Saturday, August 19, 2006

More Newtons: Deadly Hands Of Kung Fu

Why Newton never did more Kung-Fu titles is beyond me. The Kung-Fu craze was in full swing in Australia, as it was world-wide, in the mid 1970s, buoyed by the success of the few Bruce Lee movies and the television series Kung-Fu starring David Carradine. Despite Marvel having kung-fu titles since 1974 and thus a rich supply of stories, Newton only published a mere four issues of the title and that was towards the end of the company's life and as such missed the chance to exploit a new trend.

Of interest is that the title, The Deadly Hands Of Kung Fu, the cover design/lay-out and logo were later used by the Murray Publishing imprint Kenmure. Despite sharing the title, similar painted covers and even an illustration of Shang-Chi on the title page, the Kenmure title featured no Marvel content at all, relying on Charlton material and obscure European/Spanish material - all going well we'll cover that later. Hence some people have long believed that there were more than four Newtons in this run, rest assured, four was about all they could put out before the ship sank.

#1
Published December 1975.

Contents:

The Way Of The Jackal by Jim Dennis, George Perez & Frank McLaughlin (Deadly Hands Of Kung Fu #6)
Lesson Of The Locust by Doug Moench, Mike Vosburg & Bob McLeod (Deadly Hands Of Kung Fu #6)
The Past-Assassin by Doug Moench, Mike Vosburg & Al Milgrom (Deadly Hands Of Kung Fu #7)Tigers In A Mind-Cage by Bill Mantlo, George Perez & Bob McLeod (Deadly Hands Of Kung Fu #7)A Bruce Lee Triple Feature by John Warner (Deadly Hands Of Kung Fu #8)

In what we now know as a move typical for Newton the first issue threw the reader into the deep end by showcasing stories that seemingly came from nowhere. Presumably Marvel didn't supply any of the early Deadly Hands, Iron Fist or Shang-Chi material so Newton simply printed what they had.

The poster in this issue was of The Avengers.

#2
Published January 1975

Contents:

A Hatred For All Seasons by Doug Moench, Mike Vosburg & Jack Abel (Deadly Hands Of Kung Fu #8)
Swords For Hire by John Warner (Deadly Hands Of Kung Fu #8)
Storm Of Vengenace by Bill Mantlo, George Perez & Al Milgrom (Deadly Hands Of Kung Fu #8)
Kung-Fu: The Paperback by David Kraft (Deadly Hands Of Kung Fu #8)
A Contest Of Truth by Doug Moench, Mike Vosburg & Jack Abel (Deadly Hands Of Kung Fu #9)
The Hidden Fist Of David Brownridge by Dan Hagen (Deadly Hands Of Kung Fu #9)

Another misleading cover. Despite Iron Fist being predominately featured, he's nowhere to be seen on the inside, with the issue having Shang-Chi and The Sons Of The Tiger stories.

#3
Published March 1976

Contents:

Slaughter In Central Park by Bill Mantlo, George Perez & Mike Esposito (Deadly Hands Of Kung Fu #9)
They Who Dwell by Bill Mantlo, George Perez & Mike Esposito (Deadly Hands Of Kung Fu #10)
Slay Now, Die Later by David Kraft, Frank McLaughlin & Rudy Nerbes (Deadly Hands Of Kung Fu #10)
The Origin Of Iron Fist by Doug Moench & Don Perlin (Deadly Hands Of Kung Fu #10)
Iron And Steel by David Kraft, Frank McLaughlin & Rudy Nerbes (Deadly Hands Of Kung Fu #10)

Excuse the poor cover scan, but believe it or not, I've cleaned it up somewhat. My copy of this issue has been drawn upon by some idiot, the writing is too neat for anyone to be considered a child, so...

Again, you have to laugh and wonder if the covers for this issue and the previous one were mixed up. This cover features Shang-Chi, the contents, you guessed it, are Sons Of The Tiger and Iron Fist. No Shang-Chi to be seen. No poster but a Jack Kirby Captain America iron-on transfer was included with this issue.

#4
Published August 1976

Contents:

A Different Lesson In Blood Unchanged by Doug Moench, Mike Vosburg & Jack Abel (Deadly Hands Of Kung Fu #11)
Gladiators In The Crypt Of Tomorrow by Bill Mantlo, George Perez & Tony DeZungia (Deadly Hands Of Kung Fu #11)
Blood Of The Golden Dragon by Doug Moench & Rudy Nerbes (Deadly Hands Of Kung Fu #12)
The Man With The Golden Gun Shoots Blanks by Don McGregor (Deadly Hands Of Kung Fu #12)
The Crack Of The Whip by Bill Mantlo, George Perez & The Tribe (Deadly Hands Of Kung Fu #12)

The final issue. This issue came at the very end of the Newton Comics line. Befitting it's status as one of the last of the Newtons it has absolutely no advertising for anything within it's pages but other Newtons, and the ads are vague indeed. The interior covers are totally blank.

With this issue the series came to a halt. For a book that was launched in December 1975 and finished in August 1976 you'd expect more than four issues, but then the way Newton was running at the time four issues was the norm. I can't locate any other kung-fu material in any other Newton, unusual as the company wasn't above recycling and/or using every last page at their disposal. A missed opportunity.

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