Thursday, January 21, 2010

Kung Fu Week! Random Reads: Yang #4

Writer Joe Gill and artist Warren Sattler gave Charlton its first Groovy Age martial arts hero with Yang #1 (August 1973). One could say that Yang was just a rip-off of TV's popular Kung Fu TV series, since both starred Chinese men truckin' around the U.S. of A.'s Old West, but all you had to do was read an issue to see that Gill and Sattler were going in a whole 'nother direction from the one Kung Fu's producers had charted for Caine. Yang was on a mission to free his people who had been brought to the U.S. as "paid slaves" to help build our railroads. He wasn't on some spiritual journey, or even searching for a long-lost family member, but a mission of justice. Yang didn't seem to shun violence with Caine's conviction--and he wasn't above shooting an enemy, either. Of course he didn't use a lot of kung fu moves, but what're ya gonna do? And don't let the fact that the comic dealt quite frankly with a dark chapter of U.S. history fool you into thinking it's gonna be anywhere near "PC" in it's language and, yes, even attitudes. It does have heart, tell cracking good adventure stories, and sport the singular, cartoony, and fun art of Warren Sattler, though. Check out ish #4 (June 1974) as Yang faces..."The Hooded Death"!

Yang's mag lasted a whopping 13 issues (ending in February 1976) and gave birth to a spin-off, House of Yang (much more on that next time we have a kung fu week, promise!).


  1. Charlton comics from this period had such a unique look. I haven't read any Yang in years, and need to track some of these down. I recently ordered a copy of House of Yang #1 and eagerly await its arrival!

    As always, thanks for sharing.


  2. I really like old Yang, first time I've read him. Love the blog, thanks very much.

  3. This is the fun stuff. I know people come down on Charlton Comics, but they did publish some fun comics. While this isn't a fancy or even a great comic, when compared to what passes for comics today, it does have it's plusses. This story is entirely plot driven. We get to know the hero through his actions. The art is direct and entirely at the service of the story. And best of all, it's a complete story in one issue. How many comic books created today do any of the above? Very few it seems.

    As an aside, I think all comic book readers should take a look at their monthly books and take a hard look at how the stories are paced and layed out. They'd probably be surprised to find out that the six issue story arc they're plunking down good money for could actually be told in one or two issues. Of course, that would mean sacrificing the so called "decompressed" storytelling that is so prevalent today. But, why not. There are good lessons to learn from the past.

  4. I bet you'll enjoy those House of Yang issues, Andrew. They're a different animal from Yang, but they're lots of fun. I'm sure they'll show up next time I do a Kung Fu Week.

    Glad you dig the Diversions, SirWintery! You can hang out with Ol' Groove anytime!

    O Solis, re: new comics compared to old--I agree 1000%!



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