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The Mandarin

Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 5,557
In Reply To
Grey Gargoyle

Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 10,411
Subj: Evil Aunts, squandered gold, and training from Hell
Posted: Thu Aug 03, 2017 at 03:22:09 pm EDT (Viewed 165 times)
Reply Subj: 1900 Boxer Rebellion & 1959 Tibetan Rebellion ...
Posted: Wed Aug 02, 2017 at 05:43:12 am EDT (Viewed 188 times)

There's nothing in the story that suggests his father was a mandarin. He was wealthy enough to own a castle and have peasants serving him. And his sister talks about "peasants" like she isn't one, so his family was very likely aristocracy. But it seems more likely that he would have some title of nobility like Duke or Count rather than Mandarin.

There is even less evidence that "Mandarin" himself has any right to the Mandarin title. He seems to have spent all his time squandering money on training to be a monster, at the behest of an Aunt who hated him and deliberately raised him wrong.

(Indeed, Stan Lee's brief description of how he spent his early years inspired me to write things like this in my fan-fics:
An hour later....

"The look on those pizda monks faces was priceless"said Temmy, his words slurred, "They had been such stuck-up, sanctimonious, little gechii, refusing to help me train. It was worth the money to buy the land their monastery stood on just for that. Now it was train me, or become a bunch of homeless hobos." his laughter was deep, and booming.

"Buying all that land put us badly in dept, though. When I came home for a visit, I found opium dealers raiding the castle" he said, "my aunt had always loved opium, but we couldn't afford it after such a big real estate buy. The land itself was barren and nearly worthless, you understand, the sort of land only monks would want to live on in the first place. The previous owners had let the monks build their monastery there rent-free because of religious reasons, and because the land was pretty much worthless for anything else."

"Anyway,"he continued, "the opium dealers were raiding the castle because she had bought a lot of opium on credit and never paid for it. With my new training I gave them quite a surprise. I knocked on the door, and when one of them opened it, I karate-chopped him, splitting him from shoulder to waist. It was so funny! He fell to his knees and his upper body split in half like a book opening!" Temmy laughed until he cried as he remembered this.

Temmy poured himself a big serving of mead, and drank deeply from the skull of his enemy.
******************************************************************* )

Out of story, Stan Lee probably named him "The Mandarin" because it was one of the things Fu Manchu was called along with The Devil Doctor, and because it sounds like "Man of Iron", i.e. Iron Man in reverse.

In story, he probably picked the name because it sounds elite, and implies a cultured nature he doesn't possess, having been deliberately raised to be barbaric super-soldier to further his aunt's hatred of everything. I'm looking at the picture of him and his aunt being evicted for failure to pay their taxes, and he even looks kind of like Frankenstein's monster in that pic. I can't help but wonder if that was deliberate? A way for Stan Lee to further make the point that the Mandarin was an engineered monster.

    It is unlikely that his martial arts expertise could directly come from the Kung-Fu Schools whose Han leaders became the main protagonists of the Boxer Rebellion and who were the centuries-old enemies of the Manchu upper-class.

The only thing the comics tell us is that he spent every bit of his gold on training. My head-canon is that he did things like buying the land out from under some Shaolin Monks or somesuch, and forced them to train him or become homeless. Which put him one step closer to becoming the living weapon his Aunt wanted him to be, but also put him one step closer to being broke. Of course his aunt, secretly hating him, would love that training him to be her monster was also destroying the wealth she envied. Stan Lee's story is painfully short, but that fits perfectly as an expansion of what he established.