Getting To Know DC Comics’ First African American Hero Black Lightning

Tonight on the CW will be the premiere of yet another superhero television show, Black Lightning. For that reason let’s take a moment to take a look at Jefferson Pierce aka Black Lightning.

Pierce grew up in a part of Metropolis that was called the Suicide Slum, but he is able to graduate from Garfield High School and go on not only graduate college, but also become an Olympic decathlon star. He later returns to Garfield High taking the job as the principal. Pierce is one of many humans that had been born with superhuman abilities known as metahumans in the DC Universe. He ends up adopting the alias Black Lightning to fight the criminals and corruption in his town.

Black Lighting has the ability to generate, control and manipulate electricity. It is unknown how much electrical power he can actually generate. He can even use his powers to heal himself or others. Besides that he is a very capable boxer having been trained by Wildcat, an expert acrobat and became a master martial artist after being trained by Batman for several years. He has been featured as part of the Outsiders as well as brief appearances with the Justice League.

Pierce has two daughters with his former wife who are also metahumans. His older daughter named Anissa goes by the name Thunder. She can increase her physical mass making her almost indestructible and is able to create shock waves by stomping the ground. His younger daughter Jennifer has similar powers to Black Lightning, but does not have a good handle using them.


Jefferson Pierce aka Black Lightning first appeared in comic books during the Bronze Age of comic books. He was created by Tony Isabella and Trevor Von Eeden in DC Comics’ Black Lightning #1 in April of 1977. Tony Isabella was specifically brought in to develop this character by DC Comics having previously done work with Marvel Comics’ Luke Cage. Black Lightning is DC Comics’ first African American superhero and the first to have their own series under that publisher.

Black Lighting has been featured in many animated television shows and films. For example as a member of the Outsiders in Batman: The Brave and the Bold. He has also been a part of Justice League Unlimited, Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, Superman Batman: Public Enemies as well as Young Justice: Invasion. Currently in comics, you can find Black Lightning in DC Comics’ Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands miniseries written by his creator Tony Isabella with art by Clayton Henry.

Last but not least, we can also see Black Lightning tonight, and Tuesday’s going forward, on the CW in the self-titled show Black Lightning, starring Cress Williams as Jefferson Pierce. The show was created by Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil, alongside executive producers Greg Berlanti and Sarah Schechter.

One common mistake by audiences is that Black Lightning and Static Shock are the same character, which is not true. Are you hyped for the premiere of Black Lightning? What do you think of the character overall? Let us know in the comment section below!

CW’s Black Lightning premieres tonight at 9 p.m. on The CW.

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Emmanuel Gomez

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