Christian Cooper first became a name known by many across America and the wider world following an incident in Central Park. He was a Black man bird watching in New York’s Central Park in May this year whose film of a White woman calling the police on him went viral. Christian Cooper politely asked Amy Cooper (of no relation) to put her dog on its lead, in retaliation, Amy called the police and falsely accused him of threatening her and the dog. The incident, alongside a wider conversation regarding the Black Lives Matter Movement became another example of White people calling the police on Black people for unnecessary issues, which often results in the loss of life for a Black person.
That same day, George Floyd was killed by police in Minneapolis, Minnesota and a summer of protests and calls for change were ignited, bringing the world’s attention to further incidents of police brutality against Black people.
As well as having a love for bird watching, Christian Cooper is a former comics editor and writer who has now released his own comic, partially inspired by his experience. The comic called ‘It’s a Bird’ was released by DC Comics on 9th September 2020.
It’s a Bird follows the story of Jules, a Black teenager and bird watcher who is given a old pair of binoculars. Through these binoculars, Jules sees Amadou Diallo, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, all of whom were Black people who were killed by the police.
The comic book has been created by writer Christian Cooper, who has returned to the world of comics and graphic novels after two decades away. To bring the comic book to life, Cooper worked with artist Alitha E. Martinez, inker Mark Morales, colourist Emilio Lopez, and letterer Rob Clark Jr.
“I hope young people read it in particular, and that they’re inspired to keep the focus where it needs to be, which is on those we have lost and how we keep from losing more,” said Christian Cooper, “There are people who are invested in distracting us right now, and there are people who want to distract us from their failures on so many other things. That’s not what this moment is about. This moment is about the ones we’ve lost, and how we’re going to keep from losing any more. And if you’re not talking about that, I don’t want to hear it.”
It’s a Bird is the first comic in DC’s new series, ‘Represent’ which is a digital-first anthology series which aims to “showcase and introduce creators traditionally underrepresented in the mainstream comic book medium.” The rest of the chapters in this exciting news series are rumoured to be released in 2021.
Christian Cooper’s It’s a Bird is available online now for free. Cooper stated, “I hope as many people as possible read it, but I’m hoping in particular that young people read it. I think a lot of them may not know some of these stories, particularly as we got into detail in the appendix. We not only give the bare bones details of how they died, but also a little bit about them, because they were people. They weren’t just want happened to them.”