I am continuing my series of blacks in comics today with one of the baddest heroes in comics, Luke Cage. Luke Cage, also known as Power Man, was created in 1972 by Archie Goodwin, John Romita, Sr., and George Tuska for Marvel Comics. Luke Cage made his debut in Luke Cage, Hero for Hire #1.
As a youth, Luke Cage was in a street gang in New York called the Rivals. He battles other gangs with his best friend, Willis Stryker. As Luke reaches adulthood, he realizes the error of his ways, and starts to live the straight and narrow life. He remains friends with Stryker, who rises thru the criminal ranks. Stryker was beaten, and nearly killed after he crossed the Maggia(mafia) until Luke intervenes and saves Stryker’s life. Due to the dangerous life that Stryker is leading, his girlfriend decides to leave him. She seeks solace with Luke, which enrages Stryker. Stryker plants heroin in Luke Cage’s apartment, and tips off the police. Luke is arrested and convicted and sent to prison.
While in prison, Luke has only sporadic contact with his family, due to resentment from his brother. Luke’s brother convinces Luke that their father has passed away, and convinces their father that Luke has died in prison. Due to the apparent death of his father, and his wrongful imprisonment, Luke is anything but the model prisoner. This leads to his eventual transfer to Seagate Prison, off the cost of Georgia. At Seagate, Luke becomes the target of a sadistic guard, who is eventually demoted and blames Luke for his demotion. Luke is later recruited for an experimental cell regeneration program. Things don’t go as planned, as the guard interfered, and Luke is exposed to the experimental chemicals longer than expected. This gives Luke impenetrable skin, and super strength. Luke breaks out of prison, and makes his way back to New York.
Once back in the Big Apple, Luke comes to realize that he can use his new powers for profit. He becomes a “Hero for Hire”, using his powers to help others and fight crime, for a small fee. He has many adventures, and misadventures as a hero for hire, eventually taking the codename “Power Man”. He later teams with Iron Fist in his “Heroes for Hire” business.
Luke has been a part of my super teams as well over the years, including the Defenders, the Fantastic Four, the Avengers, the New Avengers, and the Thunderbolts. He has risen to prominence in the Marvel universe over the years. He has been featured in many of the major events that Marvel does every year. He was featured in the best issue of the Civil War storyline, where the people of Harlem helped him elude the authorities when he refused to register as a super human. Luke is currently married to Jessica Jones, and they have a baby daughter together. He is the leader of a new Avengers team as well, the Mighty Avengers.
Luke has been featured in a few cartoons, The Ultimate Spider-Man, Avengers Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, and the Super Hero Squad Show. Marvel, Disney, and Netflix have announced they are developing a show that will premiere in 2015. I am really excited about that. You can learn more about this great character here.