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#DareToCompare: Smith vs. Luke Cage

Posted On Wednesday, September 21, 2016

As the fourth feature from the Marvel/Netflix line up, LUKE CAGE may be the most HIGHLY ANTICIPATED installment, yet!  With a focus on urban, street level crime-fighting, it serves as the first Marvel franchise to highlight a non-white superhero -- superseding even Black Panther's solo adventure by more than a year.  But before Luke cracks the internet in half with his combo of super-strength and unbreakable skin, I want to introduce you to another hooded hero who's been elevating the indy comics market 2011...


The enigmatic protagonist, first appeared in the pages of The Samaritan -- the seven part series that outright launched Vantage:Inhouse Productions.  In The Samaritan, we follow Smith's exploits as he single-handedly fights to clean up a crime-ridden neighborhood.  While he IS the samaritan character from the title, he acts more as a supporting character -- with each issue focusing more on the people he encounters.  But throughout the run, we get a clear example of his sense of compassion and heroism.


I admit, despite his importance as a representative of strong, black characters, I wasn't really a fan of Luke Cage (or his superhero adventures as Power Man).  But somewhere along the creative ether, he impacted the particulars of my vision for Smith.  I contribute the concept of The Samaritan to the Patrick Swayze flick, Road House.  But where Swayze's Dalton character is HIRED to clean up rowdy dive bars, I knew that would draw too many comparisons to "Heroes for Hire" -- not to mention, it would REALLY defeat the idea that this guy was a samaritan to begin with!

In an ironic turn, perhaps The Samaritan has offered some kind of inspiration for the Luke Cage series.  For a character whose most recognizable uniform is a yellow button up and silver tiara, this new iteration is drawing from current events and social climates for it's fashionable cues.

Here are series creator, Cheo Hodari Coker's words on why Cage has put up his hood over the tiara:

The motivations are almost synonymous, in a lot of ways, with how and why our own designs for Smith came to be.  Check out this piece I wrote back in March of 2012:

While the effect the Luke Cage series could have on any media adaptations of The Samaritan is still up in the air, it is immensely cool to dabble in such a similar lane of creative thought.  Would I feel any less excited if I found out that even an inkling of Cage's design was pulled from The Samaritan?  Not in the slightest!  I WOULD however be miffed at not getting an early look or a spot at the premiere though!  Oh well...!

Be sure to grab your copies of The Samaritan, either in print or digital download!

And make sure you tune in on Sept. 30th to get the full season of Luke Cage, exclusively on Netflix!
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