3. Luke Cage (Marvel Entertainment)
First Appearance: Luke Cage, Hero for Hire #1 (1972)
Creators: Archie Goodwin, John Romita Sr.
Created in 1972, the original Luke Cage was very much in the mold of the blaxploitation films that were popular at the time. His garish yellow costume and Harlem upbringing made him stand out from the WASPy members of the Marvel Universe, like The Fantastic Four and Iron Man. Cage was streetwise and had an attitude that spat in the face of your typical superhero.
Unlike most wealthy heroes who fight crime on the side, Cage needed to pay the bills. Thus, his “Hero for Hire” phase. Cage started a private superhero agency in the ‘70s and it flipped the entire genre on its head. This was a man from the same means of the readers he was entertaining. His business savvy and bulletproof skin made the bright spandex and monogrammed logos of his contemporaries look goofy.
Recently, Cage has become a staple in the New Avengers lineup and married Marvel’s resident superheroine, Jessica Jones. This relationship is noteworthy because she’s white, making it one of the few interracial couplings in comics right now. He may have super strength and the ability to pound villains into gelatin, but it’s Luke Cage the man that has endured for over four decades.