Luke Cage, also known as Power Man, is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Luke Cage first appeared in Luke Cage, Hero for Hire #1 (June 1972) and was created by Archie Goodwin, John Romita, Sr. and George Tuska. The character frequently teams up with fellow superhero and close friend Iron Fist and is married to Jessica Jones, with whom he has a daughter. Luke Cage’s origin story relates that he was imprisoned for a crime he did not commit and gained superpowers in a sabotaged cellular regeneration experiment. In 2005, writer Brian Michael Bendis added Luke Cage to the lineup of the New Avengers, and he has appeared in various Avengers titles since.
Actor Mike Colter played the character in the first season of Jessica Jones, a live-action television series set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and headlined his own series, which premiered in September 2016 on Netflix. Colter is set to reprise his role in The Defenders.
Luke Cage was created by Archie Goodwin and John Romita, Sr. shortly after Blaxploitation films emerged as a popular new genre. He debuted in his own series, Luke Cage, Hero for Hire, which was initially written by Goodwin and pencilled by George Tuska. Cage’s adventures were set in a grungier, more crime-dominated New York City than that inhabited by other Marvel superheroes of the time. The series was retitled Luke Cage, Power Man with issue #17.
As the Blaxploitation genre’s popularity faded, Cage became unable to support his own series and was paired with another superhero whose popularity was based on a declining film genre, the martial arts hero Iron Fist, in an effort to save both characters from cancellation. Though the series title would remain Power Man in the indicia for a while longer, with issue #50 (April 1978) the cover title became Power Man and Iron Fist. It would remain thus until the series’s cancellation with issue #125 (September 1986). The series’s final writer, James Owsley, attempted to shed Cage’s blaxploitation roots by giving him a larger vocabulary and reducing usage of his catchphrase, “Sweet Christmas!”
In 1992, Cage was relaunched in a new series, simply titled Cage, set primarily in Chicago. The revived series updated the character for the Nineties, with Cage symbolically destroying his original costume on the cover of the first issue. The series was cancelled after twenty issues; the entire run was written by Marc McLaurin. Cage received exposure in other books at the time, including his own serial in the anthology series Marvel Comics Presents. In the aftermath of the “Onslaught” and “Heroes Reborn” storylines, Cage was included in the series Heroes for Hire, written by John Ostrander, which lasted 19 issues.
Subsequently, Cage was featured in the Brian Michael Bendis-written series Alias, Secret War, The Pulse, Daredevil, and New Avengers.
In 2010, Cage became a regular character in Thunderbolts, starting with issue #144, and continued as leader of the team when the title transitioned into Dark Avengers beginning with issue #175. Cage also reappeared as a regular character in the second volume of New Avengers series