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Hello, again, fellow Questers!!
I'm back one more time to blow your mind with some amazing comic book knowledge that you can't get in college! So, what's on the menu today, you ask? Well, we're going back to that amazing decade where Bruce Lee reigned supreme, to the decade of disco-dancing and bell-bottomed jeans...A decade where EVERYBODY WAS KUNG-FU FIGHTING: The 1970s!!
We have to start in the 1960s for a little context, though. In 1966, the late, great Bruce Lee burst onto the American scene in "The Green Hornet." Lee played the part of Kato, millionaire Britt Reid's (The Green Hornet) manservant by day, and by night, the high-kicking, power-punching partner of the crime-fighter posing as a criminal, the Green Hornet! Although the series only lasted one season, Lee left an indelible mark on the minds and hearts of American audiences, helping spark the beginnings of the American martial arts craze that lasted through the 1970s and into the early 1980s. In 1971, Lee would become an international film star with the release of "The Big Boss,"opening the door for an ever-widening stream of Chinese action films out of Hong Kong. It wasn't long until the comics industry tried to get in on the burgeoning American obsession. DC hit first, years in advance of Marvel, with my personal favorite (and probably the greatest martial arts based comics character ever), Karate Kid, created by then teen prodigy, Jim Shooter, just fifteen years old at the time he started working for DC Comics. It wasn't until after Lee's fourth hit, "Enter The Dragon" seven years later, and his tragic death, that Marvel caught onto the craze and started cranking out martial arts-based heroes. After failing to acquire the rights to adapt the hit tv show, "Kung Fu," Marvel created Shang-Chi in 1973. In 1974, Iron Fist burst on the scene, and a year later, in 1975, Richard Dragon, Ben Turner and Lady Shiva made their debuts in comics.
Today, we'll be focusing on this guy:
Iron Fist was created by comics greats, Roy Thomas, Gil Kane, and Bill Everett. Iron Fist is Daniel, "Danny" Rand, son of Wendell Rand, a wealthy American businessman. Wendell, himself, was the adopted son of the ruler of a mystical realm named, K'un-Lun. Forced to flee from K'un-Lun because of his jealous half-brother, Nu-An, Wendell settled in America, started a successful business with his friend Harold Meachum, and married a beautiful woman named Heather. It was there that Danny was born. Years later, Wendell would seek to return to K'un-Lun. He headed to Tibet to find the mystical portal that opened every nine years, taking with him his family and his partner, Meachum. When Danny slipped and fell from an icy mountain pass, his parents fell along with him. While Danny and his mother landed safely on a protrusion, Wendell hung precariously below. Instead of saving Wendell, Meachum, driven by avarice, caused him to fall to his death. Seeing what happened, Heather attempted to navigate the frigid mountain alone with her son in tow. She soon died horribly protecting him from a pack of ravenous wolves. Not long after, Danny was found by some people from K'un-Lun and taken back to the otherworldly city. There, his uncle, now the ruler of K'un Lun, allowed Danny to be trained rigorously in the mystical martial arts of K'un-Lun. Danny would go on to defeat powerful adversaries, winning the right to challenge the mighty fire-breathing serpent, Shou-Lou the Undying, to win the power of The Iron Fist. Danny triumphed over the deadly dragon, bathing his hands in the power of Shou-Lou's molten heart, given him the power to channel supernatural energies into his hand, making him one of the deadliest men on the face of the Earth. Danny Rand would return to Earth to seek vengeance on Meachum, and there become a hero. In the years that follow, he would gain a friend closer than a brother: the super-powered hero, Luke Cage. Cage and Rand would form the legendary Heroes For Hire. Danny would also find love with the lovely Misty Knight, one-half of the deadly Daughters of the Dragon. Iron Fist would win acclaim as a hero, and one of the world's most formidable fighters, in several other teams, like The New Avengers, and The Defenders.
Iron Fist first appeared here:
Here are my three copies of Marvel Premiere #15, published by Marvel in 1974, featuring the very first appearance of Iron Fist!! On to the fun facts!!
NOT SO FUN FACT 1: The TV series, "Kung Fu," was probably based on a project that Bruce Lee pitched that was not accepted. The year following Lee's rejected pitch, "Kung Fu" aired having a very similar concept to that which he presented. Lee was never compensated, which didn't matter because he went on to become one of the biggest stars in the world.
FUN FACT 2: Iron Fist has a plethora of powers, including heightened awareness, control and augmentation of his chi, energy absorption, manipulation and generation, mind fusion, complete control of his nervous system and enhanced durability and reflexes (enhanced, but not superhuman).
FUN FACT 3: Danny Rand has mastered the martial arts of K'un-Lun and many Eath-based disciplines and their weaponry.
FUN FACT 4: Iron Fist was the first to defeat Sabretooth.
FUN FACT 5: Spider-Man's symbiote, Venom, was originally created by John Byrne for Iron Fist whose suit was damaged almost every issue in combat. A self-repairing suit would have been snazzy.
FUN FACT 6: The Heart of the Dragon scar on Iron Fist's chest appeared on him during his fight with Shou-Lou.
FUN FACT 7: Iron Fist has a half-sister, a master martial artist raised in K'un-Lun, named Miranda.
FUN FACT 8: Iron Fist once disguised himself as Daredevil to convince everyone that Matt Murdoch was not Daredevil.
FUN FACT 9: On March 17, 2017, Netflix will debut "Marvel's Iron Fist":
Iron Fist will be portrayed by Finn Jones, and co-starring will be Jessica Henwick as Colleen Wing, the other half of the Daughters of the Dragon.
Are you excited for the show? I sure am. Come back and let me know what you think about it after you binge-watch it (like I'm going to). LOL!
Happy trails!! Have a great week, pardners!