WATCH: 7 essential Black Lightning stories

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Jan 15, 2018, 2:26 PM EST (Updated)

Created in 1977 by writer Tony Isabella with artist Trevor Von Eeden, Black Lightning was DC Comics’ first African-American superhero to star in his own comic book series. The character will make his live-action debut next week on The CW when the show premieres following The Flash’s midseason return on Tuesday, Jan. 16.

Ahead of Black Lightning’s hotly anticipated debut, SYFY WIRE is taking a look at seven of his essential comics. These are a must-read for every fan of the electrifying hero, or for those just on the road to discovering the awesome character of Jefferson Pierce.


The first title on our list is 1977’s Black Lightning Vol 1 #1, which tells the origin story of the character. Then we have Black Lightning Year One #1-6 (2009), a miniseries that expanded on those origins, offering new insights into the character and making him a metahuman with two metahuman daughters.

Third on the list is Black Lightning Vol 1 #7-8 (1978), which introduced archnemesis Tobias Whale and The 100. Both will be featured on The CW series. At number four is Justice League of America #173-174, published in 1980, a storyline that saw Black Lightning being recruited by Green Arrow into the Justice League, but things don't actually turn out as expected. 

The fifth essential Black Lightning story is found in Batman and the Outsiders #10 (1984). It featured a supervillain group called the Masters of Disaster hired to kill Pierce by the parents of a woman who was accidentally killed by our hero.

At number six is Outsiders Vol. 3 #9-10 (2004), where Jefferson’s daughter Anissa joins superhero team the Outsiders as Thunder. Dad also joins the team for a mission in the hopes of persuading his daughter to quit the superheroing business. Anyone want to guess if that move actually worked?

Last but not least on our list is 2008's Final Crisis: Submit #1. The story takes place during the Final Crisis, where Black Lightning is one of the few superheroes left still in control of his faculties, and where he plays a key role in saving the planet.

Any other Black Lightning stories part of your own must-read list? Let us know in the comments!

Additional material by Nathalie Caron.