Thursday, February 6, 2014

Random Reads: "Coming of a Dragon!" by "Jim Dennis" and Leo Duranona

Hiiiii-YA, Groove-ophiles! Today we're trippin' back to January 1975 to dig on the premiere ish of DC's Richard Dragon, Kung Fu Fighter! According to most sources, RD, KFF was adapted from a novel by Jim Dennis (aka DC writer Denny O'Neil and author Jim Berry). Writer/editor O'Neil had some fun with the fact that our new hero's "creator" was a pseudonymous creation in this "behind the scenes" article on the letters page...

As Ol' Groove has shared on other posts, RD, KFF ran for 18 issues, with a revolving door of artists on the early issues (Leo Duranona on the first ish, Jim Starlin, Alan Weiss, and Al Milgrom on the second, Jack Kirby and D. Bruce Berry on the third), with Ric Estrada (usually teamed with Wally Wood) for the rest of the series. As I said, earlier, though, today we're gonna focus on the first ish by Leo Duranona. Check it out...

Personally, I liked Duranona's style better in black and white (the Warren mags); the flat four-color palette just seemed to muddy his art to moi. What say you?


  1. I say - this series probably would not have fallen largely into oblivion if Duranona had remained the regular artist (you're probably right about him being more suited to b&w, but I can't really comment on that since I don't recall seeing any of his magazine art).
    I had the entire 18-issue run, and I recall that this first and second issues were the only ones that had art suited to the character and the stories. I have nothing against Ric Estrada and certainly not Wally Wood, but their style didn't seem suited for martial arts stories - and I think it only got worse when Jack Abel became the regular inker in later issues. Too bad, because the stories I remember the stories being pretty solidly written.

  2. My memory on this series isn't great. But I agree with Edo, he jogged my memory. My opinon is pretty much his as well.

  3. I got a run of the first series arc and it hasn't aged well--- very predictable "white-guy-learns-the wisdom-of-the-East-from-a-mysterious-Oriental-Master" along with his Useless Ethnic Sidekick, mashed in with some Spy-fu nonsense. Still, I do appreciate how Dragon and Lady Shiva were re-purposed into The Question and later the Batman universe (if that still counts. Nuts to you Nu52!)

  4. Leopoldo Durañona was a disciple of Alberto Breccia, and as such - and as many of that generation of argentine comic artists - he mastered the heavy-inked, black and white style or argentine realistic comics. Here´s a sample from some of his work with script writer Héctor Oesterheld in 1974:



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Special thanks to Mike's Amazing World of Comics and Grand Comics Database for being such fantastic resources for covers, dates, creator info, etc. Thou art treasures true!

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