Black Lightning

Black Lightning is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. The character, created by writer Tony Isabella and artist Trevor Von Eeden, first appeared in Black Lightning #1 (April 1977), during the Bronze Age of Comic Books.[1] While his origin story has been retconned several times, his current origin story states that he was born in the DC Universe a metahuman with superhuman abilities. Black Lightning is DC Comics' third African American superhero, after John Stewart and Tyroc.[2]

Born Jefferson Pierce, Black Lightning is originally depicted as a schoolteacher from the crime-ridden Suicide Slum area of Metropolis who acquires electrical superpowers from a technologically advanced power belt that he puts to use to clean up crime in his neighborhood. Over time, Pierce establishes himself as a successful superhero in the DC Universe, and later stories depict him as having "internalized" the belt's powers as a result of his latent metagene. Later retellings of Black Lightning's origins simplify his story by depicting him as metahuman with the inborn ability to manipulate and generate electricity.

Tony Isabella, an experienced writer having done work for the Luke Cage character at Marvel Comics, was signed on to develop DC's first starring black character. He pitched the idea for Black Lightning and it was developed though only 11 issues were published in the first series due to the 1978 DC Implosion. However, the character continued to make appearances in other titles over the years, including a Justice League of America storyline in which Pierce is offered but turns down a position with the group. Elements of Black Lightning were controversial when the character debuted. In the character's early days, Black Lightning was depicted wearing a combined afro wig/mask and affecting an exaggerated Harlem jive vernacular as part of his efforts to conceal his identity as highly educated school professional Jefferson Pierce. Black Lightning later becomes one of the founding members of the Batman-helmed Outsiders superhero team.

In the 2000s, DC Comics introduced Black Lightning's daughters, who inherited metahuman abilities from their father. His eldest daughter Anissa, known as Thunder, can alter her density, rendering her almost indestructible, and create shockwaves by stomping the ground. Pierce's younger child Jennifer, also a superhero known as Lightning, has powers almost identical to her father though she is still inexperienced and not in full control of them.

Along with his presence in comics, Black Lightning has made various appearances in DC-related animated television series, video games and comic strips. The character is being portrayed in live action for the first time by Cress Williams for the self-titled The CW television series.

In 2011, he was ranked 85th overall on IGN's "Top 100 Comic Books Heroes" list.

Black Lightning
Black Lightning (DC Rebirth version)
Textless cover of Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands #1 (November 2017).
Art by Clayton Henry.
Publication information
PublisherDC Comics
First appearanceBlack Lightning #1 (April 1977)
Created byTony Isabella
Trevor Von Eeden
In-story information
Alter egoJefferson Pierce
Team affiliationsOutsiders
Justice League

Publication history

Black lightning JLA
Black Lightning, cover detail, Justice League of America #12. Art by Alex Ross.

The original candidate for DC Comics' first headlining black superhero was a character called the Black Bomber, a white racist who would turn into a black superhero under stress.[3] Comics historian Don Markstein later described the character as "an insult to practically everybody with any point of view at all".[4] When the editor who had approved the Black Bomber left the company before the character had seen print, Tony Isabella (whose previous writing experience included Luke Cage, a black Marvel Comics superhero with his own title) was asked to salvage the character. Isabella convinced editors to instead use his Black Lightning character, which he had been developing for some time.[5]

Isabella wrote the first 10 issues of Black Lightning before handing it over to Dennis O'Neil. Only one issue scripted by O'Neil came out before the series was canceled in 1978 as part of a general large-scale pruning of the company's superhero titles known as the DC Implosion. Issue #12 was published in Cancelled Comic Cavalcade and World's Finest Comics #260.

Black Lightning made a number of guest appearances in various titles over the next few years, including a string of issues of World's Finest Comics written by O'Neil, then shifted to Detective Comics and a two-part story in Justice League of America in which he declined an offer of membership. In 1983, with his powers restored, he regularly appeared again as a member of Batman's spinoff superhero team, the Outsiders. When The Outsiders ended, he returned to making occasional guest appearances.

In 1995, a new Black Lightning series began with art by Eddy Newell and again written by Tony Isabella,[6] who was fired after the eighth issue and replaced with Australian writer Dave de Vries. The series was canceled five issues after Isabella left the title, the decision having been made before these issues had seen print. Isabella said he believes the editor replaced him with a newer writer to consolidate his position in the company.[7]

A "Black Lightning: Year One" six-issue limited series, written by Jen Van Meter and illustrated by Cully Hamner[8] saw a bi-weekly release in 2009, and was nominated for two Glyph Awards[9] in 2010.

As part of the New 52, a revamped version of Black Lightning appeared in DC Universe Presents that was paired with the Blue Devil.[10]

Fictional character biography

Black lightning nowlan
Art by Kevin Nowlan (May 1988).

