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CSBG Archive

A Year of Cool Comic Book Moments – Day 200

Here is the latest cool comic book moment in our year-long look at one cool comic book moment a day (in no particular order whatsoever)! Here‘s the archive of the moments posted so far!

For cool comic book moment #100, I went with a legendary moment that almost all of us know by heart, so for #200, I figured I would mix things up a bit and go pretty much a complete 180 from that moment and show a cool comic book moment in a less-famous issue that has never been reprinted (at least I ‘m pretty darn sure it has not been reprinted).

So enjoy, from Tony Isabella and Eddy Newell, a cool comic book moment from Black Lightning (Vol. 2) #5…

So the set-up for this series is that Jefferson Pierce (Black Lightning) has come to a rough town termed “Brick City” to help clean up the city as both superpowered vigilante and inner-city school teacher.

Well, at the end of issue #4, a student that Pierce and another teacher were trying to keep away from gangs was shot at – while Pierce was shot a few times, the other teacher was killed after throwing himself in front of the targeted boy.

Black Lightning #5, by Tony Isabella and Eddy Newell, tells the story of Jefferson’s stay in the hospital following the shooting…

As you can see, there is a mix of color and basically black and white throughout the issue – the past is colorized and the present is a murky dark mess…

Jeff’s estranged (or was it ex at this point in time?) wife Lynn stops by to comfort him, although it only leads to some more almost self-pity on Jeff’s part, including a sad story about where he was when Superman died…

A strange man in a suit stares at Jeff from the hallway earlier in the issue, and finally, he comes to talk to Jeff, and it is a great scene…

I suppose “the” moment for me was, indeed, the ending – but damn, there are a lot of good moments mixed in there – it’s hard to choose the main one.

It’s a great issue, and well worth picking up in the back issue bins (heck, the first 8 issues period are great – sadly, Isabella was fired after writing 8 issues and then the series became, well, not as good).

Here’s to 165 more moments!!

42 Comments

What was the reason for the firing? Bad sales?

He was fired before the first issue even came out – change of editors on the title led to a change in the creative talent on the book (for whatever reasons the editor might have – I know Isabella has said in the past that he thinks it was mostly a political move).

I’ve never read those issues-I never even knew there was a Black Lightning series in the ’90s-but that’s a pretty breathtaking sequence.

Tom Fitzpatrick

July 20, 2009 at 2:51 am

I’m in SCALPED-less shock.

We need more SCALPED moments.

Brian, are you saying that they had 8 issues in the can before they released one? Or that they were told they were fired before they had to leave the book? Because 8 issues of lag time seems like a lot more than what they have now.

Yeah, there seems to be a good Legends story behind this if they had 8 issues done before the firiing.

My favourite moment there is ”I can’t remember his face”.
Heartbreaking.

Woohoo! No more SCALPED moments! Not that I don’t like the series, but I’m only up to volume 2 and didn’t read any for fear of spoilers.

This Black Lightning moment is pretty crazy stuff, the panel right after “his kind of courage is the only hope we have” is likely the moment for me. Nothing in this issue is anything we haven’t seen before, but it’s so well-done in terms of art, dialogue and overall construction that I wish this was available in trade.

Creative shakeups aren’t uncommon when a new editor or EIC comes in. The same thing happens with movie studio executives. They’ll often stop movies that are in pre-production. The thinking goes something like this:

If they greenlight these movies and they succeed, they won’t get the credit, because they didn’t greenlight them originally.
If they greenlight the movies and they tank, they get all the blame for not not seeing the problems they had.
If they drop the movies, chances are no other studio will pick up the property, and most people will forget it was ever in the pipeline.

The same thing is kind of true in comics. Before 2000 or so, when it became much more common for creative teams to change once or twice a year, you could see writers stay on a title for 5-6 years or longer. But if your an older collector, go back and check your collection. I’m betting that within 6 issues of a new editor coming on board, you’ll see either a creative change or a strong editorial direction change (major team roster change, new supporting cast, setting changes from Earth to space, something like that).

