So hey, DC Universe just provided us with so much comic goodness it’s hard to know what to do! I’m really looking forward to reading all of the Birds of Prey but I’m rightfully very confused as to the order of the various series and one-shots. I’m guessing for a fuller picture I should start with those Black Canary mini-series from the early 1990s? Does anyone have a complete reading order? And are there any missing issues? Thank you!
Going down the rabbit hole here but I’m thinking I’ll need to go as far back as the late 1980s with Huntress mini-series and Black Canary appearances in Action Comics? Ugh so much! I love it!
You can trace the characters back to their origins, but the first Black Canary/Oracle teamup was Showcase '96 #3. Then there were a bunch of oneshots, which I’m pretty sure are in order in the series folder. Then there was the Manhunt miniseries, and the Birds of Prey: Batgirl oneshot is the only one of the oneshots that comes after Manhunt. After the Batgirl oneshot, it’s just the ongoing.
Fair warning: the oneshots and miniseries are not as good as the ongoing, but the ongoing itself is excellent, at least as far as I’ve read. The original Dixon run crosses with Nightwing a lot, so it might help to read both at once, but it’s not absolutely required.
The order you want is:
Black Canary/ Oracle: Birds of Prey
Showcase ‘96 # 3
Birds of Prey: Manhunt # 1-4
Birds of Prey: Revolution
Birds of Prey: Wolves
Birds of Prey: Batgirl
the one-shot with the Ravens
And then the ongoing series.
You really don’t have to have read a lot of the previous books with those characters to enjoy BoP. If you are so inclined, though, Oracle has a significant role in the 1987 Suicide Squad series, especially the last half, and it’s really strong.
@Coco_Loco’s reading order is correct, best as I remember.
You can just jump into the ongoing and go from there. I don’t remember it being dependent on things that occurred in the one-shots or minis to the point of where they were must reads.
No, I know they’re not connected like that, but I think it would still be interesting to trace the character appearances back a bit. For instance, Huntress had a good run in the late 1970s in Wonder Woman as a backup. It’s definitely not necessary to read Birds of Prey, but still fun. There are also a few Batgirl one-shots prior to the original ongoing, I think.
(Whoops! Got the order of the oneshots wrong. I think that Showcase '96 issue actually came out before the original oneshot, but takes place later, but my sources may be leading me astray on that.)
Actually, the Huntress who was a backup in Wonder Woman is a different character. She was on Earth-2, a world inhabited by DC’s 1940s characters that had been aging in real time. She was the daughter of that world’s Batman. After Crisis on Infinite Earths (1985-86) got rid of the multiverse (thus making Huntress’s existence impossible), they recycled Helena Wayne’s first name, codename, and costume onto a completely new character with a different personality, Helena Bertinelli. I’m not sure exactly where she first appeared or what her major pre-Birds of Prey stories are, so others who are more knowledgeable will have to fill that in (or I’ll run the information down myself when I have more time).
For Black Canary, you can trace her appearances back to the silver and bronze age JLA/JSA team-ups (technically as far back as the Golden Age, but she wasn’t that big of a character at the time and none of those books are digitized), until she eventually jumped ship and joined the League. She was also a supporting character in the Green Lantern/Green Arrow books in the '70s. Not sure what she was doing in the early '80s, but she was in Justice League International, and got her powers removed in the Longbow Hunters miniseries. Somewhere around there she had her own miniseries (that might’ve been before she lost her powers), was in JSA for a while, and ended up in Birds of Prey around the same time she was doing that.
There’s also the elephant in the room of the “Black Canary is ACTUALLY the daughter of the original Black Canary who happens to be identical in appearance and personality and has the same name, so that’s why she’s from Earth-2 but not super old and also Canary Jr. has superpowers” retcon, but basically all you need to know is that that was a thing.
For Oracle, obviously there’s her appearances as Batgirl, mainly as a backup feature and occasional guest star in Detective Comics. The character kind of disappeared sometime in the '80s until the Killing Joke. After that, she disappeared again until John Ostrander’s run on Suicide Squad, where the Oracle identity was introduced. She floated around as a supporting character in that book and the occasional Bat-book appearance (especially in Nightwing) for a while, before joining the Justice League in Grant Morrison’s JLA. The Nightwing and JLA stuff was all starting around the time of some of the earliest oneshots, but Birds of Prey mainly came in a little later.
Also, as far as I can tell, Batman: No Man’s Land takes place before Birds of Prey because Birds of Prey makes no reference to the events and there’s no apparent time skip. Oracle’s a pretty major player in that story, so you can consider it part of the history even though it technically started later.
