Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by E. Burke, Jan 17, 2015.
I'm sorry. What do you mean by that?
The situation in which the guy got from the outside looks suspicious
I've only seen the first few episodes of the original 1979 anime, but was the Federation-Zeon conflict shown in such a grey-grey situation in the original series.
In a word? Nope.
It was mostly black and gray, and that was how I intended it to come off. The Earth Federation was flawed but it didn't justify what the Principality did in either incarnation. But in sequel series they trended towards darker shades of gray; but the heroes were always pretty noble bright in spite of it
Guess where I got the inspiration for this
The Spirit of CompassionThe Golden Age (1941-1956)
Wonder Woman was the brainchild of three people: Dr. William Moulton Marston, his wife Elizabeth Halloway, and their mutual lover Olive Byrne. Dr. Marston , a Harvard educated psychologist, was most famous at the time for his development of the systolic blood pressure test, a key component of the lie detector. Elizabeth Marston (nee Holloway), an attorney and psychologist, was the one who gave the first suggestions to Marston about that test (though she would go uncredited in its creation). Her position as a career minded woman stood against the rampant discrimination of the era. Olive Byrne, one of Marston's former students, was the niece of Planned Parenthood founder Maragret Sanger. As implied, he had a polymorous relationship with Elizabeth and Olive. As controverisal as his lifestyle was his own theories on gender. He saw woman as a generally superior gender, and once unbound by the chains of domescity, would come to take their place as rulers. He saw the arrival of socialism in America as the precursor to such an event, and his unconventional family life became more common. His work garnered a minor cult following.
In 1940, Byrne published an interview with Marston, where he extolled the potential value of the comic book medium. This got the attention of Maxwell C. Gaines, the comic publisher behind Red and Black Publications. He offered Marston to join the collective, as an educational consultant. Given the overwhelmingly male superheroes of the era, Elizabeth recommended making a female hero. Marston, Elizabeth, and Olive then proceeded to conceive the elements of this new female hero. Named "Suprema", she would come from an island with only females. These are the legendary Amazons of Greek myth, who fled the world of men, and isolated themselves to an island (called " Paradise Island" or "Atlantis" in early stories, due to the popularity of Atlantis in the late 30's), where they forbid contact with the outside world. They formed a quasi-socialist society in this exile, but still retaining their warrior mentality. Suprema was the daughter of Queen Hippolyta, and while walking in the forest one day, witnesses a plane crash. She manages to rescue and heal the pilot. The pilot is introduced as Red Air Force pilot Steve Trevor, who had fallen off course, and landed on the island. The Amazons learn of the threat of the Fascists to the East (who they see as the ultimate representation of masculine supremacy that had caused their exile), and decided that an emissary would be sent to help combat this threat, and a competition would be held to find this emissary. Suprema, having fallen in love with Trevor, sneaks into the competition, and wins, ultimately gaining her mother's permission to head to the world of men, and fight the ubermasculine threat in the East. She is given a new costume to cement this status. She had super-strength, healing, and some psychic/ESP abilities. She was armed with the Lasso of Truth, which compelled men to tell the truth (obviously inspired by Marston's previous work). She also used an invisible plane (since she couldn't fly).
"Suprema" was renamed "Wonder Woman", and debuted in All-Star Comics #8. The story was drawn by Harry G. Peters, who had drawn editoral cartoons in support of the suffragettes during the 1910's. Her debut was a massive success, and she became a regular of the book. Marston used the book not only to indulge his love of Greek mythology, but as an outlet for his own interests. In particular, his ideas about the "new woman" (who combines strength with strong compassion), and his interest in bondage and submission. Indeed, bondage-esque imagery became a common motif in her stories, and her main weakness was the chaining of her hands together, . Along with this was an implicit lesbian undertone, which had been noted by later critics as a likely reflection of two of her authors. While Wonder Woman (now in the guise of a Home Militiaman named Diana Prince) did have romantic tension with Steve Trevor, she had some close interactions with her entourage, the all-female militia group called the "Halliday Girls". More explicitly, she became a complete aversion of the "dimsel in distress" trope, often freeing herself from the bounds of her enemies, or saving Steve Trevor when he bungles missions.
