Bruce Lee was the definition of physical artistry. After becoming a star in Hong Kong, the actor, martial artist and teacher revolutionized the art of Kung Fu in the United States. His influence reached dojos and gyms around the nation and into Hollywood. As Lee's legend spread, comic books were among the endeavors touched by his magic, especially Marvel’s Iron Fist.
Iron Fist, the alter-ego of Danny Rand, made his comic book debut in May 1974 in #Marvel Premiere #15. Created by writer Roy Thomas and artist Gil Kane, the character’s nature was inspired by Golden Age comic book hero Amazing-Man, but there’s no doubt that, as Bruce Lee and kung fu movies rose in popularity through the '70s, Iron Fist borrowed aspects of Lee’s legendary style.
Bruce Lee’s Philosophy
In addition to being an actor and martial artist, Bruce Lee was also a studied philosopher -- in fact, that philosophy was reflected in his work. His most famous talk is the “Be Like Water” metaphor, in which he compares one’s power of the mind to the many states of water. Lee’s philosophy can be traced back to the writings of the ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu, from which his water metaphor derived.
This same form of philosophy can be found in Iron Fist. The character is one with his mind and must regulate his inner self in order to fully control his body and powers. Even when Iron Fist speaks, the influence of Lee’s philosophy can be found in Rand's voice and choice of words, as seen in Disney XD's Ultimate Spider-Man.
Bruce Lee’s Fighting Style
Bruce Lee created his own fighting style, Jeet Kune Do, or The Way of The Intercepting Fist. He is also considered the founder of mixed martial arts. His fighting style was unique, almost like a dance, and it translates beautifully to stories featuring Iron Fist. When we see Iron Fist coiled ready for combat, there’s no denying the essence of Bruce Lee is there. When he explodes into action, the comparison is clear. Check out the side-by-side image below for a more visual comparison.
- Comic book: The Immortal Iron Fist
- Film: Game of Death
Bruce Lee’s Wardrobe
Bruce Lee was also a fashion authority. His elegant style of dress was also electrifying. When the time came to beat down bad guys, his wardrobe could be a minimal yellow jumpsuit, or simply his impressive physique. Unfortunately, Lee only wore the yellow jumpsuit while filming his last movie, Game of Death, during which he died at the age of 32. Lee's fashion style has transcended time, and Iron Fist has adopted Lee’s authentic look fantastically.
Iron Fist’s classic apparel includes a green dragon jumpsuit and yellow mask, recent comics in Marvel’s All-New All-Different line have seen the character more directly adapting Lee’s style. He now wears a jumpsuit with Lee's Game of Death colors inverted.
The Legacy Of Bruce Lee In Iron Fist
Iron Fist is ultimately Marvel’s tribute to the icon Bruce Lee. While many others have tried to carry on Lee's legacy in film, TV and video games, it has ultimately been Iron Fist that's done it in a more effective manner. Kill Bill adopted Lee's yellow jumpsuit, but Iron Fist not only adopted the suit, he made it his own. Games like Bruce Lee: Quest of the Dragon allowed players to experience Lee's story, but Iron Fist immersed readers into a story that gave Lee's version a whole new meaning. Several films based on Lee have tried to bring the icon to life on screen, as in this year's Birth of the Dragon, but have failed in the attempt. In contrast, we have Netflix's Iron Fist, whose tribute to the legend was even depicted in its first trailer.
Finn Jones will portray Danny Rand/Iron Fist next year in #Netflix’s Iron Fist and #TheDefenders. Bruce Lee was portrayed by Philip Ng in Birth of the Dragon. Check out the trailer for Netflix's Iron Fist below; it premieres on March 17, 2017.
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