Jul 15, 2015

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 141: Black Lightning #9, May 1978 (Two Weeks From The Dollar Bin - Day 5)

This comic, or my version of it, at least epitomizes something I was talking about in my post about the dollar bin. There's a scan of the cover of my actual copy there that will show you how worn this comic is. The top staple has come loose from the cover, the pages are faded, there's a hunk of the lower right corner missing. But all the pages are still there, thumbed and touched into a pleasant roundness. This comic has been read. Considering the publication date, it's been read for about 37 years. Or has been circulating, anyway. How did it come to be in the particular shape that it's in? Was it one of the comics that was just always at someone's cottage through their adolescence, a memory of vacations with family? Was it handed down, from brother to brother, father to daughter, over the course of almost 40 years until it found its way into my collection? I like to think it's found the place it was always meant to be.

I liked this story, but then I've always liked Black Lightning. I've mentioned once or twice on this blog an old DC Blue Ribbon Digest I had as a child. I blame my love for all things Animal Man on this lovely little "Secret Origins" special. Black Lightning was also one of the characters featured in that book. I only, really, have a tangential knowledge of him, but I enjoyed the characterization in this issue. The writing is just the right balance of gritty urban and cheesy seventies, and the Von Eeden/Colletta is so emblematic of the era that you can't help but love it. BL's relationship with the police in this comic is great, exactly how a superhero/police relationship ought to be - reciprocal.

Also, BL's pimp side-kick, Two-Bits, is hilarious for all the wrong reasons.

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