Weapons of the Gods (by Wong Yuk-long): I remember seeing the cover for the first volume of this series and thinking: this is the most heroic-looking character ever. Hero cape: check. Final Fantasy hair: check. Badass sword that appears to have grown out of some demon’s bone: check. It also has one of the coolest opening sequences ever seen: at a gathering of the world’s greatest fighters, a challenger and the host, Yi Nangong, end up drawing weapons so powerful (Heaven’s Crystal! Thunder Cudgel!) that they were never meant for human hands… ending up with a nuclear-level explosion that levels the entire area and wipes out everyone present! Fast forward a few decades, and we catch up with our hard-working hero Wen Tian, bastard son of Yi Nangong, who ends up fighting against the Hell Clan and collecting a ton of the namesake Weapons of the Gods. It’s pretty sweet stuff, with mutant animal-men and some awe-inspiring weaponry. Apparently, it was popular enough to spawn its own tabletop roleplaying game!
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (by Andy Seto): I picked this up, in spite of my dislike of the film, because I knew of Andy Seto from Story of the Tao and Saint Legend. The manhua, luckily, is pretty good. The art is as good as one might expect from Seto, and while it takes place years before the events of the movie, some of the characters you know (and some of you may love- I’m not judging!) are present and accounted for. If you were curious as to how Li Mu Bai first acquired the Green Destiny sword he wielded in the movie, you’ll find out here, and learn a lot about the early romance between him and Yu Shu Lien as well. It’s a little more subdued than most wuxia manhua, focusing more on the relationships between the characters, which works nicely, since you still get a healthy heaping of fight scenes to go with. I was pleasantly surprised by this one, and it seems to be easier to find than the rest of its manhua kin. ...Or, for that matter, the original novels the movie was inspired by. I hear those were less… weepy.
That’ll get you started. So train hard with your sifu, then jog down to the comic shop and see if they’ve got any of these on the shelves!