Thursday, January 3, 2019


Black Lightning is on its holiday hiatus, but will return on Monday, January 21 with “The Book of Rebellion: Chapter Three”. I know from advance publicity photos that Jennifer Pierce [China Anne McClain] is getting her own super-suit, but I don’t know in which of the seven remaining episodes of the season she’ll be getting it. That leaves poor Lynn as the only member of the Pierce family sans a suit. Hmm...I had interesting plans for the Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands version of Lynn. I wonder if I could talk show runners Salim and Mara Brock Akil into using them on the TV show.

As regular readers of my bloggy thing know, “Black Lightning Beat” is where I try to give you news and views and even the occasional review on all things Black Lightning. All opinions expressed here are my opinions and should not be considered as views of either DC Comics, Inc. or Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Especially since I am not working for either entity at the present time. Which, lest anyone think I have abandoned by proudest creation, isn't remotely my doing. Moving on...

I love this Bryan Abrams article on and interview with the wondrous Cress Williams, who plays Black Lightning/Jefferson Pierce on the hit Black Lightning series. You can read it here:

If you’ve been watching this second season of Black Lightning, you know Jefferson Pierce and his family are dealing with some serious matters. Jeff isn’t always making the best decisions. Having said several times that the younger Jeff in Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands is the smartest version of the character, I was asked by one of my friends what I thought about those not the best decisions on the TV show. It’s a fair and good question.

First thing you need to know is that there’s a lot of me in Black Lightning and has been since I created the character. Second thing you need to know is that parenthood changes everything. If you’re a good parent, as Jeff and Lynn are, there’s nothing you wouldn’t do for your kids. You always worry about them. You always want to protect them, even when they are grown and out on their own.

When my kids were young, I developed a guardian instinct. If there was a noise at night, inside or outside, no matter how deeply I was sleeping at the time, I would wake up instantly. Most of the time, it was nothing. Heck, almost all of the time it was nothing. But I still woke up instantly to check it out. Even today, that instinct is muted but still active.

So when Jeff does something stupid on the TV series because of his concerns for his children, it’s perfectly in character for him. And me. And I am knocked out by how terrific Cress is at portraying that emotional roller coaster.

Let me state that I am absolutely in awe of how well my creations are portrayed on the TV series. The TV series Peter Gambi is a much better character than my comic-book version. The same is true for Tobias Whale, Lynn Stewart and Inspector Henderson. Yes, TV allows for further exploration of these characters in a more seamless way than comic-book stories. I’m still in awe.

In October, I was a guest of the Baltimore Comic Con. While there, I was interviewed by my friend Bob Greenberger on Black Lightning and other aspects of my life and comics career. Michael Major did an article on the panel for Game Industry News and you can read it here:


Did you know...that in late 1978, Black Lightning appeared in the DC  “The World’s Greatest Superheroes” newspaper comic strip by Martin Pasko, George Tuska and Vince Colletta? This particular story also featured Batman, Robin, Superman and Black Canary. Comics historian and super-fan John Wells is posting the story on a daily basis on his Batavia Funny (and Not So Funny) Pages group on Facebook. He’s posting many other great vintage strips as well, so you might want to join his group.

If you want to catch up all the already-posted strips in this tale, you’ll find them on my Flickr page:

The SYFY WIRE staff recently ran a nice article on genre television shows they felt deserved a lot more love from audiences. A show of which I’m quite fond made their list.

Black Lightning (The CW)

I know, another superhero show from the CW's Arrowverse. But I challenge you to watch a few episodes and then come back telling me you feel the same. Black Lightning might have taken a little while to truly find its footing, but this is a series with a strong point of view. Jefferson Pierce isn't just meting out vigilante justice for some vague sense of honor, or to right the wrongs of his past. He is fighting for his community and taking on system issues of race and class that plague our very real nation.

My thanks to Tricia Ennis for her comments. If you’d like to check out the WIRE’s entire list, go here:

I am frequently asked if there will be a Black Lightning movie in the near future. Annoying scallywag that I am, I tell them there’s already a Black Lightning movie. It just doesn’t feature Jefferson Pierce. Indeed, this other Black Lightning isn’t even human. It’s a flying car.

Here’s what I wrote about this movie in 2010:

Chernaya Molniya (2009) is the Russian title for this entertaining super-hero movie.  It was directed by Alexandr Voitinsky and Dmitry Kiseliov, and produced by Timur Bekmambetov. My spell checker just surrendered.

The hero of the film is Dmitry Maykov (played by Grigori Dobrigin). He’s a college student and he’s pretty much a Russian Peter Parker. His hard-working father is a tram driver who frequently helps out people just because it’s the right thing to do.  His mother seems to work as well and he has a young sister.  Their means are modest, but you can feel the love.

At school, Dimi falls for new student Nastya (Ekaterina Vilkova) as soon as he lays eyes on the blonde beauty.  Unfortunately, his best friend Max (Ivan Zhidkov) also falls for Nastya and, unlike Dimi, Max has money and a Mercedes.

Dimi learns from his excited sister that their parents are giving him a car for his birthday.  His own excitement is dulled when he sees the car: a black 1966 GAZ 21 Volga.

What neither Dimi nor his parents know is that the car was salvaged from a defunct secret government laboratory and that the vehicle is capable of rocket-powered flight.  He also doesn’t know really evil billionaire Viktor Kuptsov (Viktor Verzhbitsky) has been searching for the car, planning to use its engine to power a drill.  Kuptsov wants the enormous diamonds that are deep under the foundations of Moscow and isn’t at all concern that drilling for them with destroy the city and millions of its citizens.

In one of those comic-book coincidences we all love, Kuptsov gives a lecture at Dimi’s university.  He imparts his Ayn Rand-like credo of “I’ve got mine, Jack!” to Dimi and the young man unfortunately takes it to heart.

When Demi learns his “Black Lightning” car can fly, he chooses to use it to make money delivering flowers faster than any competing drivers.  The thought of using it to help people never crosses his mind.  Though no one else knows what the vehicle can do, Demi’s new cold attitude creates a riff between him and his father.

And that’s all the specific plot details you’re going to get from me.  Things change for Dimi in tragic fashion and that changes how he uses “Black Lightning.” His new direction doesn’t change all the other problems he has in his life.  All it does is bring him to the attention of Kuptsov.

Flying car, flying car, does whatever a flying car can...

I had a blast watching this movie.  The special effects are pretty good without dominating the story.  The acting - I watched this in the original Russian with English subtitles - is terrific.  After watching it, I ordered the Blu-ray version.  This is a movie I’ll be sharing with family and friends.

Black Lightning may not be my Black Lightning, but it has the heart of a true super-hero. I recommend it highly.

That’s a wrap for this edition of “Black Lightning Beat.” I would like to update Black Lightning fans on the various toys and other Black Lightning merchandise out there. As I know some of these have fallen under my radar, I’m asking my readers to help me out on this sacred mission.

E-mail me photos of Black Lightning swag with any information you have on them. If you have such items for sale, include that info as well. If I don’t have the items, I’ll likely offer to buy them from you. When I’m gone, hopefully, not any time soon, all of my Black Lightning papers and such will be donated to a worthy university.

I’m also and always interested in Black Lightning art beyond what has been published in the comic books. Likewise, Black Lightning or Black Lightning-related cosplay. Or pretty much any photos of Black Lightning, the Black Lightning cast and so on. The more material I have, the more often I can post new “Black Lightning Beat” columns in this bloggy thing of mine.

Thanks for stopping by. I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.

© 2019 Tony Isabella


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