Shang-Chi is the secret link between the Marvel Universe and GI Joe

A now-out-of-continuity story details how GI Joe’s Quick Kick was trained by none other than Marvel martial arts master Shang-Chi!

In comics, Shang Chi is one of the deadliest fighters in the marvel universebut a forgotten comic story reveals that he is also responsible for training G.I. Joe’s martial arts specialist Quick hit. Although the story was never in an official continuity, it remains the only time the worlds of Marvel and GI Joe have crossed streams.

Created in 1973 by Steve Englehart and Jim Starlin, Shang-Chi starred in his own comic strip, Kung Fu Master, for over a hundred issues. Languishing in old issue bins for years, the character recently enjoyed a resurgence in popularity thanks to a stint in the Avengers and also got his own feature film in the MCU. Conversely, Quick Kick debuted in a 1985 assortment of the GI Joe: A True American Hero series of action figures. According to his file, he was born MacArthur S. Ito to a Japanese father and a Korean mother. After mastering various martial arts disciplines, he began working as a stuntman in Hollywood, which soon caught the attention of the United States military. After a stint in the Rangers, Ito was drafted into the elite team G.I. Joe and given the codename “Quick Kick”. And, according to at least one version of his origins in the comics, Team Joe’s own martial arts master was trained by none other than Shang-Chi…


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When brought overseas, the classic G.I. Joe: ARAH toyline has been rebranded as the most international acting strengthwhich soon got its own companion comic series from Marvel’s UK publishing arm. acting strength #17 features the five-page story titled “Meditations in Red.” Written by a young Grant Morrison and illustrated by Steve Yeowell, the story details how member Quick Kick was trained by Shang-Chi. As Quick Kick attempts to smash a log of wood with his fist, he recalls what Shang-Chi told him about his training confidence and also recaps the Marvel hero’s origins from Kung Fu Master. There’s not much to the story, with the five-page short essentially serving as an introduction to a series of MOKF reprints in future issues. It’s still an interesting short, with Quick Kick also referencing Marvel characters Elektra, Iron Fist, and Batroc by name when listing famous fighters in Marvel Comics lore. This little story also remains the only crossover to date between the world of GI Joe and the Marvel Universe, which is surprising given that Marvel released the G.I. Joe comic for so long.

It’s also easy to see why a writer like Grant Morrison would be inclined to connect the two characters. Both are obviously inspired by international superstar Bruce Lee, who almost single-handedly started the 1970s martial arts film craze with his hit movie. Enter the dragon. Quick Kick and Shang-Chi are clearly inspired by Bruce Lee, and both also used weapons popularized by the martial arts star. Shang-Chi often used nunchaku whenever he fended off Si-Fan’s assassins, and Quick Kick came with a pair in his original version of the figure.

Since “Meditations in Red” was published in the non-canonical acting strength, it’s easy to write the story as nothing more than a footnote. Yet, if wonder were so inclined to endorse an official cross with G.I. Joethey would have a golden opportunity to have Shang Chi and Quick hit meet again.

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Harry D. Gonzalez