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Marvel works with China’s NetEase to produce the comic giant’s first set of Chinese superhero comics

Marvel works with China’s NetEase to produce the comic giant’s first set of Chinese superhero comics

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Marvel works with China’s NetEase to produce the comic giant’s first set of Chinese superhero comics

(Global Times) Marvel Comics is looking to expand its presence in the Chinese market with two Chinese-language comic series co-produced with Chinese online comic platform NetEase Comics.

The first Chinese heroes created by Chinese comic authors, Lin Lie from the comic San Huang: Dou Zhan Shi (lit. Three Emperors: Fighters) and Lei Ling, the star of Qi Xuan (lit. Cyclone), might be seen interacting with other Marvel superheroes in future issues.

The two series will combine modern Chinese elements with Marvel’s style of storytelling to create stories about Chinese superheroes set in modern times, NetEase announced in a statement after the works publication in early May.

Different from Marvel’s previous stories concerning its other Chinese characters, such as Wong in Doctor Strange and Iron Man’s nemesis the Mandarin, the new comics are set in modern China. Moreover, their teammates and antagonists are also Chinese.

Culturally-rich stories

“Marvel loves Three Emperors: Fighters for its rich Chinese cultural elements,” a source from the project who preferred to stay anonymous told the Global Times.

“The editors praised its art style and they think the plotting is kind of fresh and special.”

For instance, Lin Lie – one of the three major super-powered characters from Three Emperors: Fighters – is a descendant of Fuxi, one of the civilization’s three legendary primogenitors along with Shennong and Nüwa. His two teammates, A Cheng and Ji Shuangshuang, are the offspring of Shennong and Nüwa.

A university student growing up in modern China, Lin discovers the mythical Fuxi Sword and heads off on an adventure with his two pals to find his father, who went missing during an archaeological excavation. The three will face off against Chiyou, an ancient evil god.

The story mixes abundant details of traditional Chinese culture with modern life in China. For instance, Three Emperors: Fighters‘ first issue involves a number of typical ancient Chinese antiques seen when Lin is dealing with local tomb robbers, such as a cicada-shaped jade from the Warring States period (475BC-221BC) and a container made using a Chinese-style mortise and tenon joint.

Cyclone, on the other hand, follows the adventures of an attractive and successful architect named Lei Ling. Adept at feeling and controlling airflows, Lei is “the guardian of an eastern financial center” who must battle against villains who are trying to take control of the city, including the mysterious Madame Huang, who possesses the power to change the attributes of things.

“Marvel also invested a lot of effort in Cyclone, probably because the story, set in metropolis and featuring many modern elements, is more similar to those comics that Marvel is familiar with, such as Iron Man and Ant-Man,” said the source from the project.

International cooperation

According to NetEase, the frameworks of the two stories including its storyline, characterization and backgrounds were discussed and determined by both teams before the Chinese authors started writing the comics.

The comics also are sent to Marvel editors to undergo “the same review process that other Marvel comics go through.”

Aside from these Chinese superhero co-productions, NetEase and Marvel’s cooperation – first announced at a press conference held at the 2017 China International Cartoon & Game Expo last July – also include an introduction of Chinese translation of 12 Marvel comic series to the NetEase platform.

Chinese response

Three Emperors: Fighters kicked off on the NetEase Comics platform on May 9 with its first four issues, while Cyclone debuted the following day with its first issue.  Although only Chinese editions of the comics are available on the platform at the moment, NetEase said that multi-language versions of series may be published overseas in the future.

With views of 15 million and 9 million respectively, Three Emperors: Fighters and Cyclone have sparked heated discussions among Chinese netizens and comic fans since their debut.

While some have praised the two series as “exciting works” and “model examples of Chinese comics,” some readers have complained that while the series are being published under the Marvel brand, they still lack that “Marvel feel.”

“China’s comic industry has been developing in recent years, and Chinese creators and readers have established their own aesthetics,” an industry insider surnamed Bai told the Global Times.

“It’s not fair to compare our works to comics from the US, Japan or elsewhere.”

In one of the issues of Three Emperors: Fighters, a picture featuring Iron Man’s mask can be see among the many items littered around Lin’s room. This detail excited many Chinese fans who are looking forward to seeing these new Chinese superheroes interact with Marvel’s older characters.

The project insider noted that other Easter eggs are sure to appear.

Source: Global Times 

Source: CEN
Marvel works with China’s NetEase to produce the comic giant’s first set of Chinese superhero comics