Year One

A gold medal-winning Olympic decathlete, Jefferson Pierce, returned to his old neighborhood in the Southside (Suicide Slum) section of the city of Metropolis, with his wife Lynn Stewart and his daughter Anissa to become the principal of Garfield High School. Southside, as it was once known, was where his father - renowned journalist Alvin Pierce - had been murdered. Guilt over this event was a factor in his decision to leave the city of Metropolis. Suicide Slum was being torn apart by a local organized criminal gang called the 100, shady corporations, and crooked local politicians like Tobias Whale. A family friend and tailor, Peter Gambi, had taught a much younger Jefferson how to suppress his inborn metahuman abilities so that he would not accidentally hurt any of the people he cared about.[11] Upon his return, Gambi suggested to Jefferson that he should use his powers to help the neighborhood, and refers him to a plaque with the paraphrased Milo Sweetman quote "Justice, like lightning, should ever appear to some men hope, to other men fear." (the original text of which was "Justice, like lightning, ever should appear to few men's ruin, but to all men's fear. Of mortal justice if thou scorn the rod, believe and tremble, thou art judged of God.") Appalled by the public murder of Earl Clifford, one of his more promising students, Pierce tried to intervene on behalf of the schoolchildren, but quickly learned that the 100 objected violently to any interference. Pierce adopts the costumed identity "Black Lightning" where he had the costume, mask, and wig made by his tailor Peter Gambi.[12][13]

Years later, he would tell fellow African American superhero Mister Terrific that he chose the name Black Lightning because he "was the only one of us around" at the time, and he "wanted to make sure everyone knew who they were dealing with."[14]


After his own series was cancelled, Black Lightning lost his electrical powers, but continued fighting without them. The loss eventually turned out to be psychosomatic, a symptom of a crisis of confidence resulting from the accidental death of a female bystander named Trina Shelton during an altercation between Black Lightning and some gun-wielding thugs. Batman, wanting to recruit him to rescue Lucius Fox in Markovia, helped him regain his powers; this eventually led him to join the Batman's Outsiders.[12] During his time with the Outsiders, a group of villains called the Masters of Disaster captured Black Lightning at the behest of the parents of Trina Shelton to avenge the death of their daughter;[15] however, upon learning that he still regretted what happened and was willing to be executed by them, they risked their lives to save him. During the Invasion! crossover, the Dominators detonated a Gene-Bomb that wreaked havoc with anyone possessing the metagene by making them lose control of their powers.[16] After the breakup of the Outsiders, Black Lightning moved to Brick City to continue his solo career.[17]

Secretary of Education

When Lex Luthor was elected President of the United States in 2000, he appointed Jefferson Pierce as Secretary of Education, Pierce accepting as he concluded that he could do more good working within the system than outside it.[12] He resigned amidst controversy over his "worst-kept secret in Washington" identity as Black Lightning, and his alleged inadvertent killing of a criminally-minded corporate CEO, for which President Pete Ross (who had since succeeded Luthor) then pardoned him.

Making frequent guest appearances in several DC series, Pierce has appeared in Green Arrow (who had a one-night stand with his niece, a successful attorney named Joanna Pierce). Pierce helped Green Arrow track down Dr. Light in the Green Arrow "Heading into the Light" story arc. He also appeared in the new Outsiders, of which his daughter, Anissa (using the alias Thunder), is a member. He came to fight the new Sabbac and help his daughter alongside Captain Marvel Jr. and the Outsiders. He had on an outfit that mixed his second outfit with the colors of the first. After teaming up with the Outsiders, incoming President Pete Ross asked him to resign as Secretary of Education and he did.

At some point prior to his resignation, Pierce used his pull in Washington to deny the powerful metahuman gangster known as Holocaust a permit to build a Casino on Paris Island in Dakota. This would come back to haunt Pierce sometime later when the enraged Holocaust attacked him while he was giving the graduation speech at Ernest Hemingway High School.[18]

Infinite Crisis

In issue #5 of the Infinite Crisis storyline, it was shown that Black Lightning was one of the eight people Batman had considered to aid him in destroying the Brother Eye satellite, which controlled the OMACs. Booster Gold, who was not on the list of eight, but knew about the candidates from his knowledge of the future, contacted Lightning before Batman did, as historical data from the future had shown who had aided Batman. Lightning accepted, arriving at the Bat cave to await orders. He then forged an uneasy yet effective alliance with Mister Terrific, combining their powers of electrical manipulation and invisibility technology to strike the villainous AI from the inside.

After the third Society of Super Villains was formed, Black Lightning (as a member of Brad Meltzer's new Justice League) began using his status as Lex Luthor's former Secretary of Education to gain information from super villains.[19]

Outsiders redux

In Outsiders (vol. 3) #45, it was revealed that three years have passed since Jefferson's niece Joanna Pierce was murdered, and that upon initially learning of her death, Jefferson went after the corrupt businessman Martin Somers, the man who was responsible. He had intended to wound Somers with his lightning shot, but apparently ended up killing him. Jefferson turned himself in to the authorities. However, it is revealed that Deathstroke was responsible for Somers' death by firing a dart of toxin to Somers moments before Jefferson shot his lightning. Hence, he was dead before he hit the ground. Jason Todd discovered the truth while eavesdropping on the assassin's conversation with Lex Luthor (who was really Alexander Luthor, Jr. in disguise) and contacted Nightwing with this information. When Nightwing and Anissa told Jefferson of this in prison, he disbelieved it and intended to pay for Somers' death. Anissa herself intended to break her father out of Iron Heights Prison. Upon learning from Todd that other inmates were about to carry out a contract hit on Pierce (whose identity as an inmate had leaked to unknown parties), the Outsiders resolved to assist her. They freed him from jail and, with the audio recording of Deathstroke's conversation, cleared his name.

