The Good Doctor – Black and White

FuManchuBWWhat the hell, I thought, I’ll draw Fu Manchu. Not because I’m a fan. He just seemed fun to draw.

My exposure to the character of Fu Manchu is pretty limited. I’ve had to two experiences with him.

I first encountered him in the original Master of Kung Fu comic book series. The protagonist, Shang Chi, is the son of Fu Manchu. He discovered that his father was evil and so turned against him. Fu Manchu is THE villain for most of the early issues in the series and, frankly, I got tired of him. He was a bad guy who wore out his welcome.

I met him again a few years ago when I watched The Mask of Fu Manchu. I watched the movie because Boris Karloff was playing Fu Manchu and I wanted to see how he pulled it off. A friend of mine describes the film as “charmingly racist” and, from my whiteboy viewpoint, I would agree. Fu Manchu is portrayed as evil but, it seems to me, he had a good reason to hate white folks. The white protagonists are dull, smug and sure of their superiority. Fu Manchu might be a bad guy but he had style and imagination. I got the impression that Fu Manchu had once tried to fit in with Westerners and was rejected merely because he wasn’t white. I enjoyed the movie.

Neither version of Fu Manchu, however, was compelling enough to me to make me want to seek out the original novels or see any other films. As far as I know, the character has only been gotten yellowface portrayals by white actors. Maybe if an Asian actor played him, in a film written and directed by Asian, I’d give the character another try.