Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Yang Reports #19

Warren Sattler

House of Yang Volume 2, Number 6 is dated June, 1976 and was published by Charlton Publications Inc. The editor is George Wildman. The action-filled cover is painted by Warren Sattler, and Warren Sattler also stepped up and did the artwork on the inside of this comic. Joe Gill wrote the story as always. Here is what else was on the newsstands when this final issue of House of Yang arrived on the stands. Note that the price jumped to thirty cents this month.

"The Shogun of Karu Island" begins when Sun Yang's ship is battling a typhoon and wrecks on the breakers of Karu Island. The survivors get ashore and are immediately taken prisoner by the Japanese warriors in service to the Samurai lord Jimurai. The Samurai warrior Yatsu is in charge of the prisoners. Sun Yang joins the many other slaves who have been captured over the years and they are made to work for their Japanese masters. Prince Yoku of the Japanese royal house is due to arrive anytime and Jimurai wishes to prepare, so he and his daughter do just that. When the Prince does arrive in a great ship, an entertainment is planned with Sun Yang battling Yatsu as the main event. Jimuarai's daughter goes to see Sun Yang and expresses her regret, but Sun Yang says for her to not shed tears for him. The battle begins and Sun Yang at first plays possum, but then reveals his considerable skill and goes toe to toe with the Samurai ultimately defeating him and using the fire from a broken lantern to distract for his escape. He heads to the slave houses and frees his fellow prisoners. They sneak to the Prince's ship and swiftly take the unsuspecting guards down and take control of the ship. As they move out into the open sea, free men at last, the two Samurai, Yatsu and Jimurai take dramatic steps to regain their lost honor and the two men commit ritual suicide next to one another. The final panel shows the ship heading into the rising sun and announces that this is "The End!"

"House of Yang" offers up two letters from a couple of fans remarking on the second issue of the comic. One letter is extremely nitpicky about perceived errors in the artwork and the other is quite pleased with it. The editors defend Sanho Kim's work as stylistic and praise him robustly as uniquely qualified to undertake the artwork on such a project.

This story was reprinted by Australian publisher Gredown in 1976.

This is the last story of the Yang universe that has ever been published. There was some hint in the regular Yang series that Yang himself was headed back to Shanghai for a reunion with his cousin Sun Yang, but alas it will never be. Sun Yang heads home at the end of this story but as far as we know, Yang is not there to greet him.

It's interesting that Joe Gill, the writer for all the Yang stories is joined by Warren Sattler, the artist on the main Yang comic for this final story of the House of Yang. Sattler's style is appealing and warm, and while not much like Sanho Kim's still tells a period story quite successfully. There are signs in this one that it was produced somewhat swiftly, so Sattler is to given some slack for that.

The end of the runs of both Yang and House of Yang really end a period of creativity at Charlton under George Wildman's tenure. The following month will see, apart from the ghost books and the other genre titles only licensed material from Charlton. The "superhero" movement which sparked both Yang and E-Man has run its course. The talent at Charlton will focus their efforts on licenses for Six-Million Dollar Man, Space:1999, Bionic Woman, Emergency, and such for the next year or so.

Sadly, the final days of Charlton were on the way. Though the company would linger for another decade, it can be argued that the saga of the House of Yang (as related in both Yang and House of Yang) was a worthy addition to Charlton's martial arts heritage and the last great original story in the Charlton universe.

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