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marxanime

While we’re still waiting for a comic book about Lenin and Stalin as superheroes (the original Iron Man), the ChiComms produce some cartoon (in both senses of the word) history:

This is Karl Marx, but not as you know him: dashingly tall, with a pronounced jawline, suave brown curls and blue eyes, and speaking Chinese — a world away from the German philosopher’s typical image as an old man with a bushy white beard.

“The Leader,” a seven-episode anime documenting the life of the “Communist Manifesto” author, premiers January 28 on China’s largest video-streaming website, Bilibili.

It is the latest production to come out of the Propaganda Department of the Communist Youth League, in association with the party’s Central Office for the Research and Construction of Marxist Theory.

Set in 19th-century Europe, the series covers Marx’s life between 1818 and 1883, including the period in which he published some of his best-known works such as the “Communist Manifesto,” “The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon” and the first volume of his masterwork, “Capital.”

The official trailer depicts Marx and his future wife, Jenny Von Westphalen, playing as children, while promotional images show a grey-haired, bearded but still dashing Marx standing next to an equally aged and handsome Friedrich Engels, his longtime collaborator and the man who did more than anyone to popularize Marx’s works after his death in 1883.

A whole array of spin-off products?has emerged?even before the first episode of “The Leader” has premiered, including a comic book, Marx and Engels emojis, and stage plays based on the anime.

Wu Yunqin, who edited the comic book, told the state-run Global Times it informs “young readers that Marx is not only a great thinker as they learned in textbooks, but also a diligent, romantic and rebellious teenager.”

Marx and Engels emoji. Jesus wept.

The last thing Marx ever was was a romantic, but then again this is a cartoon and not a textbook, so maybe it’s unfair to expect historical accuracy – not to mention to expect it from the propaganda arm of the Chinese Communist Party. The real life Karl Marx was not a dashingly tall and blue-eyed man-about-town but a perpetually angry and neurotic hirsute misfit with rather dark and exotic looks (his wife’s nickname for Marx was “the Moor”). I don’t imagine “The Leader” will accurately portray him as a self-loathing Jew and one of the first professional ideologues who spent his life sponging off his best mate, the happily capitalist communist Engels, and his long-suffering aristocratic wife, whom he ignored and cheated on with their maid, while chronically neglecting his children for the sake of the revolution that never came. The truth and the reality would probably spoil the cartoonish extravaganza.

Come to think of it, a young and handsome communist who marries a beautiful princess while living off the fruits of capitalism quite well describes where the Chinese Communist Party is at in the year 2019. No wonder they prefer promoting the teenage heartthrob and his rich sidekick than the far more austere and non-glamorous Mao. The rightists, all of them!

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