The Value of Reading Marvel Comics in Chinese
Last month my friend Zach Franklin and I spent a half-hour in a recording studio talking about reading Marvel graphic novels as a way to practice Chinese. Not sure how often I’ll do this kind of recording, but hopefully you Chinese learners will find it interesting!
The last interview I did of Zach was all text, for the 2010 interview post The Value of a Master’s in Chinese Economics. Now you get to hear his voice and learn a bit more about how he uses his Chinese for less serious endeavors.
Here are a few markers for the audio, as well as some of the Chinese mentioned in our conversation:
- 03:00: 2000 AD, Judge Dredd and Spawn discussion
- 03:48 : Harry Potter discussion begins
- 04:50: 4 Privet Drive = 女贞路4号
- 05:38: Buying James Bond 连环画 books in Xujiahui
- 09:16: to answer this question, Spawn (再生侠) has still not been officially translated for the Chinese market
- 10:20: Beijing 潘家园 Market, 星球大战（上、中、下）
- 11:41: my “Vader didn’t get a lot of screen time” comment was a reference to this YouTube video
- 12:51: Discussion of Marvel Comics in Chinese, and the experiece of tackling them for the first time
- 15:10: Discussion of the graphic novel Infinity
- 17:49: Why Zach is a hypocrite (when it comes to study methods)
- 19:12: Character names in Chinese discussed: 钢铁侠 (Iron Man)、雷神／托尔／索尔 (Thor)、鹰眼 (Hawkeye)、黑寡妇 (Black Widow)
- 21:09: Calling out Pleco for lack of Marvel character name vocab
- 21:28: 灭霸 (Thanos)、黑色兄弟会 (the Black Order) / 杀戮黑曜石 (lit. “Slaughter Obsidian”)、黑矮星 (Black Dwarf / Cull Obsidian)、超巨星 (Supergiant)、亡刃将军 (Corvus Glaive)、比灵星午夜／暗夜比邻星 (Proxima Midnight)、
- 25:10: “Infinity” is not the same as “Infinity War” at all
- 26:38: Is reading translated comics in Chinese a good idea for other learners as well??
- 27:44: “Cultural depth” of Marvel comics and Star Wars in Chinese society
- 29:06: The value of studying material you’re actually interested in
Images from Infinity (Chinese Version)
The front of the book has a list of all the Marvel characters’ Chinese names, and here are the sections that relate to this podcast (apologies for the quality; it’s a photo of a physical book!):
Here we can see the members of the Black Order more clearly:
And, just for balance, here are a few shots where the Chinese used is actually really easy to read:
Finally, a few cases where apparently translation was not really an option (or maybe just too much trouble):
(Take that, 灭霸!)
If anyone has a question for Zach, please leave a comment on this blog post, and I’ll gleefully harass him until he answers!