web stats

CSBG Archive

I Love Ya But You’re Strange – Where’s My Money, Honey?

Every day this August I’ll be spotlighting strange but ultimately endearing comic stories, one a day (basically, we’re talking lots and lots of Silver Age comic books). Here is the archive of past installments of this feature.

It just occurred to me that in the archive, I was using Luke Cage, Hero for Hire #8-9 as an example of what kind of stories I am featuring in this bit, but I had not yet actually used those issues. So I’ll correct that now.

Here is the story of how Luke Cage came to say to Doctor Doom, “Where’s my money, honey?”

Steve Englehart, George Tuska and Billy Graham were the creative team for these two issues.

The action begins in Luke Cage, Hero for Hire #8, when Luke is approached by some dude about making $200 a day taking down some folks…

Luke is displeased to learn that the people he was hired to deal with were actually robots. He feels that he is not being dealt with straight, so he takes his issue to the guy he thinks is in charge, but learns someone ELSE is really in charge…

So Luke takes out all the robots, but is dismayed to learn that his $200 fee is not going to be honored…

The next issue (Tuska drew the hell out of the first issue – the second part is part Tuska, part Billy Graham) opens with Luke breaking in to the Fantastic Four’s headquarters to borrow a plane to get to Latveria…

Once there, Luke takes advantage of a civil war going on (led by a dude called the Faceless One, who is leading an army of robots, much like the ones Luke dealt with in the States) to gain access to Doom’s castle…

“Where’s my money, honey?” is a transcendentally beautiful piece of dialogue.

I won’t spoil what happens next to the story – does Cage get his money?!?! Find out in the Essential Luke Cage, Hero for Hire, in stores now!

59 Comments

That Tuska art is incredible. I refuse to read Essentials or Showcase collections but this really makes me feel tempted.

For those who don’t know, the Faceless One and the robot rebellion previously turned up in Astonishing Tales #1-3 in Doom’s solo series there.

My favorite bit here is that Doom’s armor has one greta weakness: being punched repeatedly in the same spot! Thank heaven he doesn’t regularly fight a persistent, super-strong opponent like the Thing….

I’ve got several scattered Hero for Hire books. Not a complete run by any stretch, since they were hard-to-find and pricey twenty years ago (and that was before Marvel made him their next Wolverine). I’d forgotten how awesome this book was. I haven’t read these particular issues, but now I want to go out and buy the Essential collection just to get the ones I missed.

been hoping for this one to show up for always found it hilerious that doom had to learn the hard way do not try and stiff luke cage for he will not rest till he gets his payment . plus found doom thinking Luke was nuts for coming all that way for only 2oo bucks hilerious.

“You are the first to try such a tactic?” Punching him? Sheesh.

Doom is made to look like such a punk in this story, but … damn, that’s some good comics.

So much for Doom’s supposed nobility. Stiffing a guy on a $200 check? That’s pretty low.

RE: Doom stiffing a guy on a debt,

It’s obviously a Doombot. Note how “Doom” states that “no one ever emigrates to my land” (page 19, panel 4). When someone goes to a place, they are immigrating; when they leave, they are emigrating. Obviously, the poor Doombot’s grammar and honor circuits were malfunctioning.

As a side note, Dwayne McDuffie never liked the way that Doom was depicted in this story, and Doom’s appearance in DAMAGE CONTROL #2, where he honors his debts, was intended as a take that to his depiction in HERO FOR FIRE #8.

T: Have you looked at the TOMB OF DRACULA ESSENTIALS? The Colon-Palmer art looks great in black and white.

Ah, Doom… Why would you not pay $200 bucks to Luke Cage? It has to cost more than that to fuel your rocket boots?

But I do love how surprised Doom is at Cage’s motive. My only explanation is that $200 doesn’t even register as a sum of money to Doom. As great as Cage discovering that Doom’s weakness is getting hit quite a lot, it would have been even better if Doom just casually wrote a check and sent him on his way.

Yeah, real classy there, Doom, heh.

Stories like this, as lovable as they are, really illustrate where the whole “it wasn’t me, it was one of my robots (yes, that makes me incompetent as a robot designer, but better that than a welcher)” thing came from.

Sean,

I’ll give Tomb of Dracula Essentials a try. The few Essentials I did try didn’t look all that hot in black and white to me, but they were Kirby/Coletta artwork (no disrespect to Kirby and Coletta, who I normally like. I just didn’t like their uncolored work)

Gerson King Combo

August 8, 2011 at 5:44 pm

Great art, i like how Doom´s iron mask can reflect emotions.

