Shang Chi (From The Upcoming MCU Movie) Was Marvel's Somewhat Racist Attempt To Rip Off A TV Show
Marvel is hoping that next year's Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings does for Asian superheroes what Black Panther did for black ones -- that is, increase representation while making the studio a shitload of money. But, ironically, Shang Chi himself probably wouldn't exist if it wasn't for a bunch of racist-ass decisions. For starters, Warner Bros.' decision to cut Bruce Lee out of his own TV series idea and replace him with a white guy, which is how we got the show Kung Fu.
Warner Bros. TelevisionThey could have at least cast someone related to Bruce Lee, like his cousin Stan.
Some people at Marvel loved Kung Fu and wanted to turn it into a comic, but there was a little problem: Marvel editor Roy Thomas considered trying to license the show anyway, but he thought DC would go "Thanks for the free idea, chump" and do it themselves. So, Marvel ended up creating a new kung fu-related series, but Thomas insisted on including an established Asian character as a commercial draw. That character was Fu Manchu, a.k.a. the source of every evil Asian villain stereotype ever. Fittingly, he was created when a racist Ouija board spelled out C-H-I-N-A-M-A-N in 1912.
But Fu Manchu wasn't just the enemy of Marvel's new hero, Shang Chi. He was his dad.
Marvel ComicsGood thing facial hair isn't hereditary.
Bear in mind that the primitive cave people living in 1970s America already knew that Fu Manchu stories were ... problematic. Artist Jim Starlin says he was partway through the first issue when he got around to reading the Fu Manchu books and was "horrified by what [he] had gotten connected with." He called them "the most racist thing you ever wanted to read" and just "terrible." Marvel got some letters from readers disheartened that a "yellow peril" stereotype would show up in a Marvel comic, but they went "FU" and continued using him.