Thursday, February 26, 2015


Naturally, Atlas-Seaboard would dip its feet in the kung-fu craze of the 1970s, particularly as primary competitor Marvel was enjoying some success with both its color and black-and-white kung-fu artist publications. Unlike Marvel’s Iron Fist or Sons of the Tiger, though, who were homegrown American fellas bringing the flying fists of fury back to the good ol’ USA, Atlas-Seaboard’s The Dragon (whose Hands hold top billing on his sole issue) would be seeped in actual Eastern origins – as understood by Atlas, that is.

Take, for instance, the opening scene of the story which sees an elderly Chinese man trekking across Mt.Fuji with his infant grandsons in tow, intent of walking back to his sweet Chinese homeland. Never minding that you’d have to get a pretty good running start to make it across the Sea of Japan, there’s also the problem that Mt.Fuji is on the opposite side of the island facing China in the first place. This guy got turned around.

Navigation is the least of granddad’s problems, though, as an overlooked American nuclear bomb also happens to be resting in the snowy peak of Fuji. Set to go off when anything heavier than, say, an old man with ONE infant grandson happens by, the bomb explodes! Being a good forty feet away, the old man and his kin easily survive, except that one of the babies develops HORRIBLE FACIAL SCARS that consistently fail to be drawn on the guy even though they mention it repeatedly.

It also turns out to be one of those good nukes, as it gives the old man the strength of youth and apparently imbues his grandkids with equally above-human energy. Why, in many ways, we did Japan a FAVOR by dropping the bomb! You’re welcome.

Finally reaching China, pee-paw’s luck continues to roll downhill as he encounters one of those dangerous Chinese polar bears you read so much about it the news these days. Saved by nearby monks, the trio are taken into the monastery where the dumb bullshit dies down for like a minute while the twins are raised in the discipline of kung-fu!

Zapping ahead a coupla decades, the twins have relocated to America where one of them becomes a popular big city television news anchor (“This is Wu Teh, aka The Dragon, for Action 5 News and the Action 5 News Troubleshooters”) while the HORRIBLY SCARRED ONE becomes the servant of the evil tattoo enthusiast Dr.Nhu, a world-conquering criminal intent on murdering the Japanese Prime Minister during a visit to New York. Luckily for all, our good twin is also The Dragon, a kung-fu mystic armed with some sort of life-saving disco medallion. This comes in handy when he turns out to be such a poor martial artist that he allows the Prime Minister to get assassinated after all. Things aren’t really working out for the Dragon.

Where exactly the eventual conflict between the Dragon and his evil HORRIBLY SCARRED twin brother might have ended is anyone’s guess, primarily as the two of them are overshadowed in their only appearance by a shaggy grey-haired hippie med student who shouts confusing slogans from the floor of the Prime Minister’s address. That’s not a great sign in terms of any lasting appeal our hero may have had, even if Atlas hadn’t collapsed before they could find a recurring home for him and his title-grabbing hands.

Enh, he's got some valid points.

1 comment:

Josh said...

When I found the original version of this site, years ago, the whole "HORRIBLY SCARRED" thing was one of my favorite gags on the site. Honestly and truly, I laughed so hard at it I couldn't breathe. Everything in the "Atlas Comics Part Four" was pure gold, so I'm glad to see it come back to the site, at last!

Now, to go re-read the Ironjaw article, for the fakey made-up names...

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