Sweet Christmas: A Visual History of Luke Cage

The Catchphrase

The Catchphrase

From the moment I picked up an issue of Power Man and Iron Fist the character of Luke Cage was a favorite of mine. A simple man whose strong moral code often conflicted with his personal desires Luke couldn’t help but do good, and he was much smarter than he appeared despite a famously short fuse. Over the years not many characters in the Marvel Universe have undergone the amount of changes Luke has, but while his look has changed drastically the core of who he is has remained the same, so join me now looking back at the one and only Luke Cage…

The Other Catchphrase

The Other Catchphrase

Now it’s time to get ugly

The opening page of Luke Cage, Hero for Hire. Most of his iconic costume from the 70's & 80's is here, save for 2 things, that chain belt of his for awhile was the size of a Buick, and something is wrong with the footwear

The opening page of Luke Cage, Hero for Hire. Most of his iconic costume from the 70’s & 80’s is here, save for 2 things, that chain belt of his for awhile was the size of a Buick, and something is wrong with the footwear. A little trivia, Luke wore that chain belt as a reminder of his time in jail

 

Issue #1, Page 3 features an imprisoned Luke with Comanche and Shades, 2 men whose history will always tie in deeply to Luke's

Issue #1, Page 3 features an imprisoned Luke with Comanche and Shades, 2 men whose history will always tie in deeply to Luke’s

And with page 1 of Issue #3 we get the golden boots and all is right with the world

And with page 1 of Issue #3 we get the golden boots and all is right with the world

 

 

 

 

 

Yeah Baby!

Yeah Baby!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One trick that's always worked in comics is putting a new character in an established book to raise his Visibility. Check out Luke on this great cover from Amazing Spider-Man #123 by I believe John Romita Sr

One trick that’s always worked in comics is putting a new character in an established book to raise his Visibility. Check out Luke on this great cover from Amazing Spider-Man #123 by I believe John Romita Sr

 

Witness... The epic origin of the Power Man name!

Witness… The epic origin of the Power Man name!

Now this picture doesn't feature look but I just wanted to give you an idea of the villains he was facing back in his early days... Especially when they have a look, name and dialogue this freakin' awesome

Now this picture doesn’t feature Luke but I just wanted to give you an idea of the villains he was facing back in his early days… Especially when they have a look, name and dialogue this freakin’ awesome

For a few issues late in his solo run they gace Luke a slightly different look. Less like a costume and not as cheesy this lasted about 3 issues

For a short while late in his solo run they gave Luke a slightly different look. Less like a costume and not as cheesy this lasted about 3 issues

In issue #48 Power Man and Iron Fist met for the very first time...

In issue #48 Power Man and Iron Fist met for the very first time…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And THIS is what happened!

And THIS is what happened!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Luke as an 80's arcade game is tremendous

Luke as an 80’s arcade game is tremendous

My 2 favorite artists during the Power Man and Iron Fist years were Mark Bright and the man who drew this tremendous image, Denys Cowan. His Luke was powerful, unique, menacing and absolutely awesome

My 2 favorite artists during the Power Man and Iron Fist years were Mark Bright and the man who drew this tremendous image from issue #81, Denys Cowan. His Luke was powerful, unique, menacing and absolutely awesome

Power Man & Iron Fist V1 #81 - Page 20

Plus in the same issue he gave us what I believe is the only time Power Man ever dressed up as a woman… That’s right folks, LUKE CAGE DRESSED UP AS A GIRL!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And here is issue #83, my all time favorite cover in the series. You can literally feel the rage and hurt in Luke, and all you need to know about his relationship to Fist is summed up in this brilliant Denys Cowan piece

And here is issue #83, my all time favorite cover in the series. You can literally feel the rage and hurt in Luke, and all you need to know about his relationship to Fist is summed up in this brilliant Denys Cowan piece

 

Or just wearing... Honestly I have no idea what he's wearing there, 80's fashion?

Or just wearing… Honestly I have no idea what he’s wearing there, 80’s fashion?

Here's something you don't see every day... Luke sporting a fine business suit...

Here’s something you don’t see every day… Luke sporting a fine business suit…

Or Luke in a snowsuit...

