It’s been forty years since the startling death of private detective Larry Lance, husband of Dinah (Black Canary) Lance.

Larry was killed saving his wife’s life during the murderous rampage of the exiled star Aquarius in Justice League of America #74 (September, 1969), which was written by the then up-and-coming Denny O’Neil, illustrated by Dick Dillin and Sid Greene, and edited by the immortal Julius Schwartz.

Larry’s sacrifice so shattered Black Canary that after he was buried and Aquarius defeated, Dinah abruptly decided to resign from the Justice Society of America and leave Earth-2 to begin a new life on Earth-1–home of the JLA.

When I state that Dinah was shattered, I mean she cut off all ties and cut out. She didn’t take the time to permanently close her long-standing flower shop. She didn’t sort out her finances and transfer her checking and savings accounts (which would have been interesting because you don’t often see a parallel Earth to parallel Earth transfer of funds). She didn’t notify any family or close friends that she was seeking a fresh start on a different world. She didn’t pack any luggage. She didn’t even change out of her costume (which, after the brutal battle with Aquarius, definitely needed a good dry-cleaning).

No, she just fell into Superman’s arms and allowed him to whisk her away to Earth-1–where she didn’t waste any time beginning a long-term romance with the freshly liberated Green Arrow in the very next issue–JLA #75 (November, 1969). A year later, she even briefly snuggled up with Batman in JLA #84 (November, 1970) in an unexpected little fling that was written by Robert Kanigher–Black Canary’s co-creator, natch!.

The Justice League was most welcome to have Black Canary on board because Wonder Woman had recently taken a leave of absence to pursue a new lifestyle without her Amazon powers. Thus, the JLA had become an all-boys club–this at a time when Women’s Lib was kicking into high gear, so the need for a female character to replace Wonder Woman on the team was obvious.

Dinah was intelligent, independent, and maintained the unique quality (outside of the newly-installed “canary cry”) of being in her mid to late forties (at least) while never looking a day over twenty-five (at the time, when you couldn’t trust anyone over thirty, how hip was that?). Actually, as it turns out, she was only around twenty-five–but that explanation warrants another column.

However, I’ve digressed long enough. A toast to Larry Lance, possibly the last of the truly dead supporting characters in the DC Universe! Apparently, not even Blackest Night will resurrect him!