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Surely a racially diverse kung fu trio will save us! – Marvel Team-Up #40

September 14, 2010

I was born after the martial arts comic book phase of the 70’s, so I never really got into any of those characters. Just not my thing. I’m always surprised by the sheer number of karate chopping characters and titles that that period spawned. It’s like they’re still crawling out of the woodwork all these year later.

Enter the Sons of the Tiger.


They were an extremely short-lived team, made up of friends Lin Sun, Abe Brown and Bob Diamond, and the requisite babe of the group (though not a “Son”), Lotus Shinchuko. Here they are chopping and flying heel-kicking in their dojo:

Bill Mantlo, Sal Buscema and Mike Esposito crafted “Murder’s Better the Second Time Around!” In this issue (part two of a story), Spider-Man and the Human Torch get roughed up by a team of the Crime-Master, the Big Man, the Enforcers, and the Sandman. That’s a lot on their plate, and they’re eventually overwhelmed and imprisoned in appropriately odd fashions:

The Sons show up and start cracking some skulls and free Spidey and the Torch, but the villains make an escape. The Torch is late for a hot date (I can’t be the first one to deploy that lame pun, can I?) and takes off, and in this break in the action Spidey shares a quiet moment with a kid on a nearby rooftop:

One of these clowns killed a pet pigeon? Bastard!

Spidey spots them crawling out of the sewer and he and the Sons team up (hey…) to take them down. The Crime-Master and the Big Man fight over who gets to deliver the coup de grâce to Spidey — this whole criminal enterprise was a revenge ploy — and C-M kills B-M in the process. Then we have the Scooby Doo “let’s see who you really are” moment:

I’ll say it again — Who?:


And, on that downer, our story ends.

I couldn’t care less about the Sons of the Tiger, but I kind of like the callbacks in this issue to a couple of minor villains from the classic Ditko run on The Amazing Spider-Man. Sort of fun. Anything that harkens back to those days can’t be all bad. And Buscema’s steady, workmanlike approach to drawing Spider-Man is always easy on the eyes.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. September 15, 2010 4:48 am

    Hey Jared

    i’m afraid this comment isn’t about Spidey or the Sons of Tiger. i just wanna make sure your not pissed at me about my comments in regards to Dikto in your “Ode to a Licensed Character” ROM postings. after all, how much fun would blogging be if every comment was in full agreement right? besides, you may have an advocate in your corner Jared. some one else commented after you on my blog with words of praise about Dikto’s work. well, his early works anyways.

    • September 15, 2010 8:44 pm

      Don’t worry, I’m not upset. I can’t say that I’m thrilled that, after I’d finished up a long series of posts about one of my favorite childhood stories, someone came along and talked about how much they thought the art blew, but I didn’t start this blog to have an an echo chamber. I have my share of unpopular opinions, so I certainly can’t begrudge someone disagreeing with me, and I appreciate people who read what I write. So no worries.

  2. September 16, 2010 1:14 am

    that’s cool and think of it this way, we still both love the character and the book up until #64 in which we have a difference of opinion about the art only.

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