DC has released the first issue of a planned digital-first series called Represent!, featuring a story by Christian Cooper, Alitha E. Martinez, Mark Morales, Emilio Lopez and Rob Clark Jr. “It’s a Bird” is available to download for free.
Cooper, a former Marvel editor, was thrown into the national spotlight earlier this summer when a white woman walking her dog in New York’s Central Park called the cops on him and said as African-American was threatening her life — just because he asked her to keep her dog on its leash. The incident occurred on the same day that George Floyd was killed by police in Minneapolis, Minnesota. His story in this first issue is a fictionalized account of that encounter.
“This digital series is designed to showcase and introduce creators traditionally underrepresented in the mainstream comic book medium,” said executive editor Marie Javins. “We’ll highlight both new and familiar voices, beginning with ‘It’s a Bird’ by writer Christian Cooper and artist Alitha E. Martinez, a semi-fictionalized account of Christian’s very real evolution from a kid with a pair of binoculars to a man in an unexpected media spotlight after an altercation with a woman walking her dog in Central Park.”
Former CBR editor Albert Ching, who now works for DC, did a Q&A with Cooper about the comic for DC’s website, where Cooper explains where the idea came from:
Marie and (VP, Global Publishing Initiatives & Digital Strategy) Bobbie Chase approached me about possibly doing a comic story that tapped into my experience. I thought, “I don’t know, DC Comics? Superheroes? Not sure how that’s going to work.” We kicked around a couple of ideas. They said they had gotten the title, I’m not sure exactly from who, but somebody pretty high up in the DC food chain: “It’s a Bird.” It took me half a beat. “Oh…I get what you did there.” Once I had the title, the story wrote itself.
The first issue can be downloaded for free, with additional chapters of Represent! planned for 2021.