Saturday, July 21, 2018


This is an ALL HANDS ON DECK request for your assistance in keeping intact the core values and integrity of Black Lightning in the current DC Comics comic books. I need your help on this.

The trade paperback collection of Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands, the six-issue series that updated my greatest creation for 2018 and beyond, will be published in mid-October. This volume reprints all six issues done by me and artist Clayton Henry and includes a new afterword written by me. It is a story of which I’m immensely proud and which is arguably my best Black Lightning writing ever. Besides updating Jefferson Pierce, the series also dealt with some serious real-world issues in the context of a super-hero universe. It was praised by most of the critics and readers and, naturally, vilified by the usual right-wing commentators.

The Previews ad you see at the top of today’s blog seems to be the extent of DC’s promotion of this book. Half a page in the middle of their monthly solicitation. No mention in their DC Nation magazine. Just this.

The Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands mini-series did not sell what I’d hoped it would sell. I can’t fault DC’s publicity department; they did a tremendous job setting up interviews and sending out all sorts of press releases. However, there could and should have been more support from upper editorial management.

At a time when it has become fairly common for most DC titles to have variant covers every issue, Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands had one. Just one. Given the chance, I could have provided DC with an all-star line-up of artists for additional variant covers.

When Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands #1 sold out - and it did so quickly - DC did not publish a second printing. That hurt the sales down the line. The last word I had on this was that the first four issues of the series have sold out.

Even before Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands had finished its six-issue run, a run which firmly established Black Lightning as a headliner and not a sidekick, DC commissioned a Detective Comics series that turned my creation back into a Batman sidekick. On my watch, you’d never see Black Lightning subservient to any other DC super-hero. That’s not Jefferson Pierce.

Rumors abound that Black Lightning will be part of a new Outsiders title and, once again, be reduced to Batman’s sidekick. Even more offensive is the rumor that Batman won’t be leading the team. That Nightwing will be leading the team. In short, Black Lightning would be the former Boy Wonder’s sidekick.

If you want to see more Black Lightning comic books written by me, if you want to see Black Lightning treated as the headliner and the iconic hero he is, you need to send DC Comics a message they can’t easily brush aside. You need to order lots of copies of the Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands trade paperback.

Don’t wait for the book to come out. Pre-order it from your local comics shop or subscription service. Pre-order it from Amazon and other online sellers.

Pre-order copies to give out as gifts to comics-reading friends and family members. Pre-order copies to donate to your local libraries and schools.

I have been saying for decades that nothing would make me happier than to be writing and publishing Black Lightning stories until the day they pry my keyboard from my cold dead hands. I truly believe my vision of Black Lightning is far superior to any nostalgia-laden attempt to take the character backwards.

I am very grateful to Geoff Johns for reaching out to me and making these past couple years so wondrous. I am grateful to editors Jim Chadwick and Harvey Richards for their tireless efforts to make my story better. They never tried to make it their story. Everything they did, all the notes they gave me, was to make my story better.

I am grateful to primary artist Clayton Henry, helping us make the deadlines artist Yves Guichet and colorist Peter Pantazis for the dedication they showed in every page they did. I’ve never had such an excellent creative team as these guys and my editors. They have set the bar very high for my future works.

I am grateful to DC’s publicity department for all their hard work promoting Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands. That gratitude extends to everyone who is part of the Black Lightning TV series. That TV series maintains the core values of my creation and tells stories that are important in today’s world. Their work inspires me to do better in my work. Always forward.

I am grateful to Dan DiDio and Jim Lee for not flinching as I wrote some very difficult scenes in Cold Dead Hands. Scenes that held up a mirror to terrible situations in our own world. That took guts, the same kind of guts I’d like to see in the form of their giving a green light to more Black Lightning comic books by me. Because I will never give Black Lightning less than my all. My creation will always be my top creative priority.

As always, I am grateful to the fans who have supported my efforts for closing in on five decades now. I’ll always do my best for you as well.

There’s lots going on with Black Lightning. Once I get some other things off my crowded desk, I hope to post “Black Lightning Beat” on a weekly basis. But, for now, I ask you to pre-order copies of Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands and to let DC know that you want more Black Lightning stories by his creator.

Thank you.  
© 2018 Tony Isabella


  1. I just preordered a copy Tony. I am looking forward to more excellent Black Lightning stories from you.