China is a rising superpower. With vast breakthroughs in industrial, technological, and financial influence, both nations and corporations are looking to curry favor with it. The entertainment industry is no exception. On a marketing level, Marvel (now owned by Disney) has already started expanding into Asian markets through the introduction of mobile games and apps as well as official Marvel stores in China and South Korea.
However, a recent statement by Marvel’s Editor-in-Chief, C.B. Cebulski, revealed that there will actually be brand new Marvel characters of Asian descent added to the universe of the comics. The first two are called “Sword Master” and “Aero.” Unfinalized concept art for the two Chinese heroes was revealed earlier this summer. The comics will be released in Asia before making their way to the States.
While there have been several supporting characters with East Asian origins in the past like Jubilee (who is currently a de-powered vampire) and Sunspot of the X-Men, none of them have received the same treatment as Marvel’s top, starring characters. The closest thing fans saw to major Asian characters in the cinematic universe were probably The Wolverine‘s Mariko and Yuko, X-Men: Days of Future Past’s Blink played by Fan Bing-Bing and Thor‘s Hogan of The Warriors Three played by Tadanobu Asano. X2‘s villainess, Lady Deathstrike deserves honorable mention though Kelly Hu unfortunately did not have a single line.
Cebulski also added that the characters will be “heavily based on Chinese culture and Chinese mythology, but set in the modern world and they will interact with the other heroes [in the Marvel universe].” Additionally, they will be drawn in a style closer to Japanese manga than American comics.
Cebulski spent a couple years living and working in Asia. He recently came under criticism for the time he spent masquerading as a Japanese man to work on several titles in the past to take extra work.
Speaking to students at a college in Manila, he said: “We have been making great strides especially in Asia. We try to hire more Asian creators, writers and artists to bring a piece of their culture to Marvel comics.”
Via Japan Today