Manga in the funny pages (rant time)

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Postby Nightgaunt on Wed Nov 09, 2005 5:25 pm

Yeah, a lot of the superhero stuff has gone rather stale in the U.S. comic industry [side point: sadly even when they inject fresh blood, like Orson Scott Card writing Ultimate Iron Man, it still seems bland (he's basically writing Ender's Shadow again)].

I now tend to just go for good stories. I find these primarily in Vertigo (Mike Carey) and some other places (Steve Niles, Jeff Smith, etc). I agree with MixedMyth that 90% of manga out there is crap (like everything else), but there are two that I've found that I've really enjoyed, Naruto and Full Metal Alchemist (odd how I discovered those through the cartoons).

However, I do agree very strongly with one of the original point in this thread about how if I'm reading a comic in english I want to read it from left to right. I'd even be willing to pay a bit more for the comics if they were to fix that. However, since publishers would rather keep the art-form pure or whatever, I just read it for free online. Screw em'.

As for the death of american comics, I think once some of the non-strictly superhero ones with good stories increase in popularity the problem would be aleviated somewhat. We're already starting to see authors crossing over to comics to try to strengthen stories, like the aforementioned Cardd, Strazynski (anyone read his Spiderman stuff? is it any good?), and I think some scottish mystery author is supposed to be taking over Hellblazer now.

The consumerism and people just out to make a quick buck does bother me though. It was incredibly frustrating to see how as time went on the graphic novel section at a Borders in my hometown gradually shrank, while a section filled with crappy manga gradually grew in it's place. It was even more frustrating that you'd then have all these middle and high-school kids standing around reading it, blocking the isles, and blocking my access to the graphic novel shelves. It's almost enough to induce a reasonable man to violence...

Something was mentioned earlier about popularity of american comics abroad. When I lived in Brazil (a long time ago) newsstands sold american comics, and there were people who read it (my friends and I spent our days at school sitting in the back of the classroom reading X-Men). And the popularity seems to continue to grow - my mom went to visit recently and brought me back a portuguese issue of Lucifer (one of the comics I read regularly) which I thought was pretty interesting. Do note however, that they also have their own brazilian comics, which are much more popular.

I don't really have a point ot all this.
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Postby Muncho on Wed Nov 09, 2005 7:53 pm

90% of the manga out there is crap because only < 1% of it ever makes it over to the west, most of this stuff that comes over is selected by american companies who have their own opinion on what they think americans want.

Even if you include all the fan translations there's alot of good stuff that you never see because it's not conisidered material that will fit into western culture.

Some people feel that drawing "manga style" means they are ripping off other peoples work, or are somehow unoriginal. But drawing "american" style for some reason doesnt mean we are doing the same thing. Guess it's a culture clash thing.

Best to draw with whatever style you feel most comfortable with.

Still wondering what they will put in the paper though, there's limited space for comics and it would take years of papers just to finish a volume of manga.
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Postby Jackhass on Wed Nov 09, 2005 8:02 pm

Correct me if I'm horribly wrong, but I read somewhere that Tezuka (Astro Boy) was influenced by the massive eyes of Bambi.


Yeah, I believe Bambi amongst other Disney fare originally influenced the "big eye" manga style.
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Postby Kirb on Thu Nov 10, 2005 12:58 am

The last anime series I really enjoyed was Cowboy Bebop. And, actually, it didn't even really imitate the 'manga' look. (Big eyes, nosebleed, etc)
In the end, all I really care about are the characters, and the creativity shown in the comic/animation.

I don't see the merging of American and Japanese drawing styles as bad, annoying, perhaps. But like somebody said before, this is just a fad.

God, CB spoiled me. The english dub was actually better than the Japanese dub. Never seen that happen before.
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Postby Dutch! on Thu Nov 10, 2005 3:12 am

I'm a little biased because most of the anime and by association (wrongly or not) manga I've been aware of have been influenced by my disregard for the episodes I've seen where there's been next to nothing actually being animated.

Fair dinkum, we watched an episode of something (me and the bloke who actually got me involved in webcomics in the first place, then buggered off and left me with the job) and spent five minutes or more watching before we found a screen with more animation than a mouth opening and closing.

We actually cheered when other parts of the bodies moved! :)

Add to this the fact that I don't have a lot of time or convenience to read many webcomics (because the only comic I read is no longer being created and I can't find the last book I'm missing), I tend to stick with what's considered Western comics than manga ones.

Rightly or wrongly, it's no longer because they are manga or Japanese or a sad rip off of them (tongue in cheek, don't smack me!) that I generally don't bother with them, it's more now that I'd rather read something quickly I'm more confident I'll be more familiar with than an art style I'm not.

If that makes sense, great. If not...take into account I've spent the night going over refinancing documents and my brain is basically a porrige!

Oh...and they just cut some poor bugger open on some medical show on telly and I was momentarily both trying to hide my eyes and letting morbid curiosity taking control.
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Postby Bustertheclown on Thu Nov 10, 2005 5:22 am

Dutch! wrote:Rightly or wrongly, it's no longer because they are manga or Japanese or a sad rip off of them (tongue in cheek, don't smack me!) that I generally don't bother with them, it's more now that I'd rather read something quickly I'm more confident I'll be more familiar with than an art style I'm not.

If that makes sense, great.


Actually, that makes a helluva lot of sense to me, Dutch. It's the wise thing to say that comics are comics, and what matters in the end is quality, not location. However, the only people who can really afford to live by that mantra are those who have the time to spare, and the willingness to seek out new work and learn new ways of interfacing with the medium in the name of finding quality.

The average, casual comic reader isn't prepared to do that. Even the less average, rabid comic fanboy/girl/thing is often quite unwilling to do that, because humans are often creatures of habit. They find something that piques their interest, they look at it, they get used to it, they attach themselves to it, and they ride it out to the end, disregarding other alternatives. That's the whole point of the fanboy/girl/thing "fixation" cliches.

In my experience, usually the only people who have really, honestly, taken the time to seek out the highest quality work in a given artform, regardless of the art's point of origin, are artists themselves. That's why it hasn't surprised me to see the sentiment that quality comes from many sources voiced by many different people on this thread. We're all artists pursuing quality influences in order to improve our own craft. To us, it makes sense.
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