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Destroy All Comics - Pilgrim Part Tres & Flying Warriors Chapter 1 Book Report

Hey everyone! I posted a new page of Homeless Dinosaur with art by the talented Trishelle Jeffery. As you've come to expect, it was written by me.

It's been a while since I did a book report, so I figured it was time! Forgive me if this is too obscure for you, but I have kind of a ridiculous obsession with a comic called Flying Warriors. Never heard of it? Well, I don't blame you. Strap in, because this is a complicated story.

In 1985, a small Japanese company named Nihon Game created a video arcade game called North Faction Shaolin: Fist of the Flying Dragon, an early fighting game about kung fu warriors. It was later released in the west under the name Shanghai Kid.

Nihon Game changed their name to Culture Brain and two years later, they released a sequel for the Nintendo Famicom home system called Fist of the Flying Dragon: The Mystery Book, which was localized as Flying Dragon: The Secret Scroll for the Nintendo Entertainment System overseas. This game is similar to the original game, but it alternates fighting game stages with side-scrolling platforming stages with primitive RPG elements.

The Secret Scroll expands on the simple story of kung fu fighters in the original. Aged kenpo master Juan is mortally by evil bad guys intent on stealing magic kung fu instructional scrolls. His student, Ryuhi, travels to the Shorinji Temple where monks take up his training in Shorinji Kempo. Years later, the evil Tusk Soldiers challenge grown-up kempo badass Ryuhi to fight against them in an upcoming tournament. Lots of ass-kicking and scroll-collecting later, it is not a huge surprise when it turns out the Tusk Soldiers were the ones who offed Juan and stole the scrolls.

Culture Brain followed this up with two further Famicom sequels, Fist of the Flying Dragon II: Wings of the Dragon and Fist of the Flying Dragon III: The 5 Dragon Warriors. And then they combined them into one game and added some almost superheroic elements for the western market and called it simply Flying Warriors.

From the end of 1990 to November of 1991, ever single issue of American video game magazine GamePro came with a pull-out comic dedicated to Flying Warriors. This was clearly marked as an advertisement on the later issues, so it's pretty clear that Culture Brain paid to have these segments in the magazine.

This first chapter doesn't seem too weird, just setting up the same basic story of master and student that the games gave us, but since the game Flying Warriors was an attempt to westernize the Fist of the Flying Dragon story, instead of guys named Ryuhi we have the hilariously named Rick Stalker and his goofy friends.

I also kind of dig the art. It's very Ryoichi Ikegami (Mai the Psychic Girl, Crying Freeman, Samurai Crusader) on a lazy day. As expected of an advertisement, there's no credits, which makes me a little sad. What is not expected of an advertisement is a hilariously stilted poor quality translation from Japanese to English. The whole thing is a little too weird to fit in with contemporary comic adaptations of video games like what you would see out of Valiant's Super Mario Bros., Nintendo Comics System, and Captain N books. It's also plainly derivative of manga that American audiences would not be familiar with. Honestly, the whole thing is totally weird and that's why I like it so much.

This first chapter is not anywhere near as weird as it would get, but just imagine this is like watching your favorite crappy, badly dubbed kung fu movie at noon on a Sunday except it was made by Japanese people imitating crappy, badly dubbed kung fu movies. Or something.

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Posted 10 April, 2013 - 22:33 by Destroy All Pod...
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