became far more plausible.

Part of researching, or in this case examination of others research, is scepticism. To be completely honest, the copyright information in the TPB really is enough to support the One-Shot under normal circumstances.  When starting with the TPB as the foundation, then adding up everything else with it. It was hard to dispute what this book's supporters like Justin and others had been saying. The Black Canary/Oracle: Birds of Prey One-Shot does have a rightful claim as the first appearance of the Birds of Prey. At the end of the day I care far less about being right personally than the correct books getting there due.

Don't take my word for it. Go read what supporters of this book have been saying all along. Reexamining their research, see for yourself and draw your own conclusion… Ultimately that's what I had to do.

Showcase #3 1996. According to the Chron, this book never actually came out. True story. Apparently S96#2 was released twice, once in December and again in January. I think we're all grown up enough to realize the second S96#2 Chron has listed in Jan 1996 is really S96#3.

Now the line up in S96#3 is Lois Lane, Black Canary and Oracle. Something to keep in mind. The likelihood of Lois Lane being shoehorned into a Birds of Prey movie is more probable that Barbara Gordon being Oracle. Just saying. Barbara will most likely be Batgirl, rather than wheelchair bound Oracle.

Amy Adams is already set up in the DCU as Lois Lane. So it would be silly not to have her make some appearance in a BoP film, as a way to help with the connectivity of the DC films. While the S96#3 is not the first Birds of Prey, it could still be sought after depending on the direction of the film. Only time will tell.

I suspect a BoP movie will have the line up currently appearing in the Rebirth title. Babs, Canary and Huntress. Let's look at a BoP book that is dirt cheap and lurking in dollar bins.

Birds of Prey Manhunt #1 of 4 (1996). It marks the first time Huntress appear in a BoP title. This mini series also has Catwoman who's appeared several time throughout other BoP related titles. Now for those that have read my Huntress write-up I said that BoP #57 is when Huntress “joins the team”. I still stand by that.

The full title of this book is Black Canary & Oracle Birds of Prey: Manhunt “Co-Starring Catwoman and Huntress”. So neither Catwoman or Huntress are members of the BoP at this point… Even-though they both appear. It's still just Babs and Canary. After this 4 issue mini series Huntress doesn't appear in a BoP book again until BoP#57. Which, coincidentally is 7 years exactly to the cover month between them. I doubt it was on purpose, I'm sure it's really just a coincidence.

Why 7 years?

Well Huntress and Babs don't really like each other is the short answer. Huntress was busy during that time anyways. She was Batgirl, fought Harley Quinn, was almost killed by the Joker. She also had her origin retold a couple times. Huntress definitely had things to do.

Birds of Prey #57. In BoP#57 Huntress shows up to help Babs find Black Canary. Huntress doesn't officially join so much as never leaves. However, she's been a core member of the BoP ever since. If there's ever a book I'll admit with pride to pumping, it's this book.

Detective Comics #737. I've mentioned this book before, as have many others. It's the first meeting between Huntress and Harley Quinn. I mention it now because let's face it, what are the odds Harley Quinn doesn't make an appearance in a BoP movie? While this book is a known book for Harley. IF Huntress and Harley appear in the same movie this book could see some renewed interest.

Let's face it, it's really too early to tell how things are going to play out. Modern speculation isn't an exact science, especially this far out. It's not outside the realm of possibility that other members of the BoP could appear in a Gotham City Series or Birds of Prey film. I'm a Huntress fan, so naturally I'm going to root for her to make an appearance in either film. That doesn't mean you should. After all, there have been many female DC comics character associated with the team throughout its history. So the line up really could be anyone.

Since a GCS or BoP film is probably 2 years out, anything is possible. We're probably still months away from any real BoP film news. As we've seen before with comic films. Once solid news breaks, if you don't own it… It could already be too late.

Well that's all for this week, till next time.



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    Excellent article. I was convinced by Comichron and the ads. The copyright just adds fuel to the fire.

    Both books are affordable and similarly valued. This is one of the cases where it doesn’t seem too late for the market to accept the evidence and get it right.

    It also helps that the One Shot has a better cover for a Birds of Prey first appearance.

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    I wonder if they’ll include Black Canary…at first I thought no since she’s on the Arrow tv show, but then we have two Flashes & two Supermen.
    Don’t care so long as they include my fave…LADY BLACKHAWK!

    C’mon DC! How is she NOT in your Bombshells linup??

  • Jason S

    Awesome write up! THanks for all the helpful info!

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    This is utterly fascinating. I was buying and reading comics, but wasn’t into the Bat-Family at the time, so I have no recollection of which came first. I’ve always heard that the Showcase book was the first appearance. I do have one thing to say though:

    “The Birds of Prey TPB (1999) Black Canary/Oracle reprints this one shot. It has the copyright date as 1995 for the one-shot. It’s a major piece of the puzzle supporting its release in November of 1995. At the end of the day, this was the one thing I couldn’t dispute… lord knowns I tried. There was no reason why this would be wrong, there just wasn’t. ”

    Well, it isn’t without precedent for the copyright and other reprint info for a TPB to be wrong. Probably the most famous example of that happening was the Captain Britain TPB which Quesada begged Moore for permission to print, and then they screwed up the copyright notice (Moore’s ownership was left out). I feel like there was another example wrong copyright data that resulted in stickers being mailed. And of course, DC has screwed up plenty of other collections in other ways (original Crisis HC, Alan Davis Batman HC, Bruce Wayne Murderer new edition v1).

    The odds are low that the date is a mistake, but it is far from impossible that it’s wrong.

    • Skot Whitman

      OK, you do bring up a good point. I don’t have any of the books you’ve cited as examples so with out specifics I can’t comment on them.

      I probably should have expanded on it a little further in the article, yes it “could be wrong” however if it was wrong I would have expected it to say 1996 and later with no mention of 1995. Since the majority of the content in the TPB did in fact come out in 1996 and 1997.

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    I’d think someone who collects Diamond Previews could help us out. That would help confirm the date that BC/O: BoP one-shot was scheduled to ship. For instance, a Jan 1996 Previews appearance would rule out a Nov 1995 ship date. meanwhile a Aug/Sept? 1995 Previews appearance would definitely support it.

    Less likely, a store owner who saves all of their records (Brian Hibbs?) might be talked into checking their invoices.

    Either path would help in a positive confirmation.

    • Skot Whitman

      I’m not sure invoices or old previews would actually setting anything, even though I agree it would definitely help. There are people firmly entrenched on both sides of this issue. Any time something pops up that lends crediblity to one side’s argument, that information, whatever it may be is disputed by the other side.

      According to Justin Brar who talked to the grading companies a while back. If i’m not mistaken CGC has already changed the labels going forward for the Birds of Prey one-shot. So it would appear they have whatever evidence they require to confirm this. While I don’t always agree that CGC has the right information (looking at you War is Hell #9) much of the information the grading companies have printed on their labels is accurate.

      I don’t think this issue is really going to die down anytime soon. But I do agree that the more information that surfaces can only be a good thing long term. To be honest, I could see this issue never being settled to everyone’s satisfaction.

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