The Books and Columbians Behind Luke Cage | Richland Library Skip to content
Mike Colter, Columbia native

The Books and Columbians Behind Luke Cage

Did you know Mike Colter, star of Netflix's series Luke Cage, was born in Columbia, South Carolina? He studied for a year at Benedict College and graduated from University of South Carolina in 1999 with a degree in theater.

Or that Sanford Greene, the current artist of the Marvel comics series Power Man and Iron Fist, is a resident of Columbia and alum of Benedict College? (Power Man is Luke's superhero name.)

If you've seen the show, you already know that a number of literary references are sprinkled throughout the season, many of which are available through the library's collection. Check out the titles below if you want to read like Harlem's mightiest superhero. Search the catalog for additional copies in large print, audio, and electronic editions.

Thanks to Black Nerd Problems and Book Riot for spotting many of these books and literary references. There are dozens more encoded in the dialog and imagery of the show, but the list below reflects authors and books directly discussed or shown.


Amazon Says: The best buddy team in comics, reunited at last! Luke Cage and Danny Rand, the Heroes For Hire turned Avengers, are going back to street level basics - and there's a mystery t more...
Amazon Says: The best buddy team in comics, reunited at last! Luke Cage and Danny Rand, the Heroes For Hire turned Avengers, are going back to street level basics - and there's a mystery to solve that will draw in crime lords, hired goons and old friends! But which of the three pose the most trouble? When a villain gets her hands on the mystical Supersoul Stone, the Big Apple may end up poisoned by magic - unless Luke and Danny can put a stop to her plan. To fi nd the stone, they'll wade through New York's seedy underworld in a fl urry of big-hitting, kung fu-fi ghting action. This is one adventure that'll show that bromance ain't dead. Luke brings the power, Danny brings the fists - you bring the snacks! COLLECTING: Power Man and Iron Fist 1-5 less...
Amazon

Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
Amazon Says: A milestone in American literature--a book that has continued to engage readers since its appearance in 1952. Nominated as one of America’s best-loved novels by more...
Amazon Says: A milestone in American literature--a book that has continued to engage readers since its appearance in 1952. Nominated as one of America’s best-loved novels by PBS’s The Great American Read A first novel by an unknown writer, it remained on the bestseller list for sixteen weeks, won the National Book Award for fiction, and established Ralph Ellison as one of the key writers of the century. The nameless narrator of the novel describes growing up in a black community in the South, attending a Negro college from which he is expelled, moving to New York and becoming the chief spokesman of the Harlem branch of "the Brotherhood", and retreating amid violence and confusion to the basement lair of the Invisible Man he imagines himself to be. The book is a passionate and witty tour de force of style, strongly influenced by T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land, Joyce, and Dostoevsky. less...
Amazon

Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell
Amazon Says: In this stunning new book, Malcolm Gladwell takes us on an intellectual journey through the world of "outliers"--the best and the brightest, the most famous and the most succe more...
Amazon Says: In this stunning new book, Malcolm Gladwell takes us on an intellectual journey through the world of "outliers"--the best and the brightest, the most famous and the most successful. He asks the question: what makes high-achievers different? His answer is that we pay too much attention to what successful people are like, and too little attention to where they are from: that is, their culture, their family, their generation, and the idiosyncratic experiences of their upbringing. Along the way he explains the secrets of software billionaires, what it takes to be a great soccer player, why Asians are good at math, and what made the Beatles the greatest rock band. Brilliant and entertaining, Outliers is a landmark work that will simultaneously delight and illuminate. less...
Amazon

