It is about the spread of ideas, Mr Lu said. A comic does not need to be anti-government to be restricted from being printed; it simply needs to offer ideas that could be interpreted as being so. In essence, the world’s next super power is not keen on super heroes.
The first Chinese comics were used as propaganda during the Japanese occupation as a way to build resentment.
During Mao’s 10-year Cultural Revolution, manga was used to teach communist ideals to the largely illiterate masses.
“We want to export our own culture,” said Zheng Jun, the rock star turned writer behind the comic Tibetan Rock Dog, which is gaining interest from the Japanese animation company Mad House towards turning it into a movie.
As China continues to export its own culture, it could be used as part of the nation’s soft power, Mr Douglas said.