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Tuesday, April 05, 2005

The Truth About Luke

I just finished watching Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter, and I gotta tell ya: It's everything I dreamed of, and more. Look out for a full review on Friday, because it might just rock your face off.

Unfortunately, that's not the only movie I caught today. When I was over at Tug's house, he started flipping through the channels, and we came upon a little film you might've heard of called Gigli. Now I only stuck around for about three minutes, but it was long enough to see Jennifer Lopez threaten to pull a man's eyeball out. For three full minutes. Then, Ben Affleck followed it up with probably the worst line ever written on a piece of paper. He picks up some guy's laptop and snaps it over his knee and says:

"Nice computah. Suck my dick dot com!"

Wow. It boggles the mind. It also reminds me of Luke Cage.

Maybe I should explain that.

I've been thinking about Luke Cage today, what with his recent upswing in popularity and his near-iconic status with Phil and me. But the sad fact of the matter is, he sucks. He's outright terrible to the point where I feel bad for him and he's a fictional character.

The problem--and this is going to sound bad, but bear with me--is that he's a walking, talking black stereotype for whatever era he happens to be in.

In the '70s, when he was one half of a pair that rode the blaxploitation/kung fu movie craze, he sported an afro, a butterfly collar, and a shirt that was open to the waist. And he was an ex-con. And he said things like "Yo mama, sucka." (Seriously. Check out Power Man and Iron Fist #75. It's awesome).

Now looking back on it thirty years later, that's pretty rough, but he was still a fun character with a lot going for him. He was no more a victim of his time then than, say, Wonder Woman, a character created during World War II who wears an American flag as a costume.

But then the '90s had to come along and ruin everything. You might remember that at about this time, ol' Luke dropped the fro in favor of a fade and started going by "Cage" instead of Power Man. And he moved to Detroit.

Sigh.

Now I'm sure that they meant well, but it's ridiculous to the point of hilarity. In the Punisher issues he appears in--and you know I read 'em--he actually says "BOYEEEEEES!" There are no words, my friends.

Fast forward ten years and we get ANOTHER Cage revamp to reflect a new stereotype: Thug Life Cage! At this point, he's just become a caricature. Not only does he hang out in bars and listen to the hip-hop music the kids like on those headphones, but he also likes to fuck white women in the ass. Not that I begrudge him that, specifically. Just the idea that that's going to be his defining characteristic for the forseeable future.

Now he's an Avenger. An Avenger that likes to fuck chicks in the ass. An Avenger that wears muscle shirts with ripped sleeves and stocking caps to the meetings, and says things like "Damn, girl!" whenever he sees an attractive woman. Then again, this is the same writer that had him refer to a bunch of kids as "You yos."

Now I'm sure this is coming out all wrong, and Phil and Mike are probably never going to speak to me again, but it's insane how much actual character development has just been replaced by stereotype with Cage.

I like the guy a lot. I just wish he was a better character.

9 Comments:

Blogger Mark Hale said...

I think the 1990s CAGE series was actually written by an actual black person, as opposed to Chris Claremont or Mary Jo Duffy. And I think Priest was in there somewhere in the 1980s, but I don't have any of those issues. The issues I do have are up on eBay this week, though. Get 'em while they're hot, sucka!

Yo mama!

4/06/2005 1:16 AM

 
Blogger autryman said...

First of all, you and Phil have no idea how good it makes me feel when you drop my name in your posts. Thank you gosh darn it, thank you.

Second of all, as I've told you before, your attraction to Luke Cage and men in general is none of my bidness. Live and let live.

4/06/2005 8:04 AM

 
Blogger Philip Looney said...

Yeah, Priets wrote some of the early 80s issues of Powerman and Iron Fist - he may have even written that classic issue 75. I really think Cage works best as the 70s Power Man. I would like to go back and do a retro Power Man and Iron Fist book.

Now that you've done this, I should go and finish my Power Man & Iron Fist tribute.

4/06/2005 8:12 AM

 
Blogger Mark Hale said...

Nah, 75 is Duffy and so are a lot of issues around it, with the occasional co-plotter.

4/06/2005 12:31 PM

 
Blogger Chris Sims said...

Priest would've been Jim Owlsey at the time anyway. But the Punisher issues (BOYEEEEE!) were by noted raconteur Mike Baron.

4/06/2005 8:32 PM

 
Blogger Mark Hale said...

Owsley.

Just one of the mysterious reasons why he changed his name.

4/07/2005 12:21 AM

 
Anonymous Tug said...

Well, actually, the Vision liked fucking white women in the ass as well, but nobody ever talked about it.
Until NOW!

4/07/2005 6:43 PM

 
Blogger CapVsBats said...

Sweet Christmas! <-- Okay, now, I'll readily admit that while I look like I might have a little suger in me, I'm probably the whitest guy you'll ever meet, so I've gotta ask this: Do black people REALLY say "Sweet Christmas?"

I mean, do Indians say "Jumping July 4th!"

Not sure where Marvel came up with that particular idiom, but it's pretty stupid on all counts.

4/07/2005 11:35 PM

 
Blogger autryman said...

Holy Hannah!!!

4/09/2005 12:00 AM

 

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