Luke Cage: ‘Good Wife’ Star Mike Colter To Play Marvel Comics’ Black Superhero In Netflix Series

Luke Cage, the first black superhero to star in his own Marvel Comics comic book series, is now getting his own Netflix series — and a star of The Good Wife will portray the hero known as “Power Man” for the online subscription service.

Mike Colter, a 38-year-old veteran character actor perhaps known best — outside of his Good Wife role as “Lemond Bishop” — for his appearances in the hit Halo video game series, landed the role of Luke Cage in the upcoming Netflix show, according to reports out of Hollywood.

The Luke Cage series is one of five Marvel Comics series currently in development in a deal struck last year between Marvel Studios and Netflix. The character will first appear in a guest-starring capacity in the Netflix Marvel series A.K.A. Jessica Jones, and that will be followed by his own Luke Cage series.

In the superhero comic book medium that even today features very few black characters, Luke Cage was well ahead of his time, as the first black superhero to star in a Marvel comic book series bearing his own name, when the first issue of Luke Cage: Hero For Hire appeared on newsstands in June 1972 — the era when comic books were still sold on newsstands.

The series was retitled Luke Cage: Power Man after the first 16 issues.

Though Marvel had a previous black superhero, Black Panther — created in 1966 — that character was supposed to be an African price who doubled as a costumed crimefighter. But Luke Cage was portrayed as an inner city, American black man.

The move was not necessarily meant as a social or political statement by Marvel, but as an attempt to grab the coattails of the “Blaxploitation” genre of action films then wildly popular with U.S. moviegoers, kicked off by the 1971 hit film Shaft.

The Blaxploitation genre waned in popularity by the mid-1970s, and Luke Cage suffered in its sales figures as well. Marvel tried changing the series to a “team up,” in which Luke Cage was paired with the martial arts superhero Iron Fist, allowing Marvel to capitalize on two genres at once.

Though Luke Cage has not successfully carried his own comic book series since, the character has remained a staple of the Marvel “universe,” though the look of the character has changed between 1972…

…and today.

The Good Wife star will first appear as Luke Cage when the Netflix Jessica Jones series debuts in 2015.