12 chopsocky Batman covers

The chopsocky boom of the 1970s gave us lots of memorable action movies and TV shows bursting with thrillingly choreographed martial arts, over-the-top sound effects, outrageous villains, and plenty of terrible dubbing. Cult classics like Fist of Fury and Drunken Master may feel patchy and cheesy in places, but at their best they can still be genuinely exciting and fun, which I guess made this subgenre a perfect fit for the world of comic books…

richard dragon 1    master of kung fu 39    deadly hands of kung fu 4

Needless to say, the genre left its mark on Batman stories, always eager to pillage the zeitgeist and, later, to indulge in shameless nostalgia. Throughout the years, karate kicks, kung fu fighters, and other chopsocky-influenced tropes (including some troubling orientalist stereotypes) continued to occasionally pop up in the Dark Knight’s adventures, often through recurring characters such as Sensei, Lady Shiva, Lynx, King Snake, Bronze Tiger, and Silver Monkey.

Following a reader’s request, today Gotham Calling presents a dozen covers that bring to mind those old films produced by the Shaw Brothers studios and their many copycats:

brave and the bold 132batman 243batman 274detective comics 485detective comics 490batman 671legends of the dark knight 123shadow of the bat 90batman annual 21detective comics 686batman 509detective comics 685

NEXT: I have a bad feeling about this.

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