Justice League of America

Years ago, Green Arrow brought Black Lightning to the attention of the Justice League of America, who extended an offer of membership to the protector of Suicide Slum. He turned down the offer, preferring to work as a loner and focus on street-level crime, though he did offer to become a reservist.[20] Years later, when all of the JLA reservists were called in to fight a newly revived Amazo, Black Lighting was one of the heroes called, confirming that the League had accepted his offer. Most recently, however, Black Lightning has joined the JLA, once again appearing with a modified costume.[12] He appears to be primarily based in Washington, D.C. again. Black Lightning assists the JLA with intelligence gathered from the criminal community. Many super villains still believe he is 'in' with Lex Luthor and are willing to cooperate. Jefferson also helps the team in a battle against Amazo. He was the first member of the League to respond to the recent attacks made by the Amazons of Themyscira, and he also saved the President of the United States in this event.

Black Lightning was the focus of the one-shot Final Crisis: Submit, in which he helped the new Tattooed Man and his family escape at the cost of his own freedom. He is subsequently shown in issue 4 of Final Crisis under Darkseid's thrall.


Recently, Black Lightning was recruited by Alfred Pennyworth to join a new version of the Outsiders following an attack by Doctor Hurt which left Thunder comatose. Unlike previous iterations of the team, these Outsiders must live "off the grid" and stay out of contact with friends and family for months at a time. It is confirmed that, due to this new commitment, Black Lightning has left the Justice League.[21]

The New 52

In DC's 2011 reboot of its continuity, The New 52, Black Lightning comes into conflict with Blue Devil, over their confrontation of Tobias Whale's crime wave.[22] He later made an appearance as a possible recruit for the Justice League.[23]

Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands

Tony Isabella, the creator of Black Lightning, rebooted the character in a new six part series that began in November, 2017. The series, which takes place in Cleveland, "forgets" much of the previous history of the character. Tony Isabella says that this will not be an "origin" story, but one may follow.

Powers and abilities

Originally,[24] he was described as having no innate powers, using a belt that allowed him to generate a force field and project electrical bolts. This power was later revealed to exist as a result of the Metagene, according to Invasion! #3.[25]

Black Lightning is able to shoot extremely powerful lightning bolts, strong enough to kill a man if he wanted to, but he usually uses the lightning to scare his enemies. When he does fire his lightning at people, he tries to stun if he can. In a pinch, he can also ionize the atmosphere, creating localized lightning storms which strike hundreds of times per minute. He can also create quick charges of electricity in his fists to give his punches more of a shock.

Besides being able to control electricity, Black Lightning can turn into electricity himself. In his electrical form, Black Lightning is almost invulnerable. He can’t be hit with physical objects, can’t be poisoned or infected with any diseases, and he doesn’t need air, food or water to survive. He can go through conditions that would normally kill him, and even into space, as electricity, and survive. He can shoot himself across vast distances in electrical form, but also travel the same way regular electricity can; by jumping into electrical cables or wires, Black Lightning can move through the power system as fast as a spark can. In this form, Black Lightning can pass through walls or solid objects, and can move extremely fast. With his power over electricity, he can also make magnetic fields, allowing him to move and control objects.

Black Lightning also has a mystical ability to throw a different type of lightning that is colored black; it is fueled by his rage, and he grows stronger as he gets angrier.

With his electrical power, he can create huge walls or bubbles of energy, which can take punishment in his place. These force fields can be used to block incoming fists, bullets, and other physical attacks, including cars that try to run him over. The fields block energy blasts from weapons or other metahumans, and they can even block explosions, keeping him from being hit by grenades or bombs. He also has the ability to sense electrical fields around him, and can tell where electricity is coming from and how strong it is.

His powers allow him to absorb energy in order to make himself stronger. Black Lightning can then make himself stronger, faster, heal quicker and produce more lightning. Any source of electricity will do, but he has a fondness for absorbing lightning from thunderstorms. He can even drain power plants, which give him a huge boost, even if it does shut down power for the rest of the city sometimes. He can also use this power in an offensive way by draining energy from machines that might be attacking him.

Supporting characters


Jefferson has had two daughters by his ex-wife Lynn Stewart, both of whom have followed in his footsteps and become superheroes. His oldest daughter, Anissa Pierce, has taken on the name "Thunder" and served on an incarnation of his team the Outsiders.[26] His 16-year-old, younger daughter Jennifer Pierce, was recently recruited by the Justice Society of America under the code name "Lightning".[27] A version of Lightning first appeared in Kingdom Come a 1996 miniseries published by DC Comics.

Pierce claims that people frequently ask him if he is the father of Static, much to his chagrin.[28] It is later revealed that Static is in fact a fan of Black Lightning and has a poster of the hero in his room in Titans Tower.[29] In Young Justice, after meeting and fighting alongside Static, Black Lightning offers to become Static's mentor.


Black Lightning's rogues' gallery consists of:

  • 100 - A criminal organization.
    • Tobias Whale - Black Lightning's archenemy, a crime lord who heads up the Metropolis branch of the 100.
    • Andrew Henderson - The son of Inspector Henderson who is a master of disguise.[30]
    • Cyclotronic Man - A former jewel thief who became a metahuman with powers similar to Black Lightning after being exposed to radiation. Following an earlier fight with Batman, Cyclotronic Man works as an assassin for the 100.[31]
    • Joey Toledo - A drug pusher who was responsible for the death of Earl Clifford.[32] He was killed by a League of Assassins operative.[33]
    • Syonide - A whip-wielding mercenary who is an expert toxicologist.[30]
  • Demolition - An armored supervillain.[34]
  • Ishmael - A shapeshifting servant of Tobias Whale who was sent to assassinate Gangbuster while posing as him, but was defeated by Black Lightning and Gangbuster.[35]
  • Lamar Henderson - A kid in Brick City and cousin of Gail Harris that was pressured into joining the Home Crew gang.[36]
  • Merlyn - An archer who is a member of the League of Assassins.[33]
  • Miss Pequod - The enigmatic secretary of Tobias Whale.[37]
  • Painkiller - A supervillain who was sent to kill Black Lightning.[38]
  • Queequeg - A shapeshifting servant of Tobias Whale and the brother of Ishmael.[37]
  • Sick Nick - A doctor-themed villain.[34]
  • Warhog - An assassin who was sent to kill Black Lightning.[39]
  • White Thunder - [40]

