… 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!
- Marvel Comics (1939)
- Marvel Premiere (1972)
- Marvel Super Heroes (1966)
- Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars (1984)
- Marvel Team-Up (1972)
- Marvel Treasury Edition (1974)
- Marvel Two-In-One (1974)
- Marvels (1994)
- Micronauts (1979)
- Mockingbird (2016)
- Ms. Marvel (1977)
- Mister Miracle (1971)
- Mystery in Space (1951)
Read more about Master of Kung Fu at Longbox Graveyard:
Check out the complete Longbox Graveyard Comics A-To-Z HERE!
Longbox Graveyard might be going through an Odinsleep, but packages continue to arrive here at my secret worldwide headquarters.
Unlike the last missive from Mars, this one was entirely expected:
It’s from my favorite online back-issue retailer — MyComicsShop.com!
But this order was mostly Omnibus reprints.
Leading off — the first two volumes of the reprinted Master of Kung Fu!
It is more than a little bizarre that I got these, as Master of Kung Fu is one of the few comics runs where I own almost every issue … but these Omnibus editions are easier to reference and read, and given these books have been out of print for so many decades, I felt I would be missing the party if I failed to buy them. And, hey, this way I get those Giant-Size MoKF issues that aren’t part of my collection.
Plus, this is an inexpensive way for me to finally read the very first appearances of Shang-Chi in the pages of Marvel Special Edition … I didn’t start collecting this series until issue #20, when the book had retitled itself Master of Kung Fu.
The series originated with Steve Englehart and Jim Starlin, and was actually pretty good from the jump. This edition comes with forwards by Englehart and MoKF’s signature creator, Doug Moench, which shed a little light on the series’ origin, and also fill in some blanks for me. For instance, the reason that Paul Gulacy is on again/off again in the first dozen issue of this book was down to accelerated deadlines imposed by the printing schedule of Marvel UK. Ya learn something every day.
Anyway, they’re handsome volumes, and I’m glad to have them, even if it means I’m on the hook for the forthcoming Volumes 3 & 4 if I want to have the whole run. (Insert weary sigh of the collector, here). I’ve already read a good chunk of the first volume — maybe it will inspire me to restart my long-dormant Master of Kung Fu review series.
Next, two volumes of Frank Miller’s Daredevil … another favorite series where I already own most of the issues, but purchased here as collections because I am a damn fool.
Finally, some actual back-issues …
This nearly fills-in my run of Black Panther in Jungle Action, and completes my collection of Chris Claremont’s run on Marvel Two-In-One, which I will get around to reviewing here sooner or later. And that stray Captain Marvel just about fills in my run of that book, as well.
Finally, to give credit where it is due … I need to thank YOU, my Longbox Graveyard readers, for each and every book pictured here. You see, this haul was paid for entirely with trade credit earned by readers clicking through to MyComicsShop.com from the pages of Longbox Graveyard! And at better than four hundred bucks in trade credit, that is a LOT of clicks. Thanks so much!!
Now, I’ve got some reading to do. And some writing, too … Longbox Graveyard will return shortly with an actual issue review, sooner than you expect. Watch this space!
Last week brought welcome news of the return of Shang-Chi, the Master of Kung Fu!
Arguably my favorite 1970s Marvel Comics series, Master of Kung Fu has never received the reprint/collection treatment it deserves, allegedly owing to licensing issues with the estate of Sax Rohmer, who wrote the original Fu Manchu stories that Master of Kung Fu uses as a springboard. It appears those issues have been resolved at last, and this classic run — with all its mystery, intrigue, espionage, and boots-to-the-head — will return in a series of Omnibus reprints starting in 2016!
It’s been awhile, but I have written a bit about Master of Kung Fu here at Longbox Graveyard, starting with Snowbuster, and early tale by Doug Moench and Paul Gulacy, which shared my youthful obsession with Bruce Lee:
Later, I wrote about Shang-Chi’s adventure on Mordillo’s Island, one of the weirder interludes in what could be a very weird book indeed:
I even put together a Shang-Chi Pinterest Gallery!
And all of this reminds me that I am long overdue in blogging about this book. I’ve been meaning to write about the “Clock of Shattered Time” story from issues #42-43 of MoKF — maybe this impending reprint will put a kung fu boot to my bottom to finally get going again!