The Hands of Shang-Chi: Master of Kung Fu was a popular series in the 1970s during America’s love affair with all things martial arts. Originally making his first appearance in the previously re-print only Special Marvel Edition #15, he would go on to star in the series until issue #125 ten years later.
Created by Steve Englehart and Jim Starlin when Marvel couldn’t acquire the license to the popular Kung Fu television series from Warner Brothers, Shang-Chi was the son of the recently acquired Sax Rohmer character Fu Manchu. Fu Manchu had trained his son to be the ultimate assassin, but Shang-Chi turned on his father after learning of his true evil ways. Englehart and Starlin left the book with issue #22,and the book became even more successful once Doug Moench and artist Paul Gulacy took over. The series had a popular run with artist Mike Zeck on board as well, but the book didn’t last very long after Gene Day died of a heart attack after taking over from Zeck.
Shang-Chi has had other short lived series, as well as crossovers with most of Marvel’s most popular characters, but that Moench/Gulacy run has never been topped. Though out of print for decades, Marvel is finally collecting the series in its entirety in four omnibus editions. Announced at the Diamond Baltimore Retailer Summit yesterday, the first omnibus will be available some time in 2016.