In celebration of Women’s History month, we’re going to profile some of the most important heroes in comics. Let’s take a look at Black Canary.
Black Canary’s First Appearance
One of DC’s longest-lived characters, Black Canary has been one of the steadfast mainstays of many superhero teams, including Birds of Prey, a team she founded with Oracle (Barbara Gordon). Both as Golden Age hero, Dinah Drake, and then her daughter, Dinah Lance, Black Canary has proven herself time and time again against the most fearsome foes in the DC Universe.
The first Black Canary, Dinah Drake, made her first appearance in Flash Comics #86, cover dated July 1947. Created by Robert Kanigher and Carmine Infantino, the character originally possessed no superpowers but was a proficient hand-to-hand combatant. Her sonic scream would come later.
There are 66 graded copies of Flash Comics #86 in the CGC census, none of which have yet sold in 2023. The most recent sale was a 6.0 selling in the December 2022 Heritage auction for $13,200. While it had been a few years since a copy in that grade had sold, we can see some trends in the sales of three 3.5 graded copies in 2022.
The first sold in March for $7,763, followed by another in August for $7,500, and the final sale in October for $6,000. So, we clearly see a downward trajectory. This strikes me as a buying opportunity for the first appearance of a key DC hero.
Black Canary First Solo Story
Black Canary proved popular enough in the pages of Flash Comics that she would eventually replace the character Johnny Thunder in whose stories she had been a guest star. She made her solo debut in Flash Comics #92. There are 69 graded copies in the CGC census. There were only three sales in 2022 – 5.0 for $4,080, 3.5 for $3,450, and 6.5 for $6,000.
As a minor key, it doesn’t sell quite as often as Black Canary’s first appearance. Still, if you’re a Black Canary fan, it’s a comic worth having if just for the cover alone. However, keep in mind that even grades below 2.0 have sold for as much as $2,000.
Brainwashing and Retcons
The Silver Age is when Black Canary’s story starts to get really weird. The character showed up in Justice League of America #21, an issue where she first meets future husband Green Arrow. Except this is the Dinah Drake version.
As the characters’ relationship grew closer, fans began to notice the age difference between the two. DC would eventually kill off the original in Justice League of America #74, which wasn’t actually revealed until Justice League of America #220. That issue also revealed that when Dinah Drake’s daughter Dinah Lance replaced her in Justice League of America #75, she was brainwashed into believing that she was in fact Dinah Drake. I told you it was weird.
In any event, collectors have long since established that Justice League of America #75 is the first appearance of the second Black Canary, Dinah Lance.
There are 393 graded copies of Justice League of America #75 in the CGC census. Recent sales have seen this issue climbing in price. An 8.0 graded copy sold in a February 17 eBay sale for $409, a 79% increase over the $228 December 2022 sale in an eBay auction, and a sale that brought the book in this grade higher than its 2020 high of $382. That’s something that can’t be said for many early Bronze Age comics nowadays. Lest you think it’s just a fluke in this grade, we see similar increases in the 7.5 grade and, to a lesser extent, in the 6.5 and 6.0 grades.
Birds of Prey
Black Canary would continue to have a long and storied membership in multiple iterations of the Justice League. However, it was with the formation of Birds of Prey in Birds of Prey: Black Canary/Oracle #1 that the character became well known to modern readers. Published in 1995, there are 312 graded copies in the CGC census.
This book has been on a downward trend since the run-up to the 2020 release of the DCEU film, Birds of Prey. At that time, 9.8 graded copies were selling for as much as $425. The most recent sale for a 9.8? $43 in a November 2022 eBay auction. It’s hard to imagine the price sinking much lower, and, at this price, this could be a great buying opportunity.
The Future for Black Canary
As with many DC characters, future performance of key comics is very reliant upon DCU appearances and the success of the DCU as a whole. As a prominent character in the DC Comics Universe, it’s hard to imagine that she won’t appear in a future DCU film, either as a member of the Justice League or a founder of Birds of Prey.
Are you a Black Canary collector? What are some of your favorite issues? Let us know below.
*Any perceived investment advice is that of the freelance blogger and does not represent advice on behalf of GoCollect.