Posts Tagged ‘Doug_Moench’

Gulacy and Moench MOKF Six Issue Crescendo (part 3)

27 August 2011

Shang Chi, Master of Kung Fu – four panel rotating zoom sequence from MOKF No. 49 – art by Paul Gulacy

This is the third, and for now final, in a series of blog articles about the comic book Master of Kung Fu – MOKF – and my favorite issues of it, written by Doug Moench and drawn by Paul Gulacy. I recommend you start reading with part 1, then part 2, then read this piece below.

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MOKF No. 45 – the first issue of the six-issue saga, cover art by Gil Kane

This third piece will focus on what I think is really Gulacy and Moench’s crowning achievement: a six-issue story arc beginning with MOKF No. 45 – October 1976 through MOKF No. 50 – March 1977.

It’s a cinematic, sweeping arc that reads a bit like a James Bond movie. What distinguishes it from pretty much any comic book that I’ve ever read, is that Moench has written each issue in the voice of a specific character. Usually MOKF featured a sort of internal voiceover narration – the thoughts of Shang-Chi. For these six issues, the narration shifts from character to character. Sometimes internal, sometimes spoken.

These six character voices are often clever and somewhat revealing about each narrator.  (more…)

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Gulacy and Moench Innovative Visual Storytelling in Master of Kung Fu (part 2)

22 August 2011

This is the second in my three-part series geeking out on the wonderfulness of writer Doug Moench and artist Paul Gulacy’s 1970s run on the Marvel comic book Master of Kung Fu – abbreviated MOKF. I suggest starting with the first article which is here. While I pride myself on explaining various stuff in a way that the average uninitiated reader can comprehend… this post feels a bit impenetrable for the non-comics-fan. For true enjoyment, you, dear reader, might need some exposure to Alan Moore’s work, especially Watchmen – the comic, not the movie.

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While Gulacy’s pan sequences are great, he also, less frequently, does another multi-panel sequence story-telling trick that’s, in a way, the opposite. This sequence, which I also don’t have a really good name for, features a series of panels depicting the exact same location – cinematically, but where the action progresses over time. It’s almost as if a stationary camera has been left running, and each panel is a snapshot from that camera. So, for lack of a better term, I’ll refer to it as a fixed-camera sequence.

Here’s an example, from January 1977:

Four panel sequence from MOKF No. 48, page 26, art by Paul Gulacy

All four of these panels are from the exact same camera angle, as the scene changes over time. This is confirmed by the unchanged vertical rock wall on the left side of each. It’s a good steady progression from solitary and composed to busy and crowded. The fixed-camera sequence seems fairly direct – it’s not flashy, show-offy… it serves the progression of the story, more than drawing attention to its own artifice.  (more…)

Rereading comics: Doug Moench and Paul Gulacy on Master of Kung Fu (part 1)

22 August 2011

Shang-Chi Master of Kung Fu, panel from MOKF No. 43, art by Paul Gulacy

Those rare folks who’ve followed this blog for a while, know that I am a somewhat-closeted fan of comic books. I’ve been reading comic books since the mid-1970s when my 4th grade best friend Mike Cranford loaned me a copy of Marvel Triple Action – more on that story in the intro here.

During the rest of my elementary school, junior high and high school, I got my hands on whatever comics I could – then, in college, mostly transitioned to the more adult stuff that I read plenty of today. I remember the last of the Marvel superhero comics that I kept up with were The X-men and The Hands of Shang-Chi: Master of Kung Fu.

Cover of MOKF No. 29, a Moench-Gulacy issue, though the cover art is by Gil Kane. Gulacy drew relatively few MOKF covers.

After my mom passed away recently, I decided it was time to move my voluminous comic collection from its residence in my brother’s garage to my own place. This, of course, precipitated the beginnings of a trip down memory lane, re-reading various titles… some of which haven’t held up all that well, at least to my present tastes.

As I re-read, the comic book series that I have been most impressed with, so far, is Master of Kung Fu (MOKF), especially issues written by Doug Moench and drawn by Paul Gulacy.

(more…)