Superheroes 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 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.
Using 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