"Good God above!" people say to me. "How did you creep up on me from behind like that when I have the hearing of a highly trained chihuahua?"
"It's easy," I tell them. "I was taught a mastery of the martial arts by a man who used to berate me if I tore his rice paper carpets."
"Well, don't have rice paper carpets," I used to tell him. "And for that matter, the wallpaper made of bread's not that great an idea either. It'll be a magnet for insects. If you don't watch it, you'll be eaten out of house and home by them."
And you know what?
The council had to rehouse him.
He now lives in sheltered accommodation and the only visitor he ever gets is a local authority funded Bontempi organist who comes round once a week and plays Stranglers songs at him.
It's a heart-warming anecdote from my past, and if there's anyone who could relate to such a background, I'm sure it'd be Yang.
Yang promptly makes his way across a large chunk of America, beating up anyone who gets in the way of his quest to retrieve it.
To call the tale action-packed would be an understatement. Yang's like the Duracell Bunny of karate.
He never stops to display anything that resembles a personality or an interest in anything but his mission and, on the strength of this tale, he comes across as though he might be a little insane, such is his dogged devotion to going through whatever hardship is necessary to retrieve a statuette. Yang might have echoes of Shang-Chi and Kwai Chang Caine about him but he seems to lack any of their sense of perspective, thoughtfulness or willingness to internally debate the rights and wrongs of a course of action.
It's easy of course to compare Yang with Shang-Chi and Kwai Chang Caine but it'd be true to say that, with his cheery acceptance of violence and his briskly practical one-dimensionality, his resemblance to them's no more than superficial.
Joe Gill's script runs on a sort of tram-line, never allowing the story to divert from its main course and is a little confusing in places. The art by Warren Sattler has a certain simplicity to it that means it's never off-putting - but neither is it dynamic, stylish nor distinctive enough to even begin to fully explore the visual potential of its subject matter. On the plus side, it is at least clear and unfussy, with occasional echoes of Steve Ditko.
Despite the fact it's a Charlton comic, and I will always have a place in my heart for anything Charlton produced; let's be honest, if you have an issue of Shang-Chi in front of you and an issue of Yang - on the strength of this yarn - it's pretty obvious which one you're going to go for.
Keep Those Things Away From Me - Novel
1 year ago