Elevating Minor Characters

Written on Mon, Feb 14, 2011 by Kyle posted by kyle

Elevating Minor Characters

It seems like almost any writer can write for well known characters. Batman has 6 titles currently (Batman, Batman and Robin, Batman Inc, Detective Comics, Batman Confidential, Batman: Dark Knight), with different writers on each of them (all of which are talented) it seems like anyone can get a chance to write for the bigger characters. Over time I’m becoming more impressed with people who can focus on or even elevate lesser known characters.

The perfect example of is Luke Cage, aka Power Man. He was created by Archie Goodwin and John Romita Sr. in 1972. Despite being on the Defenders and Heroes for Hire he never became a top ties character. For anyone coming on to comics in the 80’s or 90’s it would b unlikely that you’d see him or be that familiar with him. Then enter Brian Michael Bendis. Starting with his Marvel Max series “Alias” (2001-2004) Cage was brought in as a much more street level hero of the people minus the yellow blouse and silver tiara.

Things ramped up after the “New Avengers” restarted with Luke Cage coming on as a main character in one of Marvel’s flagship titles. He remained true to his characterization from Alias and even did something we don’t see in characters all that often, he changed over time.

Starting with Alias we have seen Cage become the quasi boyfriend of the titles main character Jessica Jones. We watched the two of them have a baby together in the short lived series ‘The Pulse’ and the two of them finally get married in ‘New Avengers Annual 1 (March 2006).

Beyond personal life we’ve also seen Cage advance in his role as a hero. He began as a disputed choice for the New Avengers backed by Captain America (Steve Rogers). After the Civil War (2006-2007) and with Steve Rogers gone Luke was put in the role of unofficial leader of the Secret Avengers in hiding. Finally in the aftermath of Siege (2010)  Cage was again approached by Steve Rogers to officially lead a sanctioned Avengers team. This time Cage was also backed by the person who had originally been unsure if Cage even have been considered for an Avenger the first time, Tony Stark.

This is as ideal a situation as is possible. A character who started out somewhere on the C List was able to become a major player in the Marvel Universe because a writer kept up with him. Even on multiple titles. A continued push for someone to change and show development will attract and keep readers.

2 Responses to “Elevating Minor Characters”

  1. Russ Rogers says:

    Isaiah Mustafa has expressed keen interest in playing Luke Cage in the movies. I’m all for it. I’ve always liked Cage, even back in the 70s when his urban dialog was slathered on pretty thick. And I like Mustafa. Haven’t had a chance to read what Cage is like today though. Nice article.

  2. Marty says:

    Alias, was one of the best series that Marvel Max did. It brought me back to comics in a big way.