Other versions

  • Black Lightning has appeared in the Justice League Unlimited spin-off comic book. His appearances are in issues #15[41] and #27.[42]
  • During a Justice League mission, the Vixen encounters an alternate version of Black Lightning called the "Brown Bomber", a contemporary version of the original Black Bomber envisioned prior to Tony Isabella's involvement with the character.[43][44]
  • In the 1997 Tangent Comics series "Black Lightning" is the codename of Francis Powell a member of the Tangent World variation of the Metal Men as well as one of the key members of the government organisation Nightwing. He is in charge of a mission to apprehend the Lia Nelson version of The Flash with the help of "Dark Star" (Todd Rice).
  • Jefferson Pierce is featured in the Smallville Season 11 digital comic based on the TV series.
  • Black Lightning appears in the Injustice: Gods Among Us comic as a member of Batman's Insurgency. He aids them for Year One but disappears from the team in following years. The Year Five annual reveals this is because he became disillusioned by the drastic measures the Insurgency took, as he felt it made them no better than the Regime. However, he joins the Regime so that he can help rebuild Metropolis. He is visited by Batman and is informed that the Insurgency's plans are not yet over. In the sequel comic/prequel to Injustice 2, he rejoins the Insurgency after the fall of the Regime and is elected President of the United States after the deaths of several government officials caused by the actions of Aqualad on the order of Ra's al Ghul.
  • A version of Black Lightning appears on Earth-23 in the New 52 as part of a predominately African American Justice League led by a Black Superman.

In other media


  • A character based on Black Lightning appears in the cartoon series Static Shock, where he fights for the side of Soul Power, a retired hero with black visual power inspired by Black Lightning. He is voiced by Phil LaMarr.
  • Black Lightning appears in the Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode "Enter the Outsiders!", voiced by Bumper Robinson. He seems to be the lead of the trio composed of him, Katana, and Metamorpho. They work for a sewer dweller named Slug at first, but turn on him when Wildcat convinces them to fight for good. Black Lightning later uses his electricity to save Wildcat's life with instructions from Katana when the elder falls victim to a heart attack. Black Lightning and his comrades are later seen training with Batman in the teaser of "Duel of the Double Crossers!". Black Lightning's hatred for society is shown in "Inside the Outsiders!". Black Lightning had a fleeting cameo in "The Siege of Starro! Part One" (as one of the heroes under Starro's mind control) in which he blasted Firestorm with lightning and was shown to have a new costume. He reappeared in the teaser of "Requiem for a Scarlet Speedster!", in which he and the rest of the Outsiders (Katana, Metamorpho, Geo-Force, and Halo) help Batman stop Kobra and his cultists from completing a ritual. He and Geo-Force save Batman from being crushed by a snake. Though Batman compliments Black Lightning's ability to lead, the Outsiders forgot to take out the bridge behind them, resulting in reinforcements coming in.
  • Black Lightning appears in the "Thunder and Lightning" short of DC Nation Shorts, voiced by Blair Underwood.[45]
  • Black Lightning appears in Young Justice: Invasion, voiced by Khary Payton. In "Happy New Year", he is shown as a member of the Justice League five years later from Season One. In "Cornered", he attempts to remove the force-field that Despero has set in the Hall of Justice. He displays pitch-black electricity when using his powers. In "Endgame", Black Lightning and Static take down the Magnetic Field Disruptor in Dakota City. Afterwards, Black Lightning offers to be Static's mentor. In the third season, Young Justice: Outsiders, an incident where Black Lightning's powers supposedly kill a mutated 14 year old metahuman girl leads to Davis quitting the Justice League and considering quitting super heroics all together until he is convinced to join the Outsiders.
Black Lightning (Cress Williams)
Cress Williams as Black Lightning The CW TV series Black Lightning
  • Black Lightning, a TV series based on the character debuted on The CW on January 16, 2018. The series is written by the Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil, who also executive produce along with Greg Berlanti and Sarah Schechter, for Akil Productions and Berlanti Productions, alongside Warner Bros. Television. Fox gave the series a "pilot production commitment" in September 2016.[46][47] In January 2017, Berlanti stated the series, if ordered, would not crossover with his other DC Comics television properties on The CW nor would it exist in their established universe.[48] The following month, Fox passed on the series after deciding it was "not a good fit into its already crowded genre drama space."[49] Shortly thereafter, it was picked up by The CW with a pilot order.[50] The pilot episode was directed by Salim Akil.[51] Cress Williams plays Black Lightning.[52] In May 2017, The CW officially ordered the project to series.[53] In this show, Black Lightning operates in Freeland while Jefferson Pierce is the principal of Garfield High School.


