Every week, I will spotlight strange but ultimately endearing comic stories (basically, we're talking lots and lots of Silver Age comic books). Here is the archive of all the installments of this feature. Feel free to e-mail me at email@example.com if you have a suggestion for a future installment!
Reader Chris Wunderlich suggested this legendary debut issue of Chuck Norris and the Karate Commandos, written by Jo Duffy and penciled by Steve Ditko, who finally got a good comic book to draw with this 1987 masterpiece. Art Nichols inked the issue.
Just like Bruce Wayne, Chuck Norris has a young ward. His ward is named "Too Much" because he shouts "Too Much!" a lot. Norris chose him over other kids at the orphanage with names like "Good Grief!" and "Mommy, No!"
Too Much is probably a little too into Chuck Norris. Remember, he is Norris' ward, and yet during class, what does he do? STARE AT A PICTURE OF CHUCK NORRIS!
I would like to tell you that the daydream Too Much is about to have is not actually representative of what the Super Ninja looked like, but I can't tell you that (Super Ninja's design is no Fancy Dan, that's for sure!)...
Too Much's teacher yells at him for sleeping through class and then goes into her lesson for the day. Here, Jo Duffy does an actually really amazing job. She works in an actual novel (James Clavell's brilliant 1964 short story, "A Children's Story," which had been republished as a short novel a few years earlier at the time) and actually accurately COMPARES THE NOVEL TO CHUCK NORRIS' SUPER CRUISER!!!!
Too Much is admonished again by the teacher. This time, he is forced to go in front of the class to talk about the book, which he has not actually read. Luckily for Too Much, the class is then taken over by ninjas working for Super Ninja who want Chuck Norris to give up the Super Cruiser in exchange for the students. We cut to Chuck and his commandos as they are notified of the situation. They quickly react by seemingly giving in to the demands...
I just love Too Much's reaction there.
Chuck sends Pepper, because of course a woman couldn't threaten ninjas, right?
I love that the ninja's thoughts were exactly the same as what the little kid shouted.
Chuck now kicks some ass. Ditko is actually just as good of an action artist as he always was....
However, one of the ninjas pulls a gun...
Well done, Jo Duffy. I can't remember the last time I read a comic that worked in an actual acclaimed novel into a comic like that to get kids to read a good book. You rock, Jo!
And, of course, Steve Ditko is always great. This is probably his second-best #1 of all-time (Speedball #1 is, of course, #1).
Thanks a lot to Chris for the suggestion! If YOU have a suggestion for a future edition, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org!