By Ben Casper
He's one bad mutha—shut your mouth, we're not talking about Shaft! We're talking about CAGE!
Marvel's hippest hero for hire from Harlem, Luke Cage—a.k.a. Power Man—returns from the '70s with his own 2008-launching throwback mini-series taking true-believers back to the inceptive "blaxploitive" days of the character.
Emmy Award-winning writer and illustrator Genndy Tartakovsky, known for his beloved animated series "Dexter's Laboratory," "Samurai Jack" and "Star Wars: Clone Wars," revives the fan-favorite tiara and chest hair-riffic open yellow shirt in a new out-of-continuity four-issue run taking a super-satirical look at 1970s Marvel comics.
"You can really tell if you watch a lot of 'Dexter's Lab' episodes, there's a lot of influence from 1970s Marvel properties," says Marvel editor Aubrey Sitterson who is overseeing the project. He says the initial idea for Tartakovsky's project wasn't necessarily "Cage-centric" as much as it was Marvel comics in the '70s in general. Anyone who has seen the "Justice Friends" segment on 'Dexter's Lab' with Major Glory, Val Hallen, and the Infraggable Krunk (homages to Captain America, Thor and Hulk, respectively), knows Tartakovsky is up to the task of lovingly satirizing the Marvel U.
As Tartakovsky and Sitterson chatted, the archetypal choice for the project became obvious. Sitterson explains, "Nobody really captures that feel of kitschy, over-the-top, ridiculous Marvel '70s stuff the way that Luke Cage does, especially with the yellow silk shirt, tiara and everything."
CAGE, while focusing on the titular hero with unbreakable skin, will not just be packed with plenty of nostalgic Marvel characters and costumes but loads of deliciously-dated pop culture references to boot! According to Sitterson, with the book out of continuity, Tartakovsky can really go all out with his tongue-in-cheek style, making CAGE a raucously fun book.
So strap on your chain-belts, Marvel-fans, and get ready to hop in a groovy time machine of funk when CAGE hits shelves in 2008.