Another thing that appealed to me about Iron Fist the comic (and some of the other Kung fu-ploitation properties) was the inclusion of (often mangled, I know) zen, buddhist, and taoist philosophy. Seeing other traditions underpinning moral and ethical principles, seeing good, brave, and noble character behaving morally and ethically outside of the fundamentalist Christian framework helped me reconcile my growing discomfort with the evangelical beliefs I’d been raised with.

fontfolly on problematic things.

My one of these, for the record, was Monkey, i.e. the 1970s BBC-dubbed version of the Japanese TV show of the 16th century Chinese novel, Journey to the West (a.k.a. 西遊記). Its multiple layers of appropriated problematic-ness aside—which isn’t to say they aren’t there or they aren’t important, because they are and they are—Monkey was probably the first TV show I’d ever encountered that had its moral framework completely outside of any kind of Christian-influenced context,1 and it has pretty much ruined me for anything else. Monkey‘s basic moral premise—at least on a modern reading—is that no sin is intrinsic and it’s never too late to try and earn redemption… and that the Powers That Be are on your side while you try. But you have to try; there’s no instant magical fix-it. Which, yanno. Compared to the prevalence of Always Chaotic Evil “disposable” mook races in Western fantasy (e.g. orcs, demons, zombies, alien invaders, etc.) is… nice.

  1. Monkey is basically about how great Buddhism is and how evil Taoists are. Because, y’know. 16th century religious tensions, I guess. []