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  1. #1
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    Default Oracle and Black Canary: Birds of Prey


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    Astonishing Member kjn's Avatar
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    Thanks!

    One of the things that strikes me when reading the old Birds of Prey stories is that Chuck Dixon has very good storytelling instincts. He gets the interplay between characters; he groks that references to past stories are good and fun, but must have some form of meaning in the new story; and he makes a good balance between standalone stories and continuity.

    At his top he was arguably one of the top craftsmen for writing comics.
    «Speaking generally, it is because of the desire of the tragic poets for the marvellous that so varied and inconsistent an account of Medea has been given out» (Diodorus Siculus, The Library of History [4.56.1])

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    Extraordinary Member j9ac9k's Avatar
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    A partnership for the ages. I like Batgirl and everything, but it's too bad we can't get this dynamic again. (and I think Huntress was a good addition)

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    Not trying to hijack your thread, but I just read a really good article about this book yesterday from Newsarama

    https://www.newsarama.com/48700-the-...ra-gordon.html

    Writer Chuck Dixon gave his editor all the credit for the idea of the book:

    "Jordan Gorfinkel, my editor on Birds of Prey, was the real creator of the title. I was the writer he assigned to develop the title," Dixon said. "But it was all Gorf who saw a real chemistry between Oracle and Black Canary. The gimmick of Dinah working for an unknown handler was all his idea. And with the cancellation of Suicide Squad, Barbara was not regularly featured in any series beyond an occasional appearance in the Batman books."

    "Gorf was convinced that the contrasts between Barbara and Dinah would make for an intriguing partnership. He was absolutely right," the writer continued. "Barbara’s insistence on preparation and having all the available intel to conserve risk was the polar opposite of Dinah’s ‘leap before you look’ attitude. It made for a fun combination when they worked together."

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by kjn View Post
    Thanks!

    One of the things that strikes me when reading the old Birds of Prey stories is that Chuck Dixon has very good storytelling instincts. He gets the interplay between characters; he groks that references to past stories are good and fun, but must have some form of meaning in the new story; and he makes a good balance between standalone stories and continuity.

    At his top he was arguably one of the top craftsmen for writing comics.
    Indeed, Dixon was The Man.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by j9ac9k View Post
    A partnership for the ages. I like Batgirl and everything, but it's too bad we can't get this dynamic again. (and I think Huntress was a good addition)
    I honestly feel at that time Batgirl was just a boring, forgettable character and Dixon did a magnificent job of resurrecting Barbara Gordon. Honestly I feel too in bringing back Barbara Gordon DC destroyed a role model for the physically challenged. It was an utterly moronic decision.

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    Astonishing Member HandofPrometheus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by katefan View Post
    I honestly feel at that time Batgirl was just a boring, forgettable character and Dixon did a magnificent job of resurrecting Barbara Gordon. Honestly I feel too in bringing back Barbara Gordon DC destroyed a role model for the physically challenged. It was an utterly moronic decision.
    I give the credit to Kim Yale and John Ostrander for resurrecting Barbara since the Oracle idea came from them.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by caj View Post
    Not trying to hijack your thread, but I just read a really good article about this book yesterday from Newsarama

    https://www.newsarama.com/48700-the-...ra-gordon.html

    Writer Chuck Dixon gave his editor all the credit for the idea of the book:

    "Jordan Gorfinkel, my editor on Birds of Prey, was the real creator of the title. I was the writer he assigned to develop the title," Dixon said. "But it was all Gorf who saw a real chemistry between Oracle and Black Canary. The gimmick of Dinah working for an unknown handler was all his idea. And with the cancellation of Suicide Squad, Barbara was not regularly featured in any series beyond an occasional appearance in the Batman books."

    "Gorf was convinced that the contrasts between Barbara and Dinah would make for an intriguing partnership. He was absolutely right," the writer continued. "Barbara’s insistence on preparation and having all the available intel to conserve risk was the polar opposite of Dinah’s ‘leap before you look’ attitude. It made for a fun combination when they worked together."
    Thanks for the link, I had no idea regarding the background. I give Chuck props for giving Gorfinkel credit like that. I think often people forget the importance of good editors.

  9. #9
    Fantastic Member docmidnite's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by katefan View Post
    I honestly feel at that time Batgirl was just a boring, forgettable character and Dixon did a magnificent job of resurrecting Barbara Gordon. Honestly I feel too in bringing back Barbara Gordon DC destroyed a role model for the physically challenged. It was an utterly moronic decision.
    Please refrain from speaking for all disabled people. I’m disabled and prefer her as Batgirl.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by kjn View Post
    Thanks!