T:”I’ll give Tomb of Dracula Essentials a try. The few Essentials I did try didn’t look all that hot in black and white to me, but they were Kirby/Coletta artwork (no disrespect to Kirby and Coletta, who I normally like. I just didn’t like their uncolored work)”

I know what you mean about Kirby. His work does seem to lose something without color. Gene Colan, though, is a different matter; his mastery of chiaroscuro works to great effect when rendered in black and white.Add Tom Palmer’s inks, and I would even go so far as to say that Colan looks better in black and white than he does in color.

“Stories like this, as lovable as they are, really illustrate where the whole “it wasn’t me, it was one of my robots (yes, that makes me incompetent as a robot designer, but better that than a welcher)” thing came from.”

Actually, I always thought that came from sad, fantasy-projecting nerds trying to preserve their hard-on for a narcissistic dictator.

The funniest part is when Dr. Doom, a multi-billionaire from the looks of it, skips out from paying a mere $200 a day.

I’ve been hearing about this story for years but I’ve never read it. I generally avoid the Essentials volumes because they’re in B&W, but I might have to break down and get this one.

Doom may me a megalomaniacal nutjob, but he actually makes a pretty good point in the 3rd page (19) about it being kind of weird that Luke willingly signs on to take jobs that require a guy with superpowers then acts shocked when he finds himself in the middle of the kinds of situations guys with superpowers tend to find themselves in.

Doom’s comment on that last page, about how his armor was built to “withstand anything except repeated stress to a solitary point! You are the first to try such a tactic!” is priceless. Really? So in all those years of fighting the FF, you’re telling me that it never occurred to Ben Grimm to hit Doom a bunch of times in the same spot? Ooookay.

And I’ll agree with syon that it was a Doombot. Skipping out of the country and stiffing Cage on a measly $200 would be beneath Doom. In fact, the Doombot explanation fits neatly into the story, since the whole thing was predicated on a bunch of Doom’s robots malfunctioning.

“This is a sample of my fist!”

That’s even more Shakespearean than the notorious “money” line.

For the cost of the Essential volume, anyone can pick up these two issues as back issues, provided you’re not springing for near-mint. I think these two issues cost me a total of seven dollars and they are both F to VF.

sheesh….that’s like the fourth time this has been used.

And as someone else pointed out, Dwayne McDuffie hated that story and posted his opinion here one of the other times this was used. You can find his comment towards the bottom

http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2010/06/03/a-year-of-cool-comics-day-154/

Dwayne McDuffie
June 4, 2010 at 11:26 am

My Damage Control story ” When Doom Defaults!” was a direct response to this one, which I hated as a child. Doom fires his assistant, who is relieved that he wasn’t killed.

Ronald Jay Kearschner

August 9, 2011 at 3:32 am

Sweet Christmas I loved these stories as a kid! Luke Cage was a G-rated badass.

These articles are really fun! Is there a summary of links to each of these? I’ve missed some and I’d like to catch up on the ones I missed reading.

“Consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds”, so I’ll proclaim love for this AND the Damage Control one :)

Where else can you see Dr Doom being asked for ID? :D

Am I crazy, or have the Damage Control series not been collected in trade?

comicbookreader

August 9, 2011 at 7:19 am

WHY OH WHY IS THERE NO “LUKE CAGE, HERO FOR HIRE” MASTERWORKS YET?!? Even Iron Fist already has a volume…

These articles are really fun! Is there a summary of links to each of these? I’ve missed some and I’d like to catch up on the ones I missed reading.

Yeah, there’s a link to the archive at the top of each piece.

“Actually, I always thought that came from sad, fantasy-projecting nerds trying to preserve their hard-on for a narcissistic dictator.”

Actually, an universe where there is nuance and both heroes and villains are more “shades of gray” seems more interesting to me, that is all. That is why I dislike attempts to show how truly despicable Doom or Magneto are. It causes the Marvel Universe to devolve more into black and white morality. And we already have the DCU for that.

Sweet Christmas

August 9, 2011 at 8:29 am

Those old stories are awesomely cheesy but AWESOME never the less. Writers have to take note, to make a Luke Cage book work you got to make it fun and larger than life and give him great teams ups and great villains to fight. I got the New Avengers: Luke Cage books last year and even though I liked them they were a little too “anti-climactic” . Cage is WAY more powerful now than before and all you got in that series was Hammer Head and some Big Cats to fight??? Come on Marvel, it’s like you wanted that book to fail.

Actually, I always thought that came from sad, fantasy-projecting nerds trying to preserve their hard-on for a narcissistic dictator.

Okay, I know that it’s par for the course on the comics-related internet to bash “fanboys,” but this I really don’t get. I think it was just a way to (rightfully or wrongfully) add depth to a character and keep them from becoming one-note. And it’s not inconceivable. A big thing about many narcissists is that they are obsessed with their image, and if part of their ideal self-conception includes being considered honorable, they will do honorable things simply for the image management, not because they are truly at their core noble people.

