Friday, April 19, 2013


Why We Love Detective Comics

Dr. Tzin-Tzin

Batman has his very own personal Dr. Fu Manchu!

His name is Dr. Tzin-Tzin.

Dr. Fu Manchu is, of course, the iconic Asian mastermind, a shadowy and evil character from the Orient who always has some unwieldy master plan that he hopes to enact with his super-science and his faithful hordes of assassins and warriors. He originally appeared in 13 novels published between 1913 and 1959, written by Arthur Henry Sarsfield Ward under the pen name Sax Rohmer. The novels spawned a number of films (with such actors as Boris Karloff, Warner Oland, Christopher Lee and Peter Sellers as Fu Manchu), radio shows, comic books and so on.

(Actually, I could write an entry on Dr. Fu Manchu as one of the reasons to love Detective Comics because, in the very early days of Detective Comics, Fu Manchu was one of the features! It ran from #17 to #28 and I would guess that it's an adaptation of one of the novels. And you may notice that Detecive Comics #27, the first appearance of Batman himself, is included in that run! So Fu Manchu appeared in the very first comic book that Batman ever appeared in!)

Fu Manchu has spawned a number of imitators, the most notable among them being The Mandarin, who used to be Iron Man's arch-enemy, and The Yellow Claw, who had his own comic book in the 1950s and used to pop up sporadically to fight Captain America, S.H.I.E.L.D., Iron Man, Nova and the Avengers. (The Mandarin and the Yellow Claw are both Marvel characters, which makes Marvel look kind of greedy. Did they really need two Fu Manchu surrogates, especially when you realize that - for a time - they had Fu Manchu as well?)

Which bring us to Dr. Tzin-Tzin.

That's him. The lemon-colored fellow on this page from Detective Comics #354, 1966.

To defy me is to die!

he says.

I guess that, what with Marvel greedily hogging all the "good" Fu Manchu imitators, by the time DC got around to jumping on the Fu Manchu imitator bandwagon, all that was left was Dr. Tzin-Tzin.

He shows up every once in a while with some weird scheme. He took a hiatus after his first appearance, showing up a few years later in Detetcive #408. (He was now affiliated with the League of Assassins and didn't seem quite so ludicrous with Neal Adams drawing him.)  A few months after that, he fought Supergirl in Adventure #418. A few years later, in 1977, he appeared in a few issues of Batman, where our hero foiled his attempts to steal New Gotham Stadium or something.

And then he took another hiatus, later showing up in The Peacemaker in the late 1980s.

Not very ambitious. Dr. Tzin-Tzin needs to try harder!


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