Sunday, October 20, 2013

Katana and Shang-Chi: Master of Kung Fu

Well, it has been announced that DC is cancelling Katana. I'm glad that they took a chance with her but maybe the timing was just off.  Perhaps if DC had given Katana more time to shine in the pages of Justice League of America and in the Beware the Batman TV series, interest in a solo series would have been greater.

I wasn't a huge fan of martial arts comics growing up, but I did like Shang-Chi because he was rooted in the Marvel Universe and could interact with their heroes and villains.  The great artwork didn't hurt either.  Artists like Gil Kane, Mike Zeck and Paul Gulacy produced some very memorable covers for the character


AirDave said...

What was off was the timing. A Katanna book or mini-series was due in the '80's, when Batman and The Outsiders was hot. The '80's are over and both the team and the character are fading stars.

I'm disappointed in what The New 52 has done to characters like for instance, Grifter, so I'm not really compelled to care about what else it is doing.

Plus, I have a limited budget. Right now Aquaman and Batman '66 are the books I can afford.

Anonymous said...

Thats really too bad about Katana, but i barely recognize these characters anymore (and I was number one fan of BATO back in the day) and I am more likely to purchase serious graphic novels by artists such as Joe Sacco these days. So its up to the new generation of comic buyers to make the decision to purchase them.

Matt said...

The writing didn't help the Katana series any. Ann Nocenti is...not good.

Paul said...

Master of Kung Fu was probably my second favorite title of all time, after the Avengers (and in fact, was the very last run of comics that I let go of when I sold my collection).
I loved it, not because of its connection to the MU, but despite that. It was a complex spy movie, a existential foreign film, and an action-packed chop-socky flick all in one (usually) gorgeous package.
To me, the world that Steve Englehart and Jim Starlin created (and later scribe Doug Moench and various artists, namely Paul Gulacy, Mike Zeck, and Gene Day ran with) was so much richer than its contemporary marvel titles.
It actually had an ending, too. (Which, of course, was later pretty much done away with.)

pblfsda said...

One of my absolute favorite scenes in comics was in "Master Of Kung Fu". It was Shang-Chi trying to learn more about western culture, just relaxing in the bath and reading "A Clockwork Orange". His internal dialogue there and elsewhere was usually more entertaining than the fight scenes.

Marvel in the 1970's was about as literary as pop entertainment has ever been. Black Panther, Howard the Duck, Man-Thing, Killraven, Tomb of Dracula, Doctor Strange and MOKF. Even the core continuity titles would occasionally presume the reader knew something outside comics as well.

GF said...

AirDave is right: a series focusing on her should have launched in the 80s, after she was exposed through the mainstream of Batman and the Outsiders. Today, such a character appears to be a novelty lo longer in fashion.

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