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Thursday, May 1, 2014

Happy 40th To Iron Fist Danny Rand

That's right. It's the 40th birthday of when the Marvel Comics character of Iron Fist first came out kicking and Kung Fu-ing your face with action-packed martial arts action. The publishing date was May, 1974, a year before my mother would pop me out into this world, and the comic is Marvel Premiere #15.

The character of Iron Fist was definitely created to follow the recent trend of the martial arts craze happening at the time. Although martial arts has been around since ancient times, it was completely new to Americans on a mainstream scope. 

Television shows like the Green Hornet and Kung Fu helped to beam martial arts into the collective American conscious. To say that legendary action star, Bruce Lee, did not have a hand in this would be a crime. After all, he was Kato in the Green Hornet television series and also helped co-create Kung Fu the t.v. series, which he was also suppose to star in, before Hollywood basically jacked him by stealing the idea and casting a white dude instead.

Amongst this craze, it was only natural that comic books would jump on board the new trend, and they did. Of course, Marvel Comics was the first to do so on a somewhat big scale, publishing the comic Shang Chi Master of Kung Fu two years prior to the first appearance of Iron Fist. 


Created by Gil Kane and Roy Thomas, the concept of Iron Fist and Danny Rand was created after Roy Thomas saw his first Kung Fu movie. No, not a Bruce Lee one. He actually has stated the movie he first saw predated any Bruce Lee flick. The movie had a ceremony called, "The Ceremony of the Iron Fist" in a scene and a light bulb turned on in Roy Thomas's head. He liked the name, later presented it to Stan Lee who also liked the name, and then called in Gil Kane to help design the character.

The rest is history as they say, and the comic book pretty much took on the stereotypical, mystical martial arts concepts widely portrayed in most Kung Fu films of the era. Iron Fist didn't really become a super popular character within the Marvel Universe. 

His origin and first adventures ran in the title Marvel Premiere from issues #15 to #25, featuring some early professional comic book work of legendary comic artist John Byrne. Iron Fist and the character of Danny Rand was then spun off into his own series. It was short-lived, running only #15 issues, but the series did spawn a first appearance of Sabretooth, whom would become an extremely popular and important villain within the X-Men universe.

After his own titled series was cancelled, an unresolved plot was wrapped up in Marvel Team Up issues #63-64, before Iron Fist became a regular on the comic series Power Man, which was previously titled Luke Cage Power Man and Hero for Hire: Luke Cage. The duo first met in Power Man #48, and the title would soon be changed to Power Man and Iron Fist shortly after. Iron Fist co-starred in the series until it's cancellation at issue #125, which holds the character's apparent death.

Although I love me some Kung Fu action, I never really became a fan of the character all that much. The character was resurrected during the 90s, but I never got that much exposure to Iron Fist. 

I do admit that I always liked his costume and think the dude looks pretty cool. If the character was resurrected during the mid-eighties, I probably would've became a huge fan.

However, I think Iron Fist will start to get more mainstream popularity since Netflix and Marvel plan to do an Iron Fist television show. He will also co-star in the Defenders t.v. show alongside his Heroes For Hire co-star Luke Cage, as well as Daredevil and Jessica Jones. I'm quite interested in seeing that, and the first appearance of Iron Fist has taken a nice surge in demand as a result of the upcoming t.v. episodes. Just mentioned that issue in the most recent key comic issues list on here.

But I'm more interested in seeing the origin of Iron Fist in live action. I think he's got a pretty interesting one, and if they keep it real to the actual comics, I'll probably end up becoming a huge fan. That's if they do his origin, which I do have to admit could be pretty complicated filming the made up K'un L'un, where Danny Rand is trained by Lei Kung and ultimately dips his hands into the molten heart of the dragon Shou-Lao the Undying to take on the power of the Iron Fist. Still would be pretty cool if they go that route, and I'd want to see that.

Who says it's too late to become a fan?

Happy 40th Iron Fist - Kung Fu kickin' since 1974!






2 comments:

  1. Awesome write up on one of my favorite comic characters from my youth. I remember reading the marvel premiere #15 and becoming engrossed in his origin. I still have that issue in great shape and I'm considering on having it slabbed soon. I probably will start to try and get all back issues of this fun character since I own all the premiere appearances and the first regular series with art by the amazing John Byrne. Always was a great fan of his stuff from back when he was doing Space 1999 and Doomsday +1. However Gil Kane in my opinion made this character for me. His style suited Iron Fist to a tee. Although my favorite artist of all time is The amazing Neal Adams, Gil Kane ranks in my top ten as well. Love his earl marvel covers such as Warlock and Marvel Pemiere 1. Today's comic artists are also amazing like Finch and Ribad and Jim Lee plus a ton of others coming out of the woodwork. However most of today's new artists rely on computer assisted graphics but the pure joy of just sitting back and looking on my wall and seeing the masters at work is a thing of pure beauty. Bring on the Iron Fist!!! Two questions Mayhem....Do you think the Iron Fist TV show will be picked up by Shomi? What do I address you as besides Mayhem. Thanks for reading. NOVAPRIME

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  2. Hi there, I enjoy reading all of your article. I wanted to write
    a little comment to support you.

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