  • LeVar Burton provides the voice of Black Lightning in his single speaking line in the animated movie Superman/Batman: Public Enemies. He is one of the heroes who agrees to work for Lex Luthor after the supposedly reformed villain is elected President.[54][55]
  • A version of Black Lightning known as Black Power appears as a member of the Crime Syndicate of America in the animated film Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths. The heroic Black Lightning also makes an appearance where his grunts are provided by Cedric Yarbrough who was uncredited for the role. He alongside Aquaman, Black Canary, Firestorm and Red Tornado, presumably appear as backup members of the Justice League where they help defend the Justice League Watchtower. Although their actual membership status is never explicitly stated,[56] Black Lightning, and the other backups, appear again after the final battle as Batman suggests initiating a membership drive.
  • Black Lightning appears in Teen Titans Go! To the Movies.

Video games

  • Bumper Robinson reprises his voice role of Black Lightning in Batman: The Brave and the Bold.
  • Alexander Brandon voices Black Lightning in DC Universe Online.
  • Black Lightning appears as a playable fighter in Injustice 2, voiced by Kane Jungbluth-Murry. He is the Premier Skin for Mortal Kombat character Raiden. In the mobile version, he is playable as "Multiverse Black Lightning", explicitly based on The CW's adaptation of the character.
  • Black Lightning appears as a playable character in the DC TV Super-Heroes DLC pack in Lego DC Super-Villains.

Comic strip

Black Lightning's earliest appearances outside of his own title in 1977 were in The World's Greatest Superheroes newspaper comic strip. There, he met Batman and other heroes before his rejection of Justice League of America membership.


  • The superhero Black Vulcan on Super Friends was supposed to be Black Lightning, but he could not be used due to disputes between DC and Black Lightning's creator Tony Isabella. Black Vulcan has the same powers as Black Lightning and wears a similar outfit too, albeit with a helmet more like the Flash's.
  • Sinbad appeared on Saturday Night Live dressed as Black Lightning, crashing Superman's funeral in an episode airing during the publication of The Death of Superman storyline. In the sketch, the other characters do not recognize him, even though he claimed to have taught Superman how to fly. As the superheroes leave to confront the Legion of Doom he is spotted at the buffet table grabbing the shrimp that Aquaman had brought to the funeral.
  • Black Lightning appears in an episode of Mad, voiced by Gary Anthony Williams. In the "That's What Super Friends Are For" segment, he and Plastic Man lead the other heroes in a musical number where they ask Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman about why their group is called the "Super Friends".


IGN listed Black Lightning as the 85th greatest comic book hero of all time, describing him as a "true hero and a born badass who has earned his spot on the Justice League".[57]


  1. ^ "DC, Tony Isabella Reach Agreement on Black Lightning". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved January 19, 2018. Note that the official credit reads Isabella "WITH" Von Eeden and not "AND".
  2. ^ Ross, Arnie. (February 16, 2018). "A Brief (Early) History Lesson on the Appearance of Black Superheroes in Comic Books". Hornet. Retrieved October 11, 2018. Note this reference ignores Teen Titan members Mal Duncan/Guardian/Hornblower and Bumblebee.
  3. ^ The Hembeck Files
  4. ^ Markstein, Donald D. "Don Markstein's Toonopedia: Black Lightning". Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  5. ^ Isabella, Tony (30 August 2007). "TONY'S ONLINE TIPS for Thursday, August 30, 2007". How did you come up with the character of Black Lightning? What was he intended to be? Describe the character as you created him." "That's a long story, which has been told many times. The short version is that I'd been working toward creating a new black super-hero who would be an iconic role model. The other characters I'd written along the way were stepping stones to Black Lightning. I created Jefferson Pierce to be a reluctant warrior, a man of many extraordinary talents who would hear the call of his community and respond to it, even at great cost to his personal happiness. When DC Comics planned to publish a black hero who was actually a white racist, I talked them into dumping that character and going with my creation instead.
  6. ^ Manning, Matthew K. "1990s" in Dolan, p. 269: "Writer Tony Isabella returned to his prized character, Black Lightning, in an ongoing series with artist Eddy Newell."
  7. ^ "Tony Isabella's post". Newsarama. Archived from the original on March 25, 2007. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  8. ^ DC Nation: #31 DC Comics website, October 18, 2006 Archived March 25, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Newsarama Archived 2010-02-21 at the Wayback Machine February 17, 2010
  10. ^ Campbell, Josie. "EXCLUSIVE: ANDREYKO SEES BLACK & BLUE IN "DC UNIVERSE PRESENTS"". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved October 17, 2013.
  11. ^ Black Lightning: Year One #1 (March 2009)
  12. ^ a b c d Beatty, Scott (2008). "Black Lightning". In Dougall, Alastair. The DC Comics Encyclopedia. London: Tate McRae. p. 51. ISBN 0-7566-4119-5.
  13. ^ As seen in Black Lightning: Year One #1 (March 2009)
  14. ^ Infinite Crisis #6 (May 2006)
  15. ^ Adventures of the Outsiders #34 June 1986
  16. ^ Invasion! #1 (January 1989)
  17. ^ Black Lightning Vol. 2 #1 (February 1995)
  18. ^ Brave and the Bold (vol. 3) #24
  19. ^ Justice League of America vol 2 #2 (November 2006)
  20. ^ Justice League of America #173-174 (December 1979 – January 1980)
  21. ^ Justice League of America (vol. 2) #31
  22. ^ DC Universe Presents #13. DC Comics.
  23. ^ Justice League #17. DC Comics.
  24. ^ Black Lightning #1 (April 1977)
  25. ^ Invasion! #3 (March 1989)
  26. ^ As seen in Outsiders vol. 3 #1 (August 2003)
  27. ^ As seen in Justice Society of America #12 (March 2008)
  28. ^ Justice League of America vol. 2 #27
  29. ^ Teen Titans (vol 3) #83
  30. ^ a b Black Lightning #3. DC Comics.
  31. ^ Black Lightning #4. DC Comics.
  32. ^ Black Lightning #1. DC Comics.
  33. ^ a b Black Lightning #2. DC Comics.
  34. ^ a b Black Lightning Vol. 2 #9
  35. ^ Black Lightning Vol. 2 #7. DC Comics.
  36. ^ Black Lightning Vol. 2 #1
  37. ^ a b Black Lightning Vol. 2 #8. DC Comics.
  38. ^ Black Lightning Vol. 2 #2. DC Comics.
  39. ^ Black Lightning Vol. 2 #12. DC Comics.
  40. ^ Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands #3. DC Comics.
  41. ^ "GCD :: Issue :: Justice League Unlimited #15". Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  42. ^ "GCD :: Issue :: Justice League Unlimited #27". Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  43. ^ Justice League of America (vol. 2) #26 (December 2008)
  44. ^ "What's Happenin' Baby? Meet the Brown Bomber!". 2008-10-31. Retrieved 2009-09-19.
  45. ^ "First Look: Supergirl, Wonder Girl and Batgirl From DC Nation Shorts". 21 February 2012. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  46. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (September 1, 2016). "'Black Lightning' DC Superhero Series In Works From Greg Berlanti, Mara Brock Akil & Salim Akil". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved September 1, 2016.
  47. ^ Perry, Specer (September 8, 2016). "FOX Picks Up DC's Black Lightning TV Series". Retrieved September 8, 2016.
  48. ^ Gerding, Stephen (January 9, 2017). "FOX'S BLACK LIGHTNING SHOW WON'T CROSS OVER WITH THE ARROWVERSE". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved February 3, 2017.
  49. ^ "'Black Lightning' Drama Eyes Move To the CW To Join Greg Berlanti Comic Lineup". Deadline Hollywood. 3 February 2017. Retrieved 9 March 2017.
  50. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (February 3, 2017). "'Black Lightning' DC Drama From Greg Berlanti & 'The Game' Duo Gets The CW Pilot Order". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 3, 2017.
  51. ^ "Pilot Season 2017 Yields Only One Female Drama Director As Diversity Slips Further". Deadline Hollywood. 23 February 2017. Retrieved 24 February 2017.
  52. ^ "Black Lightning: Cress Williams to Star in The CW's Latest DC Comics Pilot". tvline. 24 February 2017. Retrieved 24 February 2017.
  53. ^ Abrams, Natalie (May 10, 2017). "Black Lightning ordered to series at CW". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved May 11, 2017.
  54. ^ "LeVar Burton Takes On Black Lightning For 'Superman/Batman: Public Enemies'". MTV. August 21, 2009. Retrieved July 21, 2015.
  55. ^ "OAFE - DC Universe Classics: "Public Enemies" Black Lightning review". Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  56. ^ "STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI - First Trailer Released". Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  57. ^ "Black Lightning is number 85". IGN. Retrieved May 9, 2011.

