Welcome to the three hundredth and sixty-fourth in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. Today, learn whether Luke Cage was nearly an Avenger almost 15 years before he actually joined the team, find out if Jemm was originally not the Son of Saturn but the Son of a much closer planet and discover the real life war hero who was fighting in a war and appearing in a comic strip at the same time!
Click here for an archive of the previous three hundred and sixty-three.
COMIC LEGEND: Larry Hama invented Rage as a substitute when he was denied the use of Luke Cage in the Avengers.
Reader Frank W. wrote in to ask about Larry Hama's early 1990s short run on the Avengers (issues #325-333). Frank wanted to know if it was true that Hama planned to add Luke Cage to the team but was turned down because Marvel had something else in the works for Cage (which ultimately became his short-lived ongoing series)...
so Hama then invented Rage as a replacement...
I asked Hama about it, and he explained the situation like this:
Not true. I just always liked the whole Billy Batson thing, where the character is actually a little kid who somehow transforms into a powerful hero. I also liked the whole Aunt May thing, so that that got grafted on as the kindly grandmother. Making the character African-American was third down on the list, but it fit very well, and I changed the rest to make it all fit.
Here is Rage's origin. It is fascinating to read it with those inspirations in mind...
Thanks to Frank W. for the question and thanks to Larry Hama for the answer!