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Black Vulcan
BV 1
Information
Real name: Unknown
Species: Metahuman
Homeworld: Earth
Universe: Earth-1A
Hair: black
Eyes: Black
Base: Hall of Justice
Affiliations: Super Friends
Abilities: Electricity Manipulation, Time Travel, Flight
Weaponry: Lightning Bolts
Voiced/Played: Buster Jones
Black Vulcan Gallery

SuperFriends Team Member


Great Lightning!
— Black Vulcan


Black Vulcan is a superhero with the ability to control lightning. He can also travel at the speed of light and beyond, allowing him to break the time barrier and travel through time.

While not a member of the Justice League of America, he is a founding member of the SuperFriends!

While ‘Black Vulcan’ and ‘Black Lightning’ are two distinct characters, we assume that both characters are virtually the same characters set in two different universes of the larger multiverse.



Background Information

Continuity From Earth-1A

Earth-1A Continuity

In the parallel universe of Earth-1A, virtually nothing is know about Black Vulcan's origin except that he was a founding member of the SuperFriends. On this occasion, in late 1975, shortly after the Martian Manhunter had left Earth,[1] the Justice League, believed that (as Superman stated), "the best way for us to combat crime and be prepared for world-wide emergencies is to work together. From now on, we'll be the SuperFriends."[2] The heroes on hand for this historic occasion were Aquaman, Batman, Robin, Superman, Wonder Woman, Hawkman, the Flash, Green Lantern, Black Vulcan and Samurai.[3] This arrangement was spear-headed by Superman, Batman (and Robin), Aquaman and Wonder Woman (the core-five) and included the training of young people (or Junior Super Friends) for law enforcement at the Hall of Justice. Marvin White and Wendy Harris, and later Zan and Jayna of the Wonder Twins are the first of the trainees.[4]

Exclusive to the Earth-1A universe, exists the Legion of Doom, an organized body of self-proposed Supervillains led by Lex Luthor. Black Vulcan, along with the SuperFriends and a few Justice Leaguers would battle the villainous group on many occasions for the remainder of the decade.

Black Vulcan raided the Pyramids of Egypt while his unconscious mind was being controlled by Lex Luthor's dream machine. He seemed to be enjoying it, though, implying he was the only Super Friend that was conscious throughout the entire ordeal.

Continuity from Earth-One’s Black Lightning

Black Lightning Continuity
Black Lightning (World's FInest Comics 159)

In the parallel universe of Earth-One, Jefferson Pierce grew up in Suicide Slum, a neglected part of Metropolis which got its name from the idea that people only escaped the degradation of the slum by killing themselves.[5] Before Jeff was four years old, his father, who was working at the neighborhood grocery, was accidentally shot by a shady character who got into a scuffle with a cop. After that, times were quite tough for Jeff and his widowed mother. A month or so later, Italian tailor Peter Gambi opened a shop beneath their apartment and helped them through their financial difficulties. Peter was there to care for Jeff while his mother worked long hours to support them. Over time, Gambi began to fulfill Jeff's need for a positive father figure in his life. Together Peter and Jeff’s mother were there to support him as he graduated from Garfield High School, pursued a career in the Olympics becoming a decathlon winner and when he achieved a teaching degree from Kent State University.[6]

In his time away, Jeff had married Lynn Stewart. He and Lynn were together for a short time before divorcing. The gold medal winner also began a teaching job upstate in New Carthage but returned to Metropolis for his mother's funeral.[7]

It has now been eleven years since Jeff graduated high school. Feeling nostalgic for home, Jeff quits his job at New Carthage and takes a teaching position at his old Alma Matter. He meets with Principal Chapin who reminds him of the glory days when Jeff was the school's best athlete. As Jeff meets with Principle Chapin, he over hears a drug deal in the hallway. Jeff wastes no time landing a solid right-hook on the side of a pusher’s head. Later that day, Jefferson meets high school basketball star Earl Clifford, who jokingly remarks that he aims to become the "new" Jefferson Pierce. At that moment, Joey Toledo and several armed men swarm into the gymnasium. They attack the two, but Jeff and Earl are able to kick them out of the school. News of this incident reaches the office of the Tobias Whale – leader of the ’100’. The Whale is reluctant to take direct action against Pierce, for fear of turning him into a martyr, but he realizes that the teacher cares about his students and instructs Joey Toledo to teach young Earl Clifford a lesson. Two weeks later, they make good on their threat and kill the talented teenager. Pierce is beside himself with guilt. He goes to Peter Gambi's tailor shop and tells him what happened. Gambi tells Jefferson that the neighborhood needs a symbol – a man willing to take back the streets. He produces a costume, mask and wig – and the ‘Black Lightning’ is born![8] Soon he has a ‘force-field belt’ that enabled him to generate lighting bolts.[9]

