How Lee & Kirby's "Fantastic Four" Birthed the Marvel Universe, Part 1
Wow, no one liked yesterday’s post. They can’t all be winners. But hey! Today’s entry is about the universe’s most preposterous super-villain! Yes, he’s truly deserving of that title. (Alchive!)
252. Egg Fu
Oh, I am going to be poached for this. Or possibly fried, or boiled, or scrambled, or some other fitting punny verb.
If Humpty Dumpty was evil and also a racist Asian stereotype, he would be Egg Fu. I mean, if you find Ming the Merciless to be offensive, then Egg Fu will make your head explode.
“Surely,” you say, “no one would be crazy enough to conceive such a ridiculous and offensive character.” Oh? No one would make a giant evil Chinese egg with a prehensile mustache? Hah! There is such a man, and that man is none other than Bob Kanigher! (Admit it, you saw it coming.) Egg Fu is his strangest creation ever, and that’s saying a lot.
Look at that cover at the top of the post. It’s so insane, I considered writing an “Anatomy of a Comics Cover” post about it. First, you see Wonder Woman and the hapless Steve Trevor in the foreground, tied up by Egg Fu’s gigantic ‘stache. Egg Fu himself looms in the background, and you can tell from the scaffolding next to him that he is frickin’ huge. The perspective is weird enough, but then you read the caption, in which he’s referred to as “The Oriential Egghead.” And let’s not forget “The Mustache Trap,” which sounds a little kinky. Combine such ludicrousness with the hyperbolic announcements of the book as “dazzling” and “startling,” and you’ve got one hell of a Silver Age cover. “Unbearable” was a proper word choice! Haha!
Yes, Egg Fu is racist. A lot racist. Check the dialogue:
Oh, those silly Asians and their completely inability to pronounce r’s. Egg Fu is like the South Park City Wok guy, only humongous and pure evil. Hell, he’s DC’s MODOK, only embarassing. Robert Kanigher was ashamed to have created this guy. However, Egg Fu exists despite everything.
Why’s he on this list, then, if he’s so offensive? Well, his blatantly offensive nature is part of the kitsch, I’d say. In these modern times, we can turn the stereotype around on itself, and we can laugh at it in hindsight (or gasp in horror, I guess), due to our more enlightened attitudes. However, I like Egg Fu because he is the apex (or nadir, if you prefer) of Silver Age silliness, and there’s nothing in comics I love more than Silver Age silliness. He’s a giant evil egg with a deadly mustache who wants to overthrow the world. That’s just dang fun. Hell, he came back later in the pages of Metal Men as a gigantic evil Asian egg robot (wearing stereotypical “Asian guy glasses,” to boot), adding another level of craziness to the mix. With Egg Fu, you can choose to laugh or to be offended, and I’d rather choose to laugh.
Egg Fu has recently been reinvented in the pages of 52 as Chang Tzu. He’s still evil, Asian, and, you know, and egg, but now he’s credible! Well, maybe not. Still– I’m just happy to have him back. As silly and horrendously politically incorrect as he is, he’s a wacky little footnote in comics history that deserves, you know, to at least be an in-text citation, if’n you catch my metaphorical drift.
Also, he needs to do battle with I-Ching. Only then will my life be complete.
For more on the life and times of Egg Fu, check out his entry at Dial B for Blog. Way more images, too! Heee Ho!
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