Funnybook Babylon

July 15, 2010

FBBP #127 – Kanye + Kim Jong-Il = The Mandarin

Filed under: Podcasts — Tags: , , , — Chris Eckert @ 6:18 pm

This week, the gang reads <i>Invincible Iron Man Annual</i> #1  by Matt Fraction and Carmine DiGiandomenic! It features Fraction’s “autobio comix” take on stalwart Iron Man villain The Mandarin, borrowing from both Kim Jong-Il’s kidnapping of Shin Sang-ok and, more cryptically, Fraction’s MK12 work alongside Kanye West on Common’s “Go” video.

IIM Annual #1 was also Marvel’s first day-and-date digital release, so we take a look at that, which devolves into an argument about marginal value and price points. Maybe we were all coming off World Cup Fever, but it gets feisty.


  1. I think comics have taken the same hit in recent years with profitability compared to when they were huge could also be in part to the expanded forms of entertainment that have exploded since the early 90s. Like for example video games, which have taken huge hits out of every other entertainment mediums business.

    Comment by Rick — July 16, 2010 @ 2:00 pm

  2. I was listening to your show last night, and I realized that Iron Man is the perfect hero for China. Do you know what the colors of the Chinese flag are? Same as Iron Man’s: red and yellow. Also, the Chinese government is crazy about investing in science and technology. And the Chinese ideal now is that of the entrepreneur, who gets rich through his/her own hard work, and is, at the same time, patriotic. Tony Stark, as a super rich scientist/businessman with a record of helping his nation’s military is perfect for China.

    If you watch the holiday celebrations and state propaganda (one branch of the Chinese military (PLA) is specifically devoted to performing propaganda songs and dances), you will see the military and the Party venerated, without the emphasis on revolution or poor people that was prevalent before the 80’s.

    What you won’t see, is any kind of veneration of traditional values, like those of Imperial China, or belief in mysticism. The Mandarin villain seems like just a vehicle for anti-Asian stereotypes, and in this story, he seemed like a stand in for the amorphous dictatorship that Americans recognize from the last few decades of cold war propaganda. The director has to stand up to his lies, even if it means death. Freedom of speech is necessary, and the art of cinema is a tool against Tyranny.

    The Mandarin in this story is somewhat like the China Rising myth prevalent in the last fifteen years or so. He is dangerously powerful, but unworthy of his power, and inferior in character to his American enemy. Also, this story calls on The People, in the form of the director and the film crew, to rise up against the Tyrant, in the name of free speech and/or truth in biopics.

    Comment by darren taylor — July 21, 2010 @ 1:59 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Powered by WordPress