As Black Lightning, Jeff carved out a niche in Metropolis, ultimately gaining the trust of high-profile figures like Superman, Inspector Bill Henderson and reporter Jimmy Olsen. Along the way, he defeated several super-powered underlings of the 100, from Merlyn the archer, to the Cyclotronic Man to Syonide.[10]

Black Lightning is captured by Syonide and his two partners, is about to be turned over to the 100, and learns that Peter Gambi may have killed his father. However, as an act of penance, Peter sacrifices himself to save Black lightning.[11]

A terrorist takes Lynn Stewart (Jeff’s ex-wife) and three students hostage in Garfield High School, and Black Lightning and New York City police officer Jim Corrigan (no connection to Earth-Two’s Jim Corrigan, original host to the Spectre) team up to take him down.[12]

Green Arrow trails the crooks who had used his Arrowcar to an estate controlled by Tobias Whale, where he meets Black Lightning, also on Whale's trail. After battling several guards and evading an acid trap, Green Arrow and Black Lightning find that Whale has escaped. Green Arrow decides to leave the case to Black Lightning, but both acknowledge that they will meet each other again.[13]

After meeting Green Arrow, his new friend nominated Pierce for membership in the Justice League. Superman serves as judge of his initiation. Although he passes the test, Black Lightning declines to join the team full-time, preferring to work as a loner and focus on street-level crime. He did offer to become a reservist. Not satisfied, Green Arrow, Elongated Man, and Zatanna attempt to seek out Black Lightning and encourage him to join the Justice League. Black Lightning, however, stands fast in his decision not to join the League.[14] The JLA respected his decision.

On patrol of the Suicide Slum section of Metropolis, Black Lightning tries to stop thieves on a subway. A gun goes off and it kills Trina Shelton, a student at Garfield High where Jeff works. Mysterious circumstances cause him to seek a close ally – Superman! They work together and solve the murder.[15] As a result, Pierce lost his internalized powers due to a psychological block.

The Outsiders

Main Article: Outsiders

Batman called an emergency meeting of the JLA in the Satellite to inform them that a very good friend of his (Lucius Fox) had been kidnapped in the Markovian Revolution in Markovia and that he needs there help. Superman tells him that they’ve already been in touch with the state department and they do not want more troops or JLA involvement. Superman gave his word to them. With no support, Batman says he resigns and leaves. He recruited Jeff to infiltrate the freedom-fighters, posing as Fox's brother. Inevitably, he was forced to become Black Lightning and ended up being captured alongside Batman.[16] While prisoners of Baron Bedlam, Batman managed to help Black Lightning recover his electric powers and they escaped from prison. Lightning and Batman joined Geo-Force, Halo, Katana and Metamorpho to defeat Bedlam. After a successful mission, the group decides to call themselves the Outsiders. Batman agrees, thinking to himself that this was what the JLA was like before all the rules and political agendas.[17]

After six months with the team, the Masters of Disaster abducts Black Lightning. Naturally his new teammates, the Outsiders, have something to say about that and a fight ensues.[18] Black Lightning awakens to find himself immersed in water and learns the true reason why he was taken by the Masters of Disaster. They were hired to kill him by the mother of Trina Shelton, who was accidentally killed one day when Black Lightning was trying to stop thieves in a subway. The Outsiders rescue Black Lightning from the Masters of Disaster before he is killed. Black Lightning also comes to terms with some of his inner demons.[19]

Crisis on Infinite Earths

Main Article: Crisis on Infinite Earths

It is July 1985. The skies overhead have turned red. Weather around the world is out of whack. All the signs point to the coming of Armageddon. The Outsiders are called to New York after the disappearance of Cyborg along with Teen Titans to save as many citizens of New York as possible. Batman and Superman arrive as well to lend a hand. Suddenly they all see the Flash appear before their eyes (Batman sees the Flash for a second time).[20] He tells them that something is happening in the future, everything is unraveling, fraying at the seams. Batman tries talking to him, but before the Flash can respond, he screams in pain and terror as he is pulled away and disappears. With no end in sight, Batman calls on the Outsiders, saying they’ve got a job to do.[21]

