SPECIAL MARVEL EDITION #15-17 (1973-1974): 1st Shang Chi, Midnight

Marvel Special Edition had been a vehicle to reprint old Sgt Fury war comics until issue #15, where all of a sudden it’s used to introduce future movie star Shang Chi.  By issue #20, it will be retitled as “Master of Kung Fu.”

Two of Marvel’s best 1970s creators, Steve Englehart and Jim Starlin, brought us a character who could capitalize on the craze of the time.

In the ’70s, kung fu movies were the rage. 

The comic would end up being quite good.

In these introductory tales, Shang Chi is serving his father, Fu Manchu, as an assassin, but he quickly realizes his father is an evil man.

We also meet his brother Midnight.

He dies in issue #16.  And it’s gruesome.

Yet, he will return in the future for a few issues of Silver Surfer.

The regular castmembers are introduced as Shang Chi has a bunch of adventures in the U.S., trying to escape from his father’s shadow.

All this and an appearance by Jim Starlin, Al Milgrom, and Steve Englehart.

With these few issues, Jim Starlin leaves the series. These issues represent some of his most important work, helping to shape Marvel’s first Asian title character. Check out the top 10 Jim Starlin comics here.

The letter page of the comic offered the behind-the-scenes origin of the series.

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