Diana joined the "Justice Society", with characters from other companies in 1942. However, she rarely appeared, primarily because of Marston's desire to keep her in her own adventures, and not have to focus on her adventures with the society. Her books obviously became popular with the all-female squadrons serving in World War II, and some stories had her occasionally meet and help out some of these squadrons during their missions. A comic strip was published between 1944 and 1946.
After the war, Marston continued to write the character until his death in 1947. From then on, Elizabeth and Olive carried on writing the character, with the help of the comic strip writer Joye Hummel. This corresponded with Gaines' retirement from the R&B that same year, and the handing of the reigns to his son Bill. By that point, R&B had dropped most of their heroes due to lack of interest, and, after a brief period of educational books like "Picture Stories from Socialism", had begun the "New Direction" books, oriented towards horror/crime/science fiction, which would define its early 50's. Still, Wonder Woman managed to stick around for longer due to her popularity amongst women. Holloway and Byrne were largely left alone by R&B, and they continued the implicit themes of bondage and lesbianism, as well as carry on the feminist spirit of the book. Diana became a government agent after the war, dealing with the new threat of their former allies the Franco-British Union, and the atomic bomb. This would also see her encouraging women in developing nations to unionize and fight against
The Silver Age (1956-1973)
The Silver Age was initiated almost singlehandedly by R&B, thanks to two events. The reintroduction of the Flash in 1956, setting off a new Superhero trend, and the absorption of the properties and talent of the now dissolved "Red Circle Comics" (due to the arrest of founder Martin Goodman for hitherto secret support for the NSF during the Civil War) in 1957. Within two years, thanks to the influence of the Red Circle newcomers (particularly newly elected head writer Stan Lee), the collective renamed itself "The Marvel Comics Group".
At the same time, Wonder Woman's feminist stance only increased, with the Second Wave Feminism of the Second Cultural Revolution. Holloway and Byrne helped bring this spirit to the comics industry, by helping newcomers break into the industry, including working on the famed LGBT/Romance anthology book Love and the Forest.  This also began to trickle into the Wonder Woman books, with the previously subtle hints of Lesbianism more explicit, with a slightly revamped origin story, which instead saw a female Air Force pilot Sarah Trevors land on Paradise Island, and prompt Wonder Woman off the island, due to her tellings of the world of men and its crimes again.
Otherwise, her backstory was changed comparatively little. The World War II setting was kept, with the explanation that she had aged slower due to the time dilation in Paradise Island. In fact, as part of the Red Circle integration, she is revealed to have fought with the first Captain America and his team during the war, as well as with new character Commander Nick Fury. However, she began to interact more with the new characters appearing both from the revamped R&B characters and the new Marvel characters. She teamed up with the new Captain America and the new Green Lantern shortly after their first appearances. She was also a founding member of the "Justice League of Avengers", the premiere team of the Marvel Universe. (However, it was revealed that the original Golden Age Wonder Woman existed on another world, along with the original Golden Age incarnations of various characters, on a separate universe.)This also began her official affiliation with SHIELD, and the world-spanning adventures she would go on.
During the late 60's, Holloway and Byrne slowly reduced their duties (while still hold a strong stake in the character and Marvel), and other writers took the character on. Writers like Darlene Strong* and Gloria Steinem began to explore deeper themes of gender relations and the continuing problems females had to face, despite the progressive laws that had been passed since the Revolution.
Bronze Age (1973-1985)
Diana eventually formed her own all-female group during the Bronze Age, called the "Riveters", consisting of, among others, Wildcat (Patsy Walker), Atomica (Jennifer Loring), and Carol Strange. The formation of this female led team coincided with the passing of the torch from Sam Wilson to Sharon Carter. Diana also meet her Golden Age counterpart in a famous issue "Amazons of Two Worlds". Here it is learned that she would eventually marry Steve Rogers, but is experiencing disillusionment during the 70's, seeing her love slow age, while she remains the same age. The mainline character also began to fight mythological creatures with Thor, including demons from other pantheons. In a critically acclaimed story from 1976, she would come face to face with the man who caused the Amazon's original exile, Hercules. Hercules, in an extension of the themes of the Golden Age, has now become increasingly fascist in outlook and his desire to "dominate", and he tries to re-enslave the Amazons. Diana and her fellow Amazons fight in an extensive battle, eventually winning out (Hercules would become a recurring villain.)