Or Luke in a snowsuit…

In September of 1986 Power Man and Iron Fist was among the titles cancelled by Marvel to make room for the New Universe. In this final issue Iron Fist is apparently killed and Luke Cage is on the run from the law again accused of his murder. On the final page Fist's girlfriend and Luke have a tender moment as the 2 people who loved him the most. I this final panel, as beautifully drawn by Mark Bright, we see the after effects on Luke, and this would remain the final image of him printed for years

In September of 1986 Power Man and Iron Fist was among the titles cancelled by Marvel to make room for the New Universe. In this last issue Fist is apparently killed and Luke Cage is on the run from the law again after being accused of his murder. On the final page Misty Knight and Luke have a tender moment as the 2 people who loved Iron Fist the most. In this final panel, as beautifully drawn by Mark Bright, we see the after effects on Luke, and this would remain the final image of him printed for years

After a seemingly endless wait Luke fans finally got his return in 19911. The downside was it was only as a rather forgettable 8 page back up feature in Marvel Comics Presents #82 but... It led to a dramatic return in the 1992 series titled, simply, Cage, complete with a brand new look

After a seemingly endless wait Luke fans finally got his return in 1991. The downside was it was only as a rather forgettable 8 page back up feature in Marvel Comics Presents #82 but… It led to a dramatic return in the 1992 series titled, simply, Cage, complete with a brand new look. Luke had doffed the Power Man name and the super hero costume associated with it for something more contemporary, but some subtle nods to his old outfit exist

 

Luke had returned as a darker, more self absorbed character, afraid to let anyone in after what happened with Iron Fist. Here we see a glimpse of a young Luke, and a hint as to what shaped the man

Luke had returned as a seemingly darker and more self absorbed character who was afraid to let anyone in after what had happened with Iron Fist. Here though, we see a glimpse of a young Luke, and a hint as to what would shape the man to come

The artist on the Cage series was Dwayne Turner who now works as a storyboard artist for big budget video games and films such as God of War and Ender's Game

The earliest artist on the Cage series was Dwayne Turner who now works as a storyboard artist for big budget video games and films such as God of War and Ender’s Game

 

 

When Luke cage and Iron Fist finally had their reunion it was, to say the least, combustible

When Luke cage and Iron Fist finally had their reunion it was, to say the least, combustible

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One thing that was true in the Cage series much like his earlier Power Man run was you didn't really want Luke mad

One thing that was true in the Cage series much like his earlier Power Man run was you didn’t really want Luke mad

Here's a look from near the end of Cage V1 that I thought was pretty cool

Here’s a look from near the end of Cage V1 that I thought was pretty cool

 

With Cage's cancellation at Issue #20 the next time he was part of an ongoing regular series was teaming with his old friend Iron Fist and several other for a short run launched during the Heroes Reborn event. His costume, as designed by Pasqual Ferry is a new look on an old outfit, and one of many designs given during the series short run

With Cage’s cancellation at Issue #20 the next time he was part of an ongoing regular series was teaming with his old friend Iron Fist and several other for a short run launched during the Heroes Reborn event. His costume, as designed by Pasqual Ferry is a new look on an old outfit, and one of many designs given during Heroes For Hire’s short run

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pasqual Ferry has become a highly successful artist here in 2014 but in 1997 he was still refining his craft. Here's an example of Luke I like...

Pasqual Ferry has become a highly successful artist here in 2014 but in 1997 he was still refining his craft. Here’s an example of Luke I like…

 

And here's one I consider a highly questionable choice... I mean THIS is supposed to be Luke Cage?

And here’s one I consider a highly questionable choice… I mean THIS is supposed to be Luke Cage?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well I can appreciate Ferry trying something new I guess, and his Luke Cage transformed into one mean Gorilla was stupendous

Well I can appreciate Ferry trying something new I guess, and his Luke Cage transformed into one mean Gorilla was stupendous

In 2002 Brian Azzarello and Richard Corben gave us a brand new take on Luke Cage with a alternate universe version mature readers tale

In 2002 Brian Azzarello and Richard Corben gave us a brand new take on Luke Cage with a alternate universe version mature readers tale

 

I am a big fan of Corben's art and this series was well recieved but I'm not a fan, it's just not my Luke Cage

I am a big fan of Corben’s art and this series was well recieved but I’m not a fan, it’s just not my Luke Cage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Perhaps the most important thing for Luke Cage in recent history is that superstar writer Brian Michael Bendis was a fan of the character made him a prominent member of The Avengers, as well as reintroducing Luke's future wife Jessica Jones

Perhaps the most important thing for Luke Cage in recent history is that superstar writer Brian Michael Bendis was a fan of the character made him a prominent member of The Avengers, as well as re-introducing Luke’s future wife Jessica Jones

And they had a beautiful baby girl together Danielle Cage, named after Luke's best friend Danny Rand aka Iron Fist

And they had a beautiful baby girl together Danielle Cage, named after Luke’s best friend Danny Rand aka Iron Fist

In 2010 we had a pair of books. Marvel created a very cool series of Noir books with varying characters, this is a nicely done cover montage of the series starring Luke

In 2010 we had a pair of books. Marvel created a very cool series of Noir books with varying characters, this is a nicely done cover montage of the series starring Luke

 

Anothe Mini with Luke was New Avengers: Luke Cage. Not sure why, but I feel like the artist Eric Canete was paying tribute to someone else here...