In Metropolis, the Outsiders and the Titans, along with several other heroes, unsure of what to do, look to the massive tower that has appeared in the middle of the city for answers (NOTE: They are unaware of the Monitor and the war with the Anti-Monitor). As they approach, a female looking very similar to Dr. Light, speaks to them in Japanese. She tries to warn the heroes approaching her to stay away from the tower, and blasts them away with a burst of light. Black Lightning is concerned, but Katana, and Superman, understanding Japanese, realize she is an ally, tells the female Dr. Light that they are here to help.[22]

Black Lightning and his allies turn up again, aboard a strange satellite. The heroes have been summoned by Alex Luthor Jr. of Earth-Three, Pariah and Harbinger. This trio has brought together a massive congregation of heroes from Earth-One and Earth-Two – against their will. Together the three explain the present situation, but also explain that in order for things to correct themselves, the Multiverse must be folded back upon itself and become a single universe – the way it was intended, or else all worlds will be destroyed.[23]

The Outsiders join forces with the Justice League, Infinity, Inc., All-Star Squadron, and Legion to battle the Red Tornado, who is being used by the Anti-Monitor to cause chaos across the five surviving Earths (Earth-One, Earth-Two, Earth-Four, Earth-X and Earth-S).[24] The Red Tornado was eventually captured and brought aboard the heavily damaged JLA satellite (from a conflict that originated on Mars). An attempt was made to undo the Anti-Monitor’s work, but the Red Tornado self-destructed, causing massive damage to the JLA Satellite, and apparently destroying the Red Tornado.[25] The Red Tornado’s body has indeed been destroyed, but his mind had not. The Martian Manhunter recovers the Red Tornado's remains. Kathy Sutton, the Red Tornado’s wife returns home, to find the Red Tornado reaching out to her, through her television. Sutton follows the Red Tornado's trail. As she follows, she meets the Black Canary, Firestorm, Nuclear Man, Green Arrow, Batman, Black Lightning and Geo-Force. Our heroes have discovered that the Red Tornado’s mind has occupied three weather control satellites resulting in his survival. This occupation has resulting in aberrant, and dangerous, weather patterns throughout the world. The Martian Manhunter, and Superman destroy the three weather satellites. Sutton amazingly is able to convince the Red Tornado to resume a more human form. Superman flash freezes the Red Tornado, with his super-breath. Firestorm, the Nuclear Man imprisons the Red Tornado, in a steel block. The Red Tornado bursts free, growing, once more, to gigantic size. Believing Sutton has betrayed him, the Red Tornado renounces all ties to humanity. The Red Tornado charges the Justice League of America with saving the world from the Anti-Monitor, but warns that a reckoning will be forthcoming.[26]

On Earth-X, Batman and Robin, the Atom from Earth-Two fight up against Calendar Man while the Outsiders and Infinity, Inc. take on the Dummy.[27]

A short time later, Black Lightning is on earth in the streets (not known if its NY or Metropolis). Suddenly, the Anti-Monitor's visage is seen in the skies all over the globe (Earth-One). He explains that thousands of universes have perished (having been consumed by his the anti-matter universe - his primary source of power) without resistance, but you have refused. He then applauds their willingness to live, then tells them that it ultimately doesn’t matter nor do the deaths of both Supergirl and the Flash – because they will all die! Before he disappears and the skies turn black, he tells them that his Shadow Demons are ravaging the earth as he speaks. Black Lighting engages them in battle with his fellow heroes. This is the last we see of our hero, before he becomes his New Earth persona.[28]


Powers and Abilities

Powers

  • Transformation: He can transform his whole body, or half of his body into lightning.
  • Flight: He can turn himself into a living lightning bolt in order to travel through the sky
  • Superhuman Speed: He can turn himself into a living lightning bolt in order to travel at the speed of light
  • Electrokinesis: He can control electricity in multiple ways.
  • Lightning Bolts: He can also generate lightning bolts from his hands
  • Force field: He can also generate lightning bolts from his hands as force fields. The force field can even protect him from the vacuum of space.
  • Time travel: He can travel back in time by fluctuating his body's electrical energy

Abilities

  • None Known


Personality

Black Vulcan was the most surprised member of the SuperFriends after Robin. Almost 80% of his dialogue was "Great Lightning!" You'd think he'd stop being so genuinely surprised considering the people he hangs out with! Aside from his physical appearance and the sound of his voice, there was no way to tell he was black, as he was written like any other character. (At the time, black characters were written with dialects or spoke jive.) He did, however, talk in electricity-related puns. "I'll electrify you with the shock of your life!"