Aside from the comics, she also made a splash on television. A three season television series was produced between 1975-1978, starring Alice Dorsey*, a former military commissar turned actress, in the lead role. The series largely took place in a WWII setting, emulating the stories of the Golden Age, though with the Silver Age revisions. It was part of the trifecta of Marvel based television series, along with The Atom and Captain America, and would be cited as an example of 70's action television.
As a side effect of the series, a Captain America and Wonder Woman team-up book was made, spinning off from a single story in The Brave and the Bold. Said series ran from 1977-1982. She also was one of the Marvel heroes participating in the Waververse crossover.
The International Age (1985-2000)
Her first contribution to the International Age of Comics is her participation in the Marvel crossover event Cosmic Champions. The tradition of Wonder Woman having mostly female writers continued with former Hammer and Sickle writer Natalya Samorova. The new writer ultimately deemphasized her government work, in favor of exploring her origins in more detail (her life on Themiscyra, the circumstances of her creation from clay, the adventure of her mother Hippolyta), her interaction with the Greco-Roman Panthenon (a new villain emerged in the form of Ares, the god of war) and having her encounter more mythological beings. She would partner with the likes of Thor, Krishna, and Horus. She also made a slight modification, in that she would be the emissary to the outside world.
In 1989, with the success of the Spider-Man and Flash animated series, a new Wonder Woman series was commissioned. Taking the sleek, anime and Soviet inspired style common of the era, it largely derives from the comics of the era, exploring the politics of Themiscyra, and the various Greco-Roman monsters she fights. She would have crossover appearances in the other two series. This version of the character would also make an appearance on the "Justice League" TV series produced in 1995. The series would be praised for its mature writing, themes of female empowerment, and especially its more nuanced look into the Second World War.
A notable series in the 90's was the popular "What If" series, which explored the alternate fate of many characters. Wonder Woman would star in a number of these. One obviously looked at if she never left Paradise Island. Another looked if she had been coaxed out by FBU, and becomes their lead hero.
Modern Age (2000-)
The 2000's saw a revival of both the "Riveters," and the Cap team-up books. It also saw her team-up with an alternate version of her and the Justice Society in a world where the Britain fell to Fascism, resulting in a prolonged war between the forces of communism and fascism, in an acclaimed 8 issue story. It also saw Tales of Paradise Island, which sees the other Amazons slowly integrate back into the outer world.
She would make an appearance in the JLA animated series (unrelated to the previously mentioned Justice League series), and also in video games, like Marvel Universe series.
Wonder Woman continues to follow Marston's vision, showing a vision of female empowerment, and battling for the rights of other women over the decades. She became a symbol of the feminism of the Second Cultural Revolution and the continuing fight for women's rights all over the world
 This was the actual reason that she started as the secretary to the Justice Society OTL, not the era's sexism.
 Thank you, @Nevermore .
 Also, thank you to @migolito .
 Since I renamed the Hulk "the Atom", the name merges She-Hulk (Jennifer Walters) and the OTL Atom's love interest (Jean Loring)
 TTL's Secret Wars
Whoo, that took me a while (about 5 days). Anyway, I have plans to tell the story of the strangest bank heist in UASR history and the story of Futurist society founder Shinoru Miyaka.
