Back in the latter half of the decade of the 1980s - a decade that we here at Stupid Comics seem unable to stay away from - the Hong Kong comics pioneer Tony Wong brought his popular line of "Jademan" comics to America in the first real attempt to bring the Chinese style of "manhuwa" action to American audiences. And then Tony Wong had to go to jail. But before that happened, other Hong Kong comics outfits attempted to use their tiger-eagle claw clutching technique to grasp a no doubt laquered and ornately carved rail of that Chinese comics bandwagon. Was America about to be treated to the exotic and beautiful wonders of the Orient? Or were we about to find out that no matter where you go, comics are still kind of stupid?
Bursting forth in all its full color glory, THE INVINCIBLE FOUR OF KUNG FU & NINJA promises exciting martial arts action, with the extra bonus of teaching us how to stand on real eggs! I believe this may be the first ever comic to make that promise.
So if you've ever seen a kung-fu movie in your life, then you know how this one is going to go. Mainly, gangs of people are going to stand around and wave their arms at each other like nursery school kids in a slap-fight, only with worse dubbing. This one appears to have a multi-racial cast, which means Cynthia Rothrock is going to attempt to act. Look out!!
I will agree that a young blonde and a black boy would be a strange sight in a Chinese city in the 1920s. I am not sure if I would describe what the black kid's wearing as "western costume", though. Meanwhile, the presence of "rascals" almost guarantees we'll be seeing some lightning-quick kung-fu karate action soon!
CAREFUL THE GAL IS GETTING HOT. Even though this is a comic book, it looks like we're going to get some bad dubbing anyway!
Beat her! No, beat him! Make up your minds, rascals! Hey, when is our hero going to show up? Fight's starting without him!
Ah, there he is, our hero Ting Lung. Absolutely no relation to the martial arts advisor for this comic whose name is Leung Ting and whose many volumes of martial arts instruction you may purchase at the end of this exciting story.
Ting Lung, being the kindhearted peaceloving kungfu hero, immediately butts into this ordinary street fight situation, hoping to increase the peace. Because that's what everybody wants to see, a kung fu action sequence where everybody discusses their problems like rational mature adults. I wonder if there will be a crazy misunderstanding as to his motives?
"Oh, you weren't hitting me, you were hitting that guy behind me that I didn't know was there. Take this! And that!"
And he tries to explain but the rascals have fled so now he looks like a doofus.
SAD KUNGFU MAN IS SAD.
So of course the rascals go back to their boss and explain that they were beaten by a girl and a paunchy black kid, and the big boss cannot allow his gang of rascals to lose face in this manner, so it's time to get the whole gang and find these people and teach them a lesson with fighting. And there's some kind of comedy thing involving a little bald kid who thinks it's dinner time and a rat holding an umbrella.
Down with foreigners, especially those who can beat the crap out of us!
and they run into Ting Lung Our Hero again, providing him with (1) a convenient explanation for his earlier actions, and (2) a chance to cut loose with some prime kung-fu hero dialog. By careful, Ting!
THE INVINCIBLE FOUR OF KUNG FU & NINJA helpfully provides each action sequence with lengthy explanations of every particular kung-fu method involved. This enables you at home to practice these martial arts moves right along with Ting Lung. Soon your "sun" thrusting punch will be like delivering a thumping from an iron hammer, which is difficult to defend against!
As we see from this montage of blazing kung fu-karate action, learning the proper techniques can teach you to deal with enemies attacking from behind with the "redrawal elbow strike", how to grab wrists with the "pinning palm", and how to make your skin so tough as to defy being slashed by "gigantic sharp knives". I would not try that last one at home.
With a whirlwind display of Oriental fisticuffs the rascals are routed and the seeds of attraction are planted between the pretty Westerner and the mysterious Asian master of the "redrawal elbow strike." Hey, you think it might be time for some exposition?
You guessed right! It's exposition time! Although they're Americans, what they've used is Chinese kungfu! Also they're good at stating the obvious.
Rocky is now wearing clothes only slightly less outlandish than the getup he was in previously. Hey, I wonder if we'll be seeing Kim's brother who is a master of the "flying phoenix" style of kungfu? Because I only count three INVINCIBLE MASTERS OF KUNG FU & NINJA here. In fact I have not seen ninja one! NINJA, PLEASE!
Whew! Finally a ninja! Hurling deadly star-darts at Ting Lung's face! Will Ting-Lung be forced to get some band-aids to cover the pointy little holes these star-darts will leave in his face? Or will some awesome wizardry of Eastern fighting arts enable him to escape the star-darts? Stay tuned to the next exciting episode of THE INVINCIBLE FOUR OF KUNG FU & NINJA!
Now I know at this point you are all wondering one thing and one thing only. WHAT ABOUT THE STANDING ON EGGS?????
And the secret to walking on eggs is... get some eggs, and... VERY CAREFULLY... stand on them. Oh yeah, don't wear high heels. And get Mom's permission first. And make sure your audience is full of easily-impressed rubes. Thank you INVINCIBLE FOUR OF KUNG FU & NINJA! (also, thanks to G.G. for providing the comic.)
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