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Black Canary

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Jason R. Carter writes...

1) Thoughts on Jurnee Smollet-Bell playing Black Canary in the Birds of Prey movie?

2) Who would you have cast as a live-action BC?

Greg responds...

1. Haven't seen it. But based on Lovecraft Country, I'm a fan of hers, so it seems like a good potential fit.

2. I've largely stopped playing that game. I've come to think it winds up being potentially insulting to the actors involved, both those I might propose and those who wind up with the roles.

Response recorded on July 14, 2021

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Kyle writes...

Hey, I'm a big fan of your shows and I was wondering how in-depth you get with certain things regarding timelines, especially in Young Justice. So:

1. For fictional cities - Metropolis, Gotham, etc. - do you have a general outline of the city's history planned out? Or would you only come up/research that kind of stuff if the story needed it? Do you use the same way of thinking when dealing with fictional countries, like Bialya or Qurac?

2. How do you come up with the ages of certain characters? For example, was there a specific reason you and the others working on the show decided to have Dick be 13 in Season One, while Miss Martian and Superboy (who, in the comics, are usually younger, around Tim's age) are 16? (Not that I'm complaining! I really like the change up, and it definitely works for the show, I'm just curious about what made you want Dick to be the youngest on the Team at that point.) Did it just feel right? Or did you base it off Bruce's age? Or vice-versa? (Sorry if this is confusing you. Basically, which elements dictate what the age of a character should be?)

3. For characters like Wonder Woman, Ra's al Ghul, Vandal Savage, Klarion, etc., I know you keep relative track of how long they've been alive, but do you also keep track of what age they are biologically? Rather than chronologically?

4. Are there any real-life incidents that didn't happen on Earth-16? I know you said that 9/11, the World Wars, etc. have happened, but was there any big time incident that didn't? For example: the Titanic, or the Columbine Shooting, or the 2011 Japan earthquake.

5. Not really a question, just me thanking you for you and the Young Justice crew for all your hard work! And thank you personally for keeping up with and adding more of your guys' amazing ideas to your timeline, because, honestly, in my opinion, timelines - especially deciphering them with every little bit of info - is really fun for me.

Greg responds...

1a. No.

1b. Exactly.

1c. Yep.

The only exception is Star City, where I have a little more background info, because I developed my thinking on Star City based on a number of proposals for never-made comic book series that I pitched to DC in the mid 1980s, including the almost-made BLACK CANARY mini-series, a STAR CITY proposal, and a proposal for a new SUPERGIRL character unrelated to Kara Zor-El (during a period when John Byrne didn't want a Kryptonian Supergirl but DC wanted to maintain the trademark name - before Byrne solved the problem himself by creating the Matrix-Supergirl).

2. It mostly just felt right for the show we were developing. A young Dick with the most experience was an important element to the character and the character dynamics of our first season. Generally, I try to make each new character as young as I think I can get away with, given the needs of character and story. This is because we know that, unlike a typical comic book, we're going to let every character move/age through time, so the younger they are when they start, the younger they get to stay (relatively) as our seasons progress.

3. Yes.

4. As far as I know, everything real world also happened on Earth-16. EXCEPT for the 2019-2020-2021 COVID pandemic. Because it began too late for us to incorporate it into Season Four, in my head, the COVID-19 pandemic started exactly one year later on Earth-16 than it did here on Earth-Prime.

5. Thanks for your kind words. We do try our best!

Response recorded on July 02, 2021

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Anonymous writes...

I loved, the Green Arrow, showcase short you wrote but was wondering two things 1.Ware, was Dinah Lance (Black Canary)flying home from? 2. I remember that Oliver had glasses on (not shades)in the beginning of the short. In your mind was Dinah Lance, also wearing glasses (again not shades) on both her flight and when she arrived at the airport before getting into costume to help green arrow?

Greg responds...

1. I don't recall. Does it matter?

2. I don't recall glasses on Oliver, but it's been awhile. If they were there, it wasn't something I asked for in the script. And I don't see any reason to put glasses on either Oliver or Dinah.