External links

100 (DC Comics)

The 100, The 10, and The 1000 are fictional organized crime groups appearing in comic books published by DC Comics. The 10 debuted in Superman #665 (September 2007) and was created by Kurt Busiek and Rick Leonardi. The 100 debuted in Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #105 (October 1970) and was created by Bob Kanigher. The 1000 debuted in Booster Gold #2 (March 1986) and was created by Dan Jurgens.

1952 Vincent Black Lightning

"1952 Vincent Black Lightning" is a song by guitarist Richard Thompson from his 1991 album Rumor and Sigh. It tells the story of a thief named James and the girl Red Molly whom he charms with a ride on his 1952 Vincent Black Lightning motorcycle. In 2011 Time magazine listed the song in its "All TIME 100 Songs", a list of "the most extraordinary English-language popular recordings since the beginning of TIME magazine in 1923," praising it as "a glorious example of what one guy can accomplish with just a guitar, a voice, an imagination and a set of astonishingly nimble fingers."Despite not being issued as a single, the ballad became a fan favourite and is one of Thompson's most highly acclaimed solo compositions. A live version of the song appears on Thompson's album Two Letter Words: Live 1994.

The band Red Molly, who has covered the song, takes its name from the lead female character in the song.

Black Lightning (TV series)

Black Lightning is an American superhero television series developed by Salim Akil, airing on The CW. It is based on the DC Comics character of the same name, created by Tony Isabella and Trevor Von Eeden. It stars Cress Williams as the titular character alongside China Anne McClain, Nafessa Williams, Christine Adams, Marvin Jones III, Damon Gupton, and James Remar. The series sees the retired Black Lightning return to the hero life and its effects on his family life.

Development on the series began in September 2016 when Fox ordered a pilot production commitment for Black Lightning. In February 2017, Fox passed on the series, with it being picked up by The CW with a new script for the pilot. The CW officially ordered the series in May 2017. The first season premiered on January 16, 2018, for a 13-episode run. On April 2, 2018, The CW renewed the show for a second season, which premiered on October 9, 2018. On January 31, 2019, The CW renewed the series for a third season.

Black Lightning (season 1)

The first season of the American television series Black Lightning, based on the DC Comics character Jefferson Pierce / Black Lightning, premiered on The CW on January 16, 2018 and ran for 13 episodes until April 17, 2018. The season introduces us to Jefferson Pierce, a high school principal who retired from his superhero identity Black Lightning nine years ago after seeing the effects it had on his family, is forced to become a hero again when the rise of the local gang called The 100 leads to increased crime and corruption in his community of Freeland. The season is produced by Berlanti Productions, Akil Productions, Warner Bros. Television, and DC Entertainment, with Salim Akil serving as showrunner.

