Luke cage stereotypical black man or not?

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Posted by tiger26 (129 posts) - - Show Bio

ok this has been on my mind for a while whenever a disscussion is made about luke cage people seem to see him as a stereotypical black man well i just gotta know why cause he has a bald head cusses from time to time dosen't wear a costume i did some research on it reading some of his old series and him in the new avengers i don't really see him as that i just see luke as a guy who wants to do good by people and saving them i kinda find it disappointed I mean not all i mean you wouldnt look at a bald white guy and think hes a skin head or look at a jewish person and say he cares about money just some thinkin
#1 Posted by ssejllenrad (12847 posts) - - Show Bio

If he was stereotypical, he should be named Lamarr Cage or something like that... Nyehehe!

#2 Posted by cosmo111687 (1489 posts) - - Show Bio

He's as much of a stereotypical black man as spider-man is a stereotypical white man.

#3 Posted by cattlebattle (12993 posts) - - Show Bio

I didn't write this
 

Luke Cage: A Life In Stereotype

Not too long ago, Morgan Freeman made the comment that the idea of Black History Month is "ridiculous," and I can't say I blame him. The whole idea is to highlight a section of history that might otherwise go undiscussed, but a lot of times it comes off more as a confinement of something that should just be a part of everything else.

And really, if you're still a racist in two thousand and six, then no amount of elementary school reports on the many uses of peanuts is going to change it. You're beyond help.

That's why I think we should get rid of it, replacing it instead with a little thing I like to call Black Spring Break History Month: four weeks of study and discourse on 1998's forgotten classic of film. And its sequel. Because apparently... there was a sequel.

But until that glorious day when director Marlon Parry is hailed as the genius he truly is, I'll just have to work with what I'm given. Which brings me, in a ridiculously roundabout sort of way, to Luke Cage. Because what better way to examine Black History in comics than a look back at the history of the character with the uncanny ability to embody a stereotype whenever he appears.

Scott has this theory that Luke Cage is just one of those guys that we all know who runs out every few years, finding out what the kids these days are into, deciding everything he's done up to this point is stupid and reinventing himself in accordance with the new trends. That makes him seem like more of an affable dope than a self-renewing stereotype, especially when Brian Bendis is trying to write "street." Let's take a look:

Feast thine eyes on Hero For Hire #1, Luke's first appearance, kickin' it blaxploitation style as he uses the Man's own dastardly experiments to get over in the world of ex-con superheroics. Oddly enough, this one's going to end up being the least offensive version of Luke Cage, although there was that cringe-worthy time that Iron Man suggested he refer to himself as "The Ace of Spades."

Jesus, Tony. Just how drunk were you?

Anyway, Luke stuck with this basic look--which inexplicably included a tiara--for a while during his partnership with Marvel's other '70s genre hero and fan of the high-collar, Iron Fist, even sporting the look during the high point of his career, this panel from Power Man and Iron Fist #75:



Then came the '90s, and CAGE, the series where Luke decided to forego his yellow pirate shirt in favor of a leather jacket and metal shin-guards. He also started dropping the Flava Flav-esque "BOYEE" into his conversation with alarming regularity:

Yes, Cage. Yes it is.

(For the record, the story that panel is from involves the Punisher getting cut up by Jigsaw and having new skin grafted to his face by a former med student turned heroin-addict prostitute, which has the result of turning him black for three issues until a story called, and I'm totally serious here, "Fade to White." That, friends, is deserving of its own post.)

That revamp didn't stick either, leading to his appearance in Alias, where Brian Bendis re-established him as an anal sex enthusiast, which subsequently became his most defining characteristic in the past five years. Then came Brian Azzarello's version a few months later, where he hangs out in Harlem strip clubs demanding "a couple hunny" for his services and sporting a costume of sunglasses, gold chains, and headphones that he presumably uses to listen to the "rap" music that the kids like so much. Charming!

Apparently, that's what it takes to get a spot on the Avengers these days, because all he really does otherwise is hang out saying things like "Damn, Girl!" whenever Spider-Woman walks by, and dropping my favorite of Bendis's attempts at slang, "Man, if we wouldn'ta shown up in his face, he'd be wearing a Hydra robe and doin' the robot."

Yep. The Robot. That's what's hot on the streets, all right.

The whole thing adds up to make the current iteration of Cage the most grotesquely stereotypical we've ever had, even without cribbing lines from Public Enemy. And yet, the only person who seems to notice is Robert Kirkman's Invincible:

Maybe it'd be a little bit better if Luke's super-hero costume didn't look like it was cribbed directly from Ali G's closet. Booyakasha!
#4 Posted by hydrabob--defunct (14860 posts) - - Show Bio

Luke Cage did some cool stuff when he first joined the New Avengers. Now this was written by Bendis, but I still liked it. 
 

