43 years ago - Richard Drakunovski is born in Japan.
41 years ago - 2-year-old Richard is kidnapped by a child slavery ring.
38 years ago - 5-year-old Richard escapes from his captors & begins living as a street thief.
33 years ago - 10-year-old Richard tries to steal from the Dojo of O-Sensi. He is taken in and becomes a student, where he meets Ben Turner.
21 years ago - 22-year-old Richard & Ben Turner are recruited by King Faraday & becomes covert assets for the DEO.
20 years ago - 23-year-old Richard & Ben Turner agree to help a promising young Dinah Lance master her fighting style.
15 years ago - 28-year-old Richard & Ben Turner confront the League of Assassins & fight Lady Shiva, who then joins them.
13 years ago - 30-year-old Richard, Ben Turner & Lady Shiva go their separate ways. Richard retreats to his private meditation.
8 years ago - 35-year-old Richard & Dick Grayson free Ben Turner from the control of the League of Assassins. At Dick's urging, he begins training the recently-crippled Barbara Gordon, helping her overcome her insecurities about her handicap.
5 years ago - 38-year-old Richard helps train Tim Drake, who quickly becomes one of his favorite pupils.
While Lady Shiva is widely recognized as the single greatest martial artist in the world of DC, she was actually originally conceived as a supporting character to Richard Dragon, who was invented in the pages of Dragon's Fists, a 1974 novel by comic legend Denny O'Neil, who would adapt his creation (Along with his sidekick, Ben Turner) in the comic Richard Dragon, Kung Fu Fighter.
Everything about this story seems cool in a very seventies way, but it's really hard to ignore the inherent cultural appropriation and white exceptionalism at play here. His origins actually have to bend over backward to explain why he's white at all, and it winds up being pretty ridiculous. This character could just as easily be Asian.
All that aside, there is a TON of fun stuff to play with here. His early adventures as a covert operative alongside Ben Turner, and then his recurring role as one of the most elite instructors of martial artists in the world. He offers a fantastic counterpoint to the violence of Lady Shiva, and having him as a teacher is a great way to give characters the ability to access martial arts abilities without making that the entire focus of the character.
Chuck Dixon revamped the character in a short-lived series, and of course the New 52 created a completely incorrect version of him... but once you get past the racial undertones of his original appearances, We love the idea of a ex-covert operative martial artist roaming the earth, helping to teach enlightenment to a new generation of heroes.