Friday, February 5, 2010

Famous First Fridays: Black Lightning

Greetings, Groove-ophiles! Today's Famous First is a two-in-one. When Black Lightning hit the stands in January, 1977, the mag was not only the first issue of the first DC mag to be headlined by a black character, but it was also the first professional comicbook to be drawn by the awe-inspiring Trevor Von Eeden. Now, admittedly, Von Eeden's pencils for BL #1 aren't yet up to the levels of magnificence he'd reach during the 80s, but considering they're the first pro work of a 17 year old, he not only holds his own with his circa 1977 peers, but surpasses many of them (just dig page 13--that is one inspired piece of storytelling, and it's an excellent indicator of how great Von Eeden would become). Now, normally this is where I'd go into a deep and detailed behind-the-scenes/history of Black Lightning, but since Mr. Von Eeden, himself, has a magnificently written and profusely illustrated (dig those early character designs!) web page that covers it all first hand, Ol' Groove will contain himself and direct you there. And if you're interested in Von Eeden's bio, or seeing more samples of his art (spend extra time on his Batman and Green Arrow samples--they rock hard, man!) Trevor Von Eeden's Official Web-Site is a great place to spend some quality comicbook time! Meantime, check out today's Diversion--Black Lightning #1, written by BL creator Tony Isabella penciled by (duh!) Trevor Von Eeden, and inked by Frank Springer!

Black Lightning's mag lasted only 11 issues. After that, he could be found hidden in a Dollar Comics issue of Detective or World's Finest. He spent a big chunk of the 80s as a member of The Outsiders and enjoyed a short revival of his own title in the 90s. Today he's a member of the JLA while his progeny hang out with teams like The Outsiders and JSA. What Ol' Groove can't figure out is with Trevor Von Eeden still alive, well, willing, able, and even more talented than ever...why aren't he and Black Lightning reunited in a brand new mag? Why DC? Why?


  1. I met Von Eeden at a convention in 2002 and he drew a fantastic 1977 version of Black Lightning for me. He's truly an underrated talent.

  2. I was happy to see this posted. I loved Black Lightning back then. I even had a fan site for awhile clled Black Lightning Limited. Thanks for the memories.

  3. Black Lightning was dark and gritty in all the right places. I really should complete my BL collection, as I suspect that DC will collect the BL stories sometime between "maybe" and "never".



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