Published August 21, 2017

Master of Kung Fu: Alive and Kicking

Dalibor Talajic illustrates CM Punk’s Shang-Chi story in Marvel Legacy!

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Shang-Chi’s back in the game and ready to prove to all challengers that he’s the one-and-only Master of Kung Fu.

Writer CM Punk and artist Dalibor Talajic kick off a new era for the martial artist in MASTER OF KUNG FU #126, a one-shot in celebration of Marvel Legacy. Shang-Chi’s operated as secret agent, adventurer, and Avenger, but he’s on his own again and his artist’s vision of him remains clear and focused. Dalibor, what do you find visually cool about Shang-Chi?

Dalibor Talajic: Shang-Chi is influenced by Bruce Lee. He was created during Bruce’s peak of popularity and was clearly based upon him. So visually, I guess his expression is what makes him unique. He is peaceful and calm, but beneath this calm there’s a deadly volcano. And if I manage to capture that in his eyes, I’ll be happy. This mesmerizing presence of his is something that must be felt throughout every panel. You did a MASTER OF KUNG FU four-issue series with Haden Blackman in 2015—what kinds of research might you be doing to prepare for this new one-shot?

Dalibor Talajic: I might say that this is a familiar territory. However, I always try to complicate things for myself artistically. How so?

Dalibor Talajic: Sometimes, I decide on a different lay-out design, sometimes it’s more blacks, sometimes no blacks at all. Last time I was concentrating on fight choreography and the clarity of the art itself. This time I might be playing with shadows—maybe? A humble nod to [artist Paul] Gulacy’s legacy? Given that this is a Marvel Legacy project, that’d be entirely appropriate.

Dalibor Talajic: Right, but all this depends on a story, of course. I’ll see where the story takes me and work from there. I always try to tie myself to the story. Comic book artists are often compared to movie directors, and there is a saying: the best directors are those you don’t even notice. So story comes first. What I’ll be doing emerges from that. How do you feel about working with CM Punk on MASTER OF KUNG FU?

Dalibor Talajic: I honestly can’t wait to see how he deals with this. He is also a professional fighter, so he’ll know what he’s writing about. I myself am a kung fu practitioner and I know what’s humanly possible during the fights. So we’ll see whose kung fu is stronger!

Gather your fighting spirit and look for MASTER OF KUNG FU #126 from CM Punk and Dalibor Talajic coming this November!