That’s why I could reconcile Doom acting superficially noble when it suits him and is self-aggrandizing, yet when push comes to shove and true sacrifice and deeper selflessness are required, he reverts to form

@T As I’m sure you know, the explanation was originally for John Byrne to write off any Doom story he didn’t like as saying “well, it was a Doom-bot”. As much as I enjoyed Byrne’s FF run, IMHO, it does feel like a continuity-obsessed fanboy’s attempt, albeit perhaps a particularly clever one, to reconcile silly stories like this with more “serious” depictions. I guess it all just feels kinda pointless to me. These are still just stories, and these different interpretations of a character don’t conflict any more than Cesar Romero does Heath Ledger.

To be fair, that $200 is worth about $1100 today, so that’s a handy sum for someone trying to earn a living.

Well, in this context the “sad, fantasy-projecting nerds” that Michael P’s talking about would be John Byrne, not fans per se, because that’s where the thing he’s talking about came from. I’m not sure HE knows that’s what he’s talking about, but there it is.

Nice of Reed Richards to let Cage burn thousands of dollars worth of rocket fuel in order to collect (unless it was solar, of course).

this story is only second to the dark phoenix saga in terms of all time greatest marvel stories. lol

cage is tha MAN!!! then, now and in the future.

doom -”when i heard a crazy BLACK man…blah blah blah”

priceless comics.

I’ve recently had the opportunity to grab a lot of the Power Man run for 50c a comic in the back-bins. Sure, I get these weird looks from the girls at the checkout, “Why would he bother buying these comics?” but they, like a lot of titles from the seventies are hidden gems. This article just proves how whacky, and generally FUN comics used to be (especially Marvel).

Mr. M
“Nice of Reed Richards to let Cage burn thousands of dollars worth of rocket fuel in order to collect (unless it was solar, of course).”

It was probably some kind of Illuminati scheme… I await the day Bendis writes a one-shot flashback dealing with the behind-the-scenes machinations of this issue. I would buy it : )

Laurence J Sinclair

August 9, 2011 at 2:38 pm

“I have the strangest feeling you can do anything you want to do!”

“You remind me greatly of myself as a youth!”

“You are the first to try such a tactic!”

Did all Luke Cage stories of this era cast him as such a Marty Stu? An awestruck FF allow this strange man to fly off in their rocket, where he proceeds to easily beat a foe they’ve been having trouble with for years.

I wouldn’t call it a Marty Stu because I think that has to be more of a stand-in for the author, an authorial insert, and I can’t imagine Steven Englehart and others feeling represented by Cage in any form. I also don’t think he was a pet character because that’s more when a writer likes to use a character every chance he can get in a flattering way, which isn’t the case here because I don’t recall many of the writers of Luke Cage bringing the character with them from book to book. For example I think Luke Cage is more of a pet character for Bendis, who included him in many of his books, than he was for Englehart.

What i think actually is happening here is white guilt. Civil Rights and the Summer of Love were both still very fresh in the memories of the writers of the era and I think their white guilt had a tendency to make them overcompensate in a flattering portrayal (in their minds at least) of Luke Cage.

I don’t think it necessarily has to be white guilt, since it’s an obvious play on the early ’70s blaxploitation film genre, which depicted powerful black men who had all the answers, always won and always got the girls. It played to genre conventions as much as a Marvel comic aimed at adolecents could at the time.

Everybody Steve Englehart wrote had a tendency to become a little Marty Stu-ish: the Beast, Cage, Dr. Strange, etc. But he still was on a roll in those times and was one of Marvel’s best writers.

Anyway, Luke Cage was still very flawed in those years, with or without Englehart. I don’t think there was much white guilt or Shaft-like omnipotence. One interesting thing was Cage’s tendency to accidentaly kill the villains in a way that was more realistic than what you’d see in the comics of the time.

There is one story that had a great ending, where Cage causes the hero to fall from a trapeze line or something (the story was set in a circus), the bad guy falls to his death, and his last words when Cage comes closer to heat him are “Cage, you son of a b…” And he dies.

It wasn’t a Marty Stu-like ending.

I found out if he got the money… it was awesome

The artwork is fantastic, and the story is fun and entertaining. Rich people stay wealthy because many of them are cheap ( I had a boss was very wealthy and really, really cheap.) I pity the fool who doesn’t like Luke Cage, he is a likeable character who, thankfully, has moved beyond his stereotypical beginnings. I actually owned & remember reading some of those early comics, and this one was pretty surprising, even to a little kid who had no idea what the hell was going on.