Thank you. You just made my week.

OK, this might sound strange since, in some way the Scalped moments and this moment are somewhat similar, but I found last week so DULL. I haven’t read either of these comics, but this Black Lightning moment really stood out more to me…haven’t seen anything similar before. Very awesome.

-D

Very cool moment, and interesting too. I had no idea there was a Black Lightning series of any worth in the 90s, but this looks really good.

Also, I feel bad that I had to skip the majority of last week’s Scalped moments, but I’m still only on the first trade and I don’t want to spoil any of it for myself. Reassuring to know that there’s plenty to look forward to! Aaron is a pretty great writer and I’m interested to see what he does on Punisher Max.

I can’t quite make out what is going across Black Lightning’s mouth in the black and white panels on the first page you posted. Could someone fill me in?

Wow, what a great moment. I didn’t even know this series existed.

I liked the opening scenes you posted best. Gonna go see if I can find some of these..

Re: Scalped. Skipped these for the same reason as some of you. Love Jason’s writing, but haven’t caught up with this series yet. Gonna do so soon.

to me the moment is not only black lighting learning walter knew he was black lighting and black lighting calling walter a hero but also black lighting learning his friend was gay. and letting walters companion know his love died being a true hero. as for why its not reprinted dc would have to repay tony reprint royalties and given tony and dc history over black lighting the issue is not ever going to be reprinted

Ted — if I remember correctly, Isabella did have, indeed, eight scripts in the can before #1 ever showed up. (There was also a script for #9 that ended up not being used.) And the official reason for the firing was “lateness.” Which of course, was that much more ludicrous.

Fascinating to compare Tony Isabella’s take on life in the inner city with Jason Aaron’s take on life on the inner-city-like reservation. The environments are similar, but Isabella’s characters seem noticeably more articulate, thoughtful, caring, and empathetic. I.e., more humane and human. I wonder why that is.

Joemac, I believe that it is a breathing tube going across his face. The part we see is the air tubes coming up to his mouth and they feed into the tube going down his throat to his lungs, At least that is what I think. This was a way better moment than any of the scalped ones. Those ones were far from what I would consider “cool comic book moments”.

A couple of quick notes to answer questions…

“Brick City” was a neighborhood in Cleveland, based on a real-life neighborhood in Cleveland. I never named Cleveland as the comic’s location because I didn’t want the rest of the DCU to know where BL was. :)

Other location names in the series are also nicknames for parts of Cleveland and its suburbs.

I was fired the day after I sent in the unused script for Black Lightning #9. So I’d written nine issues before the first issue came out. I was well ahead of the official DC schedule and a little behind the exclusive-to-Tony-Isabella schedule devised by Pat “the Rat” Garrahy. In one more script, I would’ve been ahead of even that bogus schedule because I had dropped all comics work except for BL.

Yes, DC would have to pay me to reprint my stories. Just as they have paid the writers of all the reprinted BL stories not by me. Pretty much every Black Lightning story not written by me has been reprinted. Not one of my stories have been reprinted.

When BL’s 25th anniversary was drawing near, I tried to license the rights to reprint all of my BL stories to celebrate the occasion. As much as possible over the Internet, DC laughed in my face.

I don’t want to take away from Brian’s column, which has made my week and then some. Folks can feel free to ask me any other BL questions at: tony@wfcomics.com

P.S. If you’re going to Comic-Con in San Diego, stop by the Comics Buyer’s Guide booth where they have previews of my new book, 1000 COMIC BOOKS YOU MUST READ. Thanks.

Jeff Albertson

July 20, 2009 at 10:41 am

The first 8 issues of Black Lightning Volume 2 were true gems. It’s good to see some attention given to them. DC really does need to reprint them.

I got those eight issues at the time– in part because I’d become familiar with Isabella online, and understood that this was a creator’s long-awaited return to his creation.

