44 Shang Chi – 尚志 (Shàngzhì)


simplified Chinese: 尚志; pinyin: Shàngzhì

Shang Chi

The 1970s saw the creation of the Marvel Comics superhero Shang-Chi by Jim Starlin and Steve Englehart. He is a well-known “Master of Kung Fu” and an accomplished martial artist. Chinese culture has been significantly influenced by Shang-Chi, both inside the comic book industry and outside of it. Shang Chi’s portrayal of Chinese identity has one of the biggest effects on Chinese culture. Chinese characters were scarce in American comic books at the time of his creation, and those that were there were frequently stereotyped or belittled. On the other hand, Shang-Chi was a fully developed Chinese character with a fascinating past and a distinctive set of skills. This portrayal opened the path for more complex depictions of Chinese characters in popular media and served to humanize Chinese characters in American comics. Shang Chi was made to be a hero who embodied the best aspects of Chinese tradition. He was portrayed as a martial arts expert who had a thorough grasp of these principles. He further underlined the significance of these principles in Chinese culture by giving his character a feeling of dignity and respect for tradition. Chinese popular culture has been impacted by Shang Chi’s success. Chi’s persona has appeared in a variety of media, such as movies, video games, and products. This exposure helped spread the superhero comics genre more broadly in China and helped Chinese consumers become more familiar with the character. More recently, the release of a live-action Shang-Chi film has generated significant excitement among Chinese audiences. The movie, which has a largely Asian cast and crew, and is seen as a huge improvement in the portrayal of Asians in Hollywood. Simu Liu, the star of the movie, has also spoken out about the value of diversity in media, saying that he hopes the movie will encourage a new generation of Asian kids to chase their dreams. This exposure helped spread the superhero comics genre more broadly in China and helped Chinese consumers become more familiar with the character. 

Shang-Chi is a notable figure in the history of comic books because of the way he represents Chinese identity and the way he influences how Chinese martial arts are portrayed in popular culture. Due to the character’s success, Chinese viewers are becoming more familiar with him, and the superhero comics genre as a whole is being promoted in China. Shang-Chi will probably continue to have an increasing influence on Chinese society for years to come, especially with the recent release of a live-action hit movie.


Shang-Chi in comic books and in movies

Shang Chi
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Browne, Kesewaa. “Why Asian Superhero Shang-Chi Could Truly Change the World.” BBC Culture, BBC, 24 Feb. 2022, https://www.bbc.com/culture/article/20210906-why-asian-superhero-shang-chi-could-truly-change-the-world.

Marston, George. “Shang-Chi and His Ten Rings – Their Marvel Comics History.” Gamesradar, GamesRadar+, 1 Dec. 2021, https://www.gamesradar.com/mcu-shang-chi-10-rings-comic-book-origins/.

“Shang-Chi in Comics Powers, Enemies, History: Marvel.” Marvel Entertainment, https://www.marvel.com/characters/shang-chi/in-comics.

Tsoi, Cristen. “How Marvel’s Shang-Chi Celebrates Chinese Culture on the Hollywood Stage.” Tatler Asia, 7 Sept. 2021, https://www.tatlerasia.com/lifestyle/entertainment/marvel-shang-chi-chinese-culture-traditions.




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