#5 Posted by JediXMan (30942 posts) - - Show Bio
@cosmo111687 said:
He's as much of a stereotypical black man as spider-man is a stereotypical white man.
So that's a yes?
Moderator
#6 Posted by OmegaDynasty (9190 posts) - - Show Bio
 
 
 
  
#7 Posted by cyberninja (10413 posts) - - Show Bio

This sounds like a bait. 

#8 Edited by OmegaDynasty (9190 posts) - - Show Bio
@cyberninja said:

This sounds like a bait. 

Possibly. Although, when it comes to forums about race, gender, etc it usually turns into a flame thread even if that wasn't it's intent. 
#9 Edited by cyberninja (10413 posts) - - Show Bio
@OmegaDynasty said:

@cyberninja said:

This sounds like a bait. 

Possibly. Although, when it comes to forums about race, gender, etc it usually turns into a flame thread even if that wasn't it's intent. 
So if we ALL lose either way, why are we posting in it?
#10 Edited by cosmo111687 (1489 posts) - - Show Bio
@JediXMan said:

@cosmo111687 said:

He's as much of a stereotypical black man as spider-man is a stereotypical white man.

So that's a yes?
That's a "whatever you make of it." If you see people as stereotypes, then you'll interpret Luke Cage as a stereotypical black guy. But if you see people in accordance to their individual characteristics (whither they fit in the mold of a stereotype or not), then you'll see Luke Cage as an individual. It's all in the eye of the beholder. 
 
Of course, if you look at the intent of the original creators, then I would say that Luke Cage was based off of the archetype of the Angry Black Man prominent in 1970s blacksploitation films, which was it's self inspired by the angry black man stereotype. But, over time, he's developed his own history, personality, and identity which I think makes him more than just a black stereotype.
#11 Posted by JediXMan (30942 posts) - - Show Bio
@cosmo111687 said:
@JediXMan said:

@cosmo111687 said:

He's as much of a stereotypical black man as spider-man is a stereotypical white man.

So that's a yes?
That's a "whatever you make of it." If you see people as stereotypes, then you'll interpret Luke Cage as a stereotypical black guy. But if you see people in accordance to their individual characteristics (whither they fit in the mold of a stereotype or not), then you'll see Luke Cage as an individual. It's all in the eye of the beholder.  Of course, if you look at the intent of the original creators, then I would say that Luke Cage was based off of the archetype of the Angry Black Man prominent in 1970s blacksploitation films, which was it's self inspired by the angry black man stereotype. But, over time, he's developed his own history, personality, and identity which I think makes him more than just a black stereotype.
My comment was more a stab at Parker than anything else.
Moderator
#12 Posted by mikethekiller (8457 posts) - - Show Bio

I don't see him as a stereotype. To me he represents what a real dude would do if he had super powers.

#13 Posted by Wise Son (1772 posts) - - Show Bio
Heh, more or less. I'm a fan of Cage but I do think he's the token black guy of Marvel. Not to say that is a bad thing. He's relatable to the people who lived the same hard knock life he has. He gives those people a voice. He keeps moving forward even with the chips stacked against him. He and Falcon seem to be the best representation of that in the MU as far as blacks go. 
 
As much as I want to see everyone as an individual (as they are) people still tend to fall into stereotypes. I've met many blacks like him so yeah..
#14 Posted by Osiris1428 (1349 posts) - - Show Bio

    Yeah, I knew this thread would get over looked. I just want to put my two cents in for whoever cares. 
 
  @tiger26 said:

ok this has been on my mind for a while whenever a disscussion is made about luke cage people seem to see him as a stereotypical black man well i just gotta know why cause he has a bald head cusses from time to time dosen't wear a costume i did some research on it reading some of his old series and him in the new avengers i don't really see him as that i just see luke as a guy who wants to do good by people and saving them i kinda find it disappointed I mean not all i mean you wouldnt look at a bald white guy and think hes a skin head or look at a jewish person and say he cares about money just some thinkin
I think for the most part, a lot of people like Luke Cage, but there are somethings that just make you butt check itch. The comic book industry is mostly made up of liberal white males. The are some racists, but for the most part a lot of the mis-steps come from good intentions. There are some of the rather cringe-worthy things that come from Cage's mouth sometimes lead me to believe that the writers don't even know any actual black people. But sometimes I wonder if they may actually have black friendsbut they might be as nerdy or share the same interests as them, but in their eyes because of that fact they are somehow not as authentically "black" as "the gangsta", or "the pimp" or the "Black bad-ass (the 'Angry Black Man')"so it doesn't really translate to the characters that they write or create.  
 
