Monday, July 23, 2018

Dojo Classics - House Of Yang #4

House of Yang Volume 2, Number 4 is dated February, 1976 and was published by Charlton Publications Inc. The editor is George Wildman. The dynamic cover was painted by Sanho Kim who is also the artist on the interior pages as well for this one final time. The script was supplied by the always reliable Joe Gill.

"Killers from the North" begins with Sun Yang leaving the House of Yang to head North to face the Golden Horde of the Mogul Shah Tabar. Shah Tabar is a ferocious enemy as is his daughter Yiza who rides with his soldiers into battle. Sun Yang finds villagers afraid of the invaders and agrees to stay and help them. He organizes the women and begins to train them as the Mongols continue to head South terrorizing and pillaging as they come. Yiza in particular seems eager to pierce the very heart of China. Time passes and Sun Yang continues to train the villagers. He learns of an attack nearby and when he investigates he is attacked by Yiza who finds her match in Sun Yang. He is struck down by her soldiers and taken to the court of Shah Tabar.

"The Last Great Mogul" opens with Sun Yang battling Shah Tabar's top warrior who he defeats. Shah Tabar then gives him the bargain of taking Yiza's hand in marriage or seeing the village destroyed. Sun agrees to marry Yiza. The villagers hear of Sun Yang's capture and plot to free him. The women will enter the camp and provide a distraction while the rest then attack and rescue Sun Yang. The Mongols are surpised by the skills of the village women and the attack is successful. Sun Yang blocks up a cannon which is being deployed and its explosion rocks through the camp fatally injuring Yiza. The Mongols retreat and Sun Yang holds Yiza in his arms as she dies. He turns and heads back South to the House of Yang.

"Yin Vs. Yang" is a text piece which tells the untold story of Sun Yang just after he first left the House of Yang and confronted the warlord Chan Tai and his Samurai bodyguard Hioto. Hioto is quite skilled but Sun Yang is even more so and during their lethal struggle, an errant knife thrown by Hioto strikes and kills Chan Tai.

This issue was reprinted in 1976 by Australian publisher Gredown in House of Yang #1.

This sadly is the final issue of House of Yang produced by Sanho Kim. It's another gorgeous effort, rich with authenticity and excitement. Getting Sun Yang mixed up with Mongols is a nice trick, offering up a savage contrast to his more pacific philosophy. Despite my initial doubts, Yiza turns out to be a compelling character and I was a bit sad she was killed off at the end. Her ferocious nature would've made her a nice ongoing counterpoint to Sun, not unlike Eva Ku.

House of Yang for four brief issues offered up some simply outstanding martial arts action. The run is not over by any means, but the loss of Sanho Kim on upcoming issues does hurt the overall tone of the series. It's a sad first sign of the beginning of the end of the Yang saga.

More to come later.

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  1. Sanho Kim was a great packager of comics; his lettering and story-telling made for a really unique look. I used to buy Cheyenne Kid and Ghost Manor specifically for him. Around this period, there was also a little Medieval Samurai comic he put out called Sword's Edge. I would've liked to see him do more for Marvel. Can you imagine Sanho Kim on Dr. Strange or Conan?

    1. Charlton really tried to feature him. Ghost Manor was really his baby after the untimely demise of Rocke Mastroserio. I preferred others on Cheyenne Kid, but there's no doubting his skills. I ordered that Sword's Edge little tome some years ago, around the first time these posts ran here.

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