This has been a good week for fans of DC Comics superhero, Black Lightning. Not only are we now receiving the first look at Cress Williams in costume for the upcoming CW TV series, but original Black Lightning creator Tony Isabella is finally going to get the royalties and credit he's owed from DC Comics. Isabella created the character in 1977 and has been in dispute with the company for years. If you've ever seen the cheesy Super Friends knock-off, Black Vulcan, that was DC's way of using the African-American hero without having to pay Isabella a nickel. Here's Isabella's statement:
DC Comics/Entertainment has authorized me to release this statement on the company’s behalf and my own:
DC Comics/Entertainment and Black Lightning creator Tony Isabella have reached a mutually-beneficial agreement on Tony’s past and future contributions to the company. DC is pleased it will again have access to Tony’s talents and insights. Tony is thrilled to be once again associated with one of the top entertainment powerhouses of our era. This is good news all around.
Ok, back to the series, which has begun production in Atlanta. The image of Williams comes minus the giant afro, which I have to admit is a little disappointing. It's very much in keeping with the character's most recent look.
Black Lightning is another Greg Berlanti production, with Salim Akil and Mara Brock Akil as showrunners. Salim Akil will write and direct the pilot, which follows Jefferson Pierce, a former Olympian born with the ability to control electromagnetic fields. After his father was murdered he moved away from Metropolis' Suicide Slums, but returned as an adult with his wife and daughters to work as a high school principal. He's forced into action upon the death of a promising student to the gang violence that threatens the city.
Here are a few words from Akil on what the Black Lightning character means to him.
"I knew way too much about the world as a young boy growing up in Richmond, California. “I was no stranger to violence, death, hopelessness or the feeling that no one cared about what was happening in my life… Comics were a great way for me to escape. I was about 13 when Black Lightning was created, and finally there was a Black Super Hero that gave a damn about our neighborhood and our lives.”