By late 1985, I wasn't
writing Doctor Who strips any
more. I started to think about submitting something to Marvel
US. I'd met Larry Hama in a Marvel-sponsored trip to New York
in 1981 and we'd gotten on well, sharing a love of martial arts.
I thought an idea I'd been playing with might suit Larry. The
story was about a Chinese fighter in Canton, who finds himself
an outlaw and decided to join the Boxer Rebellion. Along the
way, he is joined by a blind swordswoman, Mai-Lin, and the two
of them have adventures during their long trek north to Peking.
By this time I'd been taking classes in the Southern Chinese
kungfu style of Praying Mantis and I though that this should
be The Boxer's style.
I wanted to do something altogether more realistic than Marvel's
previous foray in to the world of Martial arts - Shang-Chi
Master of Kung Fu, which was, from a technical point
of view, laughable.
I contacted my old friend
Steve Parkhouse to see if he was interested in drawing the strip.
He was, so we sent our proposal to Larry Hama in New York. Not
surprisingly, Larry though it was a pretty good idea. He'd been
looking for something that was a more authentic take on comic
book kungfu and our offering seemed to fit the bill. So he gave
the go-ahead to produce the first episode.
Steve was about halfway through drawing that first episode when
I received a depressing call from Larry. The black and white
comic magazine our story was destined for had just been cancelled
by Marvel management. Larry paid us a cancellation fee and said
that at least we owned the copyright of the series and could
shop it around. The only problem was that there were really
only two publishers in 1985 so there wasn't a lot of scope to
place the strip elsewhere. We used the character in the How
to Draw and Sell Comic Strips book and laid him to rest