On my way to work or I'd take time to digest this better. Quick thought though--rather than advancing the basic concept of lesbianism in the character of WW/Suprema/Diana Prince herself, I'd think the greater openness of the ATL would allow the authors to leapfrog into more problematic issues of bisexual polyamory. The Island itself is a bastion of lesbian separatism, and the ATL allows the authors to be very explicit about this--Queen Hippolyta herself (precisely because in myth she is only imperfectly lesbian) and a faction on the island can stand for a hard line separatism and the doctrines of the irredeemable worthlessness of men, and scheme to keep Suprema (and other Amazons born on the island, who did not experience the historic reasons for the committed separatism of the island's founding colonizers--I assume they are practically immortal, that the founders from Classical times are still alive and running the show) innocent on the island. But Suprema herself reacts to Trevor (the male version) with interest and curiosity and part of her motive is to get into the wider world and see for herself. I'm drawing from the 1970s first season TV show here of course; I imagine her reaction is not unlike in the new movie (Which I just saw this past weekend, and like with some reservations)--she knows enough not to be foolish. So when she operates in the wider world, she is interested in relationships, of varying types, with men--but also women of course! Hence the complications. All sorts of aspects of the politics, pragmatics and ethics of polyamory across gender lines can be explored, from many points of view--including perhaps issues Steve Trevor must confront--as a revolutionary American, on paper he is on board with openness, but in fact he retains some incorrect attitudes from the bourgeois mindset. It is an opportunity for women to expose and discuss the double standards that no doubt persisted even among committed comrades in the revolutionary age. Relative to OTL they are precociously progressive, but there is still ample room for much of the material that powered the "Women's Lib" wave of OTL I'd think. WW comics give many opportunities to tackle these conflicts from many angles. Meanwhile back on the Island, we have a separatist counterculture--that can be both criticized and defended, from various shifting points of view. Hippolyte's own back story can be unpacked--as can the status of a theocratic monarchy allied with a revolutionary people's democracy of course!
What WW snuck under the radar OTL was pretty potent stuff. I'd love to see it taken to the next level.
I also have a bit of a fantasy plot line in the War context in my head, of some sort of team-up of Diana Prince, the young Grace Hopper, and Hedy Lamarr, who OTL developed a sort of scramble-coded communication system for guided missiles in her spare time.
From the Daily Sport Article Trainwreck: The Unauthorized, Uncensored History of the 2006 World Cup
It never should have been Turkey and Kurdistan. There was only one reason it was- FIFA was under pressure to hold a tournament in the Comintern and the 3rd World. They could easily have chosen either of those, East Germany and India were both more than capable of such an event. But FIFA wanted to have it both ways, so two countries utterly incapable of hosting an event had their terrible application accepted without a second look.
The teams were also godawful. Argentina had been banned for playing a 25-year-old in an 18-and-under tournament. The Brazilian team that had won four years before was aging and dull. The Spainish missed out do to an absurd string of errors in the qualifier. The Soviets were playing their typical strain of dour football. The West Germans were exhausted after a particularly exciting and competitive Bundesliga... [chapter goes on to describe a series of pratfalls in stadiums and accommodations.
Group 1- Istanbul
Believe it or not, some were excited about the tournament as it kicked off in Istanbul. Turkey and Hungary were both teams on the up. Any joy, however, was crushed during the first match. It was a dull, plodding affair, with egregious Turkish penalties going ignored. Fistfights abounded in the stands, as fans bellowed various obscenities and obscure references to 19th century battles at each other (anyone who says the Comintern is free of our xenophobic nationalism should attend a soccer game once in a while). The Istanbul police (one of the more competent municipal authorities at this tournament) were overwhelmed. The second game was little better, as an angry Hungarian team joylessly thrashed Uruguay. The third game ended with an onside Uruguayan goal disallowed because of striker Luis Suarez's biting of a Turkish defender, causing the eliminated Uruguayan fans to storm the pitch.
Group 2- Raqqa
What can be said? The Froggies showboated. The Kurdistanis were an embarrassment in front of their home fans. A sewage main burst, leading the stadium to reek of shit for the entire tournament.
Group 3- Ankara
This was supposed to be the Group of Death, with Mexico, Yugoslavia, and West Germany all candidates to go deep in the tournament. Instead, it was dull and mediocre, with three exhausted teams trying to avoid humiliation. Finally, Yugoslavia put an end to it, when Oswaldo Sanchez let in a soft shot from Darijo Srna.