So okay I did a big old nerd dive into the vastness of DC Universe and here’s what I’ve come up with in regards to the Birds of Prey (namely Huntress, Black Canary, and Batgirl/Oracle). This is obviously not all of the appearances by these characters but it’s most if not all of the more major ones? I’m sure I’m missing a bunch of obvious ones (and probably even more non-obvious ones) since I haven’t read all of DC and haven’t done too much research. Anyway, for anyone curious and just looking to read up on these great characters and the team (with the movie coming next year, oh yes!), here we go:
DC Super-Stars #17 (1977): https://www.dcuniverse.com/comics/book/dc-super-stars-1976-17/405dc56d-9fd8-458f-8151-52b080debee8
All-Star Comics #69-#74 (1977-1978): https://www.dcuniverse.com/comics/series/all-star-comics/cf5f9242-4913-4996-b946-1c49a33fe5f2
Batman Family #17-#20 (1978): https://www.dcuniverse.com/comics/series/batman-family-1975/490d5085-0260-494e-9557-54ecb8e91dac (only #17 and #20 on DCU at the moment)
Wonder Woman #271-#321 (1980-1984): https://www.dcuniverse.com/comics/series/wonder-woman-1942/367e486b-e1ce-4172-b32f-430741c272f1 (lots of gaps on DCU at the moment)
Batgirl Special (1988): https://www.dcuniverse.com/comics/series/batgirl-special-1988/4e78b82c-fdd0-49c2-86a2-b5845650182a
The Huntress (1989-1990): https://www.dcuniverse.com/comics/series/the-huntress-1989/862c1445-f429-40e6-b131-e99f9a6fd344
Black Canary (1991): https://www.dcuniverse.com/comics/series/black-canary-1991/8c047854-594f-4e47-86ac-d80f9742b4e7
Robin III: Cry of the Huntress (1992): https://www.dcuniverse.com/comics/series/robin-iii-cry-of-the-huntress/e7907eec-e4d9-4e4c-9a81-07dbef60af45
Showcase '93 #9-#10 (1992): https://www.dcuniverse.com/comics/series/showcase-93/a4740471-0e56-4edf-a7f5-1c085b7c3e38
Showcase '94 #5-#6 (1993): https://www.dcuniverse.com/comics/series/showcase-94/a53b55fd-9a49-4363-b041-f86dd9a29161
Robin #6 (1993): https://www.dcuniverse.com/comics/book/robin-1993-6/9fa2cedc-0c16-4b23-aabc-84b81ed0161a
Showcase '94 #12 (1993): https://www.dcuniverse.com/comics/book/showcase-94-1993-12/984acfcc-7409-43df-9ac2-89246229b585
Black Canary (1993): https://www.dcuniverse.com/comics/series/black-canary-1993/1d6fdd79-fabb-41ed-9ec1-3f008a1cf98e
The Huntress (1994): https://www.dcuniverse.com/comics/series/the-huntress-1994/53ce6cf8-d32d-404f-9509-9010907f846d
Black Canary/Oracle: Birds of Prey (1995): https://www.dcuniverse.com/comics/book/black-canary-oracle-birds-of-prey-1995-1/be8657e4-4263-4206-b93f-bb3e5c19fe30
Showcase '96 #3 (1996): https://www.dcuniverse.com/comics/book/showcase-96-1995-3/70392f57-8b8a-4375-8300-3bcf013e2354
Birds of Prey: Manhunt (1996): https://www.dcuniverse.com/comics/series/birds-of-prey-manhunt/2b126716-2214-4e2f-911a-dbac1415d08b
Birds of Prey: Revolution (1997): https://www.dcuniverse.com/comics/book/birds-of-prey-revolution-1997-1/238c3e99-f3fe-4625-b192-1f8b6d18c733
Batman: Batgirl (1997): https://www.dcuniverse.com/comics/book/batman-batgirl-1997-1/4f212d98-6336-4047-8f16-f1a29fec551f
Birds of Prey: Wolves (1997): https://www.dcuniverse.com/comics/book/birds-of-prey-wolves-1997-1/5a579729-ff67-4d7a-bbc9-2f89611a222c
Birds of Prey: Batgirl (1997): https://www.dcuniverse.com/comics/book/birds-of-prey-batgirl-1997-1/fae77304-498a-4e3c-a264-3fb5b7dd0738
Batgirl Adventures (1997): https://www.dcuniverse.com/comics/book/the-batgirl-adventures-1997-1/64c7d823-992e-4540-8451-e977ce5b61ec
Batman: Huntress/Spoiler - Blunt Trauma (1998): https://www.dcuniverse.com/comics/book/batman-huntress-spoiler-blunt-trauma-1998-1/048d2b0a-bafc-41f8-8784-c99ac25501d8
Nightwing/Huntress (1998): https://www.dcuniverse.com/comics/series/nightwing-huntress/03259876-7a43-4ea8-9af7-95f751cdfa5f
Birds of Prey: The Ravens (1998): https://www.dcuniverse.com/comics/book/birds-of-prey-the-ravens-1998-1/3004e791-84ed-4808-a57d-4ac0c8371ce4
Birds of Prey (1998-2009): https://www.dcuniverse.com/comics/series/birds-of-prey-1999/b1bc75d1-91c4-4146-8ec3-d0fdf1fd55e1
Batman/Huntress: Cry for Blood (2000): https://www.dcuniverse.com/comics/series/batman-huntress-cry-for-blood-2000/f6fc4106-ce28-4248-8053-8f640d658713
Batgirl Secret Files and Origins (2002): https://www.dcuniverse.com/comics/book/batgirl-secret-files-and-origins-2002-1/3be941b6-c600-46b9-98e6-61eedd9c42f9
Batgirl: Year One (2002-2003): https://www.dcuniverse.com/comics/series/batgirl-year-one/4f9a55d6-40f1-4b2d-a6ca-f08ad1e63e03
