espanolbot: (Default)
[personal profile] espanolbot posting in [community profile] scans_daily
Here I post bits from an underrated miniseries by one of DC's underrated characters...

Years after he left Metropolis' South Side to pursue teaching jobs in other cities, Jefferson Pierce returns to his old neighbourhood to reform a school so bad that the last headteacher hanged himself in the gym. He and his wife, who is narrating, give some backstory as they drive through the area to his mum and sister's house, which they've bought so that they can move away...







After they arrive, they meet his family, and Pierce is angry that they have a shotgun for scaring away people from the edge of their property, when his niece Joanna (you know, the woman who'd grow up to be a lawyer who sleeps with Green Arrow so he'd feel bad when she was murdered immediately afterwards) reveals that she was the one who bought it due to being constantly harassed by the local gangs. He grumbles about it, but eventually accepts that the situation was such that they needed to defend themselves.

Later, the Jefferson's family's stuff shows up, only for their open gate meaning that people automatically start stealing their stuff.









After this, he drops in on Peter Gambi, an old friend of the family's who acted as a surrogate father for Pierce and his sister after their father was murdered. He tells him to drop around later, and it turns out that he knows about the electrical powers that have been bothering his wife too.

The next day, Pierce starts his first day at the school, where one of the teenagers from before sets fire to his office to show off the power of the local gang, so he ropes the other to help him rescue some stuff. The damage to the school is such that the lessons have to held in the gym as the fire brigade were deliberately late as they thought that it was another prank fire alarm, which had resulted in their guys being assaulted in the past.

Later that night, the 100 strikes again, nailing the kid who helped Pierce to the school trophycase to punish him for helping out the new headteacher. This murder causes Pierce to immediately start a secret investigation to find out who the kill is, beginning his supehero career...

Date: 2012-08-15 04:46 pm (UTC)
theflames: The Joker best expression. (Default)
From: [personal profile] theflames
Black Lightning will always be such a stupid... stupid name.

Along with Black Panther, and Black Goliath. Anything pre-fixed with Black, just because the character is black - stupid.

Really needed to get that out of my system. Sorry.

Anyway, lemme actually appreciate this post and take the time to read it, thanks.

Date: 2012-08-15 07:00 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] cricharddavies
What an interesting and original perspective. Tell me then, oh sage, what should he be called instead?

Date: 2012-08-15 07:30 pm (UTC)
theflames: The Joker best expression. (Default)
From: [personal profile] theflames
Anything that isn't prefixed with Black, would be an improvement, oh silly, and young student.

Static seems to be just doing just fine without referencing his skin colour. Unless you think you wouldn't know he's black without the name?

Date: 2012-08-15 08:07 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] cricharddavies
So you actually don't have any ideas, you can only criticise other people's. Good to know.

Date: 2012-08-15 08:17 pm (UTC)
theflames: The Joker best expression. (Default)
From: [personal profile] theflames
I posted a list of names on my other comment -- I just honestly didn't feel like creating names at that moment, filling in Student Finance is mentally draining.

Though if you can't do, you can't criticise? You must love every movie, comic and song that came out. :/

Date: 2012-08-16 01:44 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] cricharddavies
Criticise all you want. "Opinions are like BLEEP, everyone has at least one." But if you mock a single specific part of something, you should at least be able to back up your implicit claim that you could do better.

And looking at your list of names, no you can't.

Date: 2012-08-16 02:04 am (UTC)
theflames: The Joker best expression. (Default)
From: [personal profile] theflames
We all have bleeps? Awesome sauce.

Funnilly enough, I never said I *couldn't* do better, I said ANYTHING would be a better name than that.

I've already listed my alternative names, you don't like them? MEH! My opinion is valid, and explained... unlike yours, which is vague, I mean - do you like the name? Do you think it's a good name? Do you think the reasons behind it our correct?

You know what I'm more interested in?

How do you, sir, go on in life? I mean, from what you've said you must not criticise anything... which is incredibly amazing? Unless you only criticise things you know you can do better in... which in this world, narrows it down to not a whole lot.

I don't need to know how to build a chair to know when one is of pretty poor quality.

I've ticked everything off on your 'valid opinion checklist', and instead of telling me why I'm wrong, you just say I'm not entitled to an opinion - which... is a brilliant offence if I'm honest, they should do that in political debates, seems totally legit.

