Friday, November 10, 2017


The biggest Black Lightning news for me is the publication of Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands #1 to mostly rave reviews. Working with artist Clayton Henry, editors Jim Chadwick, Rob Levin and Harvey Richards, colorist Pete Pantazis and the entire Black Lightning and DC Comics team has been a wondrous experience for me. I’ll have a lot more to say about this in the near-future, including starting a series of Black Lightning Beats giving annotations for darn near everything in the six issues of this new series, but, today, I want to try to discuss (and sometimes link to) as many Black Lightning interviews, news items and reviews as possible.

I have been so busy with Black Lightning stuff that I don’t always read the news items and such in a timely fashion. Which means what I present today won’t be in chronological order. With that caveat, let’s get started...

Grammy Award-winner Jill Scott has been cast as Lady Eve on the CW Black Lightning series coming in the mid-season. From the Express Newsline:

EW reports that Scott will be playing Lady Eve, a DC Comics villain who will be adapted for the TV series as funeral parlor owner who is secretly "the bridge between Tobias Whale (played by L.A. rapper Marvin "Krondon" Jones III) and a secret group of corrupt leaders".

Scott, a four-time Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter, has performed on Broadway and starred in films such as Why Did I Get Married?, The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency and Steel Magnolias.

I’m not familiar with Lady Eve - there was a long period when I was not following DC comic books closely -but the Comics Vine website described her as:

The paramour and willing servant to the terrorist Kobra and his right hand in his organization K.O.B.R.A. Eve fought with Halo and the rest of the Outsiders even outfitting the new Strike Force Kobra. She may also go by Lady Naja.                  

Welcome to the Black Lightning family, Miss Scott.

Earlier this year, at the Great Lakes Comic-Con, I was interviewed by Mike-El of the Comic Book Syndicate. The interview runs a little under five minutes and you can watch it here.

Edwina Finley, who starred in Fear the Walking Dead, has joined the Black Lightning series in the recurring role of Tori, beautiful and cunning younger sister of Tobias Whale. According to the Deadline website: Tori’s charming nature is just a facade as she can be just as deadly as Tobias, an exciting threat to the people of Freeland.

Amusingly, independent of each other, the Black Lightning TV show and myself (in Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands #1) created sisters for Tobias Whale. If you’ve seen the comic book, you know there is no connection between my version and that of the series.

Also, unless things have changed since I was in the Black Lightning writers room, Freeland is not the name of a city. It’s the name of a neighborhood in Atlanta.

Andy Behbakht, one of my favorite entertainment writers, reported that Chantal Thuy (Madam Secretary, Pretty Little Liars) is joining the TV series as Grace Choi, a character created by Judd Winick and Tom Raney for the DC Comics title Outsiders. According to Behbakht, The CW described the show’s take on Grace this way:

Grace Choi, a bartender who becomes the love interest of Anissa Pierce (Nafessa Williams). Grace is a comic book fan who befriends Anissa while she is coming to terms with her abilities and becomes Anissa’s first confidant about the struggles and challenges of having abilities.

In the comics, which came out during that time when I wasn’t reading many DC Comics titles, Choi was herself a metahuman. I don’t know if that’s going to be the case on the TV series.

Thuy’s casting leads me to an ongoing problem I have with Scoop, the free email newsletter produced by Gemstone Publishing, a part of Diamond Distribution that splits a mighty fine hair by calling itself the smaller sister company of that large corporation. I e-mailed this to Scoop in early October:


Being that the Scoop is brought to us by the only major distributor of *comic books* in the country, it would be swell if, when writing about movies or TV shows based on actual comic books, you'd mention the creators of the comic books. For the record...and this is the official credit line as written by me and agreed to by DC...Black Lightning created by Tony Isabella with Trevor von Eeden.

Giving credit where it's due shouldn't be a problem for Scoop or any other media outlet.

The Scoop response:

While our "Did You Know" and "Superstars" entries (as well as in other sections in Scoop) will indeed feature creator-centric news, our news stories of TV shows generally only mention the creators of the source material periodically, most often on the original announcements of the shows.

Sometimes, when the creator is particularly involved in the show or film (most recent example being Beau Smith with Wynonna Earp), that will be a prominent feature in our coverage; normally it is not. Again, to be clear, this is in reference to the show, not the comics themselves.

My response to that baloney:

Then I suggest you consider changing your style book. These shows would not exist without the creators who initiated the characters. The shows don't exist without the comic books. When the creator credits are clear, as they are with Black Lightning, they should be included in your coverage. We're talking about one more sentence in most cases.

Anything less is disrespectful to the creators. Which is something I've been trying to hammer home online and in my blogs and which I'll continue speaking out for.
Imagine my “amusement” when Scoop ran an item about the casting of of Thuy as Choi...and did credit Winick and Raney. No mention of me or Trevor, but a line crediting Winick and Raney. Make of that what you will.

But, if you believe as I do that comics newsletters and news sites should credit the known creators of comics characters, please drop Scoop/Gemstone/Diamond a note to that effect. Scoop’s style book is archaic and disrespectful.

Over the past weekend, the Akron Comicon celebrated forty years of Black Lightning with me, original series artist Trevor von Eeden and original series editor Jack C. Harris. It was an amazing event. Tomorrow’s bloggy thing will present the first part of my two-day convention report. See you then.

© 2017 Tony Isabella

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