Amazon Says: When Walter Mosley burst onto the literary scene in 1990 with his first Easy Rawlins mystery, Devil in a Blue Dress—a combustible mixture of Raymond Chandler and Richard Wri more...
Amazon Says: When Walter Mosley burst onto the literary scene in 1990 with his first Easy Rawlins mystery, Devil in a Blue Dress—a combustible mixture of Raymond Chandler and Richard Wright—he captured the attention of hundreds of thousands of readers (including future president Bill Clinton). Eleven books later, Easy Rawlins is one of the few private eyes in contemporary crime fiction who can be called iconic and immortal. In the incendiary and fast-paced Little Green, he returns from the brink of death to investigate the dark side of L.A.’s 1960s hippie haven, the Sunset Strip. We last saw Easy in 2007’s Blonde Faith, fighting for his life after his car plunges over a cliff. True to form, the tough WWII veteran survives, and soon his murderous sidekick Mouse has him back cruising the mean streets of L.A., in all their psychedelic 1967 glory, to look for a young black man, Evander “Little Green” Noon, who disappeared during an acid trip. Fueled by an elixir called Gator’s Blood, brewed by the conjure woman Mama Jo, Easy experiences a physical, spiritual, and emotional resurrection, but peace and love soon give way to murder and mayhem. Written with Mosley’s signature grit and panache, this engrossing and atmospheric mystery is not only a trip back in time, it is also a tough-minded exploration of good and evil, and of the power of guilt and redemption. Once again, Easy asserts his reign over the City of (Fallen) Angels. less...
Amazon

Kenyatta's Escape by Donald Goines
Amazon Says: Kenyatta had two ambitions: cleaning the ghetto of all drug traffic and gunning down all the racist white cops. But a black and white detective team, Benson and Ryan, is on hi more...
Amazon Says: Kenyatta had two ambitions: cleaning the ghetto of all drug traffic and gunning down all the racist white cops. But a black and white detective team, Benson and Ryan, is on his tail and has discovered the location of his army's camp. Armed with tanks, they bring a bloody doomsday to his followers. In Kenyatta's Escape, author Donald Goines continues his story of the bloody, brutal world of crime he began in Crime Partners and Death List. They're all back for a coast-to-coast chase that spells gripping adventure. less...
Amazon

Thomas M. Says: George Pelecanos has written many books, and this collection of short stories is a good introduction to his style.
Amazon Says: Short stories and a novella from one of crime fiction's most revered writers. Whether they're cops or conmen, savage killers or creative types, gangsters or God-feari more...
Amazon Says: Short stories and a novella from one of crime fiction's most revered writers. Whether they're cops or conmen, savage killers or creative types, gangsters or God-fearing citizens, George Pelecanos' characters are always engaged in a fight for their lives. They fight to advance or simply to survive; they fight against odds, against enemies, even against themselves. In this, his first collection of stories, the acclaimed novelist introduces readers to a vivid and eclectic cast of combatants. A seasoned claims investigator tracks a supposedly dead man from Miami to Brazil, only to be thrown off his game by a kid from the local slum. An aging loser takes a last stab at respectability by becoming a police informant. A Greek-American couple adopts an interracial trio of sons and then struggles to keep their family together, giving us a stirring bit of background on one of Pelecanos' most beloved protagonists, Spero Lucas. In the title novella - which takes its name from Hollywood slang for the last shot of the day, the one that comes before the liquor shots begin - we go behind the scenes of a television cop show, where a writer gets caught up in a drama more real than anything he could have conjured for a script. By turns heartbreaking and humane, brutal and funny, these finely constructed tales expose the violence and striving beneath the surface of any city and within any human heart. Tough, sexy, fast-paced, and crackling with energy, The Martini Shot is Pelecanos at his very best. less...
Amazon

Clockers: A Novel by Richard Price
Thomas M. Says: Richard Price's story of a cop obsessed with justice chasing a dealer facing a bleak life should speak to the many officers and bystanders in "Luke Cage"
Amazon Says: Novelist and Academy Award–nominated screenwriter Richard Price's bestselling second novel offers "an unforgettable picture of inner-city decay and despair" (USA Today) more...
Amazon Says: Novelist and Academy Award–nominated screenwriter Richard Price's bestselling second novel offers "an unforgettable picture of inner-city decay and despair" (USA Today) At once an intense mystery and a revealing study of two men, a veteran homicide detective and an innercity crack dealer, on opposite sides of an endless war. Clockers is "powerful . . . harrowing . . . remarkable" (The New York Times Book Review). less...
Amazon

