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Real Name: Phil Fox

Identity/Class: Normal human

Occupation: Reporter, TV host

Group Membership: Staff at the Daily Bugle

Affiliations: Dr. Noah Burnstein, Luke Cage (Carl Lucas), Mrs. Jenks, J. Jonah Jameson, Flea;

formerly Billy Bob Rackham

EnemiesBilly Bob Rackham

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: New York City, USA

First Appearance: Luke Cage, Hero for Hire#4 (December, 1972)

Powers/Abilities: Fox was a reporter and had all the skills and training that came with the job. He had spent years working around the Broadway area, so he had a passing familiarity with various acting methods and slight of hand tricks.


(Luke Cage, Hero for Hire#4 (fb) - BTS) - Phil Fox started working for the Daily Bugle newspaper the same day as J. Jonah Jameson. Jameson rose to editor while Fox became an ace reporter. After a few years of hitting the bottle, Fox was transferred to the Broadway beat.

(Luke Cage, Hero for Hire#4) - Fox was prowling around the city, hoping to catch a glimpse of the mysterious “hero for hire” who worked out of the Gem Theater. He ran into Cage after the man had an encounter with the 42nd Street Phantom. Cage was in no mood to talk, but Fox persisted. Later, he began to follow Cage more intently. Cage easily lost him by leaping from the street to a nearby fire escape, but Fox swore that he would get a story with or without Cage’s approval.

(Luke Cage, Hero for Hire#5) - Arriving in time to see Cage stumble upon the body of the recently murdered Frank Jenks, Fox tried to get an interview with the Hero for Hire. Cage angrily brushed him off and set off to investigate the reasons for the murder.

(Luke Cage, Hero for Hire#10) - Noting that Cage was often seen in the company of both Claire Temple and Dr. Noah Burnstein, Fox came by Burnstein’s clinic around closing time. Charming his way into the doctor’s office, Fox searched in vain for a clue as to why a man like Burnstein would help Cage or at least why he was operating a small-time clinic. He was about to give up when he rifled through the doctor’s desk. In an unlocked drawer, Fox found a small journal. Before he could read it, Cage returned. Putting it back, Fox explained his presence by restating his desire for an interview.

(Luke Cage, Hero for Hire#11) - Later the next night, Fox broke into Burnstein’s office. Pocketing the journal, Fox took it back to his apartment. His curiosity turned to outright shock when he discovered the truth of Burnstein’s connection to Cage’s origin.

(Luke Cage, Hero for Hire#16 (fb)) - The informant Flea told Cage about how he met with Fox one night after the man had been drinking. Flea helped the inebriated reporter back to his apartment, where Fox spilled what he had stolen from Dr. Burnstein and what his goals were. Flea let the man sleep it off, but filed the info away for future reference.

(Luke Cage, Hero for Hire#12/Power Man#36) - Fox went to the Bugle’s office with hopes of selling J. Jonah Jameson on an expose of Cage’s past, unaware of Jameson’s prior dealings with the man. He was flustered when Jameson threw him out, refusing to print a word about the man. In a foul mood, Fox went into Cage’s office and offered the man a deal: money in exchange for his silence. Cage, pointing out that he lacked funds, grew enraged at Fox’s suggestion that he steal. Thrown out, Fox fumed. Planning on exposing Cage’s criminal past, he muttered aloud his opinion about Cage within earshot of Claire Temple. When he voiced his opinion a little louder, Claire hauled off and slapped him soundly. Later, when Cage finished his fight with Chemistro, Fox catcalled from the raceway stands, vowing to make profit from his knowledge in some way, legal or not.

(Luke Cage, Hero for Hire#13) - As Cage was being patched up by Claire, Dr. Burnstein Fox entered the clinic. Dropping Cage’s real name, Fox made it very clear that he was going to reveal Cage’s past to anyone who was interested, but he would consider silence provided he came into a large sum of money. Cage told Fox where he could put his ideas and Fox showed himself to the door.

(Luke Cage, Hero for Hire#14) - Fox was at his desk when Rackham entered the Bugle offices. Overhearing him putting an ad in the wanted pages, Fox followed him back to his rooms. Plying him with vodka, Fox got the former guard to talk about his time at Seagate. When Fox accidentally mentioned Dr. Burnstein, he was forced to admit the real reason for him being there. Rackham was ecstatic at learning about Cage’s survival, but Fox pointed out that there was little chance of him getting his old job back. Rackham hit upon a new idea, namely, why not force Cage to work for them? Fox protested, saying he already tried the blackmail route and that it had not worked. Rackham suggested kidnapping Cage’s female friend. Fox was uneasy, but the former guard refused to listen to him.  

(Luke Cage, Hero for Hire#14/Luke Cage, Hero for Hire#15 (fb)) - Fox met with Rackham at his rooms later, only to discover to his horror that Rackham had kidnapped the wrong woman. Mrs. Jenks was bound and gagged in the other room when Fox and Rackham got into an argument. During the fight, Rackham’s gun went off and Fox accidentally took the shot through the chest, dying almost instantly. Rackham took Mrs. Jenks and fled; moments later, Claire Temple arrived and found Fox's dead body. The police came onto the scene seconds later and found her, Fox’s corpse, and a smoking gun.

Comments: Created by Archie Goodwin, George Tuska, and Billy Graham.

Fox mentioned he had a “local TV show” in #4, but that was the only mention. Perhaps it was public access? 

In #15, Fox only appears in the splash page at the start, which acted as a reminder to what had happened before. 

Power Man#36 was just a reprint of Luke Cage, Hero for Hire#12.

Profile by David Lawrence.

Phil Fox has no known connections to:

images: (without ads)
Luke Cage, Hero for Hire#4, p6, pan3 (main image)

Luke Cage, Hero for Hire#4 (December 1972) – Archie Goodwin (script), Billy Graham (pencils), Billy Graham (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)
Luke Cage, Hero for Hire#5 (January 1973) – Steve Englehart (script), George Tuska (pencils), Billy Graham (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)
Luke Cage, Hero for Hire#10 (June 1973) – Steve Englehart (script), George Tuska (pencils), Billy Graham (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)
Luke Cage, Hero for Hire#11 (July 1973) – Steve Englehart (script), George Tuska (pencils), Billy Graham (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)
Luke Cage, Hero for Hire#12 (August 1973) – Steve Englehart (script), George Tuska (pencils), Billy Graham (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)
Luke Cage, Hero for Hire#13 (September 1973) – Steve Englehart (script), Billy Graham (pencils), Billy Graham (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)
Luke Cage, Hero for Hire#14 (October 1973) – Steve Englehart (script), Billy Graham (pencils), Petra Goldburg (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)
Luke Cage, Hero for Hire#15 (November 1973) – Billy Graham/Steve Englehart/Tony Isabella (script), Billy Graham (pencils), Billy Graham (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)
Luke Cage, Hero for Hire#16 (December 1973) – Steve Englehart/ Billy Graham/Tony Isabella (script), Billy Graham (pencils), Frank McLaughlin (inks) Roy Thomas (editor)
Power Man#36 (October 1976) – Steve Englehart (script), George Tuska (pencils), Billy Graham (inks), Roy Thomas (editor)

Last updated: 04/20/14

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