In honor of African-American History Month, DC Comics News presents the characters, artists, writers and actors of color that helped to shape the DC Universe. Staff Writer Kevin Gunn gives us a look into the making of the character Black Lightning.
Black Lightning was DC Comics’ first major African-American character to get his own self-titled series in Black Lightning #1 (April 1977). He was created by Tony Isabella (writer) and Trevor Von Eeden (artist). Originally, DC Comics’ first headlining black character was to be called The Black Bomber, a white racist who turned into a black superhero under stress. But it was never published because the editor at the time left DC Comics. Isabella was approached to revamp the character. He just finished a stint at Marvel writing for Ghost Rider and another black superhero, Luke Cage.
Black Lightning had two series in the 70’s and 80’s in which Isabella wrote for. In 1983, he was teamed with Batman and other heroes for the first run of Batman and the Outsiders. Isabella was brought back to write a new Black Lightning series in 1995, but was fired after the eighth issue. In 2009, Black Lightning was featured in a six-issue mini series titled Black Lightning: Year One. This series was nominated for Glyph Awards in 2010.
Jefferson Michael Pierce, former Olympic Gold Medal-winning decathlete, returns to his childhood neighborhood to take a job as an educator at his former high school. When an organized syndicate called the 100 try to take over, he becomes Black Lightning to remove the criminal element.
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