Actually Doom not paying his $200 debt isn’t all that unrealistic. I worked at American Express one summer and it was amazing how many millionaire celebs were behind on their credit card payments.

Remember when McDuffie’s Fantastic Four believably presented Dr. Doom as a racist, and a bunch of readers who admire a fictional sadistic psychopath got all huffy about how PC was ruining their childhoods?

Good times! “I NEEDED A BLACK . . .”

What’s even better is the context of McDuffie’s negative response to this story (personally, I enjoy the idea of Doom as just the sort of prick who honors his debts except when he feels like doing otherwise.)

Remember when McDuffie’s Fantastic Four believably presented Dr. Doom as a racist, and a bunch of readers who admire a fictional sadistic psychopath got all huffy about how PC was ruining their childhoods?

Nope, I don’t remember that. I do remember a badly written story along those lines in Reginald Hudlin’s Black Panther series, though.

You’re correct, of course: wrong Black Panther book. Nevertheless, I don’t understand the desire to rehabilitate Doom, any more than the desire to see Claremont’s antihero Magneto as the be-all, end-all of that character. Doom as a racist? Works fine with Marvel’s message. Doom as a cheapskate who loudly proclaims his nobility? Less believable than Doom as a mass murderer who loudly proclaims his nobility? Less useful for story telling? This story is quite fine.

There’s something very Silver Age about hypocrites brought low by simple people with reasonable expectations, something worth retaining in superhero comics in my opinion. That’s going to rub up against any attempts to portray villains as too good to act bad unless they are literally killing and torturing specific people. Our villains nowadays are more likely to do the former than the latter.

Doom as a racist doesn’t work for two reasons, the first being something that many writers forget. He’s a member of one of the most persecuted ethnic groups in the real world today. Secondly, when he became “Emperor Doom”, he abolished apartheid. ‘Nuff said.

This was cool. I can actually see it: Dr. Doom’s so unspeakably arrogant, after he put his plan to have Cage mop up the robots in motion, and saw that it was working, Cage probably became “beneath his notice.”

The real interesting point is that Mr. Fantastic just lets Cage run off to Latveria, to confront the world’s number one bad guy, alone. It’s almost like he was using Cage just to annoy Doom without any concern for what might happen to Cage along the way.

I like Doom as a bad guy, but not as an all-purpose bad guy who has any and every negative character trait a writer could ever use. (That said, this story is still great.)

OK, now I REALLY want an explanation on how someone can be both “motherless” AND a “son of a witch”. :)

Love this. The very idea. And I can totally believe up to that point that the Thing had never been shown to be trying to hit Doom in one spot over and over again. I’m sure they did their research before then (and remember the date this was first published and not what we know about Doom right now).

Pretty epic, and shows that Luke Cage is not a brotha to be f’ed with. You go’n pay what you owe!

And I can totally believe up to that point that the Thing had never been shown to be trying to hit Doom in one spot over and over again.

The funny thing is that in FF#2, before Doom even showed up, Ben makes a big deal about how nothing can withstand being hit in the same spot over and over again.

Yeah, its cheesy — but as a kid it didn’t seem quite so. I remembered this issue so fondly I actually commissioned M.C. Wyman to draw a scene from it for me:

http://www.comicartfans.com/GalleryPiece.asp?Piece=530527&GSub=76742

I don’t know what this reminds me of more. The ODB song “Gimme My Money” or the movie “Better Off Dead”.

I remember these early Hero for Hire stories were a lot of fun — very silly but fun! Not only did Dr. Doom mistake `emigrating’ for immigrating’ but I find it hard to believe that egghead Reed Richards would really use the noun `loan’ as a verb instead of the proper `lend.’

Well Doom’s response to the Terrible Trio capturing the FF for him was to banish them to another dimension until he needed them, so it’s not as if Englehart went against type here. Possibly Doom’s just practical–dismissing a one-shot like Cage whereas he’s probably needed the services of Damage Control more than once.
I did enjoy Cage’s incredulity at meeting a guy named Doctor Doom.
On Doom being a Roma, that hardly prevents him being bigoted against some other ethnic group. It happens in real life.

When you need to make your bones in the Marvel Universe, you humiliate Doom on his own territory. Luke Cage: the Squirrel Girl of the sweet ’70s.

I can’t help but giggle at Power Man’s trying to insult Doctor Doom by calling him a “son of a witch” — which is precisely what he is, according to Doom’s backstory!

Leave a Comment

 

Categories

Review Copies

Comics Should Be Good accepts review copies. Anything sent to us will (for better or for worse) end up reviewed on the blog. See where to send the review copies.

Browse the Archives