“LUKE CAGE HISTORY: FROM HERO FOR HIRE TO HOLLYWOOD”

“With Mike Colter wowing fans and critics with his performance as Luke Cage on “Marvel’s Jessica Jones,” the world at large has finally discovered one of Marvel’s greatest and most unique characters — and will see even more of him on Netflix’s follow-up “Luke Cage” show, currently in production.

Luke Cage has had many iterations since the character first debuted in June 1972 — but how did Cage reach this level of prominence? Here’s a look at the Luke’s rich and diverse history, a 40-year journey from Hero to Hire to Netflix star.

Debut

With Blaxploitation cinema on the rise, Marvel responded with its take on the genre: Luke Cage, real name Carl Lucas, created by Archie Goodwin and John Romita Sr., and first seen in 1972’s “Luke Cage, Hero for Hire” #1.

At the time, Black superheroes were a rarity in mainstream superhero comics. There was T’Challa, the Black Panther, who was introduced in the pages of the “Fantastic Four” a few years earlier, but other than a brief period where the King of Wakanda wore a mask that exposed his mouth, there was no immediate indication that the Black Panther was, in fact, Black. Luke Cage didn’t wear a mask or a typical superhero costume of any sort, with his identity on full display.

In “Luke Cage, Hero for Hire” #1 fans witnessed Luke Cage imprisoned for heroin possession after his former gang mate and friend Willis Stryker plants the drug in Luke’s apartment. Embittered by the betrayal, Cage tries to escape jail many times and is transferred to Seagate Prison, where he’s abused by a racist prison guard named Albert “Billy Bob” Rackham. When Cage was arrested, he was trying to get out of gang life, but thanks to Stryker, Cage was now stuck in a federal prison under cruel conditions…”

http://www.comicbookresources.com/article/luke-cage-history-from-hero-for-hire-to-hollywood

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“‘Creed’ has Second-biggest Box Office opening ever for a ‘Rocky’ movie”

“It looks like many took to the multiplexes after enjoying Turkey Day.  Winner of the competitive five-day total was “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2,” which took in an estimated $75 million, according to The Wrap.

But the big winner of the weekend was the film that took the third place spot, “Creed.”

The “Rocky”-inspired film — which looks at the son of Rocky Balboa’s rival, Apollo Creed, and stars Sylvester Stallone once more as the iconic Balboa and Michael B. Jordan as the young Creed — took in an estimated $42.60 million over the five days. The $30.12 million it made over the weekend alone makes it the second-biggest domestic opening of any of the previous six movies in the “Rocky” franchise (factoring in inflation, “Rocky IV” is still tops). “Creed” was made for $37 million, according to reports.

Also doing well this holiday weekend was the latest Pixar movie, “The Good Dinosaur,” which earned $55 million over the five days to come in second place.  In fact, the top 20 titles of the year had a 112% spike in ticket sales on Black Friday over Thanksgiving day’s box office, according to Deadline (also helpful was an unseasonably warm holiday weekend on the east coast).

The final chapter of the successful “Hunger Games” franchise starring Jennifer Lawrence took in $10.4 million on the holiday and then earned another $21.5 million on Black Friday. That’s lower than what “Mockingjay – Part 1” did last year, but it’s still an impressive tally.

However, the weekend’s feel-good story line is that it’s pretty certain the “Rocky” franchise is having a comeback…”

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/creed-second-biggest-box-office-161436233.html

“The Forgotten Bruce Lee Video Game From the ’80s”

“If he were still alive, Bruce Lee would be celebrating his 75th birthday. We take a look back, in pixels, at the Bruce Lee computer game.

Although only in the public eye for a few years of his lifetime, Bruce Lee left a cultural legacy so rich, it’s hard to even know where to begin in looking back at it. So I thought I’d start at the beginning.

No, not the famous story of how he was born in the hour of the Dragon in the year of the Dragon and went on to become the most influential and revered martial artist of the 20th century. Instead I’m going to look at the less well-known (and altogether more trivial) story of how he first entered my life.

