Christian Cooper, Black Bird Watcher Who Had Cops Called On Him, Creates Digital DC Comic Inspired By The Incident
"It's a Bird" features a bird watcher named Jules, a Black teenager who faces a similar incident as Cooper.
September 09, 2020 at 3:30 pm
Christian Cooper, the Black bird watcher who faced a terrifying encounter with a racist white woman in New York's Central Park earlier this year, has turned the high-profile case into a work of art.
According to The New York Times, Cooper's newly released digital comic illustrates his own experience with racism, as well as the trauma endured by Black Americans.
As Blavity previously reported, the New York man was doing his routine bird watching during Memorial Day weekend when he asked Amy Cooper to leash her dog. The woman then became agitated and called 911, falsely saying “an African-American man is threatening my life.”
Christian's new comic, "It's a Bird" features a bird watcher named Jules, a Black teenager who faces a similar incident. Jules confronts a white woman named Beth, who has her dog unleashed in a park.
When the teenager comes face-to-face with the white woman, dozens of Black people killed by police come to protect him. The angelic characters then fly away as Jules turns away from Beth.
The teenager experiences another eye-opening moment in the story when he looks through his binoculars and sees the faces of Black people killed by the police. In a separate scene, Jules looks at a bird in a tree and envisions the face of George Floyd, who was killed by police on the same day as Cooper's encounter with the white woman.
“What happened to me is minor compared to the fatal consequences for George Floyd later that same day, but it all comes from the same place of racial bias,” Cooper told The Times. “I am not trying to equate these things. What I am trying to say is: ‘See the pattern.’”
The bird watcher, who is already a well-known comic book writer, said his latest work “shouldn’t be looked at as any one experience."
"It’s drawn from a whole bunch of experiences and woven together from that — my own and the ones we keep hearing from news reports,” he said.
According to The Washington Post, the comic is illustrated by Alitha E. Martinez, inked by Mark Morales and colored by Emilio Lopez. Cooper, who works as a senior editorial director at Health Science Communications, didn't expect to get the opportunity with DC comics at this time. But he gladly took up the offer.
“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,” he said, according to The Post. “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.”
Cooper's work is the first in a series of comics known as "Represent."
Marie Javins, an executive editor at DC Comics, said the stories are written by writers “traditionally underrepresented in the mainstream comic book medium.”
"It's a Bird" will be available for free online, as well as at digital book and comic book retailers starting on Wednesday.
“I think that is the beauty of comics, it lets you reach that place visually and viscerally,” Cooper said. “And that’s what this comic is meant to do: Take all these real things that are out there and, by treating them in a magical realist way, get to the heart of the matter.”