Response recorded on October 09, 2017

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Khayyaam writes...

Hey Greg. I'm wondering if you've seen Arrow, the recent Live-Action series about Oliver Queen. Personally, I liked it a lot, especially with the focus on the character's civillian identity rather than his antics as a vigilante.

If you've seen it, what did you think? Did you like some of the ideas they had?

And I know you're a fan of Black Canary, which is also why I asked, since Laurel Lance is a major supporting character. Did you like what they did with her?

Thanks for taking the time to ask all these questions!

Greg responds...

I haven't seen it.

Response recorded on December 12, 2012

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Todd Jensen writes...

I was recently rereading your old series bible for "Roswell Conspiracies", and two of the names of the characters seemed familiar to me: Cedric Harris and Tri Chung. I pulled out my copy of "Clan-Building" and spotted them - yep, both were named as members of the Gargoyle Taskforce in #3. You really do take care never to waste anything.

Greg responds...

That's true. Also, Cedric and Tri were my freshman roommates in college. I first tried to use their names in the Black Canary mini-series I wrote for DC, but which never got published. Cedric, I believe was the Chief of Staff to the mayor of Star City. Tri was the Mayor's husband.

Response recorded on August 15, 2012

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EXALT writes...

1)Why is Dinah Lance/Black Canary your favourite DC character?
2)Who is your favourite Marvel character and why?
3)Do you happen to know Brandon Vietti's favourite DC character?

Greg responds...

1. To some extent, I'm not sure I have an answer to this. She just... is. But I think it's a combo of factors. Part of it, I'm sure, goes back to the adolescent boy in me that just thought she was hot. (I'm not necessarily proud of this, but I'm not ashamed of it either.) She's a strong, beautiful woman, who holds her own in the company of folks like Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Arrow, etc. - even without any super-powers. (And you need to keep in mind, I'm old enough to remember a Black Canary who didn't even have a Canary Cry.) She's developed over time into a leader. I also REALLY like her relationship with Green Arrow (though I haven't always liked the way some writers and editors have portrayed it.) I love the martial arts skills, and I love (and even miss a little) her original undercover m.o., i.e. the way she operated as a criminal underworld figure, secretly working on the side of the angels. I mean, the lady kicks ass! What's not to like? Then add in the fact that one of my very first assignments at DC in the eighties was to write a Black Canary mini-series (that never got published). So I feel a personal connection to the character also.

Now, having said all that, there are a TON of DC Heroes that I really love. Black Canary is the first among equals, really.

2. See the last sentence of my previous answer. I don't feel like there's a single character that stands out in the same way for me over at Marvel, though there are many, many, many that I love. Of course, working on Spectacular Spider-Man gave me an insight into Peter Parker that almost qualifies. (Same with Flash Thompson, actually.)

3. Nope, but you can ask him on his website: http://brandonvietti.blogspot.com/

Response recorded on March 23, 2012

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Anonymous writes...

Hi Greg.

Okay Wally. He always gets the rep as the clown and flirt, and in JL cartoon he was the not so smart one and of course the girls aren't very impressed by him. But Wally has a good heart and he isn't stupid and I would just love to see that an alpha girl could learn to care for him. The girls are eying Conner. Sure moody tall well built good looks. Teenagers.I would love to see the clown come up trumps for once. Be nice to see Conner like a girl who doesn't go for him at first sight. Yeah I am not a fan of that Miss Martian.Thank you for Artemis. I hope to see some more girls soon too.I really hope we see Zatanna and Wonder Girl.

And I hope to see more interaction with the older heads too.

And you like Black Canary I am reading. Figures. Though how do you feel about her an Green Arrow as a couple? Myself? I think she's too good for him.

Bye Greg.

Greg responds...

It depends on how Green Arrow is written. This notion of him being a dog, who constantly sleeps around on Dinah is relatively new (to my old eyes, anyway). Sure, if you write him that way, he doesn't deserve her.

But I prefer the Green Arrow who simply had commitment issues, not infidelity issues.

