Monday, November 17, 2014

Master of Kung Fu Monday - The Return !

Yes, I didn´t get to do a post last week because I was busy with other stuff ( I found a lot of pictures for future posts and I´m trying to put them into order so I can find them when I need them ) and every time I tried to do another post something happened. But I have decided to do another post and return to the days when everybody was Kung Fu fighting.

Over at DIVERSIONS OF THE GROOVY KIND our good pal Old Groove has been busy continuing the posts from the WARRIORS OF THE GOLDEN DAWN storyline and I haven´t gotten around to the latest installments, issue 84, The Bull and The Dragon and issue 85, The Ram and The Dove .

Now some people may think that I´m just lazy posting all those links to other blogs but the thing is that currently the series is not going to be reprinted so there are no trades or Essentials where you can read the awesomeness that is THE HANDS OF SHANG - CHI, MASTER OF KUNG FU.

Your only chance is to find it online because at the moment Disney is not interested in getting back the rights for the characters it used in this series OR in Rom, Spaceknight which also was a kick ass series from the 80s you can read on Old Groove´s nifty blog ( issue 4 just went online ).

But back to MASTERS OF KUNG FU, like I already posted previously I did go to the back issue bins on my latest visit to my comicshop in Esslingen.

But so far I haven´t started reading the issues because they are from the end of Mike Zeck´s run on the book and I want to start in the right order. Also I have a lot of other unread books on my table ( I just ordered four trades from the new Valiant series that will probably arrive Tomorrow ) and I´m in the middle of re - reading the INFINITY books. And when I say " INFINITY books " I mean comics like THE INFINITY GAUNTLET and all of the subsequent titles like INFINITY WAR and INFINITY CRUSADE, not the latest book that came out under the title of just INFINITY of which I have only read the first issue so far but even that was enough to convince me not to spend any money on that kind of crap. Again, that is not what I want to write about in this post because once I´ve re - read all those issues - and probably even before that - this will be covered in a post about THE STRANGE DEATH OF ADAM WARLOCK ! which without any doubt will be just the first of many posts covering Jim Starlin´s cosmic melodramas about Thanos, the Titan in the DEATH IN COMICS series.

So I already did a post where I waxed philosophic about how I came to read MASTERS OF KUNG FU and Old Groove is already posting some individual issues. Right now you are probably asking yourself what I´ll be doing in this post. Well, since I´m not only a big fan of the book but also a big fan of Mike Zeck - a greatly underappreciated artist who in my opinion is sorely missed from Today´s comic book landscape - I want to highlight some of his art by posting a few black and white original pages.

Not only to show that the art looks as good in black and white as in color so it doesn´t matter if you are only doing it in an ESSENTIAL format.

Because let´s face it, unless there is a big budget movie coming out into which this could tie in the guys at Disney are never going to reaquire the rights from the heirs of Sax Rohmer. No, I don´t think we can bring them to do it and since they are only interested in doing big blockbuster stuff with lots of explosions and people running instead of a kick ass martial arts movie which would be way easier and cheaper to produce we´ll have to look elsewhere for someone who´s willing to put any of the comic stuff into a collection. So I thought to myself : " How about an Artist Edition ? "

IDW has done various books with Marvel stuff and even Dark Horse and DC are starting with their own versions of it so they must be selling. So far I haven´t seen many of them available in Germany - in fact I have just started to find some in the last three months at online comicshops - and they are not exactly cheap, many of them going for much more than the original price, but at least it would be available in some degree.

And you can get them at a better price through some online outlets like amazon which is one of the reasons I wanted to write this post last week.

Because was offering Dark Horse´s first book of their new Gallery Edition line ROBOCOP VS TERMINATOR at only 50 measly EUROS.

Now I told my brother about this and he didn´t order it because he didn´t like the art in it and he prefered the THOR by Walter Simonson instead.

Which I can totally understand, but first you have to find somebody who is selling that and then you will probably pay more than just 50 EUROS for it.

The regular price on that is 100 US Dollars and the only online shop that sells it in Germany is charging 113 EUROS for it and that´s without the cost for shipping. So I´d say getting a 125 dollar hardcover like ROBOCOP VS TERMINATOR for 50 EUROS is a pretty good deal - and even if it is not his most popular work it´s still The Walter Simonson for crying out loud.

And is there something like bad Walter Simonson art, really ? It´s not something obscure either. With Robocop AND Terminator you have two of the biggest sci fi franchises crossing over so you can also give this as a Christmas present to people who normally don´t read a lot of comics ( hint, hint ). They may not know the Phantom Stranger or Bwana Beast but they are probably familiar with Robocop and Terminator. And the story is much better than in most of the crossovers between some franchises where it´s only there to provide a reason for those two brands to meet.

But like I said, that was last week. Now the price has gone up to 77 bucks and I´m not sure if it will fall to around 50 EUROS again. I mean don´t get me wrong, 77 EUROS is still a lot less than you have to pay somewhere else but 50 bucks is just around the price point where I could afford it.

In any case, I just wanted to mention this on the blog for those readers who were thinking about buying this anyway and who might want to keep tabs on prices on amazon. You never know when it might go down again.

