Speaking of groups, the Sons of the Tiger called it quits in DEADLY HANDS OF KUNG FU #19 after infighting tore them apart. Having literally tossed their mystic amulets aside, they sat next to a trash can in an alley until Hector Ayala found all three and put them on, becoming the White Tiger, the very first Puerto Rican masked Super Hero.
According to David Yurkovich's piece in the second installment of the DEADLY HANDS OF KUNG FU OMNIBUS series, creators Bill Mantlo and George Perez "sought to create a hero of Puerto Rican descent [who] would reflect the grim reality of life in the South Bronx," an idea that Yurkovich posits acted "as a precursor to the grim-and-gritty Super Hero tales of the 1980s."
Mantlo continued chronicling White Tiger's adventures, diving into the hard streets the character protected for most of the remaining issues of DEADLY HANDS which ended in 1977. When the magazine shuttered, Hector went on to become a fairly regular character in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN. Since then, Hector's niece Angela del Toro took on his heroic legacy, though these days his younger sister Ava Ayala wears the mantle.
By the end of the decade, most of the fervor over kung fu comics had died down, though both SHANG-CHI and POWER MAN AND IRON FIST carried on. The other characters also appeared here and there, but the purveyance of the martial arts would be felt throughout other books as well to the point where, these days, it's hard to think of a Super Hero who hasn't had at least a little training in that field.
In Moon Knight's first appearance -- WEREWOLF BY NIGHT #32 -- Mark Spector’s his employers referred to him as a "versatile practitioner of virtually all the martial arts." Even Howard the Duck became a master of “quack fu” in the third issue of his first series.
Though he would become even more associated with ninjas in the early ‘80s, Daredevil's fighting style began to evolve in the ‘70s to include a variety of martial arts styles in addition to the brawling and boxing he learned on the streets of Hell's Kitchen.
Living with Black Widow in San Francisco throughout the mid-‘70s also surely enhanced his skills. She exhibited a more graceful fighting style going back to her run in the first eight issues of 1970’s AMAZING ADVENTURES, drawn first by John Buscema and then Gene Colan and Don Heck. Now she and Daredevil are considered two of the better hand-to-hand fighters in the Marvel Universe, which as translated to screens large and small.
In addition to fortifying the heroes -- and villains -- of the Marvel Universe, these titles performed an even greater service by offering more representation in the House of Ideas for readers to see and identify with. Though not always handled with the sensitivity of today, these books allowed characters identifying as Black, Chinese, Japanese, Puerto Rican, and combinations thereof to be seen as strong role models who could not only take care of themselves, but those around them.
For more about Marvel’s 80th anniversary, visit https://www.marvel.com/marvel80www.marvel.com/marvel80.