A Chinese Superman now in the making

Updated: 2011-07-21 11:03

By Eric Jou (China Daily)

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In the not so distant future, a dark brooding figure could be looking over Shanghai's World Financial Center, ever vigilant, to protect the people.

But this masked hero won't be Batman; he won't even be American, he will be Chinese.

Or, at least, that is the plan, according to Magic Storm Entertainment, a film financing company recently formed by a partnership between Hong Kong's Ricco Holdings and the United States' Pow! Entertainment.

Pow! Entertainment, founded by legendary comic book hero creator Stan Lee, hopes to introduce the superhero genre to China, through Magic Storm Entertainment. Lee is most famous for co-creating some of the world's best-known heroes including Spiderman, X-Men and the Incredible Hulk.

Magic Storm Entertainment CEO Eric Mika says the idea is to create entertainment projects that Asian audiences can identify with. According to Mika, the ultimate goal is to make a film that can relate to Chinese and Asian audiences while also retaining a Hollywood appeal.

"Asians, not just Chinese, find it very difficult to relate to an American film, because what Hollywood usually does is to project an American view of the world, and certainly in China, we project a China image that Americans think is China," Mika says. "There have been so many Hollywood films that are set in China but there's no identification with the audience."

While the goal is to create a Hollywood-style movie that appeals to a Chinese audience, the superhero genre may prove to be the hardest part of the endeavor as the concept of super human beings fighting crime and saving the world is not quite to Chinese tastes.

Professor Wu Guanying of Tsinghua University's Academy of Arts and Design, says Chinese heroes are more human and the kind that audiences here can identify with because of cultural ties. Wu says that heroes of Western movies appear to lack a certain depth when compared to Chinese martial art heroes.

"Chinese audiences have culturally different tastes from Western audiences," Wu says. "Western superheroes aren't very human and leave a disconnect with the viewers."

Wu, who designed the 2008 Beijing Summer Paralympics mascot Fu Niu Lele, and was one of the designers behind the 2008 Summer Olympics Fuwa mascots, says that if he were to design a Chinese superhero he would have him embody the characteristics Chinese people value, such as being just and friendly.

However, Wu is also quick to point out that, "Younger audiences in China have grown up in a global world, and are not afraid to explore the unfamiliar".

Liu Jiagang, an interactive multimedia designer, who grew up on a steady diet of comics and Superman, Batman movies, is eager to find out if a Chinese super hero movie will match up.

"I'm afraid they might just repackage a foreign story in a Chinese shell," Liu says. "If they can do it well like the Batman movies (Batman Begins and The Dark Knight), I would happily watch it."

He is most excited about Stan Lee's involvement in the Magic Storm project.

Unfortunately, no other details are forthcoming. Pow! Entertainment will only say the live-action movie is set in contemporary times and Stan Lee could not be reached for comment.


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