Deadly Hands of Kung Fu #32
Deadly Hands of Kung Fu #32
Larger than life and in living black & white, this issue brings us a Daughters of the Dragon story, with Misty Knight and Colleen Wing hunting a drug dealer through the grim alleys of Hong Kong. It’s languid and wordy in vintage Chris Claremont style, with art from a wet-behind-the-ears Marshall Rogers, when his design skills were still out in front of his drawing ability. There’s plenty of punching and kicking, and some shout-outs to contemporary Iron Fist continuity. It rumbles along like a 70s martial arts movie, and its hard not to hear the wah-wah guitars and güiros as you read.
The tale has a forced bit of cheesecake, as Collen and Misty’s outfits disintegrate while they run a gauntlet of kung fu thugs. I expect this was an attempt to sex things up for a non-code black & white book, but it didn’t age well, and I’d pay a dollar to learn if it originated with Claremont, Rogers, or Marvel editorial. The tale concludes with our ladies knocked out and fished from the ocean, doubtless with some terrible doom in the offing. Maybe we’ll find out next issue. The only black and white I was reading in 1977 was Savage Sword of Conan so I can’t even rely on memory for how this ultimately comes out.
- Script: Chris Claremont
- Art: Marshall Rogers
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Posted on May 14, 2018, in Marvel 1977 and tagged Chris Claremont, Deadly Hands of Kung Fu, Kung Fu, Marshall Rogers, Marvel Comics. Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.
Of all the 1977 issues reviewed so far, this is the one that most makes me think, “I need to read this story!” Did you just pick the awesomest pages to share with us, or is the whole tale this good? The prose in Claremont’s narrative captions has a combination of poetry, melodrama, and description that totally works for me. Misty and Colleen somehow kick total ass while being sexy, and I like how they are simultaneously beautiful but totally in control of their situation. Rogers’ rendering of their fight scene would have looked like a cheesy B-movie under the pencil of a lesser artist. But here, when the visuals and captions combine, we are treated to a kind of sensual malevolence on the level of the fight scenes in Kill Bill. Since this issue is dated in January, I’m glad we have more pages to look forward to.
Well I’ve got good news and bad news. The good news is if you have Marvel Unlimited you can read this right now. Even better the story continues into the next issue with even more mayhem. (And cheesecake). The bad news is issue 33 was the last in that series. Too bad, really. I had a big weakness for the Marvel b&w titles.
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I’m glad we’re being treated to the black-and-white magazine-format titles in the 1977 reviews. I’ve seen so few of them, but they always seem aimed at a somewhat older audience than Marvel’s main superhero titles at the time. It’s great to hear they are included in Marvel Unlimited, because collecting the physical back issues would be an arduous and expensive task!
They’re spotty, but they are there. A couple Deadly Hands of Kung Fu, and some horror and vampire books, too. (Alas, no Savage Sword).
I will get to the next issue of Deadly Hands in due time. They are all new to me — the only Marvel B&W that I collected and read was Savage Sword of Conan. I still have my stack in a box downstairs, but it might as well be locked in some Stygian vault for all that I can get them out and read or review them. I’ve been so spoiled by digital … and Conan is absent from Marvel’s Unlimited service, his license having long since elapsed. It is a shame, as Conan was a HUGE part of Marvel in the 1970s, both in color and in the dollar book. Would like to review those issues in the context of the rest of Marvel 77, but I sold on my originals long ago (though I still have the Roy Thomas era in the Dark Horse collections).
I think these pages were the best of the bunch, but if they are to your liking you will enjoy the rest of the story, too. It does kind of feel like Rogers is evolving from page to page.
I have to mention that there’s also a story in this issue featuring beautiful artwork by Joe Staton & Sonny Trinidad. It’s one of Staton’s very few penciling jobs for Marvel. You can find a brief summary courtesy of fnord on his Marvel Comics Chronology website…
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(That second story unfortunately not part of this Marvel Unlimited digital version).
I’ve never read a B&W story, but I may have to look for this series in Marvel Unlimited.
No better service for dipping a toe in on stuff you’re curious to read, but not especially eager to collect.
(Insert yet another rant about DC refusing to offer a similar service here!)