Tag Archives: Luke Cage

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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SPIDER-MAN: 1970s CLASSICS PART THREE

Here’s Part Three of Spider-Man 1970s Classics. For Part One click HERE.

spidey 123SPIDER-MAN Vol 1 #123 (August 1973)

Title: Just A Man Called Cage

Villain: Luke Cage, Hero for Hire

NOTE: Luke Cage was still going by Hero for Hire at this time, not Power Man.

Synopsis: This issue opens up with the police plus J Jonah Jameson and his City Editor Joseph “Robbie” Robertson at the crime scene where Norman Osborn has been found murdered. Jameson is, of course, insisting that Osborn, an old friend and major advertiser at the Daily Bugle, must have been killed by Spider-Man. The webslinger had been searching for Osborn through Robertson’s contacts at the Bugle earlier in the evening.

spider man 123 splash pageRobbie and the police at the scene tell Jameson they aren’t so sure Spider-Man was the killer. There are fragments of the Green Goblin’s exploding pumpkin-bombs in the battle scarred area there on the New York City streets. PLUS, someone obviously moved Osborn’s body a bit before the cops arrived on the scene. At length Jonah refuses to listen any further and rides off angrily in his limo. 

From a nearby rooftop the mysterious man in the shadows from the end of last issue reflects that HE is the one who moved Osborn’s dead body when he was removing his Green Goblin costume and bat-shaped flier. He knew that if the world learned that Norman Osborn was really the supervillain the Green Goblin they wouldn’t care about his death.

The mystery man further reflects that millionaire industrialist Norman Osborn, with his secret identity preserved, is still looked on as a pillar of the community and therefore he will be widely mourned and the police will be pressured to bring in Spider-Man for questioning.

NOTE: It’s no spoiler this many decades later to mention that this shadowy figure turns out to be Harry Osborn, Norman’s son, who witnessed the final battle between Spider-Man and the Green Goblin and will become the new Goblin months down the road. 

Meanwhile J Jonah Jameson decides to hire the new superhero Luke Cage to do what the police can’t do and capture or kill Spider-Man.    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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A LUKE CAGE CHRISTMAS CAROL (1973)

Yes, it’s a Marvel Comics crossover with Balladeer’s Blog’s 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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