The season was ordered in May 2017 as a pilot and filming began in September. Cress Williams stars as Jefferson, along with principal cast members China Anne McClain, Nafessa Williams, Marvin "Krondon" Jones III, Christine Adams, Damon Gupton, and James Remar.

Black Lightning (season 2)

The second season of the American television series Black Lightning, which is based on the DC Comics character Jefferson Pierce / Black Lightning, premiered on The CW on October 9, 2018 and ran for 16 episodes until March 18, 2019. The season continues to follow Jefferson, now a high school teacher who recently re-emerged from retirement as the superhero Black Lightning, as he fights against the rising crime and corruption propagated by the local gang called The 100 in his community of Freeland. The season is produced by Berlanti Productions, Akil Productions, Warner Bros. Television, and DC Entertainment, with Salim Akil serving as showrunner.

The season was ordered in April 2018 and production began that June. Cress Williams stars as Jefferson, along with principal cast members China Anne McClain, Nafessa Williams, Marvin "Krondon" Jones III, Christine Adams, Damon Gupton, and James Remar also returning from the previous season, while Jordan Calloway was promoted to the principal cast from his recurring status in season one.

China Anne McClain

China Anne McClain (born August 25, 1998) is an American actress and singer. She is a member of the sister girl group McClain. McClain's career began in 2005 when she was seven years old, acting in the film The Gospel (2005). She also played China James in Tyler Perry's Daddy's Little Girls (2007), along with Idris Elba and her two sisters. However, she became nationally known after 2007, when she joined the cast of the series Tyler Perry's House of Payne as Jazmine Payne. In 2010, she co-starred in Grown Ups (2010) as Charlotte McKenzie. McClain became internationally known after starring in the Disney Channel original television series A.N.T. Farm, landing the role as Chyna Parks, from 2011 to 2014. Disney released the soundtrack of the television series A.N.T. Farm on October 11, 2011.

McClain sings six songs and two solos with her sisters on the soundtrack, which debuted in the Billboard 200 at number 29 with 14,000 copies sold in its first week. On the soundtrack, McClain sang her version of Taio Cruz's "Dynamite." The release containing the song "Calling All the Monsters" reached the eighty-sixth spot on the Billboard Hot 100. McClain was a co-star in the 2013 sequel Grown Ups 2. In 2014, she appeared on the reality singing competition series, ABC's Sing Your Face Off and was the youngest contestant on the show, winning the show's first season. McClain starred as Gabby Harrison in the Disney Channel original movie How to Build a Better Boy (2014) with Kelli Berglund. She also appears as the main villain Uma in the Disney Channel Descendants 2 (2017), playing Ursula's daughter.

In 2018, McClain began portraying Jennifer Pierce in The CW superhero series Black Lightning. She also returned to her character (Jazmine Payne), as a recurring cast member in OWN’s "Tyler Perry’s The Paynes".

Cress Williams

Cress Williams (born July 26, 1970) is an American actor, known for his roles in Prison Break and Close to Home. His most recent roles include Mayor Lavon Hayes on The CW series Hart of Dixie as well as the title character on The CW's Black Lightning. Williams is also best known for his recurring role as Terrence "Scooter" Williams on Fox's Living Single.

Inspector Henderson

Inspector William Henderson is a supporting character in Superman comics published by DC Comics.

Along with comic books, Henderson has made appearances in various television shows and the character is portrayed by Damon Gupton in the live action series Black Lightning.

Lightning (DC Comics)

Lightning is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. Not pinpointed with direct reference, Lightning first appears in the miniseries Kingdom Come in 1996, written by Mark Waid and illustrated by Alex Ross. The character is given official introduction in Justice Society of America vol. 3 #12 (March 2008), written by Geoff Johns and illustrated by Dale Eaglesham in the Modern Age of Comic Books.

Born Jennifer Pierce, she was born a metahuman in the DC Universe. She is the second child of superhero Black Lightning and the younger sibling of Anissa Pierce, the heroine known as Thunder. Forbidden to use their abilities until completing their educations, Pierce was put in contact and later becomes a member of the superhero team the Justice Society of America. Her father orchestrates this so Jennifer would not endure the hardships her sister did while transitioning into crimefighting. She possesses abilities similar to her father's of electrical generation and manipulation as well as flight. Thus far in her narrative, Pierce has not gained full control of her abilities.

Along with comic books, Lightning has made appearances in various television shows and the character is portrayed by China Anne McClain in the live action series Black Lightning.

Looker (comics)

Looker (Emily "Lia" Briggs) is a fictional character, a superhero in the DC Universe of comic books. The character's first appearance was in Batman & the Outsiders #25.

Looker made her first live appearance in the second season of Black Lightning played by actress Sofia Vassilieva.


In DC Comics' DC Universe, a metahuman is a human with superpowers. The term is roughly synonymous with both mutant and mutate in the Marvel Universe and posthuman in the Wildstorm and Ultimate Marvel Universes. In DC Comics, the term is used loosely in most instances to refer to any human-like being with extranormal powers and abilities, be they cosmic, mutant, science, mystic, skill or tech in nature. A significant portion of these are normal human beings born with a genetic variant called the "metagene", which causes them to gain powers and abilities during freak accidents or times of intense psychological distress.

