Thursday, January 20, 2011

Random Reads: "Smoke, Beads, and Blood!" by Moench, Zeck, and Day

Many times has Ol' Groove waxed eloquent semi-literate about the greatness of Marvel's Master of Kung Fu. I've heaped much praise upon Doug Moench for his masterful writing--and rightly so. His stories are the type of "adult comics" most of today's writers are still trying to create. I've rapped about the awesome artistry of Paul Gulacy with his Steranko-esque, cinematic style, again, the praise was mucho deserved. Now it's time to look at the other great artist on MOKF. This isn't just one artist, but an artistic team--Mike Zeck and the late, great Gene Day. Wholly different from Gulacy, but just as fitting, exciting, and cinematic in their own way, the Zeck/Day team had a long and astounding run on MOKF that began with today's spotlighted issue and ran nearly uninterrupted through issue #101. It's hard to find a single issue story to share, since MOKF helped pioneer the episodic, multi-issue style that is pretty much the norm for today's comics, but I did find one of those "in-between" issues that really drives home why I love the team of Moench, Zeck, and Day so much. "Smoke, Beads, and Blood!" from Master of Kung Fu #76 (February 1979) shines the light on the deftness at which the team could create stories that were equal parts action and characterization and lace them with the kind of depth usually reserved for "real" literature.


  1. Master of Kung Fu is pretty aggressively yellow, there. Though no man may fell him, he'd probably better get some Vitamin D supplements.

  2. Master of Kung Fu was one of my mainstays growing up. I first turned to the title because it featured Fu Manchu, and I was a pulp-addled kid who obsessed on 20s-40s adventure fiction, but I stayed for Shang-Chi, who was an interesting and complex character.

    I sure wish comics were this good today.....



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