Li Yang, the Panda Khan is unique in his ties to TMNT lore and a special, though somewhat elusive ally and friend to the Ninja Turtles and Usagi Yojimbo dating back to the very early days of both comic series.
The reason for Li Yang’s inclusion into the TMNT Playmates Toys fold aside from creator’s Dave Garcia and Monica Sharp’s friendship and association with Mirage Studios was also that at some point P.K. was to appear in the original TMNT cartoon show!! This is very similar to the effect of the deal made with Stan Sakai and the now iconic cross-over history that Usagi Yojimbo and his friends have had with the TMNT.
The boy warrior bear and all his spacey pals make some of their first appearances in Colleen Doran’s “A Distant Soil” #6 in 1985. An early version of the “The Chronicles of Panda Khan” appear in Doran’s cult favorite book, edited by Richard Pini of ‘Elfquest’.
The actual mini-series would span four issues and a hand full of fun crossovers between 1986–1990.
Comic cross-overs / pre- TMNT include an appearance in Usagi Yojimbo & the series EQUINE THE UNCIVILIZED #6. Here Li Yang shares cameos with the Turtles and Usagi as well as whole cavalcade of famous anthropomorphic comic critters!!
Some of his Pre-TMNT final appearances are in 1989′s Varmit’s Cross – over entitled “X-Khan” & the “Panda Khan – Special #1″ from 1990.
In the story “X-Khan” . When the evil Business Pirate and Crime Lord known as “The Cleaver” wishes to keep P.K. and his lovely pelt as an acquisition and‘ Beat of Burden‘. Thus disrupting a trade with Khan’s Tong Pirate allies.
Khan signifies furiously :
“I AM CALLED KHAN AND I AM NO ONE’S PET!”
The Cleaver and his associates then wish to de-claw P.K. But with the help of his powerful and ancient‘ Dragon’s Claw‘ sword, The Cleaver and his associates leave the business to Beaver and thus retire from criminal activity permanently!!
List of comic appearances
- A Distant Soil (Vol. 1) #6-9 (1985-1986)
- WaRP Graphics Annual #1 (1986)
- Laffin' Gas # 5 & 8 (1987)
- The Chronicles of Panda Khan #1-4 (1987-1988)
- Equine the Uncivilized #6 (1989)
- Varmints Special #1 (1990)
- Usagi Yojimbo (Vol. 1) #21 & 34 (1990, 1992)
- Panda Khan Special # 1 (1990)
- Airlock #3 (1992)
- Normalman/Megaton Man Special #1 (1994, cover appearance only)