Birds of Prey: Batgirl/Catwoman/Oracle (2003): https://www.dcuniverse.com/comics/series/birds-of-prey-2003/2acdfcea-0931-4b69-91bf-ad40bbac8cc5
Black Canary (2007): https://www.dcuniverse.com/comics/series/black-canary-2007/3e4aff59-845d-48e5-bf35-9199905bb878
Green Arrow and Black Canary (2007-2010): https://www.dcuniverse.com/comics/series/green-arrow-black-canary-2007/43ec8dcb-f111-44b6-a365-8477c3f7a014
Huntress: Year One (2008): https://www.dcuniverse.com/comics/series/huntress-year-one/93ef9e80-3b89-4e1a-a813-acb7580e91be
Batgirl (2008): https://www.dcuniverse.com/comics/series/batgirl-2008/2eec7b47-dff0-456f-98b5-4fad2f1ee13c
Oracle: The Cure (2009): https://www.dcuniverse.com/comics/series/oracle-the-cure/325bc3ce-45a2-459a-b4a8-8db9b2712430
Batgirl (2009-2011): https://www.dcuniverse.com/comics/series/batgirl-2009/39e387bc-a8ed-4c84-952a-c929ab5da384
Batgirl (2011-2016): https://www.dcuniverse.com/comics/series/batgirl-2011/7f5e8fd8-cf90-4fdd-9f1e-35f198df0dcf
Huntress (2011-2012): https://www.dcuniverse.com/comics/series/huntress-2011/caf788e1-30a1-4298-9518-20f1ba87afa2
Batgirl (2016-): https://www.dcuniverse.com/comics/series/batgirl-2016/9e59763d-6767-4102-a3a2-a39ba233c72f
Batgirl and the Birds of Prey (2016-): https://www.dcuniverse.com/comics/series/batgirl-and-the-birds-of-prey-2016/89457010-f7f6-4b22-9334-d270ca7fb916
And if anyone has any issues, series, or runs to fill in, please do so! Thanks!
I have nothing of value to add but just wanted to drop in and say hello! You rock, thank you for doing this
Thank you, Gibby! Hope you can take advantage and read up if you haven’t before. The Birds of Prey is one of my favorite teams, I’m very excited for the movie next year (even though Babs won’t be in it), and I even enjoyed that TV series from the early 2000s. Keep in mind that in the above list from 1977 to 1984 is just the Helena Wayne version of The Huntress, and I just added these because I like the character. So the list really begins with the 1988 Batgirl Special and leads us into the first proper ongoing Birds of Prey series. Also, just added the 1997 Batgirl Adventures one-shot just for fun!
Honestly, I’m not really into Chuck Dixon’s writing at all, so I would almost recommend skipping to the real good stuff with Gail Simone’s run with issue #56. IMO, this run is what truly made the Birds of Prey into the iconic superhero team we know and love today.
I’ve been curious to check out the 1989 Huntress mini ever since I saw it at a comic store years ago. adds it to his list
I bought the last issue of her 1994 mini as a random pick-up last year and I thought it was a real dog. The writing was bad and the art was a pooch too. To quote Kevin McCallister: “Woof!”
Brilliant checklist, Mae! While the Simone run is still my favorite version of Oracle, Black Canary, and Huntress, Cry for Blood is a very good setup for the arc Simone takes Helena on, and there’s plenty of great stuff about all of the characters that has been mentioned in the thread. I really hope that playlists will be able to be shared soon!
A good early issue to add to my list above is Secret Origins #20 (1987): https://www.dcuniverse.com/comics/book/secret-origins-1986-20/d168c1e1-9264-41d4-922a-8d70ac5237be
@Vroom, the 1989 Huntress series was an ongoing. It ran 19 issues. I actually like that 1994 mini a lot, but if it wasn’t your cup of tea, you may like the 1989 series better. It’s very different in style and tone. One caveat, though: that series actually concluded in a Justice League International Special that, to my knowledge, has not been digitized.
Yes I think so too so we need the DC pixies and fairies to get their digitizing wands out! ♀
@Coco_Loco, thanks for the correction. It was a bundle of issues from the '89 series I saw and they were labeled in a bag as being a mini (they probably meant arc).
Here’s another pre-BOP one-shot I missed (or was it just added?) that I think should come before Birds of Prey: The Ravens (came out the same day):
Batman: Batgirl - Girlfrenzy (1998): https://www.dcuniverse.com/comics/book/batman-batgirl-1998-1/4be5e1ec-81cd-4b10-a898-f1c8e3b83342
And also this one-shot: DC First: Batgirl/Joker (2002): https://www.dcuniverse.com/comics/book/dc-first-batgirl-joker-2002-1/841801e8-3da0-4c79-8fee-8192bc7e8005 Should come before Batgirl Secret Files and Origins (2002).