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365 Reasons to Love Comics #252

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!)

9/9/07

252. Egg Fu

Egg Fu 1.jpg

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:

Egg Fu 2.gif

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 3.jpg

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!

20 Comments

eggsellent!

Because Bob Kanigher, that’s why.

I’m still waiting for the Richard Starkings column. Until then, you’re on MY list….

But I’ve gotta say, on your recommendation I read all of Breakfast of the Gods, and it was GOOD. Nay, VERY GOOD.

Wow, THAT’S what he used to look like? I knew Egg Fu had been around before but I didn’t realize he was that goofy looking. This is one time where I like the modern re-design a little more…

I love when he wigged out in 52 about not being invited to Thanksgiving dinner and was paranoid about people calling him Egg-Fu.

50 more reasons to love comics to go…

Uh…. no, Tom, it’s more like 103 more reasons to go.

Unless Bill changed it to “302 Reasons”.

Uh… actually… 113 more to go.
Unless Bill changed the title to “355 reasons.”

sorry… couldn’t resist…

That’s cool. You’re right. That what I get for being an ass.

Living proof of the Instant Karma theory.

great writeup.

but i dunno…

this new version seems to owe more to pacman and mojo than the funky original.

he’s not wearing a frilly red skirt or perching on a frilly red tuffet.

and he’s got furrowed skin and mechalegs, darn it.

Chang Tzu would look so much cooler with a prehensile ‘stache.

My intro to Egg Fu was in Ambush Bug #3. That issue was gold.

Egg Fu without a mustache? My childhood!!!!! It’s destroyed forever! Now I know how all those folks who whine incessantly about Morrison’s X-men feel!

Probably the most important detail you missed out Bill was that Egg Fu was probably the only super-villain to ever get mentioned in a sitcom in the 1970s! On the Mary Tyler Moore Show, Mary Richards recounts how she loved reading Wonder Woman growing up and talks about an adventure with Egg Fu- mustache and all!

I know it seems unremarkable in an age where pop culture references are made every other millisecond on Family Guy, but this was quite an amazing thing back in the day!

I can’t count!!! ;-)

Every time I see the original Egg Fu I find myself speculating helplessly on the process of his creation. Honestly, where does the idea of a villainous egg come from? Let alone an Asian – ‘scuse me, Oriental – one?

‘Yeah, they’re…uh…egg-shaped and easily breakable and stuff! This’ll be so totally cool, trust me!’

[...] The character went through a variety of changes over the years– Golden Age adventures with Steve Trevor and Etta Candy; silly sci-fi madness under the pen of Bob Kanigher, fighting such enemies as Egg Fu; being a powerless Emma-Peel type in what proved to be the greatest era for WW stories, as she teamed up with the biggest pimp in comics, I-Ching; tying into Greek mythology under George Perez; and more. And somewhere in here, I’ve got to mention the Invisible Plane, as I love it so. [...]

[...] Distinguished Competition turned the yellow, slant-eyed, mustached caricature known as Egg Fu into this guy, a truly horrific villain. They even admitted to having a Green Lantern character [...]

[...] For whatever reason however (perhaps because he’s such a silly character), Egghead has never received the notoriety in Batman’s rogues gallery he deserves for such a feat– though he has appeared as a background character every now and again within the walls of Arkham Asylum. Luckily for fans, Egghead hasn’t been entirely left behind. His recent appearance in both the Batman: The Brave & the Bold cartoon and comic would insinuate that he’s once again found his niche. In fact, ole Eggy received top billing in issue #16 of the comic series, going up against both Batman and Wonder Woman with the equally odd (and much more bizarre) villain Egg-Fu. [...]

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