Tuesday, January 10, 2017


President Barack Obama is the best president of my lifetime. There hasn’t been another president who has faced such rancorous racism from the opposition party. There has rarely been a president whose political opponents so manically rebuffed every offer to work with him in a bipartisan manner. And yet, despite that hatred from the Republicans and other right-wingers, President Obama achieved much good for the American people. No matter what happens in the years to come, no matter how the vicious right-wingers try to and maybe even succeed in rolling back some of those gains, history will always know that such things were and still are possible. We will not forget. Not the dream, not the hope, not this President.

Early in December, I did something I should have done much earlier in Obama’s presidency. I wrote him a letter thanking him and, with that letter, I included a copy of Black Lightning Volume One, which reprinted the character’s first run from the late 1970s. It seemed not nearly enough to do for the man.

I have no idea how such things work. I assume a President gets more mail and packages than I can even imagine. I suspect much of this does not actually reach him. I hope he got my letter and the book. I hope he enjoyed them both.

Ever since I sent this letter, I have been considering whether or not I should share it with my bloggy thing readers. There were good reasons to share it and at least one good reason not to share it. My gut told me to share it. I’m going with my gut...

Dear Mr. President...

This is a long overdue note to and gift for the best President of my life. While I haven’t agreed with every decision you have made - I don’t think American DNA allows for any citizen to agree with all government decisions - I have admired your dedication to our land, your intelligence, your grace and your dignity. That you and your lovely family have maintained that grace and dignity in the face of so much partisan and even racist adversary is astonishing, even to this 65-year-old guy who’s been writing super-hero and other comic books for going on 45 years.

I created Black Lightning in the 1970s out of simple fairness. My first black friends were comic-book fans and there weren’t too many black people in the comics they loved. When I was hired at Marvel Comics, I did what I could to bring more diversity to the comics. Misty Knight, another of my creations, was a prominent character in the recent Luke Cage series on Netflix.

I see a lot of you in Jefferson Pierce, the schoolteacher who finds himself a reluctant warrior in the battle against the criminals who infest his community. I wanted to create a relatable super-hero who would be a positive image and role model for young readers. Though the character has not been an overwhelming commercial success, he has remained in the DC Comics Universe for forty years. The company currently has a pilot commitment from Fox for a Black Lightning TV show. I’m even writing a new Black Lightning comic-book series, my third such series since creating the character.

Black Lightning has been a part of my life since I created him. In the same way, your inspiration has become a part of my life. Your accomplishments have been minimized by the opposition and I’m sure they will try to undo them. But...history will rightfully rank you as one of our finest presidents and, no matter what bumps our road may take, I have no doubt that your accomplishments will remain or return...and that they will stand the test of time.

Thank you for your service, Mr. President. It has been my honor to have voted for you twice.

All the best to you and your family in this holiday season and for many years to come.

Sincerely yours,

Tony Isabella

I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.

© 2017 Tony Isabella

1 comment:

  1. Though many of us suspected what your upcoming mainstream comics writing assignment was, I hadn't seen any confirmation from you until this. It was a nice reward for reading through your terrific letter.