Iron Fist, a superhero created by Roy Thomas and Gil Kane for Marvel Premiere 15 (May 1974), was the result of pop cultural cross-pollination.
The Marvel Age of Comics was already more than a decade old, and to freshen it up the Bullpen tried superhero titles reflecting popular trends.
Thanks to a relaxed Comics Code, more vivid horror stories could then be published, so Ghost Rider was born in Marvel Spotlight 5 (Aug. 1972).
Martial arts had been popularized by the David Carradine TV series Kung Fu in 1972 and the Bruce Lee movie Enter the Dragon in 1973. Add the superhero trappings of a lost-child Tarzan origin, a secret identity, a colorful costume and the ability to focus chi into a punch of overwhelming power, and you have Iron Fist.
The character is presented in his Netflix series as a kind of billionaire super-Buddhist. And that may well ring a bell.
Comics readers might remark on the similarity of Danny Rand to Adrian Veidt, the superhero Ozymandias created by by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons for their 1986 Watchmen graphic novel.
Well, yes, and there’s a reason for that.
Iron Fist was in part an homage to Amazing-Man, Bill Everett’s original variation on the Superman theme introduced in Amazing-Man Comics 5 (Sept. 1939). That Tibetan-trained super-being also inspired Pete Morisi to create Peter Cannon, Thunderbolt for Charlton Comics in 1966. And Moore and Gibbons used Thunderbolt as the template for Ozymandias.
The history of superhero comics is a wonderfully multi-faceted and multivariate thing.