Superheroes in China

By Lizzie Yin Source:Global Times Published: 2018/11/14 18:08:40

I woke up shocked Tuesday morning hearing that Stan Lee passed away. Lee was a legendary Marvel comics writer and co-creator of my many beloved superheroes - Spider-Man, Iron Man, Thor, Doctor Strange, the X-men and others. 

Everybody knows that Lee liked to sneak cameo appearances into his superhero films, posing as a FedEx guy or a clueless librarian. All these years of watching Marvel movies, I've always kept a lookout for this lovely old mustachioed man. He was like an icon that never changed in the always-changing superhero world. Sadly, we won't be seeing Stan in any future movies.

Yesterday, an American friend of mine posted on his WeChat saying that he was surprised to see his social media flooded with messages from Chinese people mourning the death of Lee. "It's touching that he was important to so many people in China, too."

Many people say losing Stan Lee is like losing the last living legend of American pop culture. But I'd like to think that he is still out there in an alternate universe. So why was this old man so loved here in a country where American comic books are not sold?

Stan Lee and his superheroes become well-known and accepted by Chinese youth over the past decade mostly because of the growing number of quality Marvel movie series being released in the Chinese mainland. Due to China's fast economic growth, the number of movie theaters has been growing rapidly, so Marvel movies arrived in the right place at the right time.

American pop culture has a growing presence in China, and big production companies know it. That is why they are now including Chinese celebrities in their casts and even creating Asian superheroes.

Everybody needs a superhero. When we were kids, we needed role models. As we grow up and face the harsh realities of adult life, superheroes remind us on our saddest days that there's still hope. We see courage, humor, empathy and humanity in them. We watch how they deal with loss, make tough decisions, how they grow, and how they realize "with great power comes great responsibility."

2018 seems to be a rather sad year. We've lost many great minds. Among them is Louis Cha, a renowned Chinese wuxia novelist and creator of oriental heroes. Should Cha and Lee hang out in heaven, I think these two would become good friends.

This article was published on the Global Times Metropolitan section Two Cents page, a space for reader submissions, including opinion, humor and satire. The ideas expressed are those of the author alone, and do not represent the position of the Global Times.


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