I was maybe five or six years old when Bruce Lee appeared to me as an 8-bit sprite. Two arms, two legs, a head; a crude white shape on a plain black backdrop, only a pixel or two away from Jet Set Willy or Hen-House Harry. He was the titular hero of Datasoft’s Bruce Lee game for the Spectrum 48k (and systems like the Commodore 64), created and programmed by Ron J. Fortier with art by Kelly Day.

If you’re not of a certain age, the graphics probably look primitive to the point of being unplayable but, back then, a big part of the fun was using your imagination. Spectrum games had simple stories and even simpler visuals but they were like portals to whole other worlds for kids at the time.

Quite often, all you had was the box to help you get an idea of what the little sprites were really supposed to look like and the Bruce Lee game had a particularly striking cover painting. Whoever this ‘Bruce’ character was, he was clearly a badass, from his smouldering stare and bulging muscles to the way he was kicking the crap out of ninjas and dudes with green skin.

The backdrops of ancient temples and mountains were enticingly exotic too. As a kid whose only prior exposure to any kind of Chinese culture had been the local restaurant, these images didn’t just spark something in my imagination, they set it on fire…”

 

http://www.denofgeek.us/games/bruce-lee/250931/the-forgotten-bruce-lee-video-game-from-the-80s

“Marvel’s ‘Black Panther’: Everything We Know (and Don’t Know)”

“Marvel’s ambitious five-year plan for its Cinematic Universe features just about every significant superhero in existence. Already, we’ve seen Thor, Iron Man, Black Widow, the Hulk, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, Vision, War Machine, Falcon, Ant-Man, and the Guardians of the Galaxy, with plenty more to come down the line. One such hero will be Black Panther, set to get his own titular movie in just a few years. As the chieftain of a fictional African nation, it’ll take the MCU into brand new territory, both ethnically and thematically.

We’re still a ways off from the official release, but already rumors are flying. In many ways, Black Panther will be unlike any Marvel movie we’ve ever seen. It’s that much stranger that the project has struggled the way it has to find a writer/director combo. We’ve collected all the relevant info concerning that search, as well as casting, plot, and lots more…”

http://www.cheatsheet.com/entertainment/marvels-black-panther-everything-we-know-and-dont-know.html/?ref=YF

“‘The New Mutants’: What We Know So Far About the ‘X-Men’ Spin-Off”

Fox is once again expanding its X-Men universe. The studio has just recruited The Fault in Our Stars director Josh Boone to helm the franchise’s latest spin-off, The New Mutants.

According to Deadline, The New Mutants will be a standalone spin-off,based on the series that first entered the X-Men Comics universe in the early 1980s. In addition to directing, Boone will co-write the big screen adaptation with Knate Gwaltney (who also wrote the upcoming Halle Berry flick, Kidnap). Longtime X-Men producer and scribe Simon Kinberg will again produce alongside Lauren Shuler Donner (Zero Dark Thirty).

So who exactly are the New Mutants? Created by Chris Claremont and Bob McLeod, the comic was the first ever X-Men spinoff. It launched in 1982 just when X-Men was well on its way to becoming Marvel’s biggest franchise. The series centered on a second generation of mutants, who attended classes at Charles Xavier’s school and also trained to one day become full-fledged X-Men at night. It followed the young group as they not only dealt with typical angsty teenage problems (like crushes, heartbreak, and homework), but also came to terms with their powers and encountered their own adventures – ones that involved everything from alien invaders to teleportation mishaps.

The New Mutants put an emphasis on featuring a more diverse set of characters. The original lineup included Kentucky girl Sam Guthrie (Cannonball) native American Danielle Moonstar (also known as Mirage), Xia’n Coy Manh (Karma) from Vietnam, the Brazilian Robert da Costa (Sunspot), and Rahne Sinclaire (Wolfsbane) from Scotland. A second group of mutants eventually also joined the roster, including Doug Ramsey (aka Cypher), Amara Quilla (Magma) of the Roman Republic, Illyana Resputin (Magic) of Russian, and the cybernetic extraterrestrial, Warlock.

