Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings arrived under something of a cloud last year. Industry insiders were predicting a disappointing box office, social media was full of naysayers, and there was an awkwardness about the stereotype of an Asian hero being a martial arts guy. Then people actually saw the movie and everyone realized it was brilliant.
Simu Liu and Awkwafina had incredible on-screen chemistry, with Tony Leung and Michelle Yeoh bringing heavyweight performances. Shang-Chi ended up a big hit, a sequel was soon confirmed, and almost everyone agreed that Marvel neatly side-stepped lazy stereotypes. But that doesn’t mean the issue has gone away for good.
Liu will appear at this June’s Awesome Con along with Shang-Chi co-stars Meng’er Zhang, and Florian Munteanu. You can already book a photo op with them, though a note on the page says:
Simu Liu will not sign any Master of Kung Fu comics or other comics deemed offensive.
The Hands of Shang-Chi: Master of Kung Fu made the character a Marvel icon in the mid-70s, with the company riding the wave of the martial arts craze. Many key stories featuring the character appeared in that comic over the next few years, with the title being periodically resurrected ever since.
Even so, the original comics feature racist caricature Fu Manchu as Shang-Chi’s father. This was wisely ditched for the MCU version, with Shang-Chi screenwriter Dave Callaham describing him as “irrelevant” and saying:
“No one had to think about whether we wanted to include Fu Manchu. It was obvious.”
All of which means it’s hardly surprising that Liu doesn’t want to sit there all day signing comics featuring racist caricatures that the movie went out of its way to avoid. That may lead to some disappointed comic collectors hoping to increase the value of their back issues, but Liu absolutely has the right to stipulate this condition.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is available to stream on Disney Plus.