Nickname of Ted Patrick, notorious cult deprogrammer who operated in the 1970s. His techniques were controversial and met with fierce opposition from everyone but the parents who wanted their children back. Patrick's argument was based on what he called freedom of thought, that a cult member's ability to think for himself was destroyed by the cult, ergo, the person is no longer entitled to the right of freedom of religion.

Patrick claims to have successfully deprogrammed approximately 1600 people from Krishna, Sun Myung Moon, Scientology, Synanon, the Children of God, the Divine Light Mission, the New Testament Missionary Fellowship, Dianetics, the U.S. Labor Party, and the Move. (Patrick on deprogramming a Moonie: "But I knew Moon's Divine Principle better than he did. I tore him apart on Divine Principle.")

"Justice, like Lightning/Should ever appear/To some men, Hope/And other men, Fear"

DC Comics' first African American superhero to be featured in his own comic book. His power was the ability to generate and project energy. Black Lightning was created in the 1970s by Tony Isabella. Lightning was known to most people as Tony Pierce (mild mannered high school teacher and former Olympic athlete). He fought crime and social ills in Suicide Slum, a working class neighborhood in Metropolis.

Black Lightning introduced a new kind of hero to the comic reading public. Here was a man with a conscience and mission, the betterment of his community. The comic was praised for its non-formulaic plotlines and dialogue. The comic book was discontinued mid-storyline around 1978, when D.C. execs decided to tighten their belts and improve the company's profit margin. Lightning went on to appear in other comic books, most notably Superman and Batman. Almost 20 years later the comic book resurfaced in a 1990s series without the aid of creator Isabella.
Some people out in lightning storms say they have seen black lightning. This later developed into something of an urban myth. Eventually some scientists went out to record this, but it turned out to be nothing more than the after-image or regular lightning, left on the human retina.

Want to see black lightning for yourself? Find a lightning storm, and look at a lightning bolt (The brighter, the better). Right after seeing one, move your head or your eyes to the side. The after-image will make it look as if a negative version of the lightning has struck again in someplace else. That's it.

A hero published by DC Comics. Black Lightning first appeared in Black Lightning #1 in 1977 and was created by Tony Isabella.

The story goes that the powers that be at DC Comics wanted to have their first black super-hero title and enlisted Tony Isabella to work on their idea, which was a black hero called the Black Bomber. Isabella protested that the character was too white and DC Comics gave him license to create a new, more black character and so Black Lightning was born.

Jefferson Pierce came from Suicide Slum in Metropolis. Pierce's father was killed when he was young and his mother and he moved into an apartment over a costume shop run by a man named Gambi. Pierce grew up here and did well in school and athletics, eventually going to Kent State. His athletic prowess got him on the 1976 U.S. Olympic team to Montreal where he won the decathlon. The fact that the general public believes that Bruce Jenner won in '76 shows how the world tries to keep a black man down.

Pierce turned to teaching as a profession and taught in a small town, until word of his mother's death reached him. Pierce returned to Suicide Slum, but he did not leave, seeing the need of that neighborhood. Taking a job in the local high school, Pierce began to see the influence of a criminal gang known as the 100, who were selling drugs to the local high schoolers. Pierce grew increasingly angry over the situation until he felt he had to do something.

Pierce confided in Gambi, the costume shop owner who created for him a costume to conceal his identity. He also created a belt that would produce an electric field around him. The field would deflect bullets and allowed him to shoot bolts of electricity. How a costume shop owner came up with this was never explained, but Pierce took the costume and belt and became Black Lightning.

Pierce fought crime for a few years, battling street wise menaces like the 100 and the fat albino crime lord Tobias Whale. One day while fighting some criminals, one of Black Lightning's bolts missed its target and struck a bystander, killing them. Crushed by the guilt, Pierce hung up his costume for a time.

Eventually, Pierce was approached by Gotham's premiere defender Batman and asked to take up the mantle of Black Lightning. Pierce and others joined Batman in forming a group of rag tag heroes known as the Outsiders. Black Lightning was a member of the group for many years. He is currently a member of President Lex Luthor's cabinet and defended the White House from alien attack during the Our World At War crossover event.

In the classic DOS game Starflight II: Trade Routes of the Cloud Nebula, Black Lightning are flying masses of destructive energy which exist on certain planets. They are nearly mindless, remote-controlled agents of the entity called Uhl.

They are the only creatures in the game represented with the 'flying lifeform' sprite. They are also nearly an order of magnitude more dangerous than any other lifeform, able to kill any crewmember save an Android in a single strike. Being equipped with the Terrain Vehicle Lifeform Shield only marginally improves the odds. Black Lightning is also exceedingly fast and aggressive, and is immune to the Terrain Vehicle's weapons. The best thing to do if you spot one is to get FAR, FAR away, as fast as possible. Escaping to a trade center or your starship is preferable, but just putting two or three screenfuls of distance between you and the Lightning is generally enough.

That said, they are VERY persistent - I once ran across one, and ran several screens away. Thinking myself safe, I left the keyboard for a few minutes to grab a 7-up, and when I returned, the Lightning had found me again and reduced half my crew, including the doctor, to charred outlines on the wall. Suffice it to say, I ran like a frightened schoolgirl and didn't stop until I was once again safely behind the class 5 shields of my heavy cruiser, then gimped back to starport to hire on a new CO, doctor and engineer.

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