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.


US surgeon, girlfriend charged with rape, ‘hundreds’ of victims possible

This combination of photos created on September 18, 2018 shows Grant William Robicheaux (L) and Cerissa Laura Riley (R) in mug shots photos released by the Orange County District Attorney's Office, California. (AFP)
Updated 19 September 2018
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US surgeon, girlfriend charged with rape, ‘hundreds’ of victims possible

  • Robicheaux and Riley are believed to have worked in tandem at restaurants and bars to identify their victims and make them feel comfortable
  • “Your conscious decisions to party with these defendants... does not give them a pass to rape, assault or have sex with you once you’re past the point of consent”

LOS ANGELES: An orthopedic surgeon in California who once appeared on a dating reality show and his girlfriend have been charged with drugging and sexually assaulting two women, in a case prosecutors suspect might involve hundreds of other victims.
Authorities told AFP on Tuesday they had received dozens of leads in the probe, just hours after a press conference held to try to encourage other women to come forward.
“I am being told by investigators that their phones have been very active this afternoon,” said Michelle Van Der Linden, a spokeswoman for Orange County prosecutors.
“People are calling with additional information and we will be busy tracking down all the additional leads.”
The surgeon, 38-year-old Grant William Robicheaux, and his 31-year-old girlfriend, Cerissa Laura Riley, were charged on September 11 with rape as well as drug and weapons-related offenses in connection with two alleged assaults.
But investigators found hundreds of videos on Robicheaux’s phone after he was arrested, showing women “in various states of undress, consciousness and being assaulted,” Van Der Linden said. “We’re still going through those videos.”
Robicheaux — who once appeared on the Bravo television show “Online Dating Rituals of the American Male” — and Riley are due to be arraigned on October 25.

Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas told reporters that Robicheaux and Riley are believed to have worked in tandem at restaurants and bars to identify their victims and make them feel comfortable.
“We believe the defendants used their good looks and charm to lower the inhibitions of their potential prey,” Rackauckas said.
“We’ve all heard of a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Well, a wolf can wear scrubs or doctor’s clothing. Or a wolf can be a beautiful woman.”
The pair apparently used ecstasy, date rape drugs and cocaine to incapacitate their victims before assaulting them at Robicheaux’s home in Newport Beach, he said.
Authorities say Robicheaux and Riley traveled to various festivals since 2015, including Burning Man in Nevada, as well as landmarks in Arizona, where they may have preyed on other women.
Attorneys for Robicheaux and Riley issued a joint statement on Tuesday, denying the charges.
“They have been aware of these accusations for a number of months, and each of them will formally deny the truth of these allegations at their first opportunity in court,” said Robicheaux’s lawyer, Philip Cohen, and Riley’s lawyer, Scott Borthwick.
“Dr. Robicheaux and Ms Riley believe that such allegations do a disservice to, and dangerously undermine, the true victims of sexual assault, and they are eager to have the proper spotlight shed on this case in a public trial,” they added.
“It must be noted that none of the allegations in this matter relate to or concern Dr. Robicheaux’s medical practice or patients in any way.”
If convicted, Robicheaux faces up to 40 years in prison. Riley could face 30 years behind bars.
Rackauckas said potential victims of the pair should not be ashamed to come forward.
“Your conscious decisions to party with these defendants... does not give them a pass to rape, assault or have sex with you once you’re past the point of consent,” he said.