Tag: Paul Gulacy

With Further Ado #162: I Miss My Old Pals From Shang Chi

With Further Ado #162: I Miss My Old Pals From Shang Chi

Is it ever permissible to review a movie before you see it? And if so, can I give it four stars ahead of time?

I have yet to see Disney/Marvel’s latest superhero movie, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings . But given the track record of Kevin Feige and his teams, I’m sure I’ll enjoy it.  It’s looks to be both fun and important.

And you know what? A mostly Asian cast is a good start to rectifying wrongs of the past.  This movie blew past all early estimates and scooped up in nearly $100 million at the U.S. box office over the Labor Day weekend. Its now one of the top-grossing movies of the year. Not too shabby, right?

My one worry is that this movie doesn’t seem to be about my old pal Shang Chi and his friends, lovers and antagonists. I am glad that this character is now given Cinematic Validations, but back in the 70s, Marvel’s Master of Kung Fu was one badass title. It quickly became a favorite and a must-read.  Like Conan the Barbarian, MoKF (as we called it back then) existed in its own corner of the inter-connected Marvel Universe, mostly independent of the usual cross-over nonsense. And it had a tone all its own.

Shang Chi was the protagonist, but he also served as our entry point to the ongoing spy stories. Shang would often refer to his adventures as “games of death and deceit”.  It was a sprawling engaging tapestry: a James Bond world with nefarious villains, creative henchmen (ala Goldfinger’s Oddjob) and over-the-top plots.  The love interest was the beautiful – but deadly – Leiko Wu and Shang’s comrades in arms were Brits like Black Jack Tarr and other spies – pulled from the pulps or created as offspring of famous fictional characters.

In this old comic series, Shang Chi was the wayward son of master villain Fu Manchu, a pulp villain.  As a kid, my local library, the legendary Seymour Library, had several Fu Manchu adventures in the mystery section. When I found them I thought I had discovered treasure. I loved reading them. Continue reading “With Further Ado #162: I Miss My Old Pals From Shang Chi”

Continued After the Next Page #003: Comic Coincidence and Paul Gulacy

Continued After the Next Page #003: Comic Coincidence and Paul Gulacy

Comic books have been an important part of my life for over thirty-five years now. The things that I have read and seen in those pages affect things in my mind and outlook that most people might not expect. Large parts of my worldview have been shaped by the topics and interesting characters that I have been exposed to by reading comics. Often, I find that pieces of information in my mind come directly from knowledge gleaned from the pages of the fantastical stories that I read growing up. Weird things that make no sense. For example, whenever I hear the word “oblivion”, there is some small part of my mind that remembers that I first learned that word reading J.M. DeMatteis’ Iceman mini-series as a kid.  The villain in the story was called Oblivion, and it has stuck with me. These type of odd combinations of knowledge and memory happen all the time. As my friend David, from my Local Comic Shop, reminded me once, “Everything comes back to comics.”

I’d like to share a strange set of circumstances that combined to bring comics from the past right to the present day in an amazing moment of coincidence.  This event Continue reading “Continued After the Next Page #003: Comic Coincidence and Paul Gulacy”