Marvel creates Chinese superheroes to draw Asia fans

Above, Marvel editor-in-chief C.B. Cebulski speaks at a forum in Manila. The comic giant plans to introduce two new Chinese superheroes – Sword Master and Aero – and Cebulski was in the Philippines to look for fresh artistic talent. (AFP)
Updated 12 January 2018
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Marvel creates Chinese superheroes to draw Asia fans

MANILA: Chinese superheroes will soon be joining the pantheon of larger-than-life Marvel universe mainstays Spider-Man, Iron Man and the X-Men, a company official said as the comic book giant makes a major thrust into Asia.
As part of a push to grow its Asia fanbase, the Disney-owned franchise has released mobile games in China, opened “Marvel Stores” in South Korea and is searching for artistic talent in the Philippines, Marvel editor-in-chief C.B. Cebulski 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,” he said in Manila where he visited a major university for fresh talent.
The comic giant plans to introduce two new Chinese superheroes: “Sword Master” and “Aero” who will be based in China, Cebulski added.
“They are going to 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),” he said.
These new characters will be drawn in the ‘manga’ style of Japanese comics that is more popular in Asia, he added.
Cebulski, who has lived the last two years in Asia, serving as Marvel’s vice president for the region, conceded that Marvel had not given Asian characters prominent positions in the past compared to mainstays like Captain America or the Hulk.
But this is changing, he said. “We want to have stories that are reflective of every culture.”
There is huge fan expectation over Marvel’s latest flagship movie — Black Panther — which will be released worldwide next month.
The film stars Chadwick Boseman playing Marvel’s breakthrough black superhero T’Challa, a king of a fictional African nation who first featured in the company’s comic books in the late 1960s.
Luke Cage, another popular black Marvel superhero, has also had a recent revival through a popular TV series on Netflix.
But Asian superheroes are still comparatively rare in the Marvel universe despite the franchise’s growing popularity there.
In the Philippines, a former US colony, Marvel is already deeply ingrained in the nation’s popular culture, said Cebulski.
Filipino illustrators in turn have also provided art for Marvel comics since the 1970s.
People from the Southeast Asian nation are now the third largest nationality of artists employed by Marvel, just behind Americans and Italians, Cebulski said.


Restaurant asks Trump spokeswoman Sarah Sanders to leave

Updated 24 June 2018
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Restaurant asks Trump spokeswoman Sarah Sanders to leave

  • The owner said many of her employees were gay and that Sanders had defended Trump’s wish to bar transgender people from the armed forces
  • Protesters chanted “shame! shame!” repeatedly at Nielsen, a frontline defender of the Trump administration’s practice of separating migrant children from their parents, until she left the restaurant

WASHINGTON: A Virginia restaurant was inundated with reviews from both ends of the political spectrum Saturday after White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said its owner asked her to leave because of her job.
On Friday, a Facebook user claiming to be a waiter at The Red Hen in Lexington, Virginia — around 70 miles southwest of Charlottesville — said he served Sanders “for a total of 2 minutes” before she and her party were asked to leave.
His post went viral when Brennan Gilmore, a musician, activist and former US diplomat, uploaded a screenshot to Twitter alongside an image of a handwritten note which read “86 — Sara Huckabee Sanders,” supposedly from the restaurant.
To “86” someone is a slang term meaning to refuse to serve a customer.
“Last night I was told by the owner of Red Hen in Lexington, VA to leave because I work for @POTUS and I politely left,” Sanders tweeted on Saturday, confirming the incident.
“Her actions say far more about her than about me. I always do my best to treat people, including those I disagree with, respectfully and will continue to do so.”
Chef-owner Stephanie Wilkinson said that politics were especially explosive in her small town which voted against Trump in a county that did not.
Given her own moral position that the spokeswoman serves in an “inhumane and unethical” administration, Wilkinson told The Washington Post, she could not accept a defender of the president’s “cruelest policies.”

“I’m not a huge fan of confrontation,” Wilkinson said.
“I have a business, and I want the business to thrive. This feels like the moment in our democracy when people have to make uncomfortable actions and decisions to uphold their morals,” she stressed.
The owner said many of her employees were gay and that Sanders had defended Trump’s wish to bar transgender people from the armed forces. And then, she said, she was stunned by the spokeswoman’s defense of Trump policies leading to migrant children being taken from their parents’ care.
“I explained that the restaurant has certain standards that I feel it has to uphold, such as honesty, and compassion, and cooperation,” the owner explained.
“I said, ‘I’d like to ask you to leave.’“
The restaurant continued to be flooded Saturday afternoon with five-star online reviews praising the restaurant’s stance — and one-star reviews accusing the owner of “discrimination.”
“Sarah, you’re a class act. I’m so sorry you were treated this way,” was State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert’s response on Twitter.
It comes after US Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen was heckled as she dined at a Mexican restaurant in Washington on Tuesday.
Protesters chanted “shame! shame!” repeatedly at Nielsen, a frontline defender of the Trump administration’s practice of separating migrant children from their parents, until she left the restaurant.
Two days earlier, according to the New York Post, White House adviser Stephen Miller was branded a “fascist” while dining at another Mexican eatery in Washington.