On March 21, 1972, Marvel debuted a different kind of hero. A tribute to the black power movement and a clumsy attempt at diversity, Luke Cage: Hero for Hire was created by these guys:
Now, there’s nothing wrong with being white…But it did produce a comic that took place in an all-black neighborhood, starring a black superhero (one of the first), that felt a little…Stereotypical.
Nevertheless, it was a good comic. The first three issues were spent introducing the supporting cast and offering a general theme for the book, after which Goodwin and Tuska relinquished the reins.
Issue #2 introduces Claire Temple, best known to modern audiences as “Night Nurse” on Daredevil and Jessica Jones, the Netflix series. But in the comics, she wasn’t night nurse. She was Luke Cage’s main squeeze. But yes, she was also a nurse.
We also see how Luke Cage got his outfit…From a white guy! There’s a funny little shout out to the Flash too…
Back then, writers often worked for both companies at the same time and the publishers had a better sense of humor about each other.
Then, in #3, we meet the villain Mace.
And Cage’s landlord, DW Griffith, who owns a movie theater (yes, it’s an obvious tribute the famous film director). DW would stay on as a side character all the way into the years the title became Power Man and Iron Fist, and even still pops up from time to time.
This issue also introduces Shades and Comanche, who appear in several Luke Cage comics in the future.
Creators: Archie Goodwin and George Tuska
Grade: C+. It gets above average because it was a first, but qualitywise this is just an average comic.