Wednesday, 4 May 2016

The Iron Fist That Never Was

Here's an interesting one. Back in the summer of '74, FOOM ran this little heads up in it's 6th issue Department Of Infoomation:

So, Iron Fist in his own b/w mag by Len & Gil, with a new strip designed by Jazzy John. Cool, count me in. And the promos kept coming throughout the year:

But then, in Deadly Hands Of Kung Fu #8, the wheels suddenly fell off, as we were told by then editor Marv Wolfman:

But by the next issue of DHOKF:

So what happened to The Living Weapon's own mag? Did somebody decide yet another Kung Fu book was likely to glut the market? Unlikely, as that was the business Marvel was in at that point. I mean, how many monster books did they put out to knock Jim Warren off the shelf?
Was the strip that bad? Again, very unlikely, as you'll see, 'cos here it is:
The pencil's are by Frank McLaughlin, who of course was a judo instructor, created Charlton's Judomaster, and did loads of 'How to Judo' pieces for Deadly Hands, so you know Iron Fist's moves here are absolutely authentic. Look at his hands in particular. Artists who don't know Kung Fu would never draw like that.
The inking's by Rudy Nebres, which means it's shiny and beautiful, and the script's by Chris Claremont, and even if it's a bit slight, with a slightly underwhelming villain who spends most of the story offscreen, Chris at least always understood the point of Kung Fu comic strips ie. to be as pulpy as possible and squeeze in as many fight scenes as possible.
Plus I only count one patented 'Claremontism', on the first page: Having to stick to the formula Iron Fist third person narration makes him behave himself, obviously.
Oh, and in the middle is a retelling of the origin, which of course they had to do for new readers, and as they didn't have room to run the original Marvel Premiere piece, consists of Doug Moench & Don Perlin doing the whole thing over again. Presumably in a rush, as Don swipes pretty much every Gil Kane panel he can get away with.
So, no idea why Iron Fist #1 never happened, as this is all good stuff, and Dragons Two looks like fun. Ah well.

Oh, and here's Shang-Chi selling out, from the same issue.

1 comment:

  1. The subscription ad was by Jim Craig, who had done the one-shot Hands of the Dragon the year before for Seaboard/Atlas, the short-lived company created by Timely/Atlas/Marvel founder Martin Goodman after he was ousted from Marvel.
    It was probably a try-out/test piece re-purposed for the ad.