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Buck Wild - How He Fixed Luke Cage

It isn't a secret that I love Luke Cage. However, that didn't happen until Bendis picked up the pen and made him a key part of the series Alias. I won't lie to you, I hate damn near every Luke Cage story prior to that. There's some cool ones where he collects his money from Dr. Doom but a lot more bad stuff than good. I'm not the only person that felt that way either.

Over at Milestone in the year of 1994 a new character named Rufus T. Wild, better known as Buck Wild. Now, that's not the only name he took. He often took up names based on other heroes in both Marvel and DC. He was The Buck Goliath, for Black Goliath, Buck Lightning for Black Lightning, Jim Crow, for Sam Wilson. He parodied the treatment of these heroes in their respective companies, often times being written by white authors who showed no respect for black culture and relegated them to jive talking or even pimping in some cases.

However, none of these was as used as the Buck Wild persona. The Buck Wild persona was Luke Cage, from the tiara at the top, all the way down to the bell bottom boots. The one difference is he replaced the jeans with briefs.

While Luke Cage was a mercenary for hire, Buck Wild was a mercenary for rent. They shared the same origin story and Buck Wild fought the same kind of villains Luke did. Buck Wild was fighting pimps and drug dealers on the daily. The same thing  Luke Cage was doing. On the surface it seemed like the only difference was that Buck Wild would dress up as other heroes on occasion but there was more.

You see, Buck Wild took the traits all the way up to 100. The old Luke Cage comics maintained that Luke was a borderline genius, the problem is they didn't show that all. You don't need to speak with a certain diction to be educated or a genius. The problem arose because in every issue Luke would talk in some outdated 70s slang. On top of that, nearly every phrase he uttered would rhyme. It was ridiculous. Things like that are the reason people write things about Luke Cage being a "white man's ultimate black hero."

I doubt anyone will ever admit it but Buck Wild put them all out on front street, as my aunts and uncles would say. Buck Wild was a full blown parody and everyone knew it. It didn't help matters when they transitioned him from Buck Wild into Icon II. During this transition his entire demeanor changed. He dropped the 70s slang, because it was the 90s now. He didn't tell anyone that "I gotsta get my money," like a slave leaving the plantation for the first time.

Buck Wild broke them and showed that just because a character started in the 70s doesn't mean they had to stay there forever. Black Lightning vanished for a while because DC didn't want to pay his creators. But, Luke Cage had no such monetary disputes. Over night Luke Cage almost vanished becoming a minor player that showed up rarely. It took Bendis reviving the character for Luke to receive any major attention, becoming leader of several Avengers teams and even having his own Netflix series.

If it were not for Buck Wild pressing the issue, we wouldn't have any of that. Additionally, when something like that creeps back, it gets shut down. Take for instance 2017's Cage by Gendry Tartakovsky it gets shut down. That wasn't going to fly anymore like it had in the past. Painting it as a love letter to the past no longer works. Buck Wild is not the most politically correct hero by a long shot, but without him, the Luke Cage of today would not exist.

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This post first appeared on Blerds Online, please read the originial post: here

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Buck Wild - How He Fixed Luke Cage


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