Amped Up

Tony Isabella noted on his blog earlier tonight that DC is finally soliciting a trade paperback collecting the original ’70s run of Black Lightning in the current Diamond Previews catalog for April release.

Black Lightning, in blue outfit with black and white accents, yellow lightning-bolt design, and open V-neck baring chest, speaking to someone off-panel.
Panel from "Nobody Beats a Superman!" in Black Lightning #5 © 1977
DC Comics. Script: Tony Isabella. Pencils: Trevor Von Eeden. Inks: Vince
Colletta. Letters: Ben Oda. Colors: Liz Berube. Editing: Jack C. Harris.

I’m thrilled to hear this. Like so many who’ve met him and so many more who only know him through his writing or interactions online, I adore Tony — in part because of how he wears his considerably sized heart on his sleeve, yeah, but also because he’s made some excellent comics.

Tony was the first comics pro I ever interviewed, nearly 25 years ago now, followed
in very short order (at the same Mid-Ohio convention) by his good friend Bob Ingersoll and his new collaborator Eddy Newell. Eddy was the artist on a fresh, long-awaited Black Lightning series written by Tony, his creator, that wouldn’t debut for more than
a year. It proved to be a powerful take on humanity within the superhero genre that ended unhappily (to way understate the case) both for readers and for Jefferson Pierce’s real-world dad.

Black Lightning knocking a man through a window as others lie unconscious on floor of room behind them.
Cover to Black Lightning #1 © 1977 DC Comics. Pencils: Rich Buckler. Inks: Frank
Springer. Letters: Unknown. Colors: Tatjana Wood. Editing: Jack C. Harris.

When plans for this collection were first uncovered via advance solicitation online last July, Tony shared details about his recent rapprochement with the DC PTB. Nothing is guaranteed in this world but gears seem to be moving in the right direction. I’m un-surprised to hear that, despite his paternal and proprietary feelings, Tony lobbied for the next volume to collect solo and team-up adventures written by other hands after his ’70s run ended, before we get to a Vol. 3 collecting those ’90s tales crafted by Tony and Eddy.

However, Vol. 1 has to sell well enough first. I’ll definitely be voting with my wallet and hope you do the same.

Updated and revised January 2019

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