Manga in the funny pages (rant time)

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Postby Joel Fagin on Tue Nov 08, 2005 6:21 pm



Phantasy Star! Woo!

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Postby Cope on Tue Nov 08, 2005 6:25 pm

I still say the Western box art made Myau look like a mutant chihuahua.
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Postby Starline on Tue Nov 08, 2005 7:35 pm

Let's see, the last American Comics I bought were... Teen Titans Go, and Blue Monday. Both have Manga influences. But its not just the art. It's the story. They have something that appeals to girls.

Before that, I bought the Danger Girl series. Kick ass spy chicks against a Neo Nazi like organization. Interesting stuff. But it seemed to have disappeared. :(

So, until more American comics start to cater a little more to a female demographic, I'm gonna find it hard to care whether or not it survives in its own country. Manga simply has stories and characters I can relate to on an emotional level.
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Postby Ryuko on Tue Nov 08, 2005 7:37 pm

For the record, manga made its 'grand entrance' about five years ago. The thing is, people are going to remember the good manga titles, like they remember the good Image comics... (I imagine. I don't know any good Image titles from the old days) Sure, the bubble will burst, but it will have contributed in some way to the medium as a whole.
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Postby Starline on Tue Nov 08, 2005 7:41 pm

Also, The Comics Journal talked about this topic as well:
http://www.tcj.com/269/e_own1.html

I agree with most of the stuff in the article.
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Postby Bustertheclown on Tue Nov 08, 2005 9:21 pm

Ryuko wrote:For the record, manga made its 'grand entrance' about five years ago. The thing is, people are going to remember the good manga titles, like they remember the good Image comics... (I imagine. I don't know any good Image titles from the old days) Sure, the bubble will burst, but it will have contributed in some way to the medium as a whole.


Well, the timetable was more for illustrative purposes, and uses kind of a system of rounding numbers up and down. To be honest, I consider the grand entrance of manga to the scene to be around 99 or 2000, which is, indeed, about five years ago. Sorry if it seems irresponsible of me to fudge specifics in order to emphasise the point. I still think the point is valid, regardless.

Actually, I can only remember the crappy titles from Image's early days. That's because, if you didn't like superheroes, they were all crappy. They were all superteam books that utilized the exact same dynamics as X-men. Honestly, Youngblood, Wetworks, that one that Jim Lee did that I can't remember the name of offhand, they were all terrible. None of them lasted long, and I don't see any of their successors on the shelves these days, either. I read Spawn for a long time, but McFarlane lost me when he decided the comics that created his fortune weren't good enough to pay attention to anymore.

I guess when it comes to entertainment, the term "quality" has an amorphous meaning. Considering that much of entertainment in general is catered to the lowest common denominator, and we're conditioned from birth to just accept that as truth, the expectations of audiences aren't exactly very high. So, once people get used to reading manga, and they learn the intricacies of it well enough to understand qualitative differences, suddenly there's going to be a whole lot of initially popular stuff that doesn't cut the mustard to the more discerning audience. And while, yes, the best of the current crop will certainly be remembered in the future, that doesn't take into account that the other 95% that's being sold now is pushing great non-manga off the shelves.

starline wrote:So, until more American comics start to cater a little more to a female demographic, I'm gonna find it hard to care whether or not it survives in its own country. Manga simply has stories and characters I can relate to on an emotional level.


I couldn't agree more with you, Starline. Honestly. The problem isn't that manga is filling a gaping hole. The problem is that there's a gaping hole to fill in the first place. Hell, to be more fair about it, there's not just a gaping hole, but a gigantic chasm with only one ivory tower, which is the American comics industry, standing in the middle.

Ever since the popularity of manga began it's rise in the late 90's (reaching a crescendo a couple of years back) people have been ritually chanting about how they've got "comics for every subject" in Japan. Truly, Japan has taken the comic artform to its bosom and made it a national artform. Like the Comics Journal article you presented said, the American industry has been dropping the ball. I'm not even sure it ever had full possession of the ball since the early fifties, really, and that's half a century now. (Fabulous essay, by the way. Thanks for the link!)