The Man from Artic Cola (1999)
Directed by Jaylin Arthurson
Written by Mandeep Jayanti Chaudhri, Kadar Khan
Produced by Lina Chaudri
Based on The Cola Wars by Nur Acciaio, The Man from Artic Cola is a romantic comedy/action film starring Shah Rukh Khan, Kadar Khan, Anupam Kher, Johnny Lever and Rani Mukerji. It is one of the most popular movies of Hindi cinema and has become a classic on television movie channels. Critics have called the movie a two hour long commercial for Artic Cola and that the firm is portrayed in a very positive light.
Surya Chaudhary (Shah Rukh Khan) is a minor executive in Artic Cola who is dispatched to the village of Tejpur after a local bottling company (Maharaja Cola) has started to sell its own carbonated drink under the name of Tingle!. What would have been a minor competitor has become massively popular in the state and Surya is told to win the local company back by any means available. Faced with his reputation and career on the line he arrives at the village but decides to hide his identity in order to gather information. He discovers that Maharaja Cola is owned by Anup Neela Kulkarni (Kader Khan) but that the day to day operations are actually run by his only daughter Durga (Rani Mukerji), who is responsible for the massive success of the company. Surya is hired by Anup as an assistant after he saves him from a kidnapping attempt. While working for Anup Surya discovers the company has been under assault by an underworld gang led by Ajay Kumar (Anupam Kher) who wants to use the distribution network and property for various illegal rackets.
Surya becomes like a second son for Anup who along with another assistant Rajinder (Johnny Lever) pledge to defend the company and the village. Anup also believes Surya is a good match for Durga since he can withstand her temper and treats her as an equal. Ajay Kumar discovers Surya's true identity and offers to help him 'win back' the company in return for his silence which he refuses. Surya and Rajinder, along with the local villagers assist the police in discovering and shutting down the Kumar's illegal rackets in the state but he remains at large. Durga falls in love with Surya and Anup announces a large wedding to be attended by the community. While at the wedding Ajay seizes the public address system from the musicians and tells the assembled crowd of Surya's identity and reasons he is here and then attempts to shoot Anup. Rajinder jumps in the path of the bullet and is wounded and Ajay is captured by the police. Durga is angry with Surya for lying to her but Anup announces that he knew the real identity of Surya the whole time. Knowing that Artic Cola would send someone to negotiate with him he had Surya followed by Rajinder when he arrived, the kidnapping attempt gave Anup an opportunity to watch Surya and figure out his intentions. Seeing that Surya is a good and honest executive and he says would be willing to renegotiate with Artic Cola. Surya pledges that he will use his influence to prevent conflict between the two companies and he will even leave Artic Cola to be with Durga.
The movie ends with both Rajinder and Surya/Durga marrying and shows several billboards of a new partnership between Artic Cola/Maharaja Cola now selling Tingle! across the country.
The Director, Writer, and Producer are fictional but all the actors are real.
Just so you all know, Avenge Ulster is very happy right now.
So I havent done any peices in a while, and I had a thought that I wanted to expand upon. But since I'm busy with my wedding week, I'll just do it in a fake AH thread. This is mainly to flesh put some more UASR Military culture, but if anyone wants to add anything to this, I don't care.
AH.Com Thread: Make Way For The Premier's Guard
The Wind Howls (1971)
Directed by Vladimir Chebotaryov
12 year old Anya lives in a small village on the Russian-Ukrainian border, in the last days of the Second World War. Her village had suffered severe damage during the Nazi invasion, and is still in the process of rebuilding. Her mother is still traumatized by something that had happened during the invasion, while her father tries to catalogue the damage caused in the surrounding forests. Anya often travels with her father into the forest, and her father teaches her about nature.
One day, a mobile cinema comes to town, and the villagers come around to watch. The film shown is the 1931 adaptation of Frankenstein. Anya sees the film with her mother, and, unlike the freightened audience, is fascinated by the film. She particularly sympathizes with the monsters, seeing that famed scene where he plays with, and accidentally kills a little girl. After the film is over, Anya asks her mother why the monster killed the girl, and why townspeople killed the monster afterwards. Her mother says it was an accident, and sometimes people don't understand that accidents happen. Her mother further says that the townspeople just didn't understand the monster.