The term as a referent to superheroes began in 1986 by author George R. R. Martin, first in the Superworld role playing system, and then later in his Wild Cards series of novels.

Outsiders (comics)

The Outsiders is a fictional superhero team appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. As its name suggests, the team consists of metahuman superheroes who do not fit the norms of the "mainstream" superhero community (the Justice League).

The Outsiders has had a number of different incarnations. They were founded by Batman, whose ties to the League had become strained, and introduced the classic line-up of Batman, Black Lightning, Metamorpho, Geo-Force, Katana, Halo and Looker. A later incarnation of the Outsiders from early 2000s comics was led by Nightwing and Arsenal following the dissolution of the Teen Titans superhero group, and depicted the team as a pro-active group hunting for super-criminals. For the team's third incarnation, Batman reforms the team as a special strike team featuring classic members Katana and Metamorpho alongside new recruits such as Catwoman and Black Lightning's daughter Thunder. After the Batman R.I.P. storyline, Alfred Pennyworth acts on Batman's instructions to reassemble the team once more, recruiting new members and more of the team's original lineup.Another version of the team with a familiar lineup briefly featured in Batman Incorporated in 2011 as the black ops section of Batman's organisation. Following DC's 2011 reboot, a new version of the Outsiders is introduced in the pages of Green Arrow as a secret society represented by seven weapon-themed clans. Members in this incarnation include Katana, Onyx, and several new characters. The original Outsiders are returned to continuity in 2017, following DC Rebirth, once again as a secret team founded by Batman; Batman revives the team with a new lineup in 2018.

Peter Gambi

Peter Gambi is a character appearing in comics published by DC Comics and is a supporting character of Black Lightning. He is the brother of Paul Gambi. Peter Gambi first appeared in Black Lightning #1 and was created by Tony Isabella and Trevor von Eeden.

Gambi has made appearances in several comic books and the character is portrayed by James Remar in the live action series Black Lightning.


Syonide is a name of different villains in DC Comics. The first was an enemy of the Golden Age Wonder Woman. The second was a hitman for hire who worked for Tobias Whale and who clashed with Black Lightning. The third also worked for Whale and was Halo of the Outsiders's nemesis. The fourth was a woman named Nikki who was part of Lady Eve's Strike Force Kobra, fought Looker and Eradicator of the Outsiders, and was her teammate Fauna Faust's girlfriend.

The World's Greatest Superheroes

The World's Greatest Superheroes was a syndicated newspaper comic strip featuring DC Comics characters which ran Sunday and daily from April 3, 1978, to February 10, 1985. It was syndicated by the Chicago Tribune/New York News Syndicate.

Initially starring Superman, Batman, Robin, Wonder Woman, The Flash and Black Lightning, it underwent several title changes, as the focus changed to primarily feature Superman.

Writers: Martin Pasko scripted at the beginning. Paul Levitz took over October 15, 1979 until March 22, 1981, with his initial story coming from a Pasko idea. Gerry Conway then picked up the assignment. A continuity from Mike W. Barr followed, appearing October 26, 1981 through January 10, 1982. Paul Kupperberg handled continuities from January 11, 1982, until the end, including a segment from January 12 through March 12, 1981, that he ghosted for Levitz. Bob Rozakis wrote all but two of The Superman Sunday Special.

Artists: Initially dailies and Sundays were pencilled by George Tuska and inked by Vince Colletta. At various times from April 25 until November 13, 1982, the strip was worked on by Tuska, Colletta, José Delbo, Bob Smith, Frank McLaughlin and Sal Trapani. Delbo and Trapani then illustrated the feature from November 14, 1982 until the end.

Thunder (comics)

Thunder is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. The character was created by writer Judd Winick and artist Tom Raney in the Modern Age of Comic Books. She is first mentioned in Green Arrow vol. 2 #26 (July 2003) and first appears a month later in Outsiders vol. 3 #1. Born Anissa Pierce the eldest daughter of superhero Black Lightning, she is a metahuman in the DC Universe. She is capable of increasing her physical density, rendering herself bulletproof, and creating massive shockwaves when stomping upon the ground.

Pierce is also the older sister of Jennifer, herself a superhero operating under the alias Lightning. Against her parents' wishes, Anissa chooses to utilize her abilities to fight crime. She is invited and accepts a position with the superhero team the Outsiders. Pierce is involved in a relationship with her teammate Grace Choi.

Along with her presence in various comic books Thunder has made appearances on a number of television shows and appears in the live action series Black Lightning where she is portrayed by Nafessa Williams.

Tobias Whale

Tobias Whale is a fictional character, a supervillain appearing in comic books published by DC Comics. He is the archenemy of Black Lightning.

Whale has been portrayed in a few shows and films. The character is portrayed by Marvin "Krondon" Jones III in the live action series Black Lightning.

Tony Isabella

Tony Isabella (born December 22, 1951) is an American comic book writer, editor, artist and critic, known as the creator and writer of Marvel Comics' Black Goliath; DC Comics' first major African-American superhero, Black Lightning; and as a columnist and critic for the Comics Buyer's Guide.

Vincent Black Lightning

The Vincent Black Lightning was a Vincent-HRD motorcycle first built in September 1948 at the Vincent works in Great North Road, Stevenage, Hertfordshire, UK, and produced from 1948 to 1952. The bike was a purpose-built factory modified Black Shadow that was then named and produced as the Black Lightning. At the time the Black Lightning was the fastest production motorcycle in the world.

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