Christian Cooper, the birdwatcher who got into an altercation with a white woman in New York’s Central Park, wrote a graphic novel based on his experience.
Cooper, a veteran of the comic book industry, joined forces with DC Comics to write “It’s a Bird.” The digital title is the latest addition to DC’s Represent! series, which is dedicated to making comics inclusive of marginalized people.
The comic is centered on Jules, a teen bird watcher who received a special pair of binoculars from his concerned father. When Jules looks into the binoculars, he is shown the stories of Amadou Diallo, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. DC released the comic for free on Wednesday.
Taylor and Floyd died this year at the hands of police in Louisville Kentucky, and Minneapolis, Minnesota, respectively. Diallo, an African immigrant who was unarmed just like Taylor and Floyd were at the time of their deaths, was shot 19 times in 1999 by New York Police Department officers after taking out his wallet to present to plainclothes cops who accosted him as he was entering his Bronx apartment building.
In a news release, Cooper said he hoped the book would reach the youth and keep them focused on the purpose of the movement.
“I hope young people read it, 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. 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,” Cooper said.
“That’s not what this moment is about,” he added. “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.”
Cooper‘s name hit headlines when he filmed Amy Cooper, a white woman, pretending to be attacked while on the phone with a 911 dispatcher. They are not related.
Their conflict stemmed from Amy Cooper allowing her dog to run around without a leash in the Ramble area of Central Park. She made the 911 call after Christian Cooper asked her to restrain her animal. The incident occurred the same day George Floyd died after being arrested by former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin.
Christian Cooper’s row with Amy Cooper inspired the story. Toward the end of the comic, Jules confronts a white woman named Beth who is allowing her dog to roam free and then threatens to weaponize the police against him. Other elements from his life also appeared in the comic.
“It’s a Bird,” is the first comic Cooper has written in two decades. He admitted he was nervous at first but it wasn’t hard to find his groove.
“I think that is a large part of what made me create this particular approach to the story, with so many different elements of my experience — from the binoculars themselves which are passed down, from generation to generation,” Copper said in the DC press release. “In real life, the binoculars that I use were a birthday gift from my dad, who was very active in the Civil Rights movement, and was a Korean War vet. All of these real elements combine with these fantastical elements to create something that is more than the sum of its parts, I hope.”