Wednesday Whittling: Luke Cage Check-in

I’m a little more than half way through Luke Cage on Netflix. So far, I’m thoroughly impressed for a lot of
reasons. I’ll reexamine my
expectations
once I’m finished with the season, but for now I wanted to put
something else under the microscope.

I was getting snacks ready before I started watching most
recently when I was thinking about the series, mulling over what, exactly, is
getting me to come back to the TV like a magnet aside from the clutch binging
holds on us. I kept coming back to how Luke comes across…sometimes, I want to
call him corny with how he says certain lines. But I stop myself.

That’s the interesting part. I’m always stopping myself from
calling Luke or the series a cheese puff. I say to myself how that’s late 20s,
self-projecting me doing the talking. I think about the intent of
comics – of heroes, super or not – and how they’re a release. A way out. A door
from the closet to an open field.

And then it hit me.

I can’t call Luke Cage a cheese puff because this is someone’s Batman: The Animated Series. Or, at least, I want it to be. Like, I
really
want it to be. You know how certain things just give us chills, no matter what?
How they pull you into the seat and make you smile? Just
read what I mean
. That’s what I want for a young black kid who’s confused
as hell about his existence.

Now, Luke Cage isn’t
a cartoon on a standard cable package, not like BTAS was. It’s not accessible to little kids channel hopping and
praying for a cape to cross the screen. Some kid has to hear about it. They
have to have Netflix. Hell, they need a device that can support Netflix. That’s
a lot of qualifiers just to get to the opening credits, particularly for
someone not paying the bills. But BTAS made
me feel good when I watched it. I
wasn’t just a little dude digging crime fighting. It made me feel like I could
be in control, like I could make a difference whether I was putting on a face
or a mask. It’s why I still talk about it more than twenty years later.

I’m not the first person to realize Luke Cage is
a bulletproof black man on television right now. I won’t be the last. But I’m
thinking a lot of thoughts I never thought I would lately, mostly because I
never saw the world spinning this way. And now I’ve got a point of reference
for just how much gravity this series could provide for someone and it makes me
exuberant. Most people who watch will probably have it bounce off them like
bullets do Cage. It’s the nature of entertainment, which is only magnified by
the sheer amount of options out there to consume. It’s not about making a splash
though…it’s about the ripples a pebble can make. 

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