Okay, back to MASTERS OF KUNG FU, while an Artists Edition might be much more expensive than a trade or an ESSENTIAL there would be no need to get the rights back for the Sax Rohmer characters because it would only include original art and not the actual comics. So unless the names of Fu Manchu or any of the other creations by Sax Rohmer are explicitly spelled out on the covers - or the select pages - I don´t think there would be any trouble as far as the copyright laws are concerned.

And even if the name Dr. Fu Manchu is on some of the pages like in the caption box above, Marvel already did a retcon in the comics that it was not the actual Dr. Fu Manchu but rather an impostor who used that name to strike terror into the hearts of his enemies. So they could either put a disclaimer in the book to the extend that it´s not the real Dr. Fu Manchu or they could have some low paid cyber monkey paste over the parts in the original art. And don´t tell me that a company like Disney doesn´t have an army of low paid cyber monkeys - they most definitely have.

And that´s the end of Today´s post if I want to eat something before the new episodes of ARROW and GRIMM start. TV always puts it on one day.

Speaking about tv series, here´s a neat piece of art by MASTERS OF KUNG FU inker / peciler Gene Day, the cover for MARVEL PREMIERE 59.

The Doctor appeared in issues 57 to 60 of MARVEL PREMIERE and later had his own series at Marvel that featured not only the most iconic

but also the following Doctor in a 23 issue series with art by Dave Gibbons, Walter Simonson. Paul Neary, David Lloyd and Steve Dillon.

The issues are probably available as part of IDW´s DOCTOR WHO CLASSIC collections and I guess most of my british readers already have them in one form or another. I think it was published in Germany by Condor but so far all I could find was the three issue series DOKTOR WHO´S REISEN DURCH RAUM UND ZEIT which is the Doctor Who graphic novel VOYAGER.

I guess I´ll have to look for those other Doktor Who comics the next time I´m at the comicshop in Esslingen. Lately I´m picking up more old comics than new ones but is it really a surprise with the state of the industry ?   

It´s been a while since I posted any cosplay pictures and it´s probably old news to most readers but I just came across Silver Shade´s Superboy.

I think it´s a good example that when it´s done right it doesn´t matter if the original character was male or female. You can see more pics here .

Today´s first video ties in with the first video from my last post. Somebody mentioned the stunt double of Lynda Carter on WONDER WOMAN in the comments section and after some research I found out that her name is Jeannie Epper. Here she is on the set with Lynda.

I also found a video on YouTube from CBS in 1979. Being a stunt woman was apparently extraordinary enough to be featured on tv ( a lot of female actors still have male stunt doubles in some scenes like Jennifer Lopez ) even though Jeannie comes from a family of stunt persons.  

Since we just can´t have a post without a cartoon video here´s another interesting find : PRYDE OF THE X - MEN from 1989. This was a pilot for a show that was never made and according to wikipedia Marvel went back to the drawing board for 1992’s X - MEN. Funding for this pilot actually came from the budget for ROBOCOP : THE ANIMATED SERIES. Instead of making a 13th episode of ROBOCOP, Marvel Productions decided to use their funding to have Toei Animation produce the animation for this pilot which is specifically influenced by issues 129 - 139 of UNCANNY X - MEN.

At least where the part about Kitty Pryde being the new member is concerned. The rest of the stories from issues 129 to 139 was the Dark Phoenix Saga which obviously is not in the pilot. Back to the wiki entry.  

Shortly after this pilot was delivered, Marvel started having financial issues ( New World Pictures, who purchased the Marvel Entertainment Group or MEG from Cadence Industries in 1986, sold MEG in January 1989 to the Andrews Group ) and stopped work on just about everything but MUPPET BABIES. This pilot effectively marked the end of the Marvel animated universe created by DePatie - Freleng Enterprises / Marvel Productions, which began with FANTASTIC FOUR ( 1978 ) and continued with SPIDER - WOMAN ( 1979 ), SPIDER - MAN ( 1981 ), SPIDER - MAN AND HIS AMAZING FRIENDS ( 1981 ) and THE INCREDIBLE HULK ( 1982 ). The X-Men themselves had previously guest starred in several episodes of SPIDER - MAN AND HIS AMAZING FRIENDS, although that particular series isn't necessarily in the same continuity as " PRYDE OF THE X - MEN ".

I have to say I like the catchy theme song and I hope this is not how Wolverine sounded in the later produced X - MEN cartoon. The horror !

Now since this post has been about MASTERS OF KUNG FU, here are two real martial arts masters going at it, Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris from WAY OF THE DRAGON. I think it´s appropriate since the character of Shang Chi was visually based on Bruce Lee. I have already posted the Bruce Lee documentary HOW BRUCE LEE CHANGED THE WORLD in my first MASTERS OF KUNG FU post which I later on substituted with the Bruce Lee documentary I AM BRUCE LEE when it was deleted and which in turn now has likewise been deleted from YouTube. I´m not replacing that one with a third documentary that will probably also be deleted. Sorry !

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Terry Hooper-Scharf said...

Excellent find with the video. Not seen this before...well, its only...over 35 years old!!

SUBZERO said...

Okay, this comment may look a bit weird but it was written when I still wasn´t finished with the post and the only video I had posted was the one with Lynda Carter´s stunt woman. Just to clear this up.

And there are a few more videos with Lynda Carter which may or may not appear on future posts.

The Groovy Agent said...

Glad you're digging MOKF Mondays and spreading the word! Love your big ol' posts--you cover so much ground and make it so much fun!