And who's mocking? I'm disagreeing, the name is bad, it should be retconned, or at least changed In-universe, and there are hundreds of alternatives. Mine aren't 5 star, (though i really want a hero to be named after a Yoruba/Nigerian god, would love it!) but they give a lot more respect to a character than just slapping their race on 'em and calling it a night. Be specific, *why* are the names listed worse than Black Lightning? You're allowed to have an opinion mate, just make it well explained and clear.

'Implicit claim' ? BAH! I never did such a thing i did, but I think I could do better, to be honest, based on the grounds that racial pre fixing is simply terrible, and just about anything is better.

Edited Date: 2012-08-16 02:07 am (UTC)

Date: 2012-08-15 08:17 pm (UTC)
salinea: (Default)
From: [personal profile] salinea
It's a good thing the only qualification one needs to legitimately criticise stuff is to read/watch them, then. Otherwise we'd be in a world where only published writers are allowed to dislike stories and the great majority of people who actually read them and thus are in the best position to appreciate them or not would have no say. That would suck.

Date: 2012-08-15 08:24 pm (UTC)
theflames: The Joker best expression. (Default)
From: [personal profile] theflames
Though, I'd honestly like to see what you think of five other names I'd choose for a black man with lightning based powers.

Discharge
Shango (Yoruba thunder/lightning god)
Surge (meh.)
Oya (West African Thunder/weather god) (X-men get points for already grabbing this one, they decided not to call Idie Black-Fire-Ice-Girl, which was a good call... i think.)

I like Discharge, but Shango sounds bad-ass. Dunno why, just seem to like it, plus it gives him some type of country background/educates a little.

Date: 2012-08-15 09:27 pm (UTC)
icon_uk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] icon_uk
Unfortunately, I feel that Discharge would sound like a medical condition! :)

Shango appeared a good while ago as one of the heroes of Africa in Mandrake's Firestorm run.

Have to say I've always liked the sound of the name "Black Lightning", especially as he was occasionally drawn with black lightning as a power effect.

Date: 2012-08-16 03:47 am (UTC)
panthyr: (Default)
From: [personal profile] panthyr
"One night, a depressed Jefferson Pierce consumed an entire bag of fat-free chips containing olestra. Ever after, he would be the man known as - DISCHARGE!"

Date: 2012-08-16 07:31 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fredneil.livejournal.com
I'm not sure naming black heroes after African gods is much better, especially if they're not actually African. It's just a slightly more subtle way of emphasizing that the character is black. You don't have Captain JHWH and Super Jesus running around, and if anyone is named after Greek or Roman gods, there's a good chance it actually is that god.

Come to think of it, a black person in America is probably more likely to be familiar with Christianity than with African gods, so why not draw upon that?

Date: 2012-08-16 08:43 am (UTC)
theflames: The Joker best expression. (Default)
From: [personal profile] theflames
Hmmm, is he African? If he's Jamaican or Caribbean, then fair dues, but I'm pretty sure he's African american, anyway, I wouldn't name every black god after African mythology, but a few wouldn't bother me.

It's not boiling him down to his skin colour, just referencing a culture (something any skin colour can at least integrate to - I have white Nigerian friends, and I know of Asian-African people in Nigeria). I'd just like to have a hero named after Yoruba gods, because I feel the comic book world is in a very small bubble of referencing these days. It's my own little thing, unrelated to this Black lightning thing.

I'm thinking more towards manga anyway, where alot of characters will have god names as codename because their powers are related to such. I'm black british, i identify myself as British, born and raised, if I had superpowers, I'd reference African *mythology* simply because of originality sakes and I like the sound of them. Mainstream religion wouldn't be my first choice because it's mainstream, and Greek/Roman/Yoruba/Japanese/Etc. are for the most part refereed to as mythological and not accepted as fact. Hell I'd call myself Raijin because I enjoy japanese mythology.

I don't think making your superhero name out of mainstream/widespread religion would be a good idea, since of all the baggage and implied relations that go along with it.

Anywho, boiling it down, any name be it that of some thunder god, some reference to the science of lightning, sound effect etc, would be better than Black lightning.

Date: 2012-08-16 12:14 pm (UTC)
icon_uk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] icon_uk
Black Lightning is an African-American, not an African.

Date: 2012-08-16 01:12 pm (UTC)
theflames: The Joker best expression. (Default)
From: [personal profile] theflames
...I said he was African American in the line after? "But I'm pretty sure he's African American..."

But yeah, thats cool, I remember when I went to America, New York, I had this little talk with a New Yorker, about how british and american people of black origin label themselves.

