Christian Cooper Releases It's a Bird Comic Book Inspired by Viral 'Central Park Karen' Incident

Illustration for article titled Christian Cooper Releases iIts a Bird /iComic Booki /iInspired by Viral Central Park Karen Incident
Screenshot: CBS News (YouTube
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Y’all remember Christian Cooper, the Central Park bird watcher who gave us the Watergate of viral Karen stories? (Karengate? Beckygate? Hey-Blacky-get-the-hell-away-from-my-gate? I’m sure we’ll settle on a name eventually.) Well, he’s back with a new comic book partially inspired by his encounter with Amy “Central Park Karen” Cooper, the woman who lost her job, dog and dignity after she called the police on Christian for simply asking her to put a leash on her dog.

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The Washington Post reports that Cooper (Christian, not the woman who thought she could use the police as her personal negro remover) struck a deal with DC Comics to author a 10-page comic book called It’s a Bird—a play on the well-known quote from Superman comics: “It’s a bird, It’s a plane, it’s Superman.”

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From the Post:

Illustrated by Alitha E. Martinez, inked by Mark Morales and colored by Emilio Lopez, the comic is the first issue of “Represent!,” a digital series from DC Comics that will showcase writers and artists from groups that are underrepresented in the industry.

“It’s a Bird” features Jules, a teenager given a pair of binoculars by his father and told to explore his surroundings. Jules, who has an encyclopedic knowledge of birds, is quickly harassed by those threatened by his presence as an unannounced Black man in an open space.

That and other moments of hostility evoke racial profiling that Cooper and other Black birders have experienced, but the story turns slightly mystical when Jules begins using his binoculars and sees images of Black people who have fallen to police violence, including Amadou Diallo, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd.

Cooper—who currently works as a senior editorial director at Health Science Communications but used to be an editor for Marvel Comics (which now has me wondering if Marvel is going to go all gang gang on Cooper now that he’s down with DC)—said in a recent interview that he never thought he’d be back in the comic game, but that he’s excited to be there now.

“I really appreciated it when [DC Comics] came to me and said do you want to do this comic, because I did have something to say,” Cooper said, the Post reports. “It’s interesting how it slips into maybe this space in the DC Universe that isn’t normally occupied. It is a very magical-realist tale. There is something fantastical that happens in the course of the story. But it’s not capes. It’s not superheroes.”

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“I haven’t been sitting around thinking I’m going to get into comics again,” he continued, “But when this opportunity [was] presented I was like, ‘Oh, hell yeah. I want to do this.’ I was very unsure when I first started writing it, because I haven’t done a comic in 20 years. But I started doing it, and I’m like, not only do I remember how to do this, but I actually think I’m doing a reasonably good job and I’m enjoying the hell out of it.”

It’s a Bird became available digitally Wednesday but the Represent! comic series is set to have more titles in 2021. Cooper said he is looking to contribute more to the project and do more writing in general after this new experience.

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“This reminded me that storytelling is your fundamental nature,” Cooper said. “Coming up with these wacko, fantastical things is what you are about. So why aren’t you doing it? So, absolutely. On my agenda is do more storytelling.”

Zack Linly is a poet, performer, freelance writer, blogger and grown man lover of cartoons

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DISCUSSION

Absolutely NOT. Christian Cooper could have helped prosecute Amy Cooper so that she could 1) not Karen anyone else and 2) deter other Karens from Karen-ing.

BUT NO. Mr. Cooper seems to miss the fact that if his phone were dead on this fateful day, so too would he, in all likelihood.

Thus, he IS the real bird in this story. The next time this woman calls the cops on a Black person, with the intent to have them executed, he is effectively complicit for letting her walk in his case.

He could have stopped a tiny part of this vicious, systemic cycle, but instead wrote a comic. I absolutely cannot with Mr. Cooper.