36 years ago - Dinah Lance is born the daughter of Larry Lance & Cladina Drake, who take leave of absence from the All-Star Squadron.
28 years ago - Cladina Drake is injured, and Larry Lance is promoted to Lieutenant, so they decide for her to retire and open a flower shop so she can focus on being a mom. together they start teaching 8-year-old Dinah martial arts.
20 years ago - Larry Lance is killed in the line of duty. Cladina Drake forbids 16-year-old Dinah from taking up the mantle of Black Canary.
17 years ago - Cladina Drake, realizing that 19-year-old Dinah is going to become Black Canary no matter what, gives her daughter her blessing.
10 years ago - 26-year-old Dinah tries to help Roy Harper when Oliver Queen goes traveling with Hal Jordan.
8 years ago - 28-year-old Dinah joins the new Justice League. She discovers Roy Harper's heroin habit & takes him to rehab.
7 years ago - Cladina Drake dies of cancer. 29-year-old Dinah quits the Justice League & takes over her mother's flower shop, getting more serious with Oliver Queen.
5 years ago - 31-year-old Dinah discovers that Oliver Queen had cheated on her with Helena Bertinelli. She ends their relationship.
4 years ago - 32-year-old Dinah's flower shop is destroyed by the Clock King, who was targeting Oliver Queen. Dinah is contacted by Barbara Gordon, and becomes her operative.
3 years ago - 33-year-old Dinah reconciles with Helena Bertinelli when she begins working with the Birds of Prey.
2 years ago - 34-year-old Dinah helps build an entirely new Justice League after the death of Ted Kord.
Black Canary is definitely one of the most prolific characters in all of DC. She was either actively or retroactively involved in virtually every era of DC's continuity and a surprising majority of it's most important teams. She's established as one of their tentpole characters.
The character's original golden age concept couldn't have been much simpler. A woman looks to fight crime and isn't allowed into the police academy, so she takes it into her own hands. There were plenty of similar heroes in the era, but Dinah clearly stood out, because as the years passed, they continued to bring her back to join with each subsequent generation of heroes. The idea that Dinah's daughter had taken over the role of Black Canary was created retroactively, but it managed to create the origins of one of the most actively badass characters DC has ever had.
In order to get her entire timeline straight, we had to do quite a bit of work with the minutia of her relationships. Her relationship with her mother defines much of her career, in that her early career is largely an act of rebellion. Her later career is hugely affected by her mother's death. This tragedy, as well as the betrayal by Ollie, brings her to a particular low point in her career before she's sought out by Barbara Gordon and becomes part of the single greatest team in comics. It's that relationship that brings out the best in her, and as she goes on to reclaim her role with the Justice League, it's with the personal strength she's developed working with her best friend.
Dinah has always been a pin-up character, and her look has always centered around a particular amount of sex appeal. Trying to build her look in a way that doesn't rely on the male gaze is particularly problematic when the foundations of her design aren't that far removed from a playboy bunny. There have been a few attempt to redesign her costume, most notably her mid eighties 'pajamas with shoulder wings' look, but it's very hard to deliver on the character without her traditional fishnets.
Interestingly, though, it seems to be Ed Benes that crafted the perfect compromise, which is funny because Ed's style is usually particularly sexualized. His Black Canary was a return to the traditional outfit and all the overt sexuality that comes with it, but when he drew her, she always seemed ready for a fight. It might have been the way he configured her outfit to zip right up to her neck, but I think it had more to do with the attitude he gave her. Dinah wears the Black Canary costume because it was her mothers, but she makes it her own by being absolutely hardcore.