Every Sunday morning we showcase a classic comic cover, complete with compelling pop culture commentary, for your cordial contemplation. It’s the Classic Comic Cover Corner!
Amazing Spider-Man #123 – August, 1973
Cover art by John Romita, Sr.
Have you watched the new Marvel/Netflix series “Jessica Jones” yet? I haven’t got to it myself, but I am excited to see positive reviews regarding the show’s co-star, Mike Colter, who is portraying the “Hero for Hire,” Luke Cage.
Mister Cage made his first comic book appearance in his own original book, Luke Cage, Hero for Hire #1 (June, 1972), which was Marvel Comics’ attempt to capitalize on the popular Blaxploitation films of the early seventies; but it didn’t take Cage long to blend into the greater Marvel universe as one of its hippest and most colorful characters.
Heck, even young comic fan Nicolas Coppola was inspired by the “Hero for Hire” to use the stage name Nicolas Cage, based on Luke’s powerful moniker. (Fingers crossed for a Nicolas Cage cameo in Netfilx’s upcoming Luke Cage series.)
After a brief cameo in Fantastic Four #133 (April, 1973), Luke made a full appearance in Amazing Spider-Man #123 (August, 1973), going up against web-head at the behest of J. Jonah Jameson. But as Spidey had just buried the love of his life, Gwen Stacy, it was a bad day to get on the wall-crawler’s bad side.
Spider-Man and Luke duke it out a couple of times in this issue, but the two heroes eventually make a connection as Spidey remembers he also started his career in the superhero biz as a way to make money.
A unique tidbit regarding this book is that it is one of a handful of times that the DC Comics universe is referenced by a Marvel character, when Luke names Bruce Wayne as an example of heroes who have an unlimited supply of money.
Can you name other instances when the big two comic publishers subtly referenced each other? Let us know in the comments below!
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