arts

Central Park birder who recorded viral clash with White woman has turned experience into a graphic novel

Published 10th September 2020
Christian Cooper
Credit: Brittainy Newman/The New York Times
Central Park birder who recorded viral clash with White woman has turned experience into a graphic novel
Written by Leah Asmelash, CNN
Christian Cooper, the Black man who filmed a White woman calling the police on him while he was bird watching in Central Park earlier this year, has written a comic book partially inspired by his experiences.
The comic, called "It's a Bird," was released Wednesday by DC Comics. Cooper, as a former comics editor and writer, is no stranger to genre, and worked with artist Alitha E. Martinez to bring the story to life.
"It's a Bird" follows the story of Jules, a Black teenage bird watcher, who is given an old pair of binoculars. When he looks through them, he sees the stories of Amadou Diallo, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. It's part of DC's new digital-first series "Represent!" meant to highlight typically underrepresented groups in comics. "It's a Bird" is the first chapter of the series, and was released for free on Wednesday, with the rest of the chapters meant to drop in 2021.
A preview page from "It's a Bird."
A preview page from "It's a Bird." Credit: From DC
"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 Cooper in a news release about the book.
He continued, "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."
A preview from from "It's a Bird."
A preview from from "It's a Bird." Credit: From DC
Back in May, Cooper became a household name when Amy Cooper, of no relation, called the police on him when he asked her to put her dog on a leash while he was bird watching. Christian Cooper filmed the exchange and posted it on Facebook, where it became widely shared as another example of White people calling the police on Black people for mundane things.
In the recording, he is mostly silent, while she frantically tells police he is threatening her and her dog.