Eight years ago, V for Vendetta aired uncensored in China shocking individuals and raising hopes that state censorship might be eased. The film never aired in theaters. Now, the film has been pulled from the country.
The Taiwan News is reporting that the film has been removed from Chinese video platforms due to “anti-government themes.” Chatter on Chinese social media has risen about the fact the film has been pulled but many of the comments have themselves been deleted.
In 2012, V for Vendetta aired on Channel 6 of China Central Television, a channel considered a “Chinese Communist Party mouthpiece.”
The film’s iconic Guy Fawkes mask has become a symbol of defiance in protests worldwide and was used in recent protests that took place in Hong Kong.
V for Vendetta follows the mysterious V as he takes on a fascist totalitarian government that has cracked down on numerous freedoms and manipulate media to keep their absolute rule.
DC Comics has been teasing the upcoming The Dark Knight Returns: The Golden Child the latest chapter in Frank Miller‘s take on Batman. One image has apparently caused some issues.
Artwork by Rafael Grampá features Carrie Kelly as Batwoman throwing a Molotov cocktail with the text “The Future is Young.”
That imagery was seen as support to the Hong Kong protestors by some. Those angry took to the Chinese social media Weibo to voice their displeasure.
DC has deleted their posts featuring the image. This is the latest example of the “China” problem where major corporations bend to the will of the authoritarian nation. The NBA, Marvel Studios, and more have had to censure staff who have spoken out about in support of Hong Kong or in the case of Marvel Studios, change characters and add scenes.
We spoke about Trump’s trade war with China and the raising of tariffs to 25% of items from the country in our second episode of Graphic Policy Weekly. Tariffs are a way to “even out” the cost of foreign goods so they’re on par with domestic goods.
While President Trump claims that the foreign government pays the tariff, that’s incorrect. In reality the importer does and that cost is passed along to the consumer in the retail cost of the goods. It’s a tax on consumers.
Much of the comic, game, and toy industry’s production is in foreign countries, especially China, and thus this policy is directly impacting our hobbies.
John Fleskes has spoken out about the impact of the tariff on his company, Flesk Publications. Flesk Publications is a high end art book publisher of which many art books highlight the talents of comic artists. You can read his full post below.
As he points out, this policy also include Hong Kong where his books are printed. He has checked on working conditions, which he describes as “stellar,” and has verified that the paper and materials have been sourced in an environmentally and sustainable way. The facility is “clean” and a “professional environment.” This directly disputes the narrative of “slave labor” producing our goods.
As he describes in his post, this policy decision directly impacts his company making it go from a “good year” to a possible “negative year” and that hiring a new employee won’t happen and bonuses provided to employees won’t happen. Prices up books will also go up while production will be on hold for future books.
Read his full post below while another good read about the reality of book production can be found here.
We have been notified by our shipper today that by the end of June there will be an implementation of the 25% duty tax that will effect books manufactured and imported from China. This includes Hong Kong (where we have our printing done). At the moment, we have Ballpoint Beauties by Frank Cho, the new Terry Dodson sketchbook, Bombs Away, and the new Art of Gary Gianni for George R.R. Martin’s Seven Kingdoms in transit with an arrival date in the US port at the end of June. If our books arrived a week or two earlier, we would have avoided the duty tax. (Update: This is up in the air at the moment.) As a small publisher, this is how a sudden duty tax will affect us. We plan our book releases anywhere form 8-12 months in advance. At that time, we set our cover prices, then promote and advertise the book, as well as list it with our distributor. We sign contracts with the printer so that we can secure a quote, then they order the paper and place us into their production schedule. Unlike just about every other item you find in a store, the cover price is printed on books. So, if a publisher is hit with a sudden tax or unexpected expense, we can not adjust the cover price to compensate. The discounts with the distributor have already been negotiated. I cannot charge the distributors more to compensate. The duty tax comes straight out of our narrow profit margin. In essence, because of this duty tax, I am preparing for the following. Due to the direct loss to our profits: 1. We will not be able to hire the new employee that we planned in securing this summer. 2. We already signed our printer contract and set the pricing for Spectrum 26. Due to the duty tax, our profits for this book will be greatly reduced. Our 6 months of work on this title will break even, at most. 3. We will not be able to provide the bonuses that we normally provide to our employees. 4. Any funds that we planned on saving for the future are greatly compromised. 5. All of our plans for growth are on standby since we have no idea how this duty tax will be implemented. 6. All books in development are currently being produced, but are on hold as we learn how this will impact us further. 7. All book prices will go up to make up for the duty taxes. How much? We can’t tell yet. We are going from having a good year, to having a possible negative year due the trade wars. We need a full year notice if new duty taxes are going to be implemented. That would give us time to plan and make changes. Unfortunately, using printers in the US is not an option. They charge upwards of three times the costs, even after shipping, than China or Hong Kong printers do. Also, the facilities and printers who can print deluxe hardbound books simply do not exist in the US. It would take years for someone to invest in the creation of a premium US art book printer, and it would be a risk since if the duty tax was to be removed in the future it would put them out of business. Creating incentives for US companies to grow manufacturing here, instead of penalizing us for going outside of the US for manufacturing, would make more sense in my opinion. The infrastructure simply does not exist in the US for us to print here. We have no choice but to go overseas. This will be a tough year for us. We’ll get through it. We’re strong, yet we wish we didn’t have to be. I’m saddened though. Saddened that I can not take care of my family and employees like I had hoped this year. I’m saddened that much of the slim profits that we make will be taken away from us by a trade war. Publishing is my passion. Making books is my great love. Not even a duty tax will stop us, as much as it may try. But it will be one hell of a speed bump to drive over.