Bringing in female readers was a brilliant thing that could only have been managed by some entity outside the American comics industry as it has existed for the past several decades. The thing is, if a person was smart enough to build a "girls club" next to the American comics "boys club", a person should be smart enough to find a way to build a "unisex" club, too. Actually, I think that's where webcomics are strong. Since web publishing is so easy and so cheap, everybody, regardless of race, age, gender, or class, is getting in on the act, and that's pretty cool. When there's a cultural cross-section of creators, that means there's a cultural cross-section of readers.

So, I guess my dream would be to find a model that works the same way web publishing does, only for print. It could be done. The same technology that's made web publishing so viable has also cut the costs of print publishing down quite considerably. A person can print a few hundred issues of a comic himself for just a few pennies on the dollar. I just bought a laser printer for a hundred bucks, for God's sake, and it's a nice one, too! I know that a webcomics forum isn't the best place to tout print, especially since I've had this discussion here before, but just think of the possibilities of having an attack on two fronts! Self-publisers who decide to have their work published on the web, and in print, and have their work distributed to their local shops! It has the makings of a grass-roots publishing revolution, if you ask me. You know, like the kind that the digital age was supposed to usher in?

But perhaps I'm getting a bit ahead of myself here. At any rate, it's fun to dream. In the meantime, I'm gonna continue ranting about how broken the system is to anyone willing to listen. Hey, I'm a comics activist, after all.
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Postby Muncho on Tue Nov 08, 2005 10:16 pm

Manga in the newspaper won't save them, online news and webcomics are what's in the future. Seriously newspapers will die out before long, they are simply not current enough compared to online sources.

But I guess time will tell.

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Postby Phalanx on Wed Nov 09, 2005 4:45 am

Hm I must share brains with CJ and Ryuko, we seem to have similar views on this matter.

That, and I have a bone to pick with whoever who labeled manga as a genre.

Comic are bloody comics, and if you can't differentiate between style, setting, theme and writing then you're gonna end up stuck in a rut for the sake of tradition, and never moving forward.

And I despise the Teen Titans cartoon as well.
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Postby Joel Fagin on Wed Nov 09, 2005 4:55 am

Phalanx wrote:That, and I have a bone to pick with whoever who labeled manga as a genre.


Actually, it is. We tend to think of genre referring to the story and setting but it's actually far more broad than that.

Okay, okay, by the popular definition, you're right. Let's face it, the popular definition tends to become the dictionary definition after a few years anyway.

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Postby Bustertheclown on Wed Nov 09, 2005 5:10 am

We've had the "newsprint is dead" debate on these forums before, and considering we're on a webcartooning forum, I know I'm not in the majority with my views on print. All I'll say on the subject is be careful of claiming the defeat of something before it has actually gone away. It's true that many dailies are feeling the age of their business. However, newer, fresher approaches to news printing, such as "alternative" free weeklies are actually a growing, successful arm of the industry. Given that I've never seen a weekly without comics, I'd say that that's a form of print news media that shouldn't be dismissed by us cartoonists, especially when we're trying to figure out what's a viable avenue for publication, and what isn't.

At any rate, proclaiming something dead should be done with caution. Don't do it unless you can sing the coroner's song from The Wizard of Oz.

Coroner wrote:As Coroner I must aver,
I've thoroughly examined her,
And she's not only merely dead,
She's really most sincerely dead.


As far as whether or not manga will help to bail out dailies from their collective dilemma, you're right. Time will tell.
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Postby The Neko on Wed Nov 09, 2005 5:44 am

Well, I really don't care what style it is, as long as it is competent. However, the imitators are usually so incompetent that it's not even tolerable to look at.
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Postby MixedMyth on Wed Nov 09, 2005 9:01 am

Manga, like any medium, is 90% crap. I don't mean this in a disparaging way...I do love some of it. But it's the nature of the beast. It's the same thing with TV, movies, books, etc. I'm actually not too terribly concerned about the influx, even though most of it is bad. I appreciate the availability. The problem of American comics is our own...maybe this will signal to people that something needs to be done about it. Because let's face it, comics just aren't profitable in the US unless you merchindise, get a movie deal, etc. Certainly not as much as in Japan. Of course there are exceptions. Mr. Eisener did very well for himself from what I understand, and David Sim (though I hate his stuff) has long been heralded for being able to support himself on an independant comic. But I would say they're exceptions, the few who 'made it.' Plus, and I admit I do like some superhero stuff, but keep in mind that Marvel and DC is still what most people think of when we sling the word comics around with Image maybe mