Nick Stember is a translator and historian of Chinese literature and popular culture, currently employed as a post-doctoral researcher at the National Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen, where he is attached to the New East Asian Storytelling with Historical Dramas as Motor project (NØM), funded by the Velux Foundation, in collaboration with the University of Southern Denmark and The Animation Workshop at VIA University College, Viborg.

His research for NØM at the National Museum focuses on visual depictions of Daoist self-cultivation in comics, animations, video games, and other transmedia adaptations of xianxia or “immortal fantasy.” This work ties into his larger interest in the 21st century “digital turn” in the promotion of Chinese popular culture abroad over the last decade. Tentatively titled Soft Sell: The Business and Politics of Translating Popular Chinese Culture, chapters of this in-progress work will be presented at conferences over the next year.

In 2023 Nick defended his PhD dissertation on “pulp science” in early Reform-era (1976-1986) comic books in the Department of East Asian Studies at the University of Cambridge, titled Low Culture Fever: Pulp Science in Chinese Comic Books After Mao, and in 2016 he completed his Master of Arts in the Department of Asian Studies at the University of British Columbia with his thesis on the formation of the Shanghai Cartoon Society in the mid-1920s.

In addition to co-founding the Los Angeles Review of Books China Channel in 2017, Nick’s work has been featured on the websites of The Comics JournalPaper Republic, Danwei, Frog in a WellOptical Sloth, Tor, Boing Boing, iO9, Rolling Stone, the BBC World Service, and the South China Morning Post.  Since 2014, he has worked as a consultant for a variety of ventures, including the Jia Pingwa Institute’s Ugly Stone initiative, Storycom and Clarkesworld Magazine’s Chinese Science Fiction Translation Project and the Grayhawk Agency and the Ministry of Culture (ROC)’s Books from Taiwan.

This blog is part of a larger project to build the world’s first English language encyclopedia of Chinese comics and animation, the Encyclopædia Manhuannica 漫畫百科.

If you have any suggestions for future projects, please reach out!