Luke Cage, sometimes known as Power Man, was created by Archie Goodwin, John Romita, Sr. and George Tuska, and debuted in his own book, Luke Cage, Hero for Hire, back in 1972. He wasn't Marvel's first black hero --- that was Black Panther --- or its first African American hero --- that was Falcon --- but he was the first black hero to launch in his own book and be given a push as a solo hero. In short, he was the first black hero who was made to be a star, and he was one.

Luke Cage was directly inspired by the popularity of the Blaxploitation genre, which was hugely popular at the time. His character in particular owed a lot to Shaft, a film that had come out the year before. Like John Shaft, Luke Cage is a formidable, no-nonsense black hero who has no patience for the authorities and presents himself as just in it for the paycheck. Unlike Shaft, Cage has super strength, immeasurable stamina, and unbreakable skin.

When Blaxploitation lost popularity, so did Cage. He teamed up with kung fu hero Danny Rand, also created to cash in on a once-booming movie genre, and they had a run as Power Man and Iron Fist that lasted until 1986.

Despite a mostly forgotten revival in 1992, Cage didn't really have much to do thereafter until the early 21st century, when Marvel's new crop of writers took an interest in him. Brian Azzarello and Richard Corben created a new Cage miniseries under the Marvel Max banner, and then Brian Michael Bendis featured him in Alias and New Avengers. Since then, he's become as popular as he ever was, and now he's getting his own Netflix series, Luke Cage, following his major role last year on Jessica Jones.

So here's some of the best Luke Cage fan art we could find. A lot of it harkens back to his original 1970s look, but some of it incorporates more recent looks, or takes him in a new direction. If there's one thing that Cage's comics history proves, it's that you can take him in a lot of different directions, but he'll always be unbreakable.

 

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Discover More Of The Best Fan Art Ever