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Cartoon Network Debuts 'Thunder & Lightning' (Black Lightning & His Super-Powered Daughters)

Television
by Tambay A. Obenson
February 12, 2013 10:43 AM
10 Comments
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I'm only just learning about this, so some of you (especially if you watch the Cartoon Network, or are plugged into that universe) will likely already be familiar.

So what I could determine is that the Cartoon Network commissioned a series of animated shorts for its Saturday morning DC Nation block. One of them is titled Thunder and Lightning, which follows the exploits of the DC superhero Black Lightning (voiced by Blair Underwood) and his super-powered daughters Thunder (voiced by Cree Summer) and Lightning (voiced by Masasa Moyo). Thunder and Lightning receive their costumes from Peter Gambi (voiced by Jeff Bennett) in order to help their father fight crime.

Of course I mention this because Black Lightning and his 2 superhero daughters are black.

It appears the first short aired last month; I read several comments on various blogs from fans wishing that the Cartoon Network would make the superhero trio a regular series; so apparently, it's not an ongoing series. However, a second short was released earlier this month I believe. So it could be that the network wanted to test the waters with the shorts, and if audience reaction was strong, they'd consider turning the shorts into a regular series.

But maybe those of you who have been following this more closely can add to what I've said here...

I did find a 2 clipsfrom Thunger & Lightning, which are embedded below. But first, to set things up a bit and for some back-story, I found this interview with Lynell Forestall, the writer and director of the shorts, talking about how they came about - from what his initial pitch was, to how he ended up with what you see in the finished shorts:

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10 Comments

  • AccidentalVisitor | February 12, 2013 9:39 PMReply

    No, Melissaenafrique , I don't visit comic book forumsand doubt anyone dives into these subjects. Maybe you should go revisit those favorite spots and come back with some examples. Or maybe not.

  • AccidentalVisitor | February 12, 2013 2:04 PMReply

    Seriously what is up with this trend in comic books and super hero cartoons in which the black male protagonists are bald or have a shaved head, especially if the guy is muscular? And I'm not talking about new characters, I'm talking mostly about characters that been around 20 to 50 years and have always had hair during their run. Now we get Black Lightning who used to have a fro and then was given a mini-fro during modern times. But now he is Mr. Clean. It is as if the artists are so lazy that they come up with an idea to save time by giving the black dudes a clen shave rather than draw other hairstyles for them. I suppose someone could make an argument that this is an older Black Lightning considering he has tween daughters, but you'll never see an established white superhero get the bald treatment if that had never been a factor in the character's appearance previously. When they want to show a white male as being middle-age they simply provide a grey tint to his full head of hair. For the black male characters they give us Samuel L. Jackson in uniform.

    Okay it is a minor pet peeve but enough already. Damn.

  • Said in Los Angeles | February 17, 2013 6:27 PM

    Black, male, and bald..groan...

  • DRDR | February 17, 2013 4:44 PM

    Afros are too militant & dreads scare ppl.

  • Akimbo | February 12, 2013 3:50 PM

    I'd venture a guess that "bald black guy" is visual shorthand for "bad ass tough guy."

  • Melissaenafrique | February 12, 2013 2:48 PM

    I frequent a lot of comic book forums and the same issue has come up there of the bald black man. I think you frequent those forums too because those other issues you often talk about on here, are also there. If not, you should check out the comic perspective of the whole IR thing. Exact same thing in comics where bwwm > bmww. I am a black woman who's observed this for years. Dunno why others dont see it.

  • D.A. | February 12, 2013 1:01 PMReply

    I really enjoyed those shorts, they were entertaining and literally had me laughing. Lol. I do hope that they turn it into a regular 30 min. series.

    As far as the creator's original pitch is concerned, I think that would have been over doing it a bit with the Blaxploitation concept especially since 'Black Dynamite' is a cult classic on Adult Swim.

  • ALM | February 12, 2013 11:14 AMReply

    I was just watching the latest episode of “Young Justice” On Demand earlier this morning. The Blue Beetle finally went rogue…the next episode should be interesting.

    The Black Lightning shorts that could possibly become a series brings some exciting news. I have to read up to see where the girls’ mother is. I love the idea of the DC characters as the names for the cereal. 

    Cartoon Network should have a slot open, as they have a new Batman series coming soon. As soon as I got used to “The Brave and the Bold” they cancelled it by bringing in bat mite. The new Batman series makes me shudder. Pigs as villains and Alfred shooting guns (even though Batman hates guns due to his parent’s deaths)?

    It seems like the main problem that Cartoon Network has is with their time slots. They can’t seem to figure out when to put a new show on to capture the largest amount of viewers, and then they wait 6 months or more to show a new block of episodes. They have an AMAZING show in “Scooby Doo: Mystery Incorporated”, but the status of the show seems to be up in the air. They haven’t aired the last several episodes, and they keep looping the reruns. Cartoon Network needs to do some major demo testing. They may want to consider going back to primetime weekend slots as they did with past tv shows.

    Heck, I’m still waiting on “Justice League: Unlimited” to return.

    Is Lynell Forestall the new Dwayne McDuffie? Lord, I can only hope so.

  • HarveyDent322 | February 12, 2013 11:07 AMReply

    Great shorts. Funny but not obnoxious and faithful to the comics with the villains and Easter eggs he put in there.

  • urbanauteur | February 12, 2013 10:57 AMReply

    THE COSBY GIRLS meet's The Boondocks;-)

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