The most recent volume of New Mutants ran from 2008 to 2012 and starred the original team (featuring Cannonball, Karma, etc.). It remains unclear which combination of characters Fox’s new film will focus on…”

http://www.cheatsheet.com/entertainment/the-new-mutants-what-we-know-so-far-about-the-x-men-spin-off.html/?ref=YF

“Aziz Ansari on Acting, Race and Hollywood”

“Even though I’ve sold out Madison Square Garden as a standup comedian and have appeared in several films and a TV series, when my phone rings, the roles I’m offered are often defined by ethnicity and often require accents.

Sure, things are moving in the right direction with “Empire” and “Fresh Off the Boat.” But, as far as I know, black people and Asian people were around before the last TV season. And whatever progress toward diversity we are making, the percentage of minorities playing lead roles is still painfully low. (The numbers for women are depressing as well.) In 2013, according to a recent report produced by the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies at U.C.L.A., only 16.7 percent of lead film roles went to minorities. Broadcast TV was worse, with only 6.5 percent of lead roles going to nonwhites in the 2012-13 season. In cable, minorities did better, getting 19.3 percent of the roles.

For me, as a modern American consumer, these numbers come as zero surprise. Here’s a game to play: When you look at posters for movies or TV shows, see if it makes sense to switch the title to “What’s Gonna Happen to This White Guy?” (“Forrest Gump,” “The Martian,” “Black Mass”) or if there’s a woman in the poster, too, “Are These White People Gonna Have Sex With Each Other?” (“Casablanca,” “When Harry Met Sally,” “The Notebook”). Even at a time when minorities account for almost 40 percent of the American population, when Hollywood wants an “everyman,” what it really wants is a straight white guy.

But a straight white guy is not every man. The “everyman” is everybody.

When we were looking for an Asian actor for “Master of None,” my fellow creator, Alan Yang, asked me: “How many times have you seen an Asian guy kiss someone in TV or film?” After a long hard think, we came up with two (Steven Yeun on “The Walking Dead” and Daniel Dae Kim on “Lost”). It made me realize how important it was not to give up on our search.

But I wouldn’t be in the position to do any of this, and neither would Alan, unless some straight white guy, in this case Mike Schur, had given us jobs on “Parks and Recreation.” Without that opportunity, we wouldn’t have developed the experience necessary to tell our stories. So if you’re a straight white guy, do the industry a solid and give minorities a second look.

And to anyone worried that it may be “weird” to cast someone who looks a certain way to play a certain part, because it’s not what people are used to, I say: Arnold Schwarzenegger.

It’s true. Arnold Schwarzenegger is an unsung pioneer for minority actors. Look at “The Terminator”: There had to be someone who heard his name tossed around for the role and thought: Wait, why would the robot have an Austrian accent? No one’s gonna buy that! We gotta get a robot that has an American accent! Just get a white guy from the States. Audiences will be confused.

Nope. They weren’t. Because, you know what?

No one really cares.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/15/arts/television/aziz-ansari-on-acting-race-and-hollywood.html?_r=1

“MARVEL’S JESSICA JONES TRAILER”

“After those intriguing teasers released in the past month, Netflix has released the full trailer for Marvel’s Jessica Jones, giving us our first big look at the series and its focus on Jessica (Krysten Ritter), Luke Cage (Mike Colter), the villain Killgrave (David Tennant, as Marvel’s “Purple Man”) and more.

Jessica Jones recently premiered its first episode at New York Comic Con, and I wasvery impressed by it. At NYCC, IGN spoke to star Krysten Ritter (“Jessica Jones”), along with Mike Colter (“Luke Cage”) and several other Jessica Jones cast members, and you can check out those interviews below…”

http://www.ign.com/articles/2015/10/23/marvels-jessica-jones-trailer