Marvel Entertainment has been making moves to expand their footprint in China. The company has announced they’re expanding their partnership with NetEase to do so. The companies will create original content including games, tv shows, and comics based on Marvel’s characters. The focus is the Chinese market and beyond.
In 2017, NetEase announced a deal with Marvel to develop a comic based on a Chinese superhero. In addition, they worked to release 12 comics online based on Spider-Man, Captain America, Guardians of the Galaxy, and more. This new deal is to create original content beyond the Chinese superhero.
NetEase is an entertainment and technology company in China with its hands in games, education, music, and ecommerce. Founded in 1997, the company operates PC and movile games, advertising, email, and e-commerce services in China. NetEase is the largest provider of free email services in China with more than 940 million users.
They’re the publisher of Blizzard’s World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Diablo III: Reaper of Souls, Overwatch, Hearthstone, and more in China. The company is currently working with Kabam to bring Marvel Contest of Champions to the Chinese market. They’ll also be launching the first official Pokemon game in China.
Marvel has made it a priority to expand their presence in Asia. In 2010, the publisher promoted C.B. Cebulski to Senior Vice President, Creator & Content Development of Marvel Entertainment with a focus on global expansion. During his time, the comic company worked on deals with Kodansha in Japan, webcomics platform Daum in Korea and content creator NetEase in China, bringing Marvel to Asian markets through localized stories and characters.
The comic company recently took Asian characters that debuted in the video game MARVEL Future Fight and debuted them as part of Marvel comic continuity in War of the Realms: New Agents of Atlas. Marvel Studios has been criticized for their willingness to bend to the will of China’s strict government including a special edit of Iron Man 3 for the country and speculation that Doctor Strange‘s Ancient One was changed so as to not anger Chinese censors which led to other protests. China’s market has become vital in today’s global business with their box office often making or breaking a films success.
For the first time that Pop Life Globaland China’s Imperial Palace are releasing this summer an amazing collaboration with DC Collectibles. These highly collectible figures include Batman, Superman, Robin, Deathstroke, Wonder Woman, Nightwing, Joker, Harley Quinn, Green Lantern, Green Arrow, The Flash, and Aquaman. The collectible products are just part of the “Creativity and Historical Culture” collection with a full range of collectibles, art toys, apparel, homewares, accessories and other inspired merchandise.
The collectible figures will launch in retail June 2019.
While experiencing their biggest year at the box office in China with feature films like Wonder Woman and Aquaman, the cast of characters from the DC Universe are fast becoming popular with fans.
These figures pay homage to the ancient Chinese warriors and soldier armors inspired by the museum collections from the Imperial Palace archives. The Imperial Palace, under the charge of the Palace Museum, is the palatial heart of China. Constructed in 1420 during the early Ming Dynasty, it is China’s best-preserved palace, and the largest ancient palatial structure in the world.
The weekend is almost here and we’ve got so much to do to rap up the year while hopefully dodging bad weather. What do you all have on tap? While you think about that and wait for the work day to end, here’s some news from around the web in our morning roundup.
Actress Bingbing Fan is one of the world’s highest paid actors and fans are worried about her as she hasn’t been seen in public since July 1 and generally gone silent on social media. The prolific user hasn’t been active on her account since July 23rd when she “liked” a number of posts.
In May, Fan was accused of tax evasion but she has denied any wrongdoing. The accusation includes signing secreat contracts known as “Yin-Yang” contracts. This allowed her to avoid paying taxes. Yin means dark and yang means light, so one contract is public and the other is not. Fan’s team called the accusation defamation and the reporter later apologized.
What is also concerning is censorship by the Chinese government concerning her. In June, Chinese authorities issued guidelines calling on state media to not report on these contracts or tax issues concerning the entertainment industry.
In late July, it was reported by independent Chinese newspaper The Economic Observer that police in Jiangsu province were examining Fan’s financial case, and some of her staff were also under police investiaction. It was reported that Fan, and her brother, were barred from leaving the country. After publication, that report was taken offline.
Posts about Fan’s whereabouts were also censored from social media. Comments expressing support and concern by supporters and fans have been deleted.
The Chinese government routinely censors the internet blocking sites and keywords that “threaten” the “public order.”
Fan was Wu Jiaqi in the Chinese version of Iron Man 3 and played Blink in X-Men: Days of Future Past among her 53 credits.
The weekend is almost here and we’ve got a new geeky film hitting theaters! Who’s going to see Solo: A Star Wars Story? Or Deadpool 2? Or Infinity War? It’s a great time to be a geek. While you wait for the day to wind down and the weekend begin, here’s some comic news from around the web in our morning roundup.
Doctor Strange opens this weekend and the film has been criticized for changing the location of Doctor Strange’s training grounds from Tibet to Nepal and the casting of Tilda Swinton in the role of the Ancient One (a character that’s been traditionally Asian) in a reported business move to not offend China and increase chances the film would be released in their theaters.
Doctor Strange scriptwriter C Robert Cargillappeared on YouTube podcast Double Toasted where he described the no win situation of the casting in April confirming the speculation.
Marvel has been making moves into China when it comes to their films and comics, adding footage and casting in Iron Man 3 (which also received some Chinese funding) in hopes of the film playing better in the nation and sending permanent staff to the country too. They are clearly thinking of the country in their business plan, and as such wouldn’t want to do anything to risk angering what is a major market.
Marvel’s films have generally played in the country but Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger did not. As you can see from the graph below, the percent of earnings to the total, foreign, and compared to domestic have generally increased over the years.