As you may know, I'm something of a master of the martial arts, able to snap street lamps in half with a single kick of the foot.
"But how did you, a humble blogger, acquire this awesome ability?" I hear you ask.
It's simple. It's because I paid very close attention to Dr Who whenever Jon Pertwee demonstrated his remarkable expertise at the little-known skill of Venusian Aikido. How I gasped as Sea Devils, Ogrons, Daleks and assorted other monsters fell before his fists of death.
Granted, when you've seen a man of advancing years cheerily beat up a horde of Sea Devils, it does tend to undermine their aura of menace but such is the fate of the Sea Devil.
Still, there were other martial artists in my childhood.
And those martial artists filled the pages of my favourite comics.
Cashing-in on the early 1970s' Kung Fu craze, Marvel Comics gave us the likes of Shang-Chi, Iron Fist and the Sons of the Tiger.
But they had more martial artists than even that. They also had Mantis and Karnak. Captain America was always going on about his Judo skills. Even the distinctly non-physical Dr Strange was a martial artist, although the only times I can remember him using such skills was in one particular fight with Dormammu, and in his first meeting with Mantis. I can't help feeling that being flung around by a string of Judo throws is an indignity that no artist or writer should ever inflict upon Dormammu but, upon the receiving end of them, he nonetheless was.
Batman was supposed to be supreme in every fighting skill going - though I refuse to believe you can properly practise such things while wearing a cape. If I remember rightly, the revived Manhunter was a master of Ninjutsu, while I seem to recall that, during her de-powered era, Wonder Woman suddenly gained a mistressy of such skills.
Meanwhile, Charlton Comics had Yang who bore no resemblance at all to TV's Kwai Chang Caine. It was, no doubt, pure coincidence that he was a Chinese Kung-Fu expert who lived in the Wild West and kept fighting cowboys.
Well, Yang was indeed too similar to Kwai Chang Caine for comfort. He also liked fighting far too much. We all know that a true martial artist only fights when he has to, whereas Yang clearly couldn't wait to get stuck in. Mantis was annoying. So was Moondragon. Although I read plenty of Legion of Super-Heroes tales as a youth, I can't remember Karate Kid ever actually doing anything. I refuse to believe that the likes of Batman and Dr Strange were as good at the martial arts as they claimed to be. Meanwhile, if the Sons of the Tiger were really any good at fighting, they wouldn't have had to gang up on foes in order to beat them. Therefore I have to put it down to a choice between Shang-Chi and Iron Fist.
The fact that Iron Fist never seemed to be able to beat anyone without using his Iron Fist power suggests he can't have been that good at fighting. Therefore, I have to go for Shang-Chi who never needed to resort to such cheating in order to triumph over all odds. Not only that but he did it while wearing his pyjamas and he'd always make sure to give us a good chunk of home-grown philosophy while he was doing it.
But that's just my verdict. Who was your favourite comic book martial artist of your childhood, and why?
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