The recent news that super-producer Greg Berlanti is teaming up with Being Mary Jane’s Salim and Mara Brock Akil to bring DC Comics’ Black Lightning to television screens is exciting, but what many might not remember is that Black Lightning made a memorable appearance on TV before.
To see that first appearance we’d have to go back nearly 25 years. In 1992, DC Comics did what many might have thought to be unthinkable at the time: They killed Superman. (Obviously, he got better) The “Doomsday” comic book event which ended with Superman #75 sold millions of copies, with some comic book stores reporting lines around the corner.
Saturday Night Live, at the time having creative highs with cast members including Dana Carvey, David Spade, Chris Rock, Adam Sandler, Rob Schneider, and the late Phil Hartman and Chris Farley, decided to poke fun at the whole “Death of Superman” thing by giving the Man of Steel a funeral. Yes, I’m pretty sure I read the “Hulk with glasses” gag first in a Fred Hembeck comic, but it’s still all very funny.
The November 21, 1992 episode — airing only a short time after the famed comic book issue — featured comedian Sinbad as the host. In that “Superman’s Funeral” sketch, Sinbad became the first (and at this point, only) actor to play Black Lightning in live action, as the “forgotten” hero isn’t recognized at the event — not even by Batman, who should recognize him from their time together in The Outsiders (of Batman And…) fame.
You can see the sketch below.
Sinbad himself Tweeted about Black Lightning tonight, saying that he and his son Royce Adkins planned on filming Black Lightning as a movie one day. “I turned him in to BL many moons ago!” he Tweeted.
Perhaps the new show, should it happen, can feature the father or the son sometime as tribute?
In the meantime, enjoy this classic SNL clip in all its glory.