Anya begins to visit a local resevoir, and finds an abandoned cabin, where she plays, and fantasizes about the monster. One day, she goes to the cabin and finds a teenager wearing paramilitary clothing (making it clear to the audience he is a Ukrainian partisan). He introduces himself as Dmitri, and he says he is hiding. He admits that during the war, he had joined a cause he believed in, but made some serious mistakes along the way. Instead of reporting him, however, she goes, and brings him some food. The brief relationship between the two ends, when he is found in the cabin by the NVKD, who proceed to take him away. Anya manages to escape.
Later, at home, she is confronted by her father over the food that was found in the cabin, which was traced back to him. She flees the house, and arrives at a point opposite the cabin, whereupon she encounters Frankenstein's Monster, and in a direct parallel to the 1931 film, plays with him for some time. She then is accidentally flung, and while she quickly resurfaces, she watches as the monster is gunned down by the NVKD, for "killing" her, despite Anya's pleas.
She wakes up, and is found by a search party. She is given a clean slate of health, but becomes more withdrawn. Her mother, concerned about her, sits by her, and asks her what was wrong. Anya spills out her dream. Her mother takes her back to the cabin, and tells her she could see her friend again, if she thinks of him. The film ends with her sitting, and trying to summon her friend.
The film was released during the softening of censorship, and is considered a seminal film for the democratic transition of the USSR in the 70's. It has subtle criticism of the government during WWII. It is still seen as a classic of Soviet cinema.
Based on the 1973 Spanish film Spirit of the Beehive
AH.Com Thread: Make Way For The Premier's Guard
AH.Com Thread: Make Way For The Premier's Guard
*Posthumous Bond novel written by Kingsley Amis (instead of Colonel Sun), which has Bond and an American agent team up to stop the plot of a former Nazi to assassinate the Premier of the UASR.
AH.Com Thread: Make Way For The Premier's Guard
AH.Com Thread: Make Way For The Premier's Guard
Thanks to @Mr.E and @Nevermore for giving this update the go ahead.
Comics in 50s China: Passion of the Demon
Extract from Romance Comics Appreciation thread on AH.com
Extract from Passion of the Demon #2 , Nigxia Manhua Publishers, 1957
Page 20 [this issue is following on from seeds planted in the last one: wherein a rural criminal gang implied to be right-nationalists that hid in the criminal underworld when the tides started turning against them were harassing Mei's love interest Wan Junjie , who is an optimistic lawyer who has returned from university in the UASR. In this issue, the gang threatened to burn his house down. Unfortunately for them, Mei saw this, and as such decided to relinquish control to her as yet unnamed less pleasant half , who has butchered all but one of the gang, who we start the page watching. This is a 6 panel page, and is superficially similar to the traditional one. However, the page background is completely black, with each panel separated from the others by darkness. Each panel is lit up by a single candle, which fades into darkness before hitting the "edge" of the panel. The comic as a whole is mostly black and white, but the candle light here is given a hint of colour whilst all the blood is done in vivid red.]
Panel 1: [we see a the remaining gang member by the candle, or more accurately we see his hands and face in the light of the candle whilst getting the impression of his upper body in the dark. His eyes are wide, his hands and bald head sweating, as he tries to reload a revolver]
Panel 2: [the gang member, due to sweat and panic, has fumbled reloading the revolver. His face becomes more desperate as the bullets drop out of his hands]
Gang member: No, no, no
Panel 3: [the Demon's face has appeared an inch away from the face of the panicking criminal. Her face is Mei's face, but confident where Mei is shy, with a constant predatory grin and snake eyes. The gang member's face finally explodes with panic, all thought of hiding now pointless]
The Demon: Hello
Gang member: No!
Panel 4: [the Demon has grabbed the criminal's throat with her left hand, and is swatting away his revolver with her right.]
Panel 5: [the Demon's grin has widened further, her grip on the criminal's throat tightened. With her right hand, she points two fingers at the criminal's eyes]
The Demon: Now what...
The Demon: Shall we do...
