As a totally biased comic fan, I can say that comic books are usually at the front lines of everything that’s great and cool. It pains me to say this but every once in a great while … they’re not…
Fin Fang Foom is a giant, green dragon … with purple pants. But, don’t be misled – that’s not my concern here. After all, it’s common knowledge that green monsters have to wear purple pants. In fact, two purple-pantsed green monsters squared off in a one-shot from the 2000s. Check it out!
So, I’m fine with a giant dragon wearing pants. We can’t have Marvel artists drawing ginormous dangling dragon bits, can we? Kids read these things! … right?
Nope – that’s not my issue. My concern is an appearance of Fin Fang Foom in Astonishing Tales #24. Now, you’ve got to remember that this book came out in 1974. At the time, Kung Fu (starring David Carradine), was all the rage. Bruce Lee’s Enter the Dragon had premiered the year before and martial arts were cool in America. At this time, comics weren’t on the front lines of all that’s awesome. In fact, they often followed trends … and the Kung Fu trend hit hard. Marvel launched three kung fu titles in 1974: Iron Fist, the black and white magazine Deadly Hands of Kung Fu, and Shang Chi, Master of Kung Fu. But that wasn’t enough! The writer of Astonishing Tales, Tony Isabella, decided that Fin Fang Foom was also a martial arts expert. Take a look:
So, we’re to believe that this ancient, slumbering dragon took the time to study martial arts? I don’t buy it. Plus, Foom’s 32′ tall! For real – I’ve measured! What does a giant dragon need a martial arts fighting strategy for? When you’re that big (and equipped with “fire breath”, no less) it’s just all about smash! smash! smash!
But, I guess we’ll let this one slide. After all, this storyline was only his second appearance since he debuted in Strange Tales #89 (October 1961) so the character hadn’t been fleshed out much by this time. However – let’s keep Foom as a dragon … not a “karate killer”!