Everyone has a stereotype, but when there is no depth, and certain things are ignored, it leaves the reader not really well served.  
 
ARCHETYPE: " Carl Jung, a pioneer in the field of psychology, focused on the psychoanalytic features of the archetype. He defined an archetype as “a universal and recurring image, pattern, or motif representing a typical human experience.” Archetypes are patterns and behaviors; primordial images which are part of our psyche and social systems."
You see so many archetypes with other male characters-
The Boyscout

Characters: Cyclops, Superman, Captain America...

Description: Good moral character. Often given leadership roles. Very honorable. Can be a bit stiff and sometimes too serious. Often has conflict with the 'rebel' class.
 
 
-Rebel/Loner

Characters: Wolverine, Batman

Description: Often has dark and tragic history/background. Mistrust of others and has issues with authority figures. Often grumpy and rarely ever in cheerful mood. Does not get along with others easily.
 
-Anti-hero

Characters: Punisher, Venom

Description: This character draws the line between hero and villain. While they often intend to do good (protect the innocent), they have no moral qualms that heroes usually face (such as killing). This class acts very ruthlessly and are effective in what they do.
 
 And when you get to Luke Cage....well...some say there are only two kinds of black superhero archetypes...
 
  
  
Dwayne McDuffie here explains in great detail how the character and characterization of Luke Cage came about.
    Or a hero you have to hire to save you.
  
@cyberninja said:
@OmegaDynasty said:

@cyberninja said:

This sounds like a bait. 

Possibly. Although, when it comes to forums about race, gender, etc it usually turns into a flame thread even if that wasn't it's intent. 
So if we ALL lose either way, why are we posting in it?

So, okay, I'll just leave this as food for thought, even though I know it's just going to be seen as "bait." I'm glad some folks are brave enough to actually talk about this. Some others are just rather comfortable with their view points, and don't care to be challenged. It's a privilege for some to be able to ignore it. This one of the best vlogs on race in games, movies and comics. Very insightful.
  " ...How portrayal of 'race' works, or rather, how it doesn't. See rest of the world, let me explain something about white people: Our dominance of the western world and it's culture is so &(@**&$ monolithic that we don't even notice it's there. To the extent that even the smartest and most tolerant amongst us tend to subconsciously view our 'whiteness' as a kind of tabula rasa (latin d. blank slate ) normalcy and 'blackness',  or all other colors to be a special difference in and of itself. You can see this play out day after day in the creation of characters, not only in games, but in comics, cartoons, whatever. If a character is white you can expect him to have some sort of elaborate costume, perhaps a ridiculous hair cut, a signature weapon, or pages upon pages of back story. He needs all those things you see, because he's white, and therefore a blank slate of average normalcy. Where as if a character is black you can expect...not much beyond that. I mean take a look at one of the recent line ups for Marvel Comics  'The New Avengers'. Isn't kinda ...interesting  that out of these five super heroes the only one who doesn't have a costume or even an identifying logo is Luke Cage over here?? Like, 'Nah, he doesn't need a costume, he's black!!  That's just as weird as wearing a spider print leotard'. Now, comic fans would point out that Cage was never one much for costumes, but, COME ON!!! If you look at this you are not steeped in the Marvel arcana, doesn't it kinda look like this would be advertising- THE AVENGERS!!  FEATURING: SPIDER MAN!!  RONIN!!  CAPTAIN AMERICA!!   WOLVERINE!!  AND THE BLACK GUY!!!!"
#15 Posted by Do I have to give a name? (971 posts) - - Show Bio
@hydrabob said:
Luke Cage did some cool stuff when he first joined the New Avengers. Now this was written by Bendis, but I still liked it. 
 
I may have to start reading a bit more Luke Cage.
#16 Posted by hydrabob--defunct (14860 posts) - - Show Bio
@Do I have to give a name?: Maybe. I just thought that was a really cool moment.
#17 Edited by cyberninja (10413 posts) - - Show Bio
@Osiris1428: I have seen you post that "GAME OVERTHINKER" videos couple of times already. Subtle, VERY subtle. 
#18 Posted by Osiris1428 (1349 posts) - - Show Bio

Aaaaaannnnnd...we have flame thread.

