Iron Fist or Ham-Fist?

A dramatization based on Marvel’s Iron Fist took a long time coming. The comics themselves which began in the 1970s only came into being with the craze for kungfu films in the US at the time, and even with its blatant cultural appropriation and lumping together of all non-white cultures, it was a beacon as a Western comic with a semblance of diversity. The Fraction/Brubaker series in the 90s paid its dues to diversity, nodding to a long line of warriors from different backgrounds, who held the title of Iron Fist, though still representing in quite stereotypical terms the nation the culture of which it owed so much of its world building.

In the 21st century, with the popularity of superheroes TV series, and the success of the “Daredevil” and “Luke Cage”, many have been anticipating one on the warrior of K’un-Lun, and there has been calling from fans and celebrities alike for an Asian casting of its protagonist Danny Rand. The series had been delayed, due to creative debate on the on-screen depiction of the hero’s fiery powers. At last, it was released on Netflix on the 17th of March, and I watched through it all in one go to bring you a continuous commentary on social media. Owing to the positive response I’ve received, here’s a write up of the various themes and points of interest that have come to light.


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An Iron Hero Without Irony

When Netflix announced the collection of Marvel heroes it would be bringing the small screen, I was overjoyed to see Iron Fist amongst them, but with Daredevil now in its second series, and Luke Cage’s stand-alone show being slated as the next in the pipeline, I’m beginning to wonder what sort of a show we’ll end up with.


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The History of Comics in China: Part 1

The roots of comics and cartoons have been in satire throughout the world, and China was no different. 漫画, Manhua, existed as early as the Eastern Han era, where a stone carving had been found in Shandong (author unknown), caricaturing the despotic Xia Jie. During the Five Dynasties period (10th century), the artist Shi Ke’s paintings satirized cruel aristocracy who exploited the poor, in works such as the “Bai Gui Xi Tu” (Frolicking of a Hundred Demons).


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Mulan: Revelations

I was delighted when Dark Horse got in touch with me about the upcoming title “Mulan: Revelations”. Unfortunately, as this was back in the middle of convention season, I couldn’t write about it immediatey, and it was only when I saw the title on the shelves at my local comic store, that I received the kick to actually get the review up.


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The Shadow Hero

Whilst one of the remits of this site, and my goal is to translate and promote first time or struggling Chinese writers and artist, I was so impressed by Gene Luen Yang ‘s “The Shadow Hero”, that I couldn’t help writing a short review.


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A Recapitulation of LonCon3

Having worked and attended a select handful of “Geek” events, I was hugely excited as I headed to LonCon3, this year’s WorldCon host. Before I begin, I want to say the biggest Thank You to Kate Nepveu, and her excellent “Con or Bust” project, any spare money I have goes to promoting Chinese culture, and without the project, I would have been unable to attend.


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Chinese Marvel Super Heros and Super Villains

2013 saw Stan Lee in China for the creation of his Annihilator, the Marvel Chinese super hero movie currently in production and scheduled for release next year. This year we’ve seen a very cool new Chinese mutant, Blink, introduced in X-Men: Days of Future Past. I thought this would be a good time to take a look at some existing Chinese super heroes and villains in the Marvel universe.


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Masterpieces of Chinese Painting 700-1900

This last season, London’s theatres, galleries and museums have rolled out a fantastically full programme of exhibitions and plays on China and its culture. Many of those I have reviewed for other publications, but have yet to post anything here. A few of them continue into 2014, but if, in these few days between Christmas and New Year, you have time to visit the V&A, you can still catch “Masterpieces of Chinese Painting 700-1900”


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Orange You Glad the Mandarin Isn’t Chinese

Iron Man 3 came out in the UK a month ago, and watching it, a few things came to mind. I’ve waited this long so this article will not be seen as spoilers, but if you still haven’t watched it, Iron Man 3’s Mandarin….


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