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Black Lightning was DC Comics' first black superhero with his own series. He was created by Tony Isabella and debuted in Black Lightning #1 (April, 1977), although his series only lasted a year before falling victim to a mass cutback that resulted in twenty DC titles being cancelled. He continued to make guest appearances, was a founder member of Batman and the Outsiders, and served with the Justice League of America. He got another series of his own in the 1990s, again written by Tony Isabella, which lasted slightly longer than the first one had.

Black Lightning was Jefferson Pierce, who grew up in a slum in Metropolis, made good as an athlete, and returned to his old neighborhood to teach at the high school and help the next generation make something of themselves. Finding the neighborhood in the grip of organised crime, he became a costumed superhero equipped with a belt that gave him electrical powers. Later in his career, as so often happens, he developed the ability to manifest the powers without the belt.

Black Lightning has not appeared in any other media until recently, when the Outsiders appeared in Batman the Brave And The Bold. Since then he has also appeared in the animated movies Superman/Batman: Public Enemies and Justice League Crisis On Two Earths and the DC Universe Online video game. It has been noted that the history of DC Comics spin-offs also includes several characters that could have been Black Lightning but for some reason weren't, including Black Vulcan in Superfriends and Soul Power in an episode of Static Shock.

Black Lightning provides examples of:

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