It’s finally here – 28 Days of Black Superheroes here on Hypertransitory.com. Those of you over on my Facebook page already checked out the raw pencil art on these heroes, and some of you probably saw my Black Super Hero preview article.
So with that said, let’s get it on, our first hero is none other than DC Comics’ own Black Lightning!
I have to be honest here, back in the day I didn’t really know too much about Black Lightning, I thought the character was a copy of Black Vulcan from the old Superfriends series.
As it turns out, it was the other way around. I read years ago that they wanted to use Black Lightning on the show, but didn’t want to pay the licensing fee, so they just made up their own character (this is also mentioned on the Wikipedia link). Cheap-ass bastards.
WHO IS HE?
So back to Black Lightning. real name Jefferson Pierce. He’s a teacher who primarily focused on street level crimes.
I first picked up on him in the old Batman and the Outsiders series from the 80’s. After Batman quit the JLA, he had to go get some other heroes to help him out on the streets, so he went and got Black Lightning to join up with him and the rest of the crew.
Anyway, I thought his powers and costume were cool, except for that white mask -and since Batman trusted him enough to team up with him, I knew this guy had to be cool.
The only thing is, the stories kind of sucked so I stopped reading them.
BACK IN BLACK
I lost track of Black Lightning until the mid 90’s. I was in college, and I found this comic shop off the beaten path from my usual haunts. I’ll always remember walking in and the first thing the ‘comic book guy’ said to me was:
“You looking for Black Lightning?”
Er, well…actually I wasn’t. I had no idea he even had a new series, but it made me laugh so I bought the first issue. Hey, they didn’t see a lot of black people up there so maybe I caught him off guard or something.
So I started reading this one. Jefferson Pierce had returned to his old neighborhood to teach, and also to electrically shock criminals from time to time.
He had a cool new costume, and I liked the art. Only problem, the stories were kinda boring, so I dropped it. Being a poor college kid you have to make those harsh decisions, and between Black Lightning and Static (coming up sometime this month), I had to go with Static.
Well, that series got cancelled pretty quickly, and I forgot all about the character anyway.
Truthfully, I haven’t always been too into DC stuff, so a lot of opportunities for me to see Black Lightning in action were missed. Except for this one, possibly Black Lightning’s greatest appearance ever (IE8 viewers may have to click the link to view this):
After that I didn’t catch back up with B.L. until the semi-good Infinite Crisis crossover, where he teamed up with another black superhero Mr. Terrific (also coming up this month).
THE WRAP UP
Recommended reading: Black Lightning Year One
I’ll tell you one thing I do like about Black Lightning. He’s a credible hero who has the respect of the other heroes. I mean, this guy’s in the Justice League. Despite my feelings for DC, it doesn’t get any more big time than that (sorry, Avengers).
He doesn’t get played for a punk and is usually involved in some serious major-player type stuff. I can’t really be mad at all that.
Black Lightning also played a major role in DC’s regrettable Final Crisis. I have to admit that I bought every issue of it, but so much stuff happened outside of the main series, I still couldn’t figure out what was going on.
Anyway, I’ll leave it at this: Black Lightning’s not my favorite hero by any means, but this is the type of character you can at least be proud of. He’s got some formidable powers, he’s a smart guy with a strong moral code, and he’s considered to be one of the major players in the DC Universe (not just anyone can show up at the Bat-Cave unannounced).
For those of you who missed it, here’s the pencil art I did on this one. Let me know your thoughts in the comments. See you back here tomorrow for day 2!