“Claws Of The Dragon” is an 18-page story drawn by Jack Kirby for RICHARD DRAGON, KUNG FU FIGHTER #3 , written by Dennis O’Neil (based on a novel written by O’Neil and Jim Berry) and inked by D. Bruce Berry. This was towards the end of Kirby’s five year run at DC, when he did a handful of stories he didn’t write. This particular series couldn’t seem to hold an artist, with five pencillers in the first four issues (which adapt the novel), with the last of them, Ric Estrada, sticking around for the original stories in the rest of the series.
As you’d expect in a martial arts book, this is pretty much just a series of fights. First Dragon fights a mob to rescue Carolyn from men of the Swiss, who wants some information from her. Carolyn manages to get captured again while Dragon is distracted fighting three guys who think they have martial arts training. We get a flashback to Dragon’s teacher, the O-Sensei, who gave him the Dragon’s Claw pendant to be used when he has to use his skills to defend a life. Finally the Swiss lures him into a trap, where he fights various hired weapon-masters.
I suspect that a few pages were cut here, as there are a few hired hands shown in the initial scene that Dragon doesn’t actually fight. Anyway, Dragon is able to defeat them all, but the Swiss still manages to blow up the place and escape with Carolyn.
Obviously a bit of a trivial entry in the Kirby career, but he has a pretty funny way of drawing martial arts. A few years later he would work on a proposal for a Bruce Lee comic, which was eventually re-purposed to some Phantom Force pages.
THE JACK KIRBY OMNIBUS #2