We often see TV animators cross over from show to show. Sometimes their distinct style travels with them, and sometimes they’re able to adopt looks that would be unrecognizable to fans of their earlier work. Genndy Tartakovsky, who fans know as the creator of Samurai Jack, is currently writing and illustrating a Luke Cage comic series entitled simply Cage!1. The series features some truly stunning art and is currently running, so if you aren’t hip to it yet – now’s your chance. I mean, you get to see Luke Cage tripping out, which is something I bet you didn’t even know you were missing in your life:
This series was announced years ago but is just now finding its way to daylight, as Tartakovsky dropped out at least once due to an overburdened schedule. According to Tarkakovsky, it’s a longtime life goal, stating, “Making a comic, a Marvel Comic especially, was always a fantasy. I always wanted to do it, but never thought I could do it professionally. I was bitten by the animation bug, but it was always on my list of things to do.”
His style in previous fare such as Samurai Jack and Dexter’s Laboratory certainly suits the blaxploitation-y style of Cage2, but many wouldn’t make the connection on aesthetics alone. It wasn’t Tartakovsky’s intention to arbitrarily set the comic in a period that matched his artistic sensibilities. Rather, he ran with a 70s era Luke Cage because, well, he used to read Luke Cage comics in the 70s.
He speaks to that era by saying, “I initially got to know the character in the ’70s, in that kind of setting. It felt like he came out of all that stuff and so it felt truthful for me to do it that way. There are plenty of people re-imagining nowadays. I wanted it to be authentic to what it was in my brain.”
As for “going gritty?” Nah. That’s not what Genndy was trying to get out of this. He purposefully veered Cage! into the fantastic. He explains, “We’ve got so much reality in life — and not all of it great — sometimes we want escapism.”
That said, some think that you might need a primer in the creator’s sensibilities to get the most out of Cage!:
I worry that unless you know Dexter's Lab, Samurai Jack, & the original Clone Wars, the way Cage tells its story isn't appreciated. I dunno.
— Lord Retail (@LordRetail) November 23, 2016
Pick up the Luke Cage comics here.
As you’ll see in the images below3, it’s some quality escapism that reflects an inspired marriage of styles: