Aero and Lin Lie are just two of a batch of Chinese characters making their debut in graphic novels last week. Co-authored by Marvel and NetEase, one of China's biggest online comic platforms, they are日常英语
a clear push by Marvel to attract more fans across the lucrative Chinese market. We may even see them interacting with Marvel heroes like Hulk and Iron Man.
Lin Lie is the main protagonist in one of the new comics, which loosely translates as Warriors of Three Sovereigns. The story revolves around the 18-year-old boy who picks up an ancient sword to fight against Chiyou - a reincarnated villain intent on destroying mankind. The second comic, which translates to Cyclone, features Aero also known as Lei Ling - she's an architect by day, who happens to be able to control air currents. By night, she uses her superpowers to save her city from various villains.
There's no official confirmation, but if you look closely there's an Easter egg in the first issue of the Warriors of Three Sovereigns - a picture of Iron Man's mask can be seen in Lin Lie's room.
Marvel first announced last year that it would be working with NetEase - one of China's biggest gaming and tech companies - to create its first ever Chinese superheroes. Marvel Comics Editor-in-Chief CB Cebulski had then said to AFP that the superheroes would be "heavily based on Chinese culture and mythology, but set in the modern world". But it isn't just the superheroes that are Chinese. Artists and story writers from China were also heavily involved in bringing the creation to life.
漫威于去年首次发声会和网易合作创作其史上第一个中国超级英雄。漫威漫画的总编辑CB Cebulski后来告诉AFP说这些超级英雄会“重点建立在中国的文化和神话传说的基础上，但是时间背景会在现代”。但不仅仅这些超级英雄是中国人，创作漫画的画师和故事作者也是中国人。这次合作在经济上非常合理，因为漫威在中国有着巨大的粉丝基础。“这样可以帮助漫威开拓更大的中国市场，”经济学人企业网络的主管Robert Keopp告诉BBC说。“迪士尼一定认为中国市场还有很大的潜力可以开发。”在新浪微博上，漫威的账号拥有超过350万粉丝。
Pretty good. Warriors of Three Sovereigns has already been read more than two million times since its release. Cyclone just in at just under 750,000 on NetEase. "We finally have Chinese superheroes," said one commenter on NetEase. "We've made it." "Maybe one day they'll be able to fight alongside The Avengers," another added. For now, the comics are only available in Chinese and on NetEase's Comics website - the online comic platform, which already hosts other Marvel comics including Captain America and Spiderman. According to a statement by NetEase, the characters are meant to appeal to more than just a Chinese audience, with the company saying it hoped they would "promote the diversity of the Marvel universe."