The Meaning of Luke Cage

The media campaign for Luke Cage Season 2 on Netflix is in full effect.  If I was to rate the success of the Marvel Netflix universe, I would say that Daredevil is the most impressive interpretation of the original comic and Luke Cage is the most effective adaptation the original comic. Why do I parse my words so? Well, I think Daredevil does the best job saying, "This is Daredevil" for the audience. I think Luke Cage does the best job of capturing what the character can mean for the audience. The truth of the matter is that the original Luke Cage from the comic book reflected the white misreading of black power politics and culture in the late 1960s.  Inspired by the success of Shaft, the comic book Luke Cage captures the emphasis redeeming black masculinity, suspicion of the police, and community-centric narrative associated with that era, without fully explaining why black people had those feelings. Mired in a white framework of "black anger" that refuses to acknowledge systemic discrimination, the comic book Luke Cage fights 'street level' villains and problems.  You can make the argument he is similar to Daredevil in this regard. Matt Murdock's obsession with protecting Hell's Kitchen is legendary. Yet, the comic book narrative about community linked to the two character has not always been equally lauded. Daredevil (and Spider-Man) are well regarded as loving their hoods. For years, this aspect of Cage's character has only gained traction since Brian Micheal Bendis used the character in Alias, his Jessica Jone title. Bendis' version of Luke Cage is the template for the Netflix. As a guiding light at Marvel, Bendis was able to use Luke Cage in the flagship The New Avengers title. As a result, Luke Cage moved from the edge to the center of Marvel fictional universe.



This is forthcoming. It started with a simple, but good idea. We wanted to explore how the shared universe ideology behind the Marvel Studios film offered a particular template to understand the success of the films created by Marvel Studios.  My argument was that the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) differed from licensed Marvel properties. The surface element of those changes is clear (end credit sequences, worlding building reflected in different properties and narrative benchmarks.) The deeper implication of these changes is not as clear.  The centrality of security, the dependency on identity/citizenship questions, and the nature of gender narrative within the MCU are worth discussing.  Of course, having come off the creation of Ages of Heroes, Eras of Men, I turned to my colleagues to support co-editing the book. Bill Svitavsky said yes, and Daniel Fandino, who stepped in when Tom Donaldson had family concerns that got in the way, helped manage the narrative.  They said yes, I pitched it to McFarland Publishers. We made the cut, despite the fact McFarland already had a book that became Marvel Comics Into Film in development.  The key was the argument I made that our focus would be the Marvel Studio properties and not licensed properties. This distinction is key to our analysis, but also key to the marketplace.   The MCiF book did push back our publication table and that gave us some wiggle room we needed as production ran into their predictable problems.  The image below IS NOT THE COVER,  but while I'm on sabbatical, I have many irons in the fire and this is a major project that is entering a critical final stage.