Usually, if a comic book adaptation hits big, the publisher of the source material will make changes to better reflect the more widely seen TV show or movie, but in the case of ‘Black Lightning‘, the reverse is happening. Tony Isabella, who created the character, as well as his supporting cast and villains, is back at DC to craft a new ‘Black Lightning’ comic book as a reaction to the hit series on The CW, but he is making some changes.
When he first introduced the crime boss Tobias Whale, he was an albino. This is reflected on the TV series, with the casting of Marvin “Krondon” Jones III, the actor/rapper who also has albinism. But in the new ‘Black Lightning’ comic, Isabella says:
“Tobias Whale is not an albino in the new comic book series, because I got tired of every albino being a villain in comics. But I have promised Krondon that I will create, and have created a new albino superhero. It’s just a question of, if I do more Black Lightning stories, I’ll use him there — if not, I’ll use him somewhere else.”
To be honest, I’m not sure who these other albino villains are, but I’ll take Isabella’s word for it.
While that change makes the new comic different from the show, Isabella drew inspiration from one aspect of the show that most viewers are probably unaware of. Christine Adams, who plays Jefferson’s ex-wife, Lynn Stewart is British and her accent so impressed Isabella that he re-wrote the character in the comics to also be British. However, on the TV series, Lynn will remain all-American.
Isabella also discussed a change that the show had to make to the comic book story, in order to get by TV standards.
“I know that in one of the early versions of the scirpt, the crucifixion scene from the very first Black Lightning comic — where a high school student was strung up on a basketball court — I know that was in one of the earliest versions of the scripts, and that didn’t make it in. It amazed me that I was able to put that in a comic book in 1977 and they can’t put it on a television show in 2017.”
‘Black Lightning’ airs on The CW on Tuesday nights at 9pm EST, following ‘Arrow’.