Wednesday, March 28, 2007


The Black Canary raised a question mark in my childhood mind because she functioned as both a member of the Justice Society of America and Justice League of America. DC Comics had gone to the trouble to explain that the Justice Society existed in another dimension on the planet Earth-2 and those old heroes were closing in on Social Security when they would occasionally meet up with the Justice League members. When I was reading JLA in the early 70s, The Black Canary was a youthful member of the team, but I had also read that she had been a youthful member of the JSA back in the 40s.

Actually, it was explained in the late 60s, before I started reading Justice League, that The Black Canary had been with the JSA, then swapped dimensions to work with the JLA. Somehow in the dimensional move, Canary stopped aging. Later on, DC came up with some more of their b.s. to say that the current Black Canary was actually the daughter of the original Black Canary. Whatever guys.

The Black Canary was one of only two female members of the Justice Society, Wonder Woman being the other. Canary came along later in the JSA run, replacing the usually annoying and always useless Johnny Lightning. Ironically, Black Canary got her start in Johnny Lightning’s feature in Flash Comics, then took over his feature. I guess DC realized that a hot, butt-kicking female superhero would bring in more sales than a nebbishy boob with a red, sentient lightning bolt for a friend.

She also benefited by joining the JSA later, when the writers seemed more open to having a female who was an equal partner with the men. The first female member, Wonder Woman, was made “secretary” and spent most of her time back at headquarters typing up minutes and making coffee. The Black Canary would have none of that, and was always up front with the guys fighting crime.

Since most of my memories of Black Canary are rooted in her later incarnations as JLA member and Green Arrow’s wife, I decided to give my custom action figure version a more modern interpretation. Besides, I couldn’t find a female figure with a Betty Grable hairdo. I was really taken with the headsculpt on the action figure based on Abbey Chase from the Danger Girl comic, so I used her as the main figure. The black leotard and fishnet stockings were purchased from the FemBasix line at Old Joe Infirmary. The leather vest with lapels was also part of that line. The purple, pirate-style boots are courtesy of Classic Plastick, and the purple collar I made from fabric that I painted purple and applied a Velcro fastener on the back. Since Abbey Chase’s hands were already molded with black gloves, I painted them purple to match the boots and collar.

All in all, a pretty simple custom, but quite effective, in my opinion. Next time, I’ll show you a more complicated project involving Dr. Fate.

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