Call me Nigerian, black, african, black-british; all those terms apply in one way or another, so I'm not bothered, but they seem to be very careful with what they label themselves in America.

Date: 2012-08-16 02:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fredneil.livejournal.com
"African American" is just another way of saying "black," though. It doesn't mean he necessarily knows anything about Africa or has any connection to African culture. It's entirely possible that he could be familiar with African mythology. He could be referencing an African god to show pride in his ethnicity (though the same claim could be made about calling himself "Black Lightning"), or he could just like the sound of the name. In-story, it's a valid approach, but from a real world perspective, DC would still be tagging black heroes with a black-sounding name. As you point out, there are exceptions, but most people associate "African " and "black." Tangentially, suppose one of your white Nigerian friends moved to the US and his great grandson called himself "African America," (and for the sake of this hypothetical, let's assume cultural attitudes haven't changed by then). It would technically be as accurate as Jefferson Pierce calling himself that, but a lot of people would be bothered by it.


I agree that it wouldn't be a good idea for DC to take a name out of a current religion for the same reason, I'm just thinking that--again, in-story-- it would be more likely for a person who had super powers to draw upon that for a name. Obviously, that's not true for everyone, but the various mythologies are more esoteric than Christianity, though Greek and Roman are closer to common knowledge in the US. Honestly, if you called yourself Raijin, it wouldn't mean anything to me, but if you took a name from Christianity, I'd have a fair chance of recognizing the reference.


Thinking about it, though. There's no reason why his name would have to be explicitly connected to his powers, though. Wonder Woman's doesn't. Batman's doesn't. Superman's only does in a vague way. In this case, I'd think Jefferson Pierce would be more likely to choose a name connected to what he saw as his mission. I can't see DC going for "The Avenger," or "The Resurrection," though. One would get them sued and the other boycotted.

This is making me realize how hard it it to come up with a good name as a superhero. Everything I think of is either a cliche or sounds like a 60s Dial H for Hero character.

Date: 2012-08-16 07:08 pm (UTC)
theflames: The Joker best expression. (Default)
From: [personal profile] theflames
"African American" is just another way of saying "black,"

I imagine it's very easy to have a White African American. Most people would be wrong to associate Africa with black, not, 'your racist' wrong, just not on the ball.

Though lemme clear up - he could be called anything that basically didn't make it just about the fact he was black. Anything with a little depth basically.

Take Batman, you have the batmobile. Take Black-Lightning, you have the... blackmobile? He just deserves a name that has depth and isn't based on his skin colour.

though I'll 100% admit that the name choices (just the yoruba ones) I had were not fitted for Black Lightning, they're more for my own characters - I just think they are a hundred alternatives to what we already have with him. Ones that could be epic and stick, and not cause this issue.

On the last half of your post, haha, your 100% right, names don't have to be the power, and all superhero names sound cheesy when you're making em up on the fly! It takes me pretty long to figure out any names I'm comfortable with.

Date: 2012-08-15 07:52 pm (UTC)
venatosapiens: griffin vulture (Default)
From: [personal profile] venatosapiens
Unless the name is Black Dynamite. In which case it is absolutely acceptable.

DYNA-MITE!

Date: 2012-08-15 07:59 pm (UTC)
theflames: The Joker best expression. (Default)
From: [personal profile] theflames
... I'll give you that one.

Date: 2012-08-15 07:54 pm (UTC)
sun_man: this is Dick Grayson (Default)
From: [personal profile] sun_man
people really need to get over the whole "he has Black in his name" thing. At the time in the 60's or 70's it was done for dumb reasons, but in 2012 its really not a big deal. And frankly it sounds cooler than just Lightning or Panther, or Lightningman or Pantherman.

Bronze Tiger, Red Ranger, White Tiger, Black Bat are much better names with the adjectives than without. I swear people get so overly sensitive these days and this really isn't an issue to get worked up about

Date: 2012-08-15 08:13 pm (UTC)
theflames: The Joker best expression. (Default)
From: [personal profile] theflames
Then you think of a better name than just 'Lightning' - heck, retcon his Lightning to actually be black, then you've got cool looking powers and a legitimate name.

Discharge
Shango (Yoruba thunder/lightning god)
Surge
Oya (X-men get points for already grabbing this one, they decided not to call Idie Black-Fire-Ice-Girl, which was a good call... i think.)

Panther sounds a lot cooler than Black Panther, because that name is stupid, and redundant. When I think panther I don't immediately think yellow. I think Black, you don't need to make it any more obvious.

