Luke Cage writer says comic canceled by Marvel, but it might not be dead yet

Luke Cage: City of Fire #1 variant cover
Luke Cage: City of Fire #1 variant cover (Image credit: Ho Che Anderson (Marvel Comics))

Writer/artist Ho Che Anderson has announced that his upcoming Marvel Comics three-issue series Luke Cage: City of Fire has been canceled - but there could be more to it than that. 

Luke Cage: City of Fire #1 cover (Image credit: Taurin Clarke (Marvel Comics))

"Man plans, god laughs: No easy way to say this. I got the word Luke Cage got cancelled this morning, one month away from its premiere," Anderson posted on Instagram on November 24. "The scripts are all written. The first issue is done and is a thing of absolute beauty. Issues 2 and 3 are deep into production. Covers have been drawn. People have gotten excited, and with good reason as far as I'm concerned."

That cancelation could be less than final, however; Newsarama's sources indicate that Luke Cage: City of Fire was removed from Marvel's schedule due to production and scheduling issues inside the publisher - a situation that seems similar to the recent swath of delays to other Marvel titles. While those books were delayed, they remained on Marvel's schedule - but City of Fire is uniquely now in limbo.

Originally announced over the summer for an October debut, City of Fire was the first of a multi-part celebration of the character's 50th anniversary in 2022. Since it was announced, however, the series was postponed on several occasions, with January 5, 2022 being its last known debut date.

Luke Cage: City of Fire is/was also a key tie-in to the upcoming Marvel Comics event Devil's Reign.

Artist Farid Karami was scheduled to draw issue #1, with Ray-Anthony Height and Sean Damien Hill scheduled to draw the second and third issues, respectively. As late as November 18, the series was still seemingly a go, with its third issue placed on Marvel Comics' February 2022 schedule.

The deadline for retailer orders for Luke Cage: City of Fire #1 was November 15, however - and pre-orders for the title might have changed Marvel's plans going forward for the book. 

Luke Cage: City of Fire #1 variant cover (Image credit: Ho Che Anderson (Marvel Comics))

"I remain as proud of this as any work I've ever done. Maybe someday it will be seen. But as of today this comic is dead in the water," Anderson continues. "If you want answers I am not the man to ask. My heart is broken."

The comments section to Anderson's Instagram post quickly became full of feedback from fans and fellow creators, leading the writer/artist to respond.

"Just wanted express my gratitude (and surprise, quite frankly) at the outpouring of support that came my way in the wake of what happened with our Luke Cage mini-series just as it was travelling down the birth canal," Anderson writes on Instagram. "I am genuinely touched and so so appreciative y'all have my back, it means the world to me. And who knows, maybe the comic book gods will see fit to rain their grace down upon us and eventually release the work of myself and my incredibly talented collaborators. Onward and upward." 

Despite Anderson's declaration of it being dead in the water, Newsarama's sources indicate that Luke Cage: City of Fire isn't definitively canceled, but has been put on hiatus for an undetermined amount of time.

Luke Cage is one of the Black superheroes who changed the face of comic books.

Chris Arrant

Chris Arrant covered comic book news for Newsarama from 2003 to 2022 (and as editor/senior editor from 2015 to 2022) and has also written for USA Today, Life, Entertainment Weekly, Publisher's Weekly, Marvel Entertainment, TOKYOPOP, AdHouse Books, Cartoon Brew, Bleeding Cool, Comic Shop News, and CBR. He is the author of the book Modern: Masters Cliff Chiang, co-authored Art of Spider-Man Classic, and contributed to Dark Horse/Bedside Press' anthology Pros and (Comic) Cons. He has acted as a judge for the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, the Harvey Awards, and the Stan Lee Awards. Chris is a member of the American Library Association's Graphic Novel & Comics Round Table. (He/him)