“M” Is For …

… Master of Kung Fu! (1974)

The letter “M” is one of the real bloodbaths in this project. There are a pile of books I need to set aside in picking a favorite, and not just because all those “Marvel” branded books start with an “M.” I think this is the single toughest letter of the alphabet for me.

Which makes Master of Kung Fu that much more remarkable. It was Master of Kung Fu that first introduced me to “cinematic” storytelling in comic book form (I missed Steranko the first time around). I loved that Master of Kung Fu was human-scaled, and clearly channeling the James Bond movies that I so loved as a teen. I was intrigued by the weird pulp fiction background bits mixed into the tale; I loved the deep continuity; I loved the unforgettable cast of heroes and villains and villainous heroes and heroic villains; I loved that this series made me feel that the deeply-missed Bruce Lee was still alive. I even liked it when the series was flooded with Fleetwood Mac music.

Few Marvel books enjoyed such a long run by a single creator, with Doug Moench guiding the adventures of Shang-Chi in nearly every issue, with a series of artistic partners in Paul Gulacy, Gene Day, and Mike Zeck all so good that we could argue which were the best of them and see the sun come up without a resolution.

This may well be my favorite comics series of all time.

Now … tell me about the “M” books I am missing!

Honorable Mentions:

Read more about Master of Kung Fu at Longbox Graveyard:

Check out the complete Longbox Graveyard Comics A-To-Z HERE!


About Paul O'Connor

Revelations and retro-reviews from a world where it is always 1978, published every now and then at www.longboxgraveyard.com!

Posted on February 14, 2018, in Comics A-To-Z and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. 100% with you on this one


  2. Only two comic series kept me reading and involved when all my friends were “graduating” to girls and cars and beers. Tomb of Dracula and MASTER OF KUNG FU!

    I try not to argue with you when you’re right. When you’re right … you’re right!


  3. This is tough because of all the titles beginning with “Marvel”. However, I have to go with the Micronauts. I loved both series, and I was also into the action figures back in the day. Master of Kung Fu, which I only got into recently, is a close second. Man-Thing, another one I only got into recently (thank you, Marvel Unlimited) is another solid choice.
    I also love Marvel-Two-in-One, my favorite of the teamup books, and I love teamup books!
    Speaking of which, Marvel Team-Up is good, too.
    Marvel Premiere had Iron Fist (Claremont & Byrne!) and Guardians of the Galaxy.
    Marvel Fanfare, Ms. Marvel. Moon Knight, & Mister Miracle are all good “M” titles as well.

    Liked by 2 people

    • “M” is for “massacre,” just like “S” will be for “slaughterhouse” when we get to it. Those are all worthy titles you mention, Dave. (Though I never much got into Moon Knight).

      When Micronauts was on the stands it was on the top of my reading stack, at least for those first dozen Michael Golden issues. It scratched my Star Wars/space opera itch and was generally an imaginative and surprising read. Bill Mantlo (of course).

      Liked by 1 person

  4. “M” is indeed packed with good stuff… I will allow adult John to respond this time and go with Mike Allred’s MadMan. The art is amazing, coloring included – the stories can wander and seem to delve into deep waters that are over my head BUT they are riveting, to me at least.

    Tempted to consider “Maus” but by my own self-imposed rules that does not qualify since it is a graphic novel of limited scope and not an on-going comic books series.

    Team up books were beloved so for sure MTIO and MTU have high rankings.

    Young me loved #1s, so I was onboard for Ms Marvel, Machine Man, Man-bat, and Moon Knight. At least for as long as these titles lasted.

    I liked reading Metal Men stories but for the life of me I cannot recall why. They were not that great. “Oh no, Lead has been melted and destroyed forever. Boo hoo” Then the next issue they fix him or rebuild him … I mean cmon … it is a robot, it cannot really die. Same issue with the Vision and Red Tornado: They got fragged a lot because it was so easy to bring them back. Gets old. And now I am on a rant…


    • I think I had all those #1s, too — except Man-Bat (my DC blind spot interfering again).

      Don’t think I ever read MadMan (maybe one issue in the 80s?). I did like Allred’s recent Silver Surfer run, which probably earned him more in a month than his labor of love did in a year. Glad he could cash in. And with luck he still owns the MadMan IP and may yet see it find its way to TV or movies.

      Marvel Team-Up is a book I perpetually intend to review here at LBG, particularly the Byrne/Claremont run. Maybe this year!


  5. One of the few complete series runs I own, Moench’s masterpiece that sadly ended with a whimper without him.


  6. No surprise here. A worthy choice and a cult favorite – few books command as much loyalty from its fan base as Master of Kung Fu.

    I would put in a plug for the “Marvel” named reprint books of the 1970’s: Marvel Tales (Spider-Man), Marvel Triple Action (the Avengers), Marvel Super Action (Captain America), Marvel Super Heroes (Tales to Astonish), Marvel Double Feature (Tales of Suspense with Cap and Iron Man) and Marvel’s Greatest Comics (Fantastic Four).There were others and not all had “Marvel” in the title but these reprint magazines were how I first experienced many of the Silver Age stories that put Marvel on the map.


    • I enjoyed quite a few of those reprint books, too. When I was first getting into comics I was confused about the split between Marvel Tales and Spider-Man, though. It was all new to me and I didn’t understand the whole concept of a reprint. There was an era when collecting a full run of those reprints was both a reasonable challenge to bite off and a viable way to read those old stories. Now, in the era of print collections and digital, it seems quaint.

      I do think those legacy books might still be presented in digest format, along with newer material for the same characters, but it needs better curation than the current Archies-published digests are displaying. I’d like to see magazine-sized glossy books, fronted with a new story, backed up with relevant and strong reprint pages, and articles tying it all together with contemporary film, fan, and TV material. (But the magazine market is dead, I suppose … till you might publish it for fan outreach, and to onboard those mythical new readers).


  7. I really thought you “M” entry would be about Mole Man 😛

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Having just read the entry of Swamp Thing under “S”, I thought “oh, did they mention Man-Thing under “M”?”; and did they, by all my thunder NOT; so, let’s see, how to rectify this:



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