Daniel Rand was born in New York City, the son of Wendell Rand, who happened upon the mystical city of K’un-L’un as a young boy. During his time in K’un L’un, Wendell saved the life of the city’s ruler, Lord Tuan, and was adopted as Tuan’s son. However, Wendell eventually left K’un L’un and became a wealthy entrepreneur in the United States. He married socialite Heather Duncan and had a child: Daniel.
Wendell later organizes an expedition to again seek out K’un L’un, taking his wife Heather, his business partner Harold Meachum and nine-year-old Daniel. During the journey up the mountain, Daniel slips off the path, his tie-rope taking his mother and father with him. Meachum, who also loves Heather, forces Wendell to plunge to his death but offers to rescue Heather and Daniel. She rejects his help. Heather and Daniel come across a makeshift bridge that appears out of nowhere and are attacked by a pack of wolves. Heather throws herself on the wolves to save Daniel and is killed even as archers from K’un L’un attempt to save her. The archers take the grieving Daniel to see Yü-Ti, the hooded ruler of K’un L’un. When Daniel expresses his desire for vengeance, Yü-Ti apprentices him to Lei Kung, the Thunderer, who teaches him the martial arts.
Daniel proves to be the most gifted of Lei Kung’s students. Rand conditions his fists by plunging them into buckets of sand, gravel, and rock to toughen them. At 19, Daniel is given the chance to attain the power of the Iron Fist by fighting and defeating the dragon Shou-Lao the Undying, who guards the molten heart that had been torn from its body. During the battle, Daniel throws himself against the scar of Shou-Lao, which burns a dragon tattoo into his chest. Having killed Shou-Lao, he enters its cave and plunges his fists into a brazier containing the creature’s molten heart, emerging with the power of the Iron Fist. It is later revealed that Daniel is part of a long lineage of Iron Fists.
From: Marvel Premiere Featuring: Iron Fist #16 (July, 1974)
Iron Fist cover image by Dreekzilla.