SuperFriends Team Members

Members of the Justice League of America

Aquaman (founding member) • Batman (founding member) • Superman (founding member) • Flash (founding member)
Green Lantern (founding member) • Martian Manhunter (founding member) • Wonder Woman (founding member)

Comic Book JLA Team Members:
Black CanaryElongated ManRed TornadoZatanna Zatara
Phantom Stranger (part-time Leaguer) • Sargon, The Sorcerer (honorary Leaguer)

Other Known Justice Leaguers:
The HuntressBlack OrchidCaptain MarvelSupergirlGreen FuryPlastic ManAtomGreen Arrow

SuperFriends Founding Members:
SupermanBatmanWonder WomanAquaman
HawkmanSamuraiGreen LanternFlashBlack Vulcan

Other Known SuperFriends Members:
HawkgirlApache ChiefEl DoradoRima

Junior SuperFriends:
RobinCyborgFirestorm
ZanJayna
Marvin WhiteWendy Harris

Mascots:
GleekWonder Dog


Appearances

Hanna Barbera’s Super Friends, Season 2 (1977):

Hanna Barbera’s Super Friends, Season 3 (1978):

Hanna Barbera’s Super Friends, Season 5 (1980):

Hanna Barbera’s Super Friends, Season 7 (1983):

Hanna Barbera’s Super Friends, Season 8 (1984):

Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law (2000-2007):

  • Very Personal Injury
  • X the Exterminator
  • Blackwatch Plaid (non-speaking cameo)
  • Trio's Company
  • Peanut Puberty
  • Droopy Botox
  • Guitar Control (voice-only cameo)
  • Booty Noir
  • Sebben and Sebben Employee Orientation
  • Babysitter (non-speaking cameo)
  • The Death of Harvey: Part 2
  • Harvey Birdman, Attorney General


Notes

  • As originally depicted, Black Vulcan's costume had the super-hero equivalent of pants, but in later episodes his legs are bare.
  • The character of Black Vulcan was created by Jeffrey Scott and Hanna-Barbera Productions and is unique to the continuity of the Super Friends television series. [citation needed]
  • When developing Season 2 of the ’SuperFriends’, Hanna-Barbera wanted to use the character of Black Lightning, but they decided not to because they would have had to pay royalties to Tony Isabella, the creator of Black Lightning. So instead they decided to create a similar character called ‘Black Vulcan’ and DC let them do it. In response, Isabella, in his last of Black Lightning, wrote a story called “The Other Black Lightning” in issue Black Lightning #10 (August, 1978); where a villain called ‘Barbara Hanna’ used a Black Lightning impostor named Jocko as part of her crime syndicate. At the end, Black Lightning forgives Jocko and believes he can be a superhero - if he stops impersonating him, of course. DC published the story anyway, as Isabella said in an interview “I don’t think they realized what I was doing there.”[citation needed]
    • Comics historian Don Markstein, notes that the ‘Black Lightning’ character debuted in Black Lightning #1, dated April, 1977. Isabella wrote the script, with Trevor von Eeden doing the pencils and Frank Springer on the inks. Isabella and von Eeden remained on the title throughout its 11-issue run, which ended when, in 1978, DC abruptly cut back drastically on its entire line. Before it was finished, the hero was offered membership in The Justice League of America, and became the third (after Adam Strange and Metamorpho) to turn them down. (He eventually joined, but decades went by first.) [29]
    • Markstein continues by stating that ‘Black Lightning’ wasn't named after Johnny Thunder's horse. He was named after a menace on a Wonder Woman cover that Isabella chanced to run across.[30]
    • Black Lightning was the first African-American superhero to have his own solo series. Though short lived, the series is known as an iconic addition to DC's history.
    • An action figure of Black Lightning was made for the Super Powers Collection by Industrial Toy Werks.
  • Black Vulcan was originally going to make a guest appearance in the Season 3a episode "Journey Through Inner Space," being who Wonder Woman and Superman would travel inside. However, he eventually did not appear in the episode and the role was taken by his usual partner Aquaman.[citation needed]
  • Black Vulcan is the only team member who remembers to wear a helmet while in space or in the ocean.
  • In Cracked's video "Wonder Woman's Sex Tape," Black Vulcan is shown hosting a show on BET entitled Once You Go Black.
  • Black Vulcan, in his first appearances, would shout his name before using his powers, similar to other Hanna-Barbera heroes like Space Ghost and Birdman. This subsided in later appearances.
  • His catchphrase "Great Lightning!" has become a popular Internet meme, no thanks in part to Seanbaby.
  • Black Vulcan was combined with DC Comics character, Static in Young Justice TV Show as part of the show's group of teen Super Friends analogues where he is voiced by Bryton James.
  • Black Vulcan was going to get a Super Powers Collection (1984-86) action figure, but it was shelved as Cyborg proved to be the more popular black superhero.
    • A Black Vulcan figure was released years later in a Justice League Unlimited three-pack, accompanied by his ‘Super Friends’ teammates Apache Chief and Samurai.
    • A 6 inch Black Vulcan action figure was released in Mattel's DC Universe Classics Wave 18, which was primarily dedicated to Super Friends characters.[31]
    • Black Vulcan was also newly released in 2016 as an 8-inch Mego-like action figure by Figures Toy Company.
    • Additionally, Black Vulcan has been released in Lego format, appearing in Series 2 of the Lego Batman Minifigure line.
  • Comic book artist and Super Friends fan Alex Ross intended to create a modernized version of Black Vulcan for his rejected Captain Marvel series. The title would have had the character reimagined as ‘Vulcan’, an African American child who could become an adult superhero after accidentally gaining some of the powers of the wizard Shazam.[32]
  • Black Vulcan made a cameo appearance in the DC One Million 80-Page Giant special as part of one of the many alternate Justice Leagues that accidentally ended up in the headquarters of the Justice Legion Alpha. This would mark his first official ‘DC’ appearance.[33]