#19 Posted by Samimista (20831 posts) - - Show Bio
@mikethekiller said:
I don't see him as a stereotype. To me he represents what a real dude would do if he had super powers.
This.
#20 Posted by hydrabob--defunct (14860 posts) - - Show Bio
@Osiris1428 said:
Aaaaaannnnnd...we have flame thread.
Where? :P no one is flaming out. Unless thats what you're trying to start......?
#21 Posted by Osiris1428 (1349 posts) - - Show Bio
@hydrabob said:
@Osiris1428 said:
Aaaaaannnnnd...we have flame thread.
Where? :P no one is flaming out. Unless thats what you're trying to start......?
NOOOOOOOOOOOONONONONOONONONO!!!!!!!!!!!!..... NO! 
 
*sigh* That video has a strong point I think a lot of people over look. That's why I posted it. Yes, it is the SECOND time I posted it.
#22 Posted by hydrabob--defunct (14860 posts) - - Show Bio
@Osiris1428 said:
@hydrabob said:
@Osiris1428 said:
Aaaaaannnnnd...we have flame thread.
Where? :P no one is flaming out. Unless thats what you're trying to start......?
NOOOOOOOOOOOONONONONOONONONO!!!!!!!!!!!!..... NO! 
 
*sigh* That video has a strong point I think a lot of people over look. That's why I posted it. Yes, it is the SECOND time I posted it.
I didn't even watch the video. :P I was just saying that you were trying to steer this into a flame thread.
#23 Posted by Osiris1428 (1349 posts) - - Show Bio
@hydrabob said:
@Osiris1428 said:
@hydrabob said:
@Osiris1428 said:
Aaaaaannnnnd...we have flame thread.
Where? :P no one is flaming out. Unless thats what you're trying to start......?
NOOOOOOOOOOOONONONONOONONONO!!!!!!!!!!!!..... NO! 
 
*sigh* That video has a strong point I think a lot of people over look. That's why I posted it. Yes, it is the SECOND time I posted it.
I didn't even watch the video. :P I was just saying that you were trying to steer this into a flame thread.
So you don't even know the context of what has been said...? Sorry I even acknowledged you.
#24 Posted by hydrabob--defunct (14860 posts) - - Show Bio
@Osiris1428 said:
@hydrabob said:
@Osiris1428 said:
@hydrabob said:
@Osiris1428 said:
Aaaaaannnnnd...we have flame thread.
Where? :P no one is flaming out. Unless thats what you're trying to start......?
NOOOOOOOOOOOONONONONOONONONO!!!!!!!!!!!!..... NO! 
 
*sigh* That video has a strong point I think a lot of people over look. That's why I posted it. Yes, it is the SECOND time I posted it.
I didn't even watch the video. :P I was just saying that you were trying to steer this into a flame thread.
So you don't even know the context of what has been said...? Sorry I even acknowledged you.
O_o I know you called this a flame thread after one person replied to you. Which is hardly just cause.
#25 Posted by GundamHeavyarms (701 posts) - - Show Bio

I think cage my have started out as a stereotype that stemmed from blaxplotation films of the 70's, but he has evolved to be more well rounded and human.

#26 Posted by progenitor (7551 posts) - - Show Bio

No.  He could actually be a role model, IMO.
#27 Posted by Osiris1428 (1349 posts) - - Show Bio
@GundamHeavyarms said:
I think cage my have started out as a stereotype that stemmed from blaxplotation films of the 70's, but he has evolved to be more well rounded and human.
@progenitor said:
No.  He could actually be a role model, IMO.
QFT
#28 Posted by velle37 (6059 posts) - - Show Bio

Watch the vids Osiris posted..... 
Especially the last one......... 
It is worth the 10 minutes.......
#29 Posted by Shadowdoggy (3815 posts) - - Show Bio
@GundamHeavyarms

agreed

also, he's the "Hero for hire" who's supposed to be a regular kind of guy from the streets of Harlem

he's only a stereotype if you are looking at the way he acts, speaks, dresses, whathaveyou, in a negative way

if you just assume those are facets of his personality, they are just those and nothing more

#30 Posted by Metatron_Da_Don (1037 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm bookmarking this thread :D

#31 Posted by Osiris1428 (1349 posts) - - Show Bio
@velle37 said:
Watch the vids Osiris posted..... Especially the last one......... It is worth the 10 minutes.......
I really appreciate that.
#32 Posted by Shadow_Thief (2509 posts) - - Show Bio
@cattlebattle: I always kinda wondered why a guy with unbreakable skin would need shin-guards. Was he playing on a soccer team between issues?
#33 Posted by Kallarkz (3303 posts) - - Show Bio

I honestly have never been interested in his character so i', not sure if he is a stereotype or not but I have always preferred Black Panther judging on the few times he has appeared in other books. 
I might give him a chance one day. 

