DC Comics drama “Black Lightning,” from executive producers Mara Brock Akil and husband/producing partner, Salim Akil (“Girlfriends,” “The Game,” “Being Mary Jane”) has moved from Fox to The CW with a formal pilot order, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Greg Berlanti, who produces several other DC properties for the CW (“Supergirl”, “The Flash”, “Arrow”) is also executive producing the project.
“Black Lightning” was one of DC Comics’ first major African-American superheroes when it debuted in 1977 from creators Tony Isabella and Trevor Von Eeden. Should the drama move to series, it would be one of the first broadcast shows to feature an African-American superhero as its lead, joining Netflix drama “Luke Cage,” which hails from Marvel Comics.
The hourlong drama will center on Jefferson Pierce, who hung up his suit and his secret identity years ago. However, with a daughter hell-bent on justice and a star student being recruited by a local gang, he’ll be pulled back into the fight as the wanted vigilante and DC legend Black Lightning.
“Black Lightning” marks the first pilot pickup to come from the Akils’ overall deal with Warner Bros. Television. It was originally set up at Fox in September following a multiple-network bidding war.
Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond has more than 175,000 volumes in its Comic Arts Collection, including more than 125,000 comic books. The university recently acquired a rare copy of All-Negro Comics No. 1, the first comic book written and drawn solely by African American writers and artists.
The 48-page comic book was published in 1947 and features characters such as police detective Ace Harlem and Lion Man, a college-educated scientist and superhero. All-Negro Comics No. 1 was published by Philadelphia newspaperman Orrin C. Evans.
A letter from the publisher in All-Negro Comics No. 1 reads: “Dear Readers: This is the first issue of All-Negro Comics, jam-packed with fast action, African adventure, good clean humor and fantasy. Every brush stroke and pen line in the drawings on these pages are by Negro artists. And each drawing is an original: that is, none has been published ANYWHERE before. This publication is another milestone in the splendid history of Negro journalism. All-Negro Comics will not only give Negro artists an opportunity gainfully to use their talents, but it will glorify Negro historical achievements.”
It was the first and only published comic in the series.
More than 100,000 people attended the International Comic Convention (aka Comic Con) in San Diego this year, but only a few walked away winners of an Eisner Award, one of the most prestigious honors in the comics industry – an Eisner is equivalent to an Oscar. I was honored to be one of those winners, along with co-editor Ronald Jackson for the book, “Black Comics: Politics of Race and Representation.”
In 2009 I embarked on writing my dissertation at Howard University on Aaron McGruder’s “The Boondocks” comic strip. Much to my dismay there were no published works that provided a historical account of the contributions of African-American cartoonists on the funny pages.Most books that dealt with the history of American comics, failed to even mention Black artists – this was the impetus for the book, “Black Comics: Politics of Race and Representation.”
Admittedly, I had not been an avid comic book or graphic novel reader as a child, but even so, as a critical media scholar I knew I needed to do whatever I could to fill this void within academic literature.When I first heard about the Eisner nomination for Best Academic/ Scholarly Work during the winter of 2014, I was amazed. Rarely, does an academic have the opportunity to cross over to the popular culture realm for an academic book. Since this was my first book, I was just happy to be nominated but did not expect to win.
On Friday July 25th, the Eisner award ceremony was held at the San Diego Hilton Bayfront hotel, with doors opening at 7:00 p.m. The ceremony consisted of fans seated in the back and Eisner nominees seated closest to the stage. Upon entering I immediately noticed the attendance of Jack Mendelsohn (writer for “Ninja Turtles”), Reginald Hudlin (Producer of “Django Unchained”) and Orlando Jones (actor).