I’ve enjoyed comic books and the characters since I was young, but for a long time, it was more from a distance. I’d admire them in a bookstore, peruse a boyfriend’s long box or, on occasion, borrow a trade. But I didn’t collect and follow comics myself — that is, until I met the Birds: Babs, Dinah, Helena and Zinda, as written by Gail Simone and drawn by Ed Benes, hold a sacred place in my heart.
I had just started a new job a few years ago when the topic of comic books somehow came up with the IT guy who was setting up my computer. He asked if I was into them, and I was all, “Sure. Kinda.” I told him I was really into Wonder Woman and chicks who kick ass. He said he had something for me, and the next day, there was a stack of Birds of Prey trade paperbacks on my desk.
I opened the first one that following Saturday morning, and I couldn’t put them down. I was so enthralled that I read until my eyes couldn’t focus, and I developed a monumental headache. I kept on reading.
It is because of those very books that I go to my LCS every Wednesday; spend countless hours reading comics; search the Internet for comic book news and art; display a Black Canary Ame Comi figurine on my office shelf; spend lunches with other comic book fiends, talking for hours on our favorite stories; and now have a blog to talk about it all. Birds of Prey was the catalyst.
Honestly, no other book or set of characters has done for me what BoP did. I’d liken it to the first hit from a crack pipe. Gail’s writing and Ed’s art made me itch. From then on, I was hooked, searching desperately for that same high that I got from the Birds. Some series have come close: Identity Crisis, Secret Six, Rucka’s run on Wonder Woman, Fables, and Detective Comics with my darling Kate. While they all gave me a great fangirl buzz, they didn’t satisfy me quite as much as Dinah kicking ass in her fishnets, Babs taking down a group of men from her wheelchair, Lady Shiva struggling with morality as Jade Canary, and Lady Blackhawk punctuating the action with her hilarious one-liners.
When Gail moved on to other projects, I was terribly disappointed. Especially when DC married off Dinah to Ollie, and essentially ruined what Gail had done with her character. (And can someone please tell me what happened to Sin? Anyone?) In new hands, the book floundered, then got canned. Many, many times I’ve wished for DC to bring the Birds back, with Gail driving. It seems my wish has been granted: The dream team of Simone/Benes is back! And I am so fucking happy I want to cry.