According to the Ace Experience website for the upcoming Awesome Con in Washington D.C., Simu Liu has decided not to sign certain issues in the hero’s comic book history due to their offensive nature. Liu joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe as the title character in 2021’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.
The film centers around the martial-arts-mastered superhero as he is recruited by his distant father Wenwu (Tony Leung) to find the entrance to a mythical world and resurrect his dead mother. Though the film had to battle a pandemic restricted box office, it grossed over $400 million and was praised its positive Asian representation.
Shang-Chi was first introduced in 1973’s Special Marvel Edition #15, later titled The Master of Kung Fu. The character emerged as a response to America’s Kung Fu movie craze. He was introduced alongside popular novelist Sax Rohmer characters such as Fah Lo Suee, Sir Denis Nayland Smith, and arch-nemesis Dr. Fu Manchu.
The villainous mad scientist first appeared in Rohmer’s 1913 book series The Mystery of Dr. Fu Manchu. He was a complete embodiment of the xenophobic metaphor, “yellow peril,” which was the fear that East Asian cultures would threaten the Western world. Fu Manchu was also Shang-Chi’s father, in addition to being his rival in the original comics.
Eventually, Marvel Comics lost the rights to Dr. Fu Manchu and changed the character’s name to Zheng Zu. Despite the name change, Fu Manchu’s offensive traits remained for years. When Shang-Chi was greenlit to join the MCU, Kevin Feige and director Destin Daniel Cretton addressed the controversy and replaced Zheng Zu with the supervillain the Mandarin, known as Wenwu.
Fu Manchu is not only intertwined in Shang-Chi’s history, but the character has a long history in media, going all the way to 2007’s Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End and Rob Zombie’s Grindhouse, where Nicolas Cage portrayed the character in an uncredited cameo.
The Ace Experience website states, ” Simu Liu will not sign any Master of Kung Fu comics or other comics deemed offensive.” Though the comic series was popular at the time and launched the character’s comic tenure, they remain a racist stain on his legacy.
It is important to note that usually when there are paid comic book signings, the buyer can have the talent sign any book they want regardless of content. It is highly unusual that the talent would and could mandate what books they sign.