Before I start with my final batch of reviews for my imagined Essential Master Of Kung Fu #5, I thought I’d share some info abut the end of the MOKF comic book.
The final issue in the original run is #125, and by then Doug Moench has quit the book, the the final great MOKF artist, Gene Day, is dead.
All the art used in this post is by Gene, who died 30 years ago. RIP.
As the title of this blog entry states, Doug Moench quits Marvel Comics in 1983. Look at this list I’ve linked to below -
His last regular issue of Master of Kung Fu was #120 (Cover date Jan 83). His last printed story was #122, a fill in they had on file. While he began working at DC Comics, he stuck around doing Moon Knight (a character he created) for a few more months, but by 9/83 (and after 10 years and hundreds of comics) he quit Marvel.
Moench claimed Marvel editor in chief Jim Shooter wanted to kill off all the main Marvel characters secret identities (including Shang Chi) and have others take over their superhero identities, a good overview of Moench’s statements can be found here -
In the comments of Jim Shooters blog he answers that accusation, here -
I don’t really have an opinion on this, but I find it curious.
Moench says Shooter wants to kill everyone off, so he quits Marvel.
Shooter says he was just throwing ideas around with the desire to shake things up, but since nothing got resolved they just cancel Master Of Kung Fu instead.
No matter how you look at it it’s a sad ending to a wonderful book.
Of course, Gene Day dying was worse.
As much as I love the Zeck era, my personal favorite MOKF artist is Gene Day. I was buying MOKF off the racks while Day was the artist and as a younger dude his amazing artwork kept me spellbound for hours. In fact, what triggered me getting a complete collection of Shang Chi comics a few years ago was a desire to own the beautiful Gene Day issues again, and after a short ebay search I found someone selling an almost complete collection of MOKF for really cheap.
So I filled up!
Let me throw out a few links about Gene Day -
He died 30 years ago, Sept 23, 1982
I was crushed when I heard about Gene Day dying. In the pre-internet days I had to dig through issues of The Comics Journal (and other print mags of the day) for any nuggets of info, and at the time I don’t remember hearing that much about his passing. It was a few years later, in an issue of Cerebus, where I first heard the accusation that Jim Shooter worked Gene Day to death.
Dave Sim, Cerebus creator and old friend of Gene Day, now days has a reputation of saying outrageous things. But sometime in the 90’s in a text piece in an issue of Cerebus I first heard Sim accuse Shooter of partial responsibility for Days death. At the time Sim was a very respected comic creator.
Here’s a link where in an interview Sim makes some not so nice statements about Gene Days final days & Marvel comics treatment of him -
Jim Shooter responded thusly -
I’ll admit for years I believed Shooter was somewhat responsible for Days death, but while it’s obvious Shooter would defend himself, his response sounds reasonable.
I honestly do not know what to think about all of this.
All I know is Gene Day died before his time, and it’s a shame he’s barely remembered today.
Over all MOKF’s ending was a sad affair on many levels.
Here’s my list of my personal favorite Master Of Kung Fu artists -
1) Gene Day
2) Jim Starlin
3) Paul Gulacy
4) Mike Zeck
5) Keith Pollard
Yep, I’m putting Starlin over Gulacy.
Ya gotta respect the creator.
Just to lighten things up, here’s another link for ya, just yer basic overview here ma’am.
Long Live Shang Chi!
But more importantly, long live the memory of Gene Day.
I can only imagine the depth of magic that man still had in him.