New Reviews of Old Comics
Was the 70s kung-fu fad solely all about Bruce Lee? He played a big part, but I’m sure there were other contributing factors. Some kung-fu movies are entertaining for what they are. Some of the comics aren’t half bad either. I’d never heard of Richard Dragon, Kung-Fu Fighter before I saw it in ye olde dollar bin a few weeks back. As part of my ongoing quest to read and review a wide variety of old comics I decided to give it a try.
“To Catch an Assassin!” was written by Denny O’Neil and as a long time comic reader that makes a good first impression. Ric Estrada was the artist and that means nothing to me since I don’t recall seeing his name before, but I’m an optimist. The story opens with our lead character walking down the street with his gang (a chick, a kid and another dude), when the dude gets hit in the neck with a dart and hits pavement. Richard Dragon quickly gives orders; Junior, the kid, is supposed to call a doctor. Shiva, the chick with a cape and a samurai sword goes into action before Dragon can finish his sentence, kicking ass and not bothering with names, though there is plenty of cheesy dialogue. Dragon, wearing purple pants and his black belt (of course) eagerly takes part in the action, laying down some mean karate chops. After Dragon consults with a green cloud from his giant jade Buddha the crew is off to Mongolia where they fight Russian helicopters before finding their ultimate target, some freaky looking guy named Viper. His brief appearance is notable in that he’s trying to poison a captive and gets angry when his vile concoction takes four seconds to kill, not the three Viper had thought. Such are the trials and tribulations of a mad genius. The issue wraps up with a mountaintop karate battle.
I’m not sure how long Richard Dragon, Kung-Fu Fighter stuck around in the comic world, but I found this issue to be decidedly boring. I guess for a kung-fu title the focus is on over-the-top fight scenes, but plot and storyline were almost non-existent and what was there was hardly worthwhile; a bit of a letdown given how much I enjoy other Denny O’Neil’s other work. The art was more annoying than it was bad; sort of odd cartoony style with heavy over exaggerated lines. It just didn’t work for me. Now I can I’ve tried Richard Dragon, Kung-Fu Fighter and I can easily pass it by in case I ever come across it again in the dollar bin.
Notable Ad: I haven’t been writing about ads too much recently since they’ve all been lame or repeats of previously discussed. This issue, however, had one that was too good to pass. “Buy Land in Florida $1.00” the ad screams. It’s true you can purchase your own slice of the Sunshine State for the low, low price of a buck, but you’ll need to plan carefully as to how you’ll use your one square inch of (likely) swampland. One square inch is like the size of a postage stamp. Considering it comes with a deed and legal description I guess this makes a better gag gift than real estate investment, but what more can you expect from a comic book ad? My inner-goofball wonders if one could buy up 12 of these plots and get a whole square foot, but then I figure those 12 plots wouldn’t be contiguous, and what would you do with a square foot of swamp anyway?