Brainy Quote of the Day

Monday, October 3, 2016

The Power of Imagery...

Image Source: VIBE
Topics: African Americans, Diaspora, Diversity, Diversity in Science, Science Fiction

Marvel Comics has the distinction of diversifying American Mythology (comics) first with The Black Panther, Luke Cage et al, and it would be a while before DC Comics "got the memo." As is now evidenced in real-time after the Agents of Shield, Ant-Man, Avengers, Captain America, Guardians of the Galaxy, Hulk, Iron Man franchises and the soon-coming Black Panther and (yet another) Spider-man reboot, DC still appears to be behind the curve. "Black Lightning" and "Static Shock" seem to be clones of one another, as well as going from Hal Jordan to Jon Stewart as Green Lantern, ostensibly selected as a "backup." Mr. Terrific has had several incarnations in comics and on the CW's Arrow series. Cyborg, who will be in the Justice League movie, is an interesting yet mechanized character, more machine than man and gives rise to questions of his own humanity as well as Hollywood and technology's power over black bodies.

The latest is Luke Cage on Netflix, which had the distinction of being so popular this weekend it crashed their site [1]. An inquiry online found at least one friend had the same experience during our weekend's binge watching. I checked my credit card, and Netflix had taken its usual monthly fee on schedule.

There is as with any retelling some similarities and a lot of differences between the original character and the newer version. Such as: Luke had an Afro and "talked a lot of jive," which resonated with the audience Marvel was trying to reach at that time. It definitely did with me and my friends. This Luke reads a lot of black literature with a clear knowledge of self and history, and is a subtler, hipper version of the now defunct (but in DVD format) "Schoolhouse Rock."

Netflix alludes to his previous career in law enforcement that wasn't in the original version, which explained his tracking abilities pre his eventful "accident," aided by a rabidly racist guard. The "science" or fiction thereof as anything else in Marvel stems from the Super Soldier serum that created Captain America and most of the Marvel superhero pantheon. His prison break was as I remembered, but his homage to how "Luke Cage: Hero for Hire" used to look was brief and hilarious to witness! I won't spoil it, but if you're confused, Google some old classic images of him, and compare it to Mike Colter's enactment. As the actor eludes, Harlem is as much a character in the series [2], a subtle history of literature and heroes like Crispus Attucks, Malcolm X, David Dinkins and others name-dropped for a new generation of millennials that have lost faith in traditional institutions like government, church and Civil Rights leaders, who may be ready for an impervious Steve Biko from "around-the-way."

The shear brilliance of a bullet-proof black superhero in light of black bodies falling in the streets is ironically well-timed; as artful as starting a lot of the stories from their end, and filling in the blanks the rest of the episode, a respite from what the author Touré (last week) filling in on the Karen Hunter Show on Sirius XM aptly referred to their sheer repeated orgy and negative psychological impact as "snuff films." Netflix's Luke Cage series gives those of us affected in our spirits a world of larger-than-life heroes as well as the quintessential villains (Cottonmouth) as respite to momentarily escape to.

"We are one bullet away from being a hashtag" is an oft-repeated meme as frustration builds when media follows the typical formula after the pending hashtag expires from life: any infraction with the law, even jaywalking must be trotted out as an evidence and reason for the public execution by the state. From a brief humorous cameo in his former seventies hero garb; to the homage to Trayvon Martin slaughtered by an unqualified idiot (whose name I won't type or mention). The Luke Cage for THIS age like his original version has no mask, disguise or secret identity. He's a man as "Pops" inspired him to be, "going forward" garbed in nothing but grit, bullet-proof skin, super-powered muscles, righteous indignation, honor, nobility...

And a HOODIE! We are all Luke Cage. #HoodieUp

1. Entertainment: Marvel's Luke Cage is so popular, it actually caused Netflix to crash
2. NBC News: 'Luke Cage' Stars, But Harlem is Second Lead in Netflix Series

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