Panel 6: [a close up of the criminal's eye.]
The Demon [off panel]: With you?
Page 21 [this page is a single panel, completely black except for a small splash of fresh blood in the centre of the page]
Page 22 [this page is filled by a single foreground panel, with 5 small panels being part of the background. These small background panels go diagonally from the top right corner to the bottom left corner]
Foreground panel [the Demon strides out of the building with smooth confidence and a wide smile on her face, holding her left arm up to face level as if in order to show off the sheer amount of blood on it. A snake like tongue emerges from her mouth in order to lap at the blood on her arm, and her reptilian eyes gaze out as if to meet the reader's.]
Background panel 1 [these background panels are black, with Mei drawn as white line art over the black background. This gives the impression of Mei at once watching the events but also being locked away from them. Here, Mei is looking out at the Demon, scared and a little sick, but trying to remain composed.]
Background panel 2 [Tears have formed in Mei's eyes, and a her right hand has moved up to try to wipe them away. Mei is still looking at the Demon, and since she is now speaking this gives the impression of talking to the Demon. Mei's speech is not contained within a speech bubble, instead being written in white in the top-down/right-to-left Chinese script directly onto the background. In this panel, the script is still relatively stable, but is small compared to the other letters in the comic, giving the impression of a fragile whisper]
Mei: I didn't mean for this...
Background panel 3 [this panel is behind and to the right of the Demon's head, giving the impression of Mei shouting into the Demon's face. The script of her speech is large, adding to the impression of shouting, but her face is as much despairing and panicking as much as that]
Background panel 4 [this panel is to the left of the Demon's hips, with Mei looking up at her, tears running freely down her face as Mei realises that the Demon isn't listening. The script of Mei's speech has returned to a normal size]
Background panel 5 [Mei is no longer looking at the Demon, instead hiding her face in her hands and curling into a foetal position. The script of Mei's speech is small again, reflecting one last whisper]
Extract from Harmony Heroes: Origins and Characteristics of the Chinese Super Hero, Chicago University Press
... American comics first came to China after the Second World War . When ships carrying American aid and exports to other Comintern countries had spare cargo space, they would fill it with comics and magazines and other things that could be sold at newsagents . Already having been translated in America to appeal to multilingual immigrant communities, these comics could be sold without any effort needed to localise them. It was only a matter of time before the Chinese publishers started taking notice and began publishing their own home grown comics...
... It is worth emphasising that the super hero genre did have a great deal of appeal to the post war Chinese. Having had a barbaric lawlessness forced upon their country first through western capitalist imperialism, then warlords and nationalist incompetence and finally through fascist invasion, the idea of socialist freedom and the rule of law being symbolically embodied to defeat evil had understandable escapist appeal . This makes it odd that the prototypical Chinese super hero actually came from a romance and horror comic: Passion of the Demon.
By the time it was published in 1957, the Yang family tended towards writing romance comics, largely because the young woman these romance comics targeted were a demographic that few creators were targeting . However, most romance comics at the time were stories that were contained to one or two issues , and they were hoping to make the jump into a storyline that they could stick with for a long period of time. Drawing from horror comics and playing on the notion of the split identity of American super heroes, they created the Demon.
The Demon, sometimes called the Mara , though capable of evil deeds cannot be strictly considered an embodiment of evil: instead being an embodiment of aggression, lust and emotion without any sense of limitation. The Demon's origin starts when the protagonist Mei falls in love with Junjie, but feels due to a combination of her past misdemeanours and current shameful emotions that she is not fit for him. She tries using "ancient sciences" that she has been studying to rid herself of these emotions and desires, only to create an alternative self.
Throughout the comic's six year run, Mei would at various times clash with the Demon, try to contain it or provide an outlet for it, and find herself as part of a love triangle with it and Junjie. As the series moved on, Mei learned to accept the Demon's presence in her life and acknowledged the need to live in harmony with it, with the series ending with Mei and the Demon leaving their home in the hopes of finding some kind of peace together.
