Jewish-Romanian comic book writer Stanley Martin Lieber aka Stan Lee, took over 70 years to create the first fully (East) Asian male superhero despite the fact that East Asians represent the largest so-called ethnic human group. This superhero will star in a new Chinese/Hollywood co-produced movie named “The Annihiliator,’ carded for 2014.
From the conceptual artwork (below), the characters will be stereotypical:
1. Martial artist;
2. Chinese characters tattooed on arm;
3. Dragon tattoo stretching from arm to face;
4. Golden dragon belt; all of which create the classic
5. Angry and violent Asian male stereotype.
Stan Lee created The Eurasian ‘yellow peril’ Mandarin in 1964. The Mandarin however, was an ethnic Mongolian-English and likewise a replica of the effeminate Fu Manchu. Other racist characters made by comic writers include the so-called yellow-peril bi-sexualized Fu Manchu and the Silver Samurai, a sneaky, pompous ninja who readily broke his own honour codes when fighting. There was also Sunfire whose purpose was to validate ethnic European genocidal bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Fu Manchu’s Eurasian son Shang-Chi was a martial artist and a master of Wushu. Presently, ‘The Mandarin’ will make an appearance in Iron Man 3 scheduled to be released May 2013.
Given Stan Lee’s previous racist African caricatures, it would not be surprising if he is only peddling his wares into the billion dollar Chinese market to enlarge his piggy bank. From the Los Angeles Times: Hero Complex website article: ‘Annihilator’: China’s next sizzle or another Stan Lee fizzle?
“This is going to be a typical superhero story and movie, just like Spider-Man and Iron Man, but instead of featuring an American hero it’s going to be a Chinese hero,” Lee said. “But it is not a movie specifically for China. This is a movie for the whole world… [with] a hero and other characters that we can understand, relate to, and care for, just as we always tried to do with other Marvel superheroes.”
Lee believes that a Chinese superhero could have been created as far back as a decade ago. “Perhaps we in America were just too busy creating our own heroes in our own country. Don’t misunderstand me. This movie is not an attempt to change the social mores of the world. This movie first and foremost is a thrilling superhero movie.”
Lee participated in the creation of one of the most notorious Chinese portrayals in the history of comics. The Mandarin first appeared February 1964 as the creation of Lee and artist Don Heck and, with heavy-lidded sneer, Charlie Chan diction and Fu Manchu mustache he was the potent combination of just about every nefarious stereotype imaginable for a Chinese villain.
Eric Mika, CEO of Magic Storm Entertainment, another player in the project, said this new Lee creation will be fun, upbeat and crowd-pleasing on both sides of the globe.”It will be a 100% Hollywood-China co-production,” he said, although he declined to say how much of the budget would be expected from any Hollywood studio that decides to invest. Mika said there was also lots of “soft money” from brands interested in being attached to “The Annhilator” — both Chinese brands wanting to go West and Western brands wanting to break into China.
Notice how Lee skirts the issue of why there were no Chinese superheroes by a supposed American inward hero-making process. This did not stop him from making The Mandarin who wanted world domination and had to battle American superheroes. I suspect if one were to dig into more of his work, even more racist characters would be found. If China is supposedly a new superpower, would it be paying a known anti-Asian racist for some cheap superhero validation?