They were superb. That brief run was, along with Chase, one of the great overlooked gems and lost opportunities of the 90s.

It’s all good, Tony, feel free to answer whatever questions you’d like here!

“As you can see, there is a mix of color and basically black and white throughout the issue – the past is colorized and the present is a murky dark mess…”

I absolutely love Eddy Newell’s art.

http://www.eddynewell.com/cpg/thumbnails.php?album=lastup&cat=0

And check out this one he did for Moonstone.

http://www.eddynewell.com/cpg/displayimage.php?album=lastup&cat=0&pos=36

Never read BL, but based on these scans, I would totally buy a trade of these 8 issues.

-D

That black and white art is gorgeous.

Wow. I’d read good things about Isabella and Newell’s BLACK LIGHTNING (I think from either Randy Lander or Don MacPherson) but this was my first chance to actually see some of it. That is powerful stuff.

Damn. I’ve been trying to cut down on expenses, but I think I need to do some back-issue bin cruising and find these 8 issues.

I loved these 8 issues and it was the only time I really enjoyed Black Lightning as a character. The new costume was also a great re-imagining for BL. Shame they had to go back to a more generic design. Tony Isabella you are the man!!!

The whole lot of pages are great, but man, that first page is awesome (and not just because it looks world’s better than any comic I can remember reading back in 1995). I agree with Snapper — “I can’t remember his face” is such a random, real, heartbreaking line, it’s the moment for me too.

Have a good day.
John Cage

Ryan A. Brandt

July 21, 2009 at 12:56 am

I haven’t commented on any of these, but I had to on this one.

For me, the moment is this line…

“Don’t tell me he was a hero. Heroes die all the time and then they come back. This was the man I loved– and he’s not coming back!”

Because in that one line, with Samuel Daly lamenting the loss of his love, even the watered-down notion of death in comics feels real and tragic. That was powerful and it’s the type of emotional drama I WISH I could write in my own works.

I’ll have to track this series down now, no doubt.

Folks, those first 8 issues of BL are some of the finest comics you’ll ever read. But even though you’ll end on an unresolved note, consider stopping there. The drop in quality is jarring.

Ethan Shuster

July 21, 2009 at 9:54 am

That series — I suppose this early run of issues — was a favorite of mine, even though I knew it probably wasn’t going to last. Stuff that good and different and set apart from the Superman / Batman superhero dynamic rarely last long. Not sure why.

But, that era of DC did have a number of mainstream comics that seemed almost experimental because they were out of the norm. They of course didn’t last very long. Hourman and Martian Manhunter both come to mind.

reminds me of a situation of mine where for the life of me i couldn’t remember the name of a man who i’d known who died of AIDS. He and i did some performances together [he was the lead and i was background] and he was always very nice to me. It drove me crazy and i was so dissappointed in myself that i couldn’t remember his name. Then i found the program from his funeral and now i have his name in my memory forvever. So, this story, while also being great, rings a personal bell for me. Thanks!
DFTBA

First time “year of…” has inspired me to go buy the back issues, and Mile High had them all at a good price.

Yup! I’m going to have to go and buy those issues. Mile High, eBay… wherever I can find them.

JJ, Blackjak, and others…

You kids are making my day. If only DC felt the same way about my work…

Great moment, Brian.

To Tony Isabella: It’s been years since I’ve read that comic — since it first came out and I bought it and took it home. That’s quite a while ago now. But I’ve always remembered its heart, along with the grace of Walter & Samuel’s coming out. (A story like that was much rarer 14 years ago. Handled as well as you handled it, well, that’s still rare in superhero comics today.) You wrote some beautiful drama — and it was accompanied, of course, by that gorgeous mixed-media art. Hopefully you take heart that it’s not only been remembered by some of us all this time, but now new fans are discovering it.

Just wanted to say, I ordered issues 1-8 from Silveracre comics (UK) for a real bargain. Arrived last week. Looking forward to reading them.

Wow…this is nice. I don’t think I could pick just one ‘moment’.

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