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Walter Kasko and Samuel Daly

Contributed by John M. Eagen

Former Olympic champion and part time super hero Jefferson Pierce (aka – Black Lightning) was a teacher at Carver High School. During his tenure he befriended Walter Kasko, a teacher at the predominately black highschool.

Kasko was a man of integrity and guts who took deep interest in the students of Carver High. He was used to the gangs and weapons present in the poor district and made every attempt to set misguided students on the right path. One such student was Lamar Henderson. Lamar was targeted for a gang slaying, but Kasko and Jefferson Pierce both threw their bodies in front of the young man, taking the bullets for him.

Walter Kasko died during the incident and Jefferson Pierce was rushed to the hospital. In an attempt to revive Pierce, doctors used electric paddles, only to have the electricity “feedback” due to Pierce’s own internal (and secret) lightning powers. In an attempt to find the cause of the incident, metagene tests were ordered for Pierce.

Lying in the hospital recovering, Pierce was visited by an African American lab technician named Samuel Daly. Daly introduced himself to Pierce “My name is Samuel Daly. Walter Kasko was my friend. Actually, he was more than my friend.” Jefferson admits that he didn’t know much about Kasko’s personal life and Daly continues… “Some of us keep our secrets better than others. But you know all about secrets don’t you?” It is at this point that Daly informs Pierce that not only did Walter Kasko know that Pierce was indeed Black Lightning, he (Kasko) also covered for him so that his identity would remain a secret.

Samuel Daly continued his lover’s legacy by doctoring the metagene tests so that Pierce’s results would be negative. Pierce consoles Daly with these parting words of thanks and praise…”Be angry, be very angry, at this cruel and stupid world we live in. It deserves all the rage you can muster. But don’t ever be angry at the man you loved. His kind of courage is the only hope we have.”

Reflecting back on the entire events that led to Walter Kasko’s death, Pierce (Black Lightning) finds strength in his friend’s untimely death… “Walter Kasko died. He threw himself in front of one of his students and he died. Walter didn’t want to die on the cold linoleum floor so far from his companion. But he wasn’t going to lose a good kid. Walter Kasko was a hero. I don’t know if I am. But I’m going to keep working at it. Until I get it right. One more thing…I remember Walter’s face now — and I always will.” (Tony Isabella)

Creator Tony Isabella returned to his Black Lightning character in the 2017-2018 “Cold Hands” mini series. Isabella took crafted a good story while integrating Black Lightning into current Rebirth continuity. He took the opportunity to change Kasko’s death while protecting a student. Now Kasko has been promoted to school principal. Walter and Samuel are still a couple. This time Isabella made Daly a well known surgeon. Most notably, Samuel is no longer African American. To my knowledge Isabella has not commented on the reasons for this change. While Kasko and Daly never appeared together in the second volume of Black Lightning, the importance of two older men in a committed relationship which happened to be interracial at a time when LGBT characters in comics were still relatively rare can’t be underestimated. Their sole appearance is in issue 6.

Creator Tony Isabella returned to his Black Lightning character in the 2017-2018 “Cold Dead Hands” mini series. Isabella crafted a good story while integrating Black Lightning into current Rebirth continuity. He took the opportunity to change Kasko’s death while protecting a student. Now Kasko has been promoted to school principal. Walter and Samuel are still a couple. This time Isabella made Daly a well known surgeon. Most notably, Samuel is no longer African American. To my knowledge Isabella has not commented on the reasons for this change. While Kasko and Daly never appeared together in the second volume of Black Lightning, the importance of two older men in a committed relationship which happened to be interracial at a time when LGBT characters in comics were still relatively rare can’t be underestimated.

The couple intervenes in the lives of two young, African-American brothers who were involved a terrible accident. Kasko and Daly come to the realization the brothers would have the opportunity for better lives if they were as far away rather than adopting them and keeping them in the Cleveland area. The couple works to find an adoptive family and later escort on a cross country train trip.

Walter first appeared in Black Lightning #2 (vol 2) and Samuel in #5. They were revealed to be a couple in #5. The setting of their original story is Brick City, a lower class suburb of a Cleveland.

Walter Kasko, and Samuel Daly created by Tony Isabella and Eddy Newell. Art by Clayton Henry, Yvel Guichet, and Pete Patazis from Black Lightning Cold Dead Hands #6.

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September 30, 2021
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