Richard Dragon, Kung-Fu Fighter makes his comic book debut with issue 1, dated April/May 1975. As Denny O'Neil informs the reader in the text page, the character actually had appeared in a book, "Kung-Fu Master - Richard Dragon: Dragon's Fists," before this. The author of the book, and this issue, is given as Jim Dennis, but the bio is so obviously fake, it's not hard to guess that this is really being written by O'Neil himself.
Leopoldo Duranona does the art on this first issue, which shows Richard Dragon breaking into a monastery in Japan to steal a statue of the Buddha. The Sensei and one of his students, an American named Ben Turner, are there to stop him. Rather than turn Richard over to the police, the Sensei offers to train him. Richard thinks this is weird, but accepts, and then spends five years being taught a variety of martial arts, as well as the philosophy behind them.
As Richard and Ben complete their training and prepare to head back to the outside world, the monastery receives a visitor, Barney Ling. He is known to the Sensei, and runs an international organization, G.O.O.D., who hire themselves out to governments and groups they deem worthy of assisting. Barney offers Richard and Ben places with G.O.O.D., and the Sensei gives his approval.
Barney sends the two men to Sudan to break up a human slavery ring. Their goal is to take down the men running it, but they release the slaves to cause chaos and cover their actions. Ben is not to happy with using the slaves that way, and putting them in danger, but Richard feels the greater goal is worth it.
Richard winds up killing the man behind the slavery ring, after the guy shoots Ben. Ben is only winged, and the two feel that their lives have now changed.
The text page informs the reader that this is only the first part of the book, that the next two issues will complete the adaptation of the story.