Live by Night: by Dennis Lehane
Thomas M. Says: Dennis Lehane, another author with a wide catalog, tells a story of many characters striving for success any way they can, much like the cast of "Luke Cage"
Amazon Says: From New York Times bestselling author Dennis Lehane comes this epic, unflinching tale of the making and unmaking of a gangster in the Prohibition Era of the Roaring Twenties more...
Amazon Says: From New York Times bestselling author Dennis Lehane comes this epic, unflinching tale of the making and unmaking of a gangster in the Prohibition Era of the Roaring Twenties—now a Warner Bros. movie starring Ben Affleck, Elle Fanning, Zoe Saldana, and Sienna Miller.Meticulously researched and artfully told, Live by Night is the riveting story of one man’s rise from Boston petty thief to the Gulf Coast’s most successful rum runner, and it proves again that the accolades New York Times bestseller Lehane consistently receives are well deserved. He is indeed, “a master” (Philadelphia Inquirer) whose “true literary forefathers include John Steinbeck as well as Raymond Chandler” (Baltimore Sun). And, “Boy, does he know how to write” (Elmore Leonard).  less...
Amazon

Thomas M. Says: Misty Knight's uncanny ability to visualize a crime scene has roots in her acing every Where's Waldo puzzle.
Amazon Says: Looking for Waldo's twenty-fifth anniversary? Search no more. the time has come and we’ re celebrating our favorite wanderer in style! For a quarter of a century, th more...
Amazon Says: Looking for Waldo's twenty-fifth anniversary? Search no more. the time has come and we’ re celebrating our favorite wanderer in style! For a quarter of a century, the bespectacled Waldo has held a place as a beloved cultural icon. Now, in honor of his anniversary, Candlewick is reissuing the classic Waldo adventure with special features worthy of a stalwart hero. This new Where's Waldo? edition boasts: — a striking new jacketed cover — an original poster on the underside of the jacket — a spot-the-difference game between the jacket and self-cover designs — a gatefold with a new visual checklist on every spread — a never-before-seen section of artwork revealed on every spread — new things to search for! less...
Amazon

The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene
Amazon Says: Amoral, cunning, ruthless, and instructive, this New York Times bestseller is the definitive manual for anyone interested in gaining, observing, or defending against ulti more...
Amazon Says: Amoral, cunning, ruthless, and instructive, this New York Times bestseller is the definitive manual for anyone interested in gaining, observing, or defending against ultimate control.  In the book that People magazine proclaimed “beguiling” and “fascinating,” Robert Greene and Joost Elffers have distilled three thousand years of the history of power into 48 essential laws by drawing from the philosophies of Machiavelli, Sun Tzu, and Carl Von Clausewitz and also from the lives of figures ranging from Henry Kissinger to P.T. Barnum.   Some laws teach the need for prudence (“Law 1: Never Outshine the Master”), others teach the value of confidence (“Law 28: Enter Action with Boldness”), and many recommend absolute self-preservation (“Law 15: Crush Your Enemy Totally”). Every law, though, has one thing in common: an interest in total domination. In a bold and arresting two-color package, The 48 Laws of Power is ideal whether your aim is conquest, self-defense, or simply to understand the rules of the game. less...
Amazon

Thomas M. Says: There are many translations and versions of The Bible. This is one of them. None of them will match Diamondback's, which is stuffed with personal notes.
Amazon Says: The Bible is the most important book in the history of Western civilization, and also the most difficult to interpret. It has been the vehicle of continual conflict, with ever more...
Amazon Says: The Bible is the most important book in the history of Western civilization, and also the most difficult to interpret. It has been the vehicle of continual conflict, with every interpretation reflecting passionately held views that have affected not merely religion, but politics, art, and even science. This unique edition offers an exciting new approach to the most influential of all English biblical texts--the Authorized King James Version, complete with the Apocrypha. Its wide-ranging Introduction and the substantial notes to each book of the Bible guide the reader through the labyrinth of literary, textual, and theological issues, using the most up-to-date scholarship to demonstrate how and why the Bible has affected the literature, art and general culture of the English-speaking world. About the Series: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the broadest spectrum of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, voluminous notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more. less...
Amazon

Black Echo the by Michael Connelly
Thomas M. Says: "The Black Echo" is the first book in the Harry Bosch series by Michael ConnellyAmazon

Shaft by Ernest Tidyman
Amazon Says: The novelisation of the 70's film in which the leather-jacketed hero, Shaft, fights his way, pistol in hand, across the bleak landscape of New York. Reissued for the BLOOMSBUR more...
Amazon Says: The novelisation of the 70's film in which the leather-jacketed hero, Shaft, fights his way, pistol in hand, across the bleak landscape of New York. Reissued for the BLOOMSBURY FILM CLASSICS series. less...
Amazon
Print