Anothe Mini with Luke was New Avengers: Luke Cage. Not sure why, but I feel like the artist Eric Canete was paying tribute to someone else here…

 

 

Ah yes... There it is

Ah yes… There it is

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And we've also had the emergence of a new Power Man. as Victor Alvarez has taken up the name

And we’ve also had the emergence of a new Power Man. as Victor Alvarez has taken up the name

But that's not the end of Luke's Journey, because like any megastar character he's been immortalized in many other forms of media, like here from Avenger Earth's Mightiest Heroes with Fist and Scott Lang the Ant-Man

But that’s not the end of Luke’s Journey, because like any megastar character he’s been immortalized in many other forms of media, like here with a cartoon version from Avengers Earth’s Mightiest Heroes with Fist and Scott Lang the Ant-Man

Or in a video game version like in Marvel Ultimate Alliance. You could unlock different costumes for the character, once I did guess which one I played as!

Or in a video game version like in Marvel Ultimate Alliance. You could unlock different costumes for the character, once I did guess which one I played as!

 

Here's a mighty nice Luke Cage as Power Man resin statue

Here’s a mighty nice Luke Cage as Power Man resin statue

 

And while I'm not a toy collector myself hats off to anyone with these action figures in their house

And while I’m not a toy collector myself hats off to anyone with these action figures in their house

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here'a an awesome old school Marvel Mega Mega Magnet of Power Man from back in the day

Here’a an awesome old school Marvel Mega Mega Magnet of Power Man from back in the day

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And Luke got the much deserved Lego treatment here

And Luke got the much deserved Lego treatment here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And of course there's some shits, like this one which is truly epic

And of course there’s some shirts, like this one which is truly epic

 

And this shirt, which I personally find even more epic

And this shirt, which I personally find even more epic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course People Cosplay as Luke, extremely nice job done on this one

Of course people Cosplay as Luke, extremely nice job done on this one

And artists from all over the world draw him just as a tribute, like this rendering by the one and only Bruce Timm

And artists from all over the world draw him just as a tribute, like this rendering by the one and only Bruce Timm

 

But the wait is still on to see Luke make it to the silver screen, and with all due respect to many people's choice Terry Crews...

But the wait is still on to see Luke make it to the silver screen, and with all due respect to many people’s choice Terry Crews…

 

 

 

 

I just can't imagine anyone else in the role except Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson

I just can’t imagine anyone else in the role except Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course there's no way I'll ever get done the whole history of every appearance of a character around for 40 odd years, but here's a montage my buddy Brett created for me of some of my other favorites Top Row - Age of Ultron (Earth-61112), Super Hero Squad cartoon and games (Earth-91119), Power Man: Ultimate Comics (Earth-1610), Larval Earth (Earth-8311) Middle Row - Earth X (Earth-9997), Power Fist: Legacy Virus merged with Warlock (Earth-8545), Luke Cage found the Hammer of Thor (Earth-88255), Mar-Vell did not Die (Earth-906) Bottom Row - Divergent Zombieverse (Earth-6195), Power Girl: Wonder Man & Power Man had female counterparts (Earth-34828), President Cage: Worldwide superhuman registration (Earth-8441), Marvel Knights Millennial Visions: America the Beautiful (Earth-8666)

Of course there’s no way I’ll ever get done the whole history of every appearance of a character around for 40 odd years, but here’s a montage my buddy Brett created for me of some of my other favorites
Top Row – Age of Ultron (Earth-61112), Super Hero Squad cartoon and games (Earth-91119), Power Man: Ultimate Comics (Earth-1610), Larval Earth (Earth-8311)
Middle Row – Earth X (Earth-9997), Power Fist: Legacy Virus merged with Warlock (Earth-8545), Luke Cage found the Hammer of Thor (Earth-88255), Mar-Vell did not Die (Earth-906)
Bottom Row – Divergent Zombieverse (Earth-6195), Power Girl: Wonder Man & Power Man had female counterparts (Earth-34828), President Cage: Worldwide superhuman registration (Earth-8441), Marvel Knights Millennial Visions: America the Beautiful (Earth-8666)

Share

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.