Shang Chi is back in DEADLY HANDS OF KUNG-FU #1


Now that Miracleman is finally being reprinted, the holy grail of comics reprints would be the 70/80s run of Marvel’s MASTER OF KUNG FU, but don’t hold your breath.

However, hero Shang Chi is back in May with DEADLY HANDS OF KUNG-FU, a four-issue limited series by Mike Benson (Deadpool Pulp) and Tan Eng Huat (X-Men Legacy). The cover, above, is by Dave Johnson

Hero. Teacher. Agent. Avenger. Shang-Chi has been many things. But this time, Marvel Universe’s most impressive hand-to-hand combatant is only one – vengeful! A highly trained MI-6 agent has been murdered in cold blood. One with deep ties to Shang-Chi’s past. As he journey’s to England to pay his respects, he’ll learn not all is as it seems. And if he’s not careful, he’s going to be the next body to drop!
“We’re really pushing Shang-Chi into the spotlight,” says series Editor Jake Thomas. “Here’s a guy who is part Bruce Lee, part James Bond, which seems like a perfect recipe to me! Mike’s written a story that is really going to surprise people, and getting Tan Eng Huat to draw wild kung-fu action sequences is an absolute dream. It’s got both cold, brutal espionage action along with the heart and soul of an old-school kung-fu quest. I could not possible be more excited for this story!”

Old friends and new enemies lie around each and every turn. And Shang-Chi stands alone against scored of deadly foes. Don’t miss a minute of the action when espionage and kung-fu collide this May in DEADLY HANDS OF KUNG FU #1!

 The original Master of Kung Fu run was written by Doug Moench with art by Paul Gulacy, Mike Zack and Gene Day, and it was one long saga of crazy SF espionage, Buddhist philosophy and freakish villains. It will never be reprinted because a) it was licensed from the Sax Rohmer estate and featured Fu Manchu as a character and b) Gulacy drew all the characters to look like actors, and comics companies are skittish about that nowadays. Too bad because its one of the all time greats.

But meanwhile….Shang Chi is back again!


  1. comicsatemybrain says

    There is debate as to whether Fu Manchu has moved into public domain. That said, there are a number of other key characters in MoKF that were Rohmer characters that have clearly not entered public domain. Moreover, Marvel/Disney lawyers may not want to stick their necks out into gray areas of copyright and public domain (for a variety of reasons).

  2. Dave Hartley says

    Couldn’t they could just rename Fu Manchu ‘The Original Villain’ ?

  3. MHF says

    How difficult would it be to hire someone to re-letter certain portions of the original run to change ‘Fu Manchu’ to… I dunno… ‘Doctor Wang’ or whatever? You can’t tell me that this would be a costly and/or impossible task.

    Moench & Gulacy’s 70’s run on MOKF was one of the best produced series of its time – and it is a crime that Marvel isn’t stepping up to the plate to find a way to reprint them.

  4. Rich Harvey says

    Moreover, it wouldn’t kill Marvel/Disney to pay an additional licensing fee to the Rohmer estate. Moreover, it wouldn’t kill the Rohmer estate to accept a token payment, acknowledging their ownership of Fu Manchu and nothing more.

    Glad to see this character back in action. I wish these IP owners would utilize their second- and third-tier characters more often. Lately, I find them more interesting than the latest rehash of their Big Two or Big Three characters.

  5. comicsatemybrain says

    @MHF: “How difficult would it be to hire someone to re-letter certain portions of the original run to change ‘Fu Manchu’ to… I dunno… ‘Doctor Wang’ or whatever? You can’t tell me that this would be a costly and/or impossible task.”

    This strategy wouldn’t be successful. The Rohmer estate could take it to court and argue that changing the names of the characters doesn’t make them different characters than what was licensed. And I don’t think that Marvel/Disney would prevail against that argument. Indeed, I don’t think that they would want to win against such an argument b/c of the exposure that such a precedent might create in regards to their own intellectual property.

    Besides, if the strategy that you suggest is legally sound, don’t you think Marvel would have gone ahead and done it by now?

  6. comicsatemybrain says

    @Rich Harvey: About two and a half years ago, Cory Sedlmeier (editor of the Marvel Masterworks line) indicated that Marvel made an attempt to work something out with the Rohmer estate, but things didn’t work out. “Better hold onto those floppies” was his wording at the time.
    We don’t know if Marvel was offering too little, the Rohmer estate asking for too much, or if the parties eventually decided that the money at stake was too small to make it worth everybody’s time (both in terms of direct cost and opportunity cost) to write up the contracts.

  7. says

    The problem isn´t only Fu Manchu.

    Sir Nayland Smith and Fah Lo Sue are Sax Rohmer characters and both have main roles in Shang´s tales.

    So sad,cause Shang Chi Classic comics are beyond and great and they are still fresh and cool nowadays.

  8. says

    >> How difficult would it be to hire someone to re-letter certain portions of the original run to change ‘Fu Manchu’ to… I dunno… ‘Doctor Wang’ or whatever? You can’t tell me that this would be a costly and/or impossible task.>>

    They don’t have solo ownership of the copyright on those stories.

    When a novel goes into the public domain, that does not mean all its sequels do, too. That’s why much of SHERLOCK HOLMES is PD, but not all of it.

    And in the case of MASTER OF KUNG FU, it was done under a license that allowed the owners of Fu and crew certain rights, and Marvel other rights. Those licensing contracts didn’t magically evaporate when the first few Fu Manchu novels went PD. The stories that were produced in the 1970s and 1980s are still very much under copyright, and the licensors still have rights in them. Marvel can’t just take out the Fu references (and others) and pretend that the stories are no longer licensed work.

    Marvel could, conceivably, do _new_ work with Fu in it, as long as they based it solely on material that’s in the public domain. But the old work they did under license is still work they did under license, and the terms of the license still apply.


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