Sunday, July 20, 2008

Master of Kung-Fu: Bond meets Bruce Lee

Inspired by the Bruce Lee phenomenon that swept the world in the 1970s, Marvel Comics gave us one of their most unusual and outstanding series: The Hands of Shang-Chi: Master of Kung-Fu. The saga merges seamlessly the best of Bruce Lee and James Bond movies with pulp fiction novels to create dreamy, action-packed tales of espionage, megalomaniac villains, outrageous assassins, bewitching dames, martial arts, mysticism and mystery. This is the only comic where you will see MI-6 fight to stop the evil Dr. Fu Manchu from blasting the moon out of its orbit, affecting the tides and flooding the world. Sure, the series draws a bit from Sax Rohmer's "yellow menace", but it also introduces the only two great Chinese heroes in comics: the intense Shang-Chi and the stunning female spy and Shang's lover, Leiko Wu. Yuen Woo-ping has been attached since times before the Great Flood to direct the motion picture adaptation, which is still in development hell as of this writing. This is one of the most cinematic comics ever created and one that I actually wouldn't mind seeing transposed properly to the big screen. Doug Moench was the outstanding writer and Paul Gulacy achieved his best work as an artist, almost 30 years ago. The runs by Mike Zeck and Gene Day are also gorgeous. Read more in this savvy article by Bala Menon.

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