#34 Posted by King Saturn (224450 posts) - - Show Bio
I was wondering if they are still going to make a Luke Cage film ?
#35 Posted by Osiris1428 (1349 posts) - - Show Bio

Hopefully...

#36 Posted by Varient (115 posts) - - Show Bio

Mixed feelings. 
 
There was a point in his existence  where you find out he has always been a deep thinker, but he catered to some stereotypes to get stuff done. 
 
There have been times where he wasn't angry,.. but "Angry black man" got the results he wanted. He only advertises his primary power,.. invulnerability,.. all the other stuff you have to read between the lines,.. At last count for example,.. he's supposed to speak at least two foriegn languages and spent time between the end of Heroes for hire and his latest gig knocking around the world.  He supposedly owns a large stake in a Bar, owns more than one home and keeps an office in that old theater the original series went around. 
 
   He charges for detective, bodyguard, and surveilence services, but is free as far as the standard superhero helping others vein.  
He is written correctly in Thunderbolts with the attitude I remember from the old Heroes for hire series,.. with a little of the banter that used to be with Danial Rand and the Daughters. 
 
He written (IMHO) Too proud/arrogant in the New Avengers,.. but I have seen improvement over the last few issues. If he is seen as a "poor leader" in the Avengers,.. in my opinion the character requires people he is not caretaking to be more responsible. He doesn't have to tell Spiderman or Iron fist what to do,.. they have a clue,.. Same with all the others,... they have all been heroes for years. Luke just says what they will do,.. and they do it w/o the micromanagement of Stark or the anal "gotta be in charge" of Danvers. 
 
Meh,.. I'll come back later.
#37 Posted by Stuka69 (117 posts) - - Show Bio

Duh! He is not stereotypical black man! He has unbreakable skin!

#38 Edited by sesquipedalophobe (4763 posts) - - Show Bio

This is what made me interested in Luke Cage, despite the tight, tight pants and super-defined muscles. He's the everyman of superheroes. I still don't get the whole Avenger thing. I don't think of him as stereotypical, because the same could be said about most characters.

#39 Posted by Mega_spidey01 (3078 posts) - - Show Bio

yeah he pretty cool on the new avengers & thunderbolts. i guess some people think he stereotypical because he came from the hood and got his powers from prison. i think he could be like a celebrity type superhero like johnny cage from mortal kombat with himself and iron fist as heroes from hire group.

#40 Edited by Lokheit (492 posts) - - Show Bio

I think that yes, he is treated as a stereotype. Specially lately. 
 
And not only the attitude, it's also the appareance. I mean, at least many years ago he had a disctintive uniform. No matter who the penciler was: you saw a guy with a yellow jacket and a silver tiara, and it could be a not colored image, you knew it was cage without needing to know if the guy was white or black.
 
Now? 
 
His uniform most times is a wool cap and a shirt without sleeves... really? 
 
Now he is the only one in the avengers that doesn't use a distinctive uniform and the way you recognize him is that he is the black and bald guy. Give him his wool cap, put him on a group of other afro-americans with wool caps and you have no idea who is Cage. I mean, is like if they though racial distiction was enough to differentiate him from the rest of the roster. Black Panther is african and have a distinctive costume, storm too. But they decided that Cage, who had a distintive costume (ok, that costume was horrible, but they could have worked with the concept or something) should look like a generic guy that you can recognize only if he is the only black man in the roster. Add a second black guy dressed in a similar way and you don't know who is Cage.
 
It could be argued that there isn't a need for some characters to have an uniform, but if they set it that way and everyone have their own uniform, why make him different than all the other super-heros to look like a plain genereic guy. And is also a great way to recognize characters. Some artists draw the same faces on every character and some artist always draw different faces on the same characters or it's the first time you see the artist work, so how do you know if you're looking at Clint Barton or Hank Pym? Because of the uniform.

#41 Posted by Mega_spidey01 (3078 posts) - - Show Bio

@Samimista said:

@mikethekiller said:
I don't see him as a stereotype. To me he represents what a real dude would do if he had super powers.
This.
#42 Posted by Mega_spidey01 (3078 posts) - - Show Bio

give him a costume like hancock the shades and unbreakable jacket that says cage on the back.

#43 Posted by Vance Astro (91286 posts) - - Show Bio

There's like 40 threads about this same topic.

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