Those other names are PERFECTLY fine, because they have NOTHING to do with the characters race (if they do, then that's not cool), your listing of them showed me you missed the point entirely.

It Cassandra Cain's new identity was called Yellow Bat, instead of Black Bat, that'd be messed up. Black Lightning boils his race down to his identity, as if we couldn't tell he was before hand.

It's silly, and should be retconned, there is no arguing that to be honest, you're right it's 2012, which makes the name all the more eye-roll worthy.

White-Iron Man,

Captain-White-America,

White-Spiderman,

Asian-Used-To-Be-White-British-Telepath

White-Cyclops

Black-Weather-Machine

Black-War-Machine

White-Maybe-Ethinically-Jewish-Phaser.

No, I'm wrong, this method of naming is *awesome*.

Anyway, this post seems to have been high-jacked by my comment. So, my bad.
Edited Date: 2012-08-15 08:14 pm (UTC)

Date: 2012-08-15 08:43 pm (UTC)
theflames: The Joker best expression. (Default)
From: [personal profile] theflames
I know thaaat, Psylocke was the character I was referencing haha, used to be white, now she's asian and all that lol.

Date: 2012-08-15 09:30 pm (UTC)
icon_uk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] icon_uk
I think that Psylocke is a very bad example to use in any discussion of ethnicity, since she isn't Asian in anything other than a body she was forced into against her will. She wasn't raised, as she was born, raised and lived as a white woman.

Date: 2012-08-15 11:59 pm (UTC)
theflames: The Joker best expression. (Default)
From: [personal profile] theflames
Lol, that's a whole 'nother bag of worms.

Ethnicity.

I debate that my mind has no ethnicity - it's my mind. So Psylocke can still very much be Asian, it's basically her body now, if she had a child it'd be asian.

Though my headcanon would have it as this; she was originally a white, mind is now in an Asian body, but slowly began to look more and more like a mix between a white and asian person. Due to her telepathic powers creating a 'I think, therefore I am' kinda thing. hehe.

But yeah, Asian, I think she can make claim to being ethnically asian now. But whatevs, since that was a *very* off-hand comment.

Date: 2012-08-16 12:12 am (UTC)
icon_uk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] icon_uk
Your mind would likely be shaped by your ethnicity, by the life experiences you had as an Asian person as opposed to a Caucasian person. The cultural norms, the prejudices she might have experienced as a Japanese child are very different from those she would have had as white girl whose family are landed gentry.

So dumping her into an Asian body at the age of 20 something, she has none of those experiences to give context to her appearance, and I definitely wouldn't say she could, or would, claim to be ethnically Asian now.

Date: 2012-08-16 12:46 am (UTC)
theflames: The Joker best expression. (Default)
From: [personal profile] theflames
I know she wouldn't (don't know the character well enough to even think she jokingly would) - but she could, genetically, she is now Asian. My mind is shaped, in part, by my ethnicity, but my mind does not *have* an ethnicity, that's all down to the physical aspect of me.

BTW... when she was dumped into the Asian body... did she ever try to get her old one back? Was there any ever panic? Cause that would really mess with me...

Date: 2012-08-16 11:30 am (UTC)
sadoeuphemist: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sadoeuphemist
But ethnicity isn't a state of mind, it's a social construct. If she is transferred into an Asian body, she will from then on be seen as Asian by society, treated as such, subject to the cultural stereotypes this entails. She will immediately begin accumulating the experiences you're talking about.

I have no idea if this would make her ethnically Asian, but for example a white woman adopted by Japanese parents and raised Japanese and treated as such by her immediate community during her formative years, still wouldn't be ethnically Japanese, I don't think.

Date: 2012-08-16 12:10 pm (UTC)
icon_uk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] icon_uk
Good point on the "from that moment on". Her reaction to them would still not be the norm for someone who had been born and grown up in that society, but I suppose she would adjust over time, though how far is probably a case by case issue.

And agreed, probably not on that last point, though I'm sure Chris Claremont would have some interesting discussions on the concept, what with Betsy, AND the Caucasian couple being turned into Native Americans in the New Mutants all those years ago, AND Emma and Storm bodyswapping for a time... Gosh, one might suspect Mr Claremont of having certain... opinions about such things. ;)

Date: 2012-08-16 07:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fredneil.livejournal.com
White-Maybe-Ethinically-Jewish-Phaser.

If you're thinking about Shadowcat, unless it's been retconned, there's no maybe about it. You left out Jewish Rocks. Or Bricks Without Straw.

