Image: One page from the comic featuring Lei Feng and Betty.
Why are you sad, Lei Feng?
He shows Betty this: (Chinese: 学雷锋日; pinyin: Xué Léi Fēng Rì)
I don’t read pinyin, yet, honeybunch.
Inset to Panel Two
Lei squeezes her hand when she says yet.
Please translate this. I want to know why you’re sad.
Lei modestly looks away and then answers, “Today is March 5.”
Inset Panel Four
“Its Learn from Lei Feng day. I know that it is immodest for me to mention this, but back home I’m a hero of socialist labor.”
“That’s right. In Changsha last March 5, they carried me around on their shouldiers, while following my shining path by picking up litter.”
“Oh Lei Feng, that’s so romantic. Sing me a song.”
AR X, Deputy to the Minister of Culture, Han Affairs, who was responsible for designing the co-marketing deal.
AR: Betty is petit bourgeois whereas Lei Feng is a proletarian hero. Did that cause any issues in the Ministry of Culture?
X: (Chuckles) That nearly killed the project. I can laugh now, but the Politburo was insistent that Lei should date someone more ideology appropriate than Betty.
X: Ha! No one from Riverdale. We hoped to introduce an East German exchange student named Rosa Luxembourg, but Y publishing held out on the grounds that the story had to be about Betty or Veronica or it wasn’t worth doing.
AR: What about the fact the Lei Feng is real and Betty is fictional? Did that cause issues?
X: Not really. As an archetype Betty is more real than real, kind of the essence of oppressed bourgeois woman-hood. And Lei Feng, he’s larger than life, but larger than life, includes all life so he couldn’t be more real.
AR: What about Archie and Veronica?
X: Do you need to ask?
AR: If Archie’s going to be a capitalist lapdog, he could do worse than Veronica Lodge’s lap, eh?
X: That’s one way of putting it. Remember, this is cultural material for teenagers, so it must strictly adhere to both the Four Must Dos [link] and the Four Must Dos Before Breakfast.