Get SF Weekly Newsletters

Thursday, March 22, 2012

10 Highlights from Chuck Norris Karate Kommandos Comics, Drawn by Steve Ditko

Posted By on Thu, Mar 22, 2012 at 7:00 AM

click to enlarge studies_in_crap_chuck_norris_cover.jpg

Your Crap Archivist brings you the finest in forgotten and bewildering crap culled from Golden State thrift stores, estate sales, and flea markets.

Chuck Norris Karate Kommandos issues 2 and 3

Author: Steve Ditko (penicls); Mike Esposito (inks); Jo Duffy (writer)

Date: 1987

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Discovered at: Thrift Town, El Cerrito

The Cover Promises: Chuck Norris wears a weird blue over-the-shirt bandeau bra emblazoned with his initials. ALSO: Steve Ditko was way too good to be drawing Chuck Norris.

Representative Quote:

"Well, there was a large reward offered to anyone who apprehended the thieves who were after the Banana 7000." (Issue two, page 22)
"And now, Chuck Norris, we will see which of us is the superior swordsman." (Issue three, page one)

For decades, now, Muppet-bearded high-kick enthusiast Chuck Norris has made a prosperous living starring in Leslie Nielsen-style parodies of terrible action films and TV shows, including the satiric classic Delta Force 2, which maybe should have been titled Delta Force Beta, a movie about a man who can't pass by a window or doorway without tossing a drug dealer through it: This is where we got the verb "chuck." Anyway, colorful illustrated pamphlets called comic books were sold at gas stations, book stores, and places where children might see them and for prices that children could afford. Since children's entertainment is an ideal medium to honor the stars of aggro R-rated movies like Forced Vengeance or the time-bendingly titled Missing in Action 2: The Beginning, Norris expanded into cartoons and comics -- and, somehow, got Steve Ditko, the guy who created the Spider-Man costume, to draw him. Of all the ridiculous Chuck Norris "facts" clogging this ol' internet, that might be the most ridiculous: When Chuck Norris decided to appear in a comic book, only Steve Ditko could draw it. Here's ten remarkable moments from issue two and three of Chuck Norris Karate Kommandos. (Another Chuck Norris fact: When Chuck Norris comes around, the "c" in "commando" runs off screaming.) I'm covering issues two and three because Mister Kitty has already documented the craziness of issue one, including the weird way Ditko's objectivist philosophy is worked in to the story. The first notable thing about Chuck Norris Karate Kommandos is that every character at every moment is eager for some Chuck Norris lovin'.
click to enlarge studies_in_crap_chuck_norris_hunk.jpg
The forty year-old woman in the ballcap is actually a young boy of vaguely Asian background. He sells junky trinkets to tourists and is named Too Much because of racism. Also, naming the kid "Too Much" results in some hard-to-follow dialogue:
click to enlarge studies_in_crap_chuck_norris_battle_suits.jpg
That first sentence took me three tries to make out. That annoyed me, but then -- like most readers -- I was cheered by the second word balloon: Chuck brought everyone battle suits! While these comics are indisputably hilarious, they still are drawn by Steve Ditko, who even at age sixty -- screwed out of Spider-Man money and in thrall to Ayn Rand -- penciled with uncommon vigor. This fight below makes no sense, but it's as kinetic as anything in comics, and the first panel is the least ridiculous Norris has ever looked high-kicking a bad guy.
click to enlarge studies_in_crap_chuck_norris_comic_awesome_fight.jpg
As always, the Norris character is a highly trained kicker who just happens to live in a world where kicking is the solution to most problems. But not all! Fortunately, he is a master of not just martial arts but even the most obscure game of skill:
click to enlarge studies_in_crap_chuck_norris_comic_rock_paper.jpg
One story concerns Norris' effort to stop cheaters at a sumo wrestling tournament. Here, as he considers his options, he first seems upset by the smell of his mustache but then comes to relish it.
HERE, I'll make it bigger so you can kiss your monitor.
Street artists of the world, I beg you to spread this face on the walls of every city. Norris is best known for pretending to kick bad guys and for pretending to write editorials for World Net Daily. In these, he displays the subtlety of thinking that is on display in this scene, in which he enters a dockside bar and tricks some thugs into admitting they deal in stolen off-brand computers.
click to enlarge studies_in_crap_chuck_norris_bar_trickery.jpg
Of course, it turned out that Norris doesn't actually write the editorials that appear under his byline. (He probably meant to at first but then discovered that all the fancy kicks in the world won't make Microsoft Word spit out some right-wing boilerplate.) Having a ghostwriter hasn't hurt Norris' credibility, not even when that ghostwriter was accused of plagiarism. But charges of intellectual dishonesty just sweep past Norris like so much litter-box sand flung by a desperate enemy:
click to enlarge studies_in_crap_chuck_norris_comic_sand.jpg
No passage in Chuck Norris Karate Komandos is as strange or exciting as when Norris encounters a strange man in the middle of a log he didn't realize was occupied.
click to enlarge studies_in_crap_chuck_norris_comic_log.jpg
That's something to remember about heroes: They never look at the logs that they cross. Also, heroes are always willing to start playful race wars.
click to enlarge studies_in_crap_chuck_norris_comic_a_wetting.jpg
Real-life Chuck Norris pays some dude to blog angrily against gay marriage. As we see in the last panel above, Comic Book Chuck Norris will beam happily at another man, say "You're not so bad yourself," and promise to administer a jolly good wetting. He'll even let go and enjoy a wetting himself.
click to enlarge studies_in_crap_chuck_norris_comic_wetting_2.jpg
Has ever man looked as joyous as Chuck Norris does, trust-falling into that stream? HAHAHA, but, really, despite that "better man" line, and the two fellows dickering over who is the most "fortunate" in this new relationship, and that blissed-out look on Norris' weirdly severed-looking floating head, I will make no jokes about how suggestive every single word and image in this log fantasy is, because unlike Chuck Norris and his terrible blog ghostwriter, I understand that there's nothing wrong with gayness. One last Chuck Norris Fact: Unless he's interrupted, Chuck Norris will only gaze upon a new log after he's gotten off. Wait, that fact didn't come out right. How about, "Chuck Norris always gets wet when another man comes onto his log." No, that's no good either. Get me a ghost writer! Seriously, words are hard. --

Hey, you could do worse than following @studiesincrap or @ExhibitionistSF on the Twitter thing.

The mighty Studies in Crap e-mail list alerts you whenever a new SiC post hits. Sign up at

  • Pin It

Tags: , , , , ,

About The Author

Alan Scherstuhl


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Like us on Facebook


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"