Tag Archives: Hero For Hire

LUKE CAGE, POWER MAN: EARLY 1970s STORIES

power man pictureSuperheroes continue to dominate pop culture right now, and as I’ve often said, I think hero tales work best when set in their original time period.

Here is Balladeer’s Blog’s look at the earliest stories about Luke Cage, who started out as Hero for Hire before Marvel Comics changed his name to Power Man.

hero for hire 1HERO FOR HIRE Vol 1 #1 (June 1972)

Title: Out of Hell – A Hero

Villains: Diamondback, Shades and Comanche

Synopsis: Carl Lucas, a black man from New York, was framed for drug possession by his former friend Willis Stryker. While serving his sentence at horrific Seagate Prison in Georgia, Carl volunteered to be the subject of medical experimentation intended to create super-powered warriors for the government.

Albert Rackham, a racist prison guard with a grudge against Lucas had tampered with the experimental device hoping to kill him. Instead, Carl gained super-strength and bullet-proof skin.

cage picUsing those powers, Lucas escaped Seagate Prison but misled the authorities into thinking he died in the ocean while trying to get away. With Carl Lucas pronounced dead, our main character settled in New York City under the name Luke Cage and became a literal Hero for Hire, using his superpowers to earn a living.

After making a positive name for himself in a few fairly routine cases, Luke attracts the attention of the crime boss called Diamondback … who is really Willis Stryker, the friend who framed Carl Lucas years earlier. Continue reading

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A LUKE CAGE CHRISTMAS CAROL (1973)

Yes, it’s a Marvel Comics crossover with Balladeer’s Blog’s TENTH Annual Christmas Carol-A-Thon! With all of the Marvel superheroes conquering the big and small screens here’s an action-packed Christmas Carol adaptation from the 1970s.  

luke-cage-christmas-carolJingle Bombs was the real title of this holiday tale which pitted superhero Luke Cage aka Hero for Hire aka Power Man against the one-off supervillain called Marley. Like a Guest Villain from the Adam West Batman show Marley uses a campy Christmas Carol motif for his nefarious plan … yet, oddly the story is kind of quaint.  

On Christmas Eve, Luke Cage is hanging out with his then-girlfriend Claire Temple, a nurse who worked at a clinic in the New York ghetto. Later on in the series Claire would be the center of a romantic triangle between Luke Cage and another of Marvel’s black superheroes – Black Goliath, Hank Pym’s former lab assistant who used Pym’s inventions to turn to giant-size and back. 

As night approaches Luke sees a ruckus outside the clinic: a man in Dickensian 1800s clothing is using his walking stick to beat a little handicapped boy named Timmy. Our hero goes out to save the little boy and is attacked by the strange man, who identifies himself as “Marley.”   Continue reading

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