Marvel in China: Chinese folklore’s heroes and kungfu heroes are not so different after all from Marvel’s superheroes.
They both have supernatural power, and many times they fight evil forces, they incarnate values such as compassion, the importance of self-sacrifice, collaboration, honor and, love for the homeland. America and China citizens are proud of their nation. The biggest difference probably is the modern setting of the Marvel adventures, since most Marvel movies take place today or in the near future.
The special effects that we have become accustomed, since Matrix’ trilogy and we find in almost all superheroes’ movies have origins that date back to Bruce Lee‘s kung-fu movies. The appeal of big action explosions and eye-catching stars are universally appreciated.
Marvel’s heroes such as Spiderman, Iron Man, Captain America, Wolverine, and Hulk are now very popular in China
In the second decade of 2000 in China the community of gamers, cosplayers, graphic designers, and comics readers grew considerably. This inevitably facilitated the introduction of Marvel superheroes. Chinese film groups, at the beginning of the decade, invested heavily in the production of Iron Man 3. Two versions of the movie were made, one is the international version, and a Chinese version, with added scenes. This version was made especially for China.
The film has about four minutes of added content that include also Chinese actress star Fan Bingbing. All Marvel latest movies, like the Black Panther, or Captain America have recently hit the box office in China. For example, Avengers: Infinity Wars grossed more than 300 million Dollars in three weeks, and only this week it grossed around 100 million. With these numbers, it is easy to understand why Marvel is interested in expanding into China. Marvel understood the importance and significance of the Chinese market.
Recently, Marvel announced two new Chinese superheroes to draw Asia fans: Aero :气旋 aka Cyclone , a woman able to control air currents, and Lin Lie, Sword Master (三皇斗战士 aka Warriors of Three Sovereigns) a boy who obtains a powerful ancient sword to fight evil. They made their debut at the beginning of may on Chinese Network 163.com. They are heavily based on Chinese culture and Chinese mythology but set in the modern world and they will interact with the other Marvel’s superheroes.
There are hardcore fans in China who read both Marvel and DC. However, Marvel is better known in general crowd because of the movies.
These new characters are drawn in the “manga” style of Japanese comics that is more popular in Asia. For now, these new manhua (Chinese name for comics) are only in Chinese, but the plan is to launch them at a later date in the United States. Marvel choice of these new characters is motivated because there are so many young Chinese interested in comics that it was necessary to consider their need to identify with a superhero closer to their own world. These new Chinese characters will have various connections with the Marvel Universe, including cities and work in Stark Industries advertisements. Also, this choice reflects and represents a significant part of the new Chinese youth as they are increasingly interested in work in the field of design, creativity, communication, and promotion. Some of them for hobbies try to draw and invent new characters.
Marvel Chinese fans dislike that the organization invited Chinese singers and stars who did not hit anything with the movies. Marvel China apologizes for that. Some fans even went on Downey Jr.’s Instagram to apologize.
Furthermore, the ultimate goal of a superhero is the defense of the community, but this happens in the full understanding of self-conscious and of the uniqueness of own powers. This concept is very important for Chinese youth that, in recent years, have embarked the path of personal identity.
Cathy Yan will be the director of DC new movie featuring Harley Quiin
NetEase hosts on their online platforms a few Marvel comics already, including Spider-Man, Iron Man and The Avengers. Marvel related products are also very popular in the Chinese market: t-shirts, costumes, video games, toys, key-chains etc. The number of business opportunities for Marvel in China aside from its movies is massive. Most popular foreign brands in China choose to promote themselves with special limited editions linked to the main Chinese holidays and festival.
In the 1970s Marvel acquired the rights to Sax Rohmer’s “Fu Manchu” pulp series
Organize linked events, is also an easy move to create a powerful economic strategy in China, since Christmas, considered by many young Chinese a chance to shop and party, now is frowned upon. Marvel could also try to create a massively multiplayer online game based on Marvel universe, since this kind of game is very popular in China, following the example of League Legend.
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