Date: 2012-08-16 02:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fredneil.livejournal.com
Super Kryptonian-American!
BatWASP.

For that matter: WASP Wasp.

Date: 2012-08-15 08:16 pm (UTC)
michael_ellis_day: (Default)
From: [personal profile] michael_ellis_day
A little historical perspective:

http://www.proudrobot.com/hembeck/blacklightning.html

Yes it may seem stupid now, because it IS stupid, but try to bear in mind the context in which those characters were created.

First, creators often had to fight with editors and publishers to introduce black characters. They didn't always win: in the Legion of Super-Heroes of the late Sixties, both Ferro Lad and Shadow Lass were intended by Jim Shooter to have brown skin. Nelson Bridwell had to fight tooth and nail to make the black member of the original Secret Six the scientist, and not the stereotypical boxer the editors asked for. Shooter lost both battles, Bridwell won his.

Editors and publishers: completely vile and cowardly? Maybe. But the threat of none of your company's comics being carried in certain towns because your comics were "integrated" was a real threat. Some folks said that's a threat worth taking...but in fairness those weren't the folks who were about to be fired.

Some folks may have felt that if books with black lead characters were going to get any traction in the market, they needed to announce themselves to black readers to make up for the readers lost due to racism. Something had to say "black lead character here" for purely commercial reasons, or so the thinking went. So we get a Black Panther and a Black Goliath and a Black Lightning. (We might have had Black Storm too, but she came later.)

I'm not saying this was RIGHT. I'm saying, understand the history before you judge it too harshly. These people may have been wrong, but they weren't always being crass. Sometimes they made compromises. And you might prefer the compromise of a Black Lightning to allowing a "Black Bomber" ever to exist.

Date: 2012-08-15 08:21 pm (UTC)
theflames: The Joker best expression. (Default)
From: [personal profile] theflames
Oh I know back in the time it 'needed' to be done, I'm just saying that the comic industry retcons everything under the sun, and they can't retcon this?

Perhaps if the character existed in canon as only being active in the 60s and 70s, just when Black superheroes were emerging, it'd be cool, but I'm supposed to accept a man would name himself that in such modern times. (Unless his character is openly sarcastic, and enjoys race jokes?)

I know back then it was acceptable, even 'fair, imo. But, now, it's simply isn't needed. They'll retcon marriages, but not this? But I see where your coming from.

Date: 2012-08-15 08:41 pm (UTC)
theflames: The Joker best expression. (Default)
From: [personal profile] theflames
I know what you mean, a funny joke a black african-british comedian made, "My family never believed in Santa Claus, because my mum never wanted a large jolly white man to take credit for the presents we got."

So when's he's wearing a hood and all that, in the situation, that perfectly fine to be honest, when he's on the Justice League, with his skin obviously on show, then maybe the character could've have just said 'call me Lightning'.

Date: 2012-08-15 08:42 pm (UTC)
theflames: The Joker best expression. (Default)
From: [personal profile] theflames
Thanks for the explanation though :)

Date: 2012-08-16 12:18 am (UTC)
icon_uk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] icon_uk
Storm was originally intended to have different powers, she was going to be able to assume the form of a cat (like Catseye would some years later), and her planned name actually was "The Black Cat". (Felicia Hardy wouldn't even debut until 1979, so the name was free)

Date: 2012-08-16 12:44 am (UTC)
theflames: The Joker best expression. (Default)
From: [personal profile] theflames
...Good lord...

We dodged a bullet... I couldn't imagine that being as iconic either.

Date: 2012-08-16 12:35 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] turlock
Only one I have to disagree with is Black Panther. Hes named after an actual animal called that. And dressed up like one. So. Yeah. All the other ones. Yeah. Blech.

Date: 2012-08-16 12:43 am (UTC)
theflames: The Joker best expression. (Default)
From: [personal profile] theflames
That one has never bothered me as much, I just giggle at the redundant name, otherwise, whatevs :D

Date: 2012-08-15 08:37 pm (UTC)
theflames: The Joker best expression. (Default)
From: [personal profile] theflames
Finally read the post!

And I could almost forgive the character's super name from what I've seen here. I don't think they have the trade at my library (which is a shame since they have alot of the greats.) But I'll get this down the line i hope, I like the art aswell.

Black Lightning is one of the character's that could easily get a movie made out of him.



Date: 2012-08-16 02:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fredneil.livejournal.com
He did call himself "Black Lightning" in the original series from the beginning.

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