Appearances in Other Media


See Also


External Links


Reference

  1. The Manhunter's departure from earth is found in an Earth-One story found in the following comics: Justice League of America, #71 (May, 1969); World's Finest Comics, #212 (June 1972) and DC Comics Presents, #27 (November, 1980). In the SuperFriends Comic Book, writer E. Nelson Bridwell ties this Earth-One story to the SuperFriends Universe (aka Earth-1A) in the 'wrap-around sequence' in the debut SuperFriends Comic: Limited Collectors' Edition #C-41 (December 1975 / January 1976).
  2. As quoted in the Season 3 episode: History of Doom.
  3. The formation of team and members depicted in History of Doom.
  4. In November 1976, in the first issue of the SuperFriends comic book, E. Nelson Bridwell makes it very clear that the SuperFriends are sort of a volunteer organization, under the umbrella of the Justice League of America.
  5. As revealed in Black Lightning, #1 (April, 1977).
  6. Main biography is revealed in Black Lightning, #6 (January, 1978).
  7. As revealed in Black Lightning, #6 (January, 1978).
  8. Flashback and main story revealed in Black Lightning, #1 (April, 1977).
  9. As revealed in Black Lightning, #3 (July, 1977).
  10. As revealed in Black Lightning, #2 (May, 1977); issue #3 (July, 1977), Issue #4 (September, 1977) and issue #5 (November, 1977).
  11. As revealed in Black Lightning, #6 (January, 1978) and issue #7 (March, 1978).
  12. As revealed in Black Lightning, #6 (May, 1978).
  13. As revealed in World's Finest, #256/2 (May, 1979).
  14. As revealed in Justice League of America #173-174 (December 1979 – January 1980)
  15. As revealed in DC Comics Presents, #16 (December 1979).
  16. As revealed in Batman and the Outsiders, #1 (August 1983).
  17. As revealed in Batman and the Outsiders, #2 (September 1983).
  18. As revealed in Batman and the Outsiders, #9 (April 1984).
  19. As revealed in Batman and the Outsiders, #10 (May 1984).
  20. Batman's first encounter with the Flash is revealed in Crisis on Infinite Earths, #2 (May, 1985).
  21. As revealed in New Teen Titans Vol. 2 #13 (October 1985) and Crisis on Infinite Earths, #3 (June, 1985).
  22. As revealed in Crisis on Infinite Earths, #4 (July, 1985).
  23. As revealed in Crisis on Infinite Earths, #5 (August, 1985).
  24. As revealed in Crisis on Infinite Earths, #5 (August, 1985).
  25. As revealed in Crisis on Infinite Earths, #8 (November, 1985).
  26. As revealed in Justice League of America Annual, #3 (1985).
  27. As revealed in Crisis on Infinite Earths, #10 (January, 1986).
  28. As revealed in Crisis on Infinite Earths, #12 (January, 1986).
  29. As revealed in on-line article entitled, BLACK LIGHTNING by Don Markstein over at Toonopedia.
  30. As revealed in on-line article entitled, BLACK LIGHTNING by Don Markstein over at Toonopedia.
  31. DC Universe Classics 18: Black Vulcan review, OAFE.net
  32. Smith, Zach (January 6, 2011). "An Oral History of CAPTAIN MARVEL: The Modern Years". Newsarama.
  33. Click here] for more information about this comic.
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