Monday, October 3, 2011


These are the first two page of my last Black Lightning story.  Not
only is it a story of whose publication many Black Lightning fans are
unaware, it’s a story whose presence caused someone at DC Comics to
demand the pulping of the comic book in which it appeared.  Though
a second “corrected” printing was done, that second printing was in
doubt for a while. 

DCU Holiday Bash II [$3.95] was published in late 1998.  I’ve heard
many versions of how and why it was almost pulped and lost to the
ages.  I believe some parts of these versions - imbecilic and petty
behavior was not alien to DC Comics then or now - because I believe
the people who shared their information with me and I believe them
because their information had checked out in the past.  However, as
I can’t offer first-hand information, I’m not going to discuss any
of the versions that were floating around in 1998.  I’ll stick to
what I know for sure.

Editor Darren Vincenzo asked me to write this Black Lightning tale
for this holiday special.  He liked what artist Eddy Newell and I
had done in my second Black Lightning series and also wanted some
diversity in the special.  I can’t recall if he specifically asked
for a Kwanzaa story, but, if he did, I was happy to accommodate him
as I had long been interested in that celebration.  We asked him
if Eddy could draw the story in black-and-white-and-wash and he was
fine with that.  I wrote the script and Darren approved it without
any changes.  Eddy drew it in his usual brilliant fashion.  After
all, he’s not just my favorite Black Lightning artist, he remains
the best Black Lightning artist of them all.

Then came the drama.  The issue was going to be pulped.  The issue
was going to be postponed a year.  The issue was going to be pulped
and reprinted in a corrected version.  What happened was that the
issue was printed, then called back, then reprinted.  Some of the
first printings made it to the market.  To be honest, I can’t tell
you if the above pages were from the first printing or the second
printing.  As with many things DC, I avoided thinking about it too
much.  That always made my head hurt.

I think this is a fine story and I love it a lot.  I think we could
use more DC Comics stories with this positive a message.  Alas, it
was not an end to DC blacklisting me.  It was a blip that slipped
through a temporary crack in company policy.

If I thought I could get away with running the entire story here,
I would.  If you’d like to read the entire story, get thee to the
barons of back issues, be they your local comics retailer, comics
convention exhibitor, or mail-order business...and ask if they have
copies for sale.  Or eBay...last I checked, there were three copies
being auctioned there.

It’d be nice if DC would reprint my Black Lightning stories in some
nice hardcover or trade paperback volume.  I don’t advise holding
your breath waiting for that to happen.  Still, having come across
a copy of this comic in that old file cabinet I’ve mentioned a few
times recently, I wanted to share a couple of pages of this story
with you and write a little about it. 

Let’s see what else I can write about today.


The “DC Vintage Comic Cover 4-Piece Pint Glass Set” was solicited
in a recent Previews catalog and I thought something about the set
was so monumentally stupid that I had to comment on it.  I clipped
the solicitation and it promptly got swallowed up by a medium-size
pile of things I needed to go through or write about.  It has now

The solicitation describes the set thus:

This collector’s series of pint glasses features Batman, Superman,
Green Lantern, and Wonder Woman, as they appeared on the covers of
some of their classic comics!

The set sells for $34.99.

Can you pick out the stupid from the above scan?

There’s Superman laughing off bolts of lightning.  There’s Batman
with cape spread as he leaps towards us.  There’s Green Lantern in
heroic battle with a missile. 

Then there’s Wonder Woman. A tiny Wonder Woman being held helpless
by a pair of tweezers.  Classic comic?  I think not.

There’s so much stupid to go around here.

Whoever chose the image?  Stupid.

Whoever approved the image? Even more stupid.

Oh, DC Comics, this is why you never get laid.

I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.

© 2011 Tony Isabella

1 comment:

  1. DC wants us to spend money to explore the "new" comic universe they've created. They want us to care about the new incarnations the characters.

    But, when they want to sell glasses, t-shirts, lounge pants, shoes, backpacks, etc., it's not the "New 52" or even the last 10-15 year versions of the characters we see. It's the 60s, 70s and 80s versions of the characters.

    Why? It's simple - they sell. They've always sold because those images remind us of what we felt reading stories from those years. Comics are art and art makes you feel some of everything - fear, joy, sadness, hope. The artists working in those decades created stories that, for better or worse, connected to the reader and that's what made us care about Batman, Superman and the rest of the DCU. They became friends we could learn from and live through. Friends we want to see again and again.

    All things change, but that doesn't always mean fundamental change. I have a best friend of 22 years. We both look different, we don't see each other as much, our lives run differently than when we met, but on the inside where it counts, we are still the same two guys. We are true to ourselves. This seems to be a lesson that DC forgets all the time. We already care about the characters. All DC has to hire people who will produce stories that make us remember why! If they do that, we'll keep coming back to visit our old friends and we won't give a damn what universe they live in.

    PS. This is my first blog post. How'd I do, Tony?