Response recorded on April 07, 2011

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Algernon writes...

“Schooled” Review



Yo Greg, sorry I’ve kinda fallen behind with these reviews but life sometimes gets in the way. Anyway, I enjoyed this ep a lot. I have to admit I did find Superboy’s anger issues a bit one not in “Welcome to Happy Harbor” even though I did understand why it was so. Lets face it, being raised in a tube by psychic goblins is probably going to leave you a little lacking in social skills. But this ep, (and to a certain extent “Drop-Zone”) has done a great job of letting us see other sides of his character, as well as exploring the underlying reasons for all that anger.

I particularly liked his exchange with Clark, poor kids practically giving Big Blue puppy dog eyes. Not that I don’t sympathise with Clark. Even with the best will in the world, dealing with your own clone/son has got to be a pretty daunting prospect. If I were brutally honest, I’d have to admit Clark is handling this way better then I would be. I know if I met a clone of myself, my first instinct would probably be to reach for a torch and pitch fork. Hardly the rational or ethical response I’ll readily admit, but luckily the Man of Steel is a lot more level headed then me.

Loved Peter MacNicol as Professor Ivo, he brought a great sense of humour and menace to the character without making him sound like a clone of Doc Ock. I just dig the idea tha this short skinny middle-aged nerd is able to strike terror into the hearts of the Justice League. I also noticed that his character design has a very similar colour scheme to AMAZO, red hair and green clothes. I loved this because it neatly explains AMAZO’s goofy silver design, Ivo designed the android to basically look like and idealised version of himself, brilliant! Hope we see the M.O.N.Q.I.s again. J

Black Canary was pretty cool, it’s good to hear Vanessa Marshall again. I’ve heard she’s your favourite DC character so I’m interested to see how you handle her.

All and all another great ep, I’ll try and get my “Infiltrator” review up sometime tomorrow.

Greg responds...

Vanessa Marshall is indeed my favorite DC character, so she'll be joining the Justice League in Season Two. Since Vanessa will be voicing/playing herself, we'll be recasting Black Canary to avoid confusion. Our leading candidates are all single-named celebrities: Roseanne, Cher, Lindsay, Madonna or Prince.

Oh, and in case it hasn't been clear for this and the last four questions as well: APRIL FOOLS!!!!!!

Response recorded on April 01, 2011

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Back Issue

I should have posted this long ago...

I received a complimentary copy of Back Issue #46. Inside is an interview of me conducted by John Wells (who incidentally has -- through Peter David -- provided considerable DC Comics related research for us on Young Justice). It's all about the Black Canary mini-series that I wrote a good chunk of for DC Comics back in the 80s before it was cancelled and never published to make way for Mike Grell's Longbow Hunters.

But that's not the only article of interest in the magazine. In fact, one of the reasons I'm so late in referencing this here, is because I took the time to read the magazine cover to cover. Lots of great stuff. I heartily recommend it.

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Greg Bishansky writes...

I've written a lot in the past about why Demona is my favorite character, what it is about her that speaks to me and fascinates me. I've always been interested in why some characters are favorites for other people.

I've read a while back that you said that Black Canary is probably your all time favorite comic book character. So, I'm curious, what is it about Black Canary that interested and fascinated you to put her at the top of a list like that, with so many other characters potentially fighting for a top spot like that?

Greg responds...

The short answer is that I just think she kicks ass. Strong, in all sense of the word, without being a "Man-in-Drag" superhero. And I like that her power level isn't through the roof. I can take or leave her Canary Cry, though I don't shy away from using it when it makes sense for her to do so, but it's the way she's trained herself. I also always really liked her relationship to Green Arrow, who's another favorite of mine. I like her ties to the old Justice Society (even if nowadays, those original connections were really her mother's) and I even like the retconning that makes her her own daughter and establishes that she trained with guys like Wildcat. I like the legacy hero idea. Plus - I'll admit - she's hot.

I guess the SHORTER answer is: "What's NOT to like?"

Response recorded on March 16, 2011

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