What's that sound you hear?
Good gravy, it's my mind, swishing through the air at you - sharp as a shuriken!
And, my mind being as sharp as a shuriken, I'll never forget the first time I encountered the word, "Ninja."
It was in the pages of Special Marvel Edition #16.
Or at least in the issue of Marvel UK's Avengers comic that reprinted it.
The tale involves Midnight, who as well as being a master of the martial arts is Shang-Chi's best and only friend.
At least he used to be. Now that Shang-Chi's turned against his father Fu Manchu, fate has decreed that they have to become deadly enemies.
So it is that, acting on Fu's orders, Midnight sets out to kill our plucky hero.
Midnight is not a happy character at the best of times. He has a bit of a Dr Doom complex going on, as he has to hide his face behind a mask, it having been hideously disfigured in childhood during an attack on his village by Fu Manchu's British enemies.
But, unlike Doom, he harbours no plans to conquer the world, being happy just to serve his fiendish master.
Cue page after page of stylish Jim Starlin action as the two martial artists battle it out in the streets of night-time New York, while philosophising at each other.
It's all good moody, beautiful stuff, even if there's maybe a bit too much an obsession with race in its captions and thought bubbles. And Midnight without his cape and hat is drawn purely in black silhouette, giving him the surreal appearance of a shadow brought to life.
Reader, it's a warning I plan to take to heart from now on.
The odd thing is that, reading this tale again for the first time since I was a youth, there's no mention at all of the word, "Ninja," in it.
It seems I was wrong and that I shall forget the first time I ever heard the word.
Because, whenever it was, it clearly wasn't here.
Keep Those Things Away From Me - Novel
1 year ago