Marvel is spinning two new titles out of the just wrapped War of the Realms, giving heroes like Aero and Sword Master their own time in the spotlight. Both characters made bit impressions in War of the Realms: Agents of Atlas and Marvel is putting the international heroes front and center. ComicBook.com had the chance to speak to Marvel Comics editor in chief C.B. Cebulski and Marvel Comics senior editor Mark Paniccia all about their big debuts, including their journey from Netease to the Marvel Universe, a journey that was always the plan from the beginning.
"Yes. While these characters weren’t created by Western talent, they were indeed created in the Marvel Universe and it was always the plan to have them interacting with other Marvel characters, both iconic and new," Paniccia said. "And it was very important for us to have Chinese creators working on them and bringing a cultural authenticity that cannot be done otherwise."
"Yes, totally! When we started working with Netease and the creators on these comics, we knew any character we developed was being done so as part of the main Marvel Universe," Cebulski said. "The stories were brainstormed, the characters were created, and the comics were written and drawn the same as any other comics in our line is; the physical production may have happened in China, but both series were run out of the editorial offices in NYC. And we knew right from the beginning that Marvel heroes would be visiting Aero and Sword Master in China, and that they’d be popping up in the mainstream Marvel stories here, like War of the Realms."
These characters weren't created initially in the comics, but as we've seen with other characters, they eventually find a way into the comics at some point or another.
"It’s a very organic process, depending on who the partner and/or creators are," Cebulski said. "And the medium, as we have created characters in anime or games before that have popped up in our monthly comics. But no matter where the idea comes from, the most important part of the process is finding a creative team who understands the core of who and what the Marvel characters are and can build new heroes, and theirs alter egos, with the traits, attributes and values our readers expect, while also making them unique and bringing a part of their culture to them."
The Aero series will tell the origin of the new Shanghainese hero created by Zhou Liefen and Keng but will also feature the new Filipina hero Wave in a story by Greg Pak. You can check out a preview of the issue in the images above and below.
Meanwhile Sword Master will reveal the origin of Lin Lie and that deadly magic sword in an English language version of the original story by Shuizhu and Gunji. The new Chinese hero will be teaming up with Shang-Chi in a new adventure as well (also by Pak), and while the new heroes may be recent additions to the Marvel roster, both Cebulski and Paniccia already love them.
"I love their authenticity. I love that they are genuinely creations of talent local to their geography and it’s amazing to see Marvel’s influence in other parts of the world," Paniccia said. "They’re both so different, too. While Aero has a whimsical air to her, the story has a dark tone to it. The stakes are high and the villains are devious."
"With Sword Master, there are demons and mysticism and evil gods at work but it has a playful tone and there are great comical bits," Paniccia said. "These characters are surprisingly appealing and they interact well with the rest of the Marvel Universe. I hope fans pick them up and dig them as much as we do."
"I love watching Marvel continue to expand globally, both in our fanbase and creative circles," Cebulski said. "Working to bring Aero and Sword Master to life was not about bringing Marvel characters to China, but about making China a bigger part of the Marvel Universe. And these Chinese characters are just the beginning… Marvel readers will soon see a growing number of international heroes introduced by local creators from numerous countries in the coming year."0comments
You can check out a preview of Sword Master #1 in the images above.