    One of the things that strikes me when reading the old Birds of Prey stories is that Chuck Dixon has very good storytelling instincts. He gets the interplay between characters; he groks that references to past stories are good and fun, but must have some form of meaning in the new story; and he makes a good balance between standalone stories and continuity.

    At his top he was arguably one of the top craftsmen for writing comics.
    I was just singing Dixon's praises on the Batman board in the Post-Crisis / Pre-52 Appreciation Thread and in fact I just read this comic too, I'm doing a read through of the BOP series now.

    Dixon should be in the elite class of all-time Bat-Verse writers. I think he was best of his era.
    Last edited by gregpersons; 01-24-2020 at 04:45 AM.

  11. #11
    Astonishing Member kjn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HandofPrometheus View Post
    I give the credit to Kim Yale and John Ostrander for resurrecting Barbara since the Oracle idea came from them.
    I think they all deserve credit for this, and I think it speaks for that there are different strengths for writers. Ostrander and Yale had the imagination to come up with the concept of Oracle and the moral indignation to rehabilitate Babs as a character, but the context of Suicide Squad meant that she was a supporting character. Dixon is a different type of writer, but he perfected Oracle's role and character by working through her relations with Black Canary and (partially) Nightwing, and made Babs into a true co-lead.

    A lot of storytelling today is obsessed with the idea of being original or being edgy. Dixon struck me as as a writer who instead asked what was the best way to tell a particular story with some specific characters. And when he was given a concept that really was new, it was dynamite.
    Last edited by kjn; 01-24-2020 at 06:05 AM. Reason: clarity
    «Speaking generally, it is because of the desire of the tragic poets for the marvellous that so varied and inconsistent an account of Medea has been given out» (Diodorus Siculus, The Library of History [4.56.1])

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by docmidnite View Post
    Please refrain from speaking for all disabled people. I’m disabled and prefer her as Batgirl.
    And that's not what I said. If I had said something like "a role model for all disabled people" you might have a legitimate grievance. Please refrain from putting words in my mouth.

  13. #13
    Astonishing Member WonderScott's Avatar
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    By the gods I loved this book when I picked it up in the 90s. I remember pouring over its pages (and the follow up one-shots and Manhunt miniseries) again, and again, and again.

    It's a creative lightning strike for Gorfinkel to contemplate and "see" Dinah and Babs as an interesting duo and it was well executed by Dixon and Frank.

    Canary's costume was a nice change of pace, for the types of stories being told in BoP. The international intrigue bits definitely had a Bondian vibe.

    If I were ever to bring BoP back to its initial origins like this, I'd reteam Barbara and Dinah together again and fill out the roster with Selina Kyle, Helena Bertinelli, Onyx Adams, Starling, and Sonia Sato as members on international intrigue missions. Lynx, Nick Devine, Archer Braun, and other foes of the Birds could use some dusting off too and provided additional characterization.

    I haven't finished reading Leviathan yet, so I don't know where we're at in terms of intelligence agencies and forces in the DCU, but it'd be interesting to see the Birds engage and walk around such groups in their efforts to solve problems and international mysteries/crises.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by kjn View Post
    I think they all deserve credit for this, and I think it speaks for that there are different strengths for writers. Ostrander and Yale had the imagination to come up with the concept of Oracle and the moral indignation to rehabilitate Babs as a character, but the context of Suicide Squad meant that she was a supporting character. Dixon is a different type of writer, but he perfected Oracle's role and character by working through her relations with Black Canary and (partially) Nightwing, and made Babs into a true co-lead.

    A lot of storytelling today is obsessed with the idea of being original or being edgy. Dixon struck me as as a writer who instead asked what was the best way to tell a particular story with some specific characters. And when he was given a concept that really was new, it was dynamite.
    Dixon could be pretty good about just identifying and matching the tropes to the situation.

    I remember a lot of comparisons of his Robin to the classic Spider-Man comics. Good match, well executed. Birds of Prey, it's like an update of Charlie's Angels meets I Spy or something

    Dixon was somewhat unique in that he's not interested in deconstructing tropes. He spoofs things a little, but the genre tropes are played straight. Dixon and Dini are the two best "down the middle" guys, who were both inventive but always colored inside the lines.

  15. #15
    Three Legged Member married guy's Avatar
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    Chuck Dixon has written some of my favourite runs in comics.

    Guy Gardner
    Green Arrow
    Robin
    Nightwing
    Birds of Prey

    Love his stuff.
    "My name is Wally West. I'm the fastest man alive!"
    I'll try being nicer if you try being smarter.

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