Thursday, February 17, 2011

Groove's Faves: "A Dragon Fights Alone!" by O'Neil, Starlin, Weiss, and Milgrom

Hi-YAA, Groove-ophiles! It's time to revisit DC's martial arts master, Richard Dragon Kung Fu Fighter. "A Dragon Fights Alone!" by Denny O'Neil, Jim Starlin, Alan Weiss, and Al Milgrom from RDKFF #2 (March 1975) has been a fave of mine ever since I nabbed a coverless copy in a trade with one of my cousins on a rainy summer afternoon back in '75. I mean, it's got my favorite DC writer teaming with one of my all-time favorite Marvel artists (and at the moment this ish of RDKFF came out, Starlin was my number one fave, baby!)--what more could Young Groove ask for? You'll note that O'Neil's Richard Dragon is quite different from Marvel's Shang Chi, Master of Kung Fu (who was first brought to four-color life by Starlin, Milgrom, and writer Steve Englehart, by the by). Dragon's more of a fighter and less of a philosopher...and I think he actually kinda got off on the fighting. And could you ever picture Shang Chi using the "index finger of pain" technique Dragon uses on page 13? Whoa, whoa, whoa, whooooooooooaaaaaaa...


  1. I remember buying the entire 18-issue run of this series during the height of my comics-buying craze in 1980/81. Pretty sure I paid less than $5 for the lot. It was a pretty solid series as I recall (better than Karate Kid anyway).
    But the main reason for my comment is to request more posts featuring the work of Alan Weiss - like this one or the Subby post from a few days ago. He never really seemed to be a regular artist on any single series, so you have to really do some digging to find his work...

  2. Is every issue of this series that great? If so I want to buy all 18 right now!

    Thanks for posting this.

  3. It seems to me Jim Starlin did the layouts and Alan Weiss did the pencils, since it looks VERY much like Weiss throughout, and I can't make out any Starlin. Weiss, of course, was actually the 2nd penciller to ever tackle MASTER OF KUNG FU, and Al Milgrom inked both of them. From the description, it sounds like KUNG FU FIGHTER is the book Marvel really wanted, instead of the one they got. Legend has it both Steve Englehart & Jim Starlin left MOKF when Marvel insisted they wanted "more action and less philosophy".

    Alan Weiss' work appeared in DEADLY HANDS OF KUNG FU #2 (Jun'74) and in one-forth of MASTER OF KUNG FU #24 (Jan'75). The latter must have been some kind of attempt to beat a late deadline, as the other 3 pencillers involved were Al Milgrom, Jim Starlin and Walt Simonson.

    My own intorduction to Weiss was CAPTAIN AMERICA #154 (Aug'73), "Queen of the Werewolves", part 1 of the 4-part "Yellow Claw" story. That's the one with "Deadly Nightshade", the hot young black chick with the homicidal tendencies. It's actually the ONLY issue during Roy Thomas' run as Editor NOT pencilled by Sal Buscema. (Say what you want about Sal, he was dependable!)

    Other early appearances by Alan Weiss include STAR STUDDED COMICS #6, 9 & 15; SUB-MARINER #54; DRACULA LIVES #1 & 3; KULL AND THE BARBARIANS #2 & 3; JOHN CARTER WARLORD OF MARS ANNUAL #3; and IRON MAN #136.

    I don't know what he did for a living, but it was always a pleasure when he managed to knock out a comic-book story in his spare time.



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