Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Saturday, April 30, 2016


The Mask of Dr. Fu Manchu was a one-shot comic book from Avon Publications and labeled "An Avon Fantasy Classic."

As you know, Fu Manchu was the scientific arch-criminal who embodied the so-called "yellow menace" that embued the pulp magazines and popular culture of the time.  Created by Sax Rohmer, Fu Manchu first began his war against the western world in The Mystery of Dr. Fu Manchu in 1913 and continued in another dozen novels by Rohmer, ending with Emperor Fu Manchu in 1959.  Fu Manchu has also appeared in four novels authorized after Rohmer's death in 1959 -- two by Cay Van Ash and two by William Patrick Maynard.  Fu Manchu has also seen life in films, radio, television, recordings, comic strips, and comic books and has been a cultural touchpoint for over a century.

Despite some (pretty heavy-handed) similarities to Rohmer's 1932 novel The Mask of Fu Manchu, the comic book appears to be an original story both written and drawn by comics legend Wally Wood.  The story of Nayland Smith's battle against the oriental mastermind covers most of the comic book, with an adventure of newspaper photographer Flash Harper filling out the issue.

From the teaser on the inside front cover:

"THRILL!  As Sir Denis Nayland Smith foils Fu Manchu's plot to steal the mask of "El Mokkana" and sacred sword that would unite a fanatic horde in revolt!

"FOLLOW Dr. Fu Manchu in his nefarious scheme to trade the lovely Rima Barton for the sacred relics!

"MEET the enchanting Fah Lo See, Fu Manchu's daughter, whose kiss enslaves Rima's fiance Shan Greville!

"SEE Denis Nayland Smith's attempt to take the golden mask to England, and Fu Manchu's try at modern-day piracy!"

That's a lot of exclamation points!  Is the story worthy of it?  Click the link and see.

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