Yet, whilst the comic is primarily concerned with the impact of the Demon on Mei's life, we nevertheless see the characteristics of the 1960s harmony heroes emerge. The notion of the super hero identity as something that is in conflict with the hero's civilian identity is here, as is the need for the hero to achieve peace between these two clashing identities. Like in Passion of the Demon, this clash would often have pop Buddhist or pop Taoist undertones. Moreover, the desire of the hero for harmony and peace where their American counterparts desire justice can be traced back here as well, as can the sub-genre's greater focus on romance and greater tendency towards female protagonists than in its American counterpart.
That said, there are several major differences between the Passion of the Demon and the harmony hero sub-genre that grew from it. Most obviously is that the 1960s counterparts to the Passion of the Demon were much more optimistic...
 Consisting of married couple Bo* and Chen*, they had previously worked together writing short propaganda or satirical comics whilst fighting for the communist partisans in China. Once they demobilised, they spent their time drawing for various satirical and gag a day comic strips, before getting enough resources together to write and draw various American influenced comic series. They are often collectively referred to as the Yang family due to crediting their comics to "Yang and Yang".
 Manhua is the term for comics from China (compare manga) whilst harmony hero is a sub-genre of the super hero genre, with roughly the same relationship to American comics that OTL's Henshin heroes have to American super hero serials.
 I'm assuming here that the Chinese government has pushed for left to right linear Chinese writing. The panels are structured assuming this, though right to left/top to bottom Chinese writing is often used for aesthetic or stylistic reasons in Chinese comics ITTL.
 Following Chinese naming conventions, Wan Junjie is surname first given name last. By contrast, Mei asks that she be called "Mei", with it being unknown whether that is her given name or a pseudonym.
 The actual name given to this half varies. She insists on calling herself "Mei", but is generally referred to as the Demon and sometimes the Mara. The degree this is literal is never revealed: Mei's physical changes aside, the Demon's origin textually speaking is in Mei's strange alchemical/scientific experiments done in order to remove her "darkest desires" and "dangerous emotions".
 It is worth mentioning that the Chinese did have manhua at this time in OTL (and have had manhua since the 1930s), but these were usually gag a day, satirical, slice of life or war comics. ITTL, American cultural influence adds a few more genres.
 This is how American super hero comics came to Britain OTL
 It is worth pointing out here that OTL the American super hero genre did not actually spread very far. It made it to Japan through the film serials, where it would develop into the Henshin hero/magical girl genres, and would have a limited influence on British comics, but not much else. Partially, there was a linguistic barrier: comics were thought of as not worth translating, but there was a cultural barrier as well. When you get down to it, super heroes are derived from the Wild West and Pulp stories: based on the logic of the rule of law extending as far as its enforcers. This logic didn't resonate much with the American allies who had a consumer base willing to buy comics IOTL. With the main American allies ITTL being Mexico, China and Russia, all of whom have relatively recently experienced Civil War and the violent overthrow of power and all of who are much more prosperous ITTL, there is much more of an international market for super hero comics.
 This is due to increased opportunities for women in work meeting with the a degree of cultural conservatism that regarded young women as not having the capital to be reliable customers for comics. This allows the works of the Yang family to have an influence disproportionate to their publisher's rather small size on account of being one of the few fish in the demographic pond.
 Around the same time ITTL, a lot of Comintern romance comic writers were experimenting to get around the one or two issue limit. Common methods involved combining it with other genres (as the Yang family decided to do here), making the main characters people who help other people get together instead of being in the romance themselves (a common storyline in the Happy Rangers) or, as the second cultural revolution takes effect, adding more characters to the now polyamorous romance to complicate the storylines (see also the Happy Rangers). IOTL, comics aimed at young women were mostly strangled by the Comics Code Authority and the more expansive codes brought by the comic book companies themselves, making this kind of experimentation unlikely if not impossible.
 Named after the concept/demon in Buddhist cosmology. Similar to the Buddhist Mara, Mei's most successful way of dealing with the Demon is through simultaneously acknowledging the Demon but refusing to yield to it.
Well everyone, I'm now officially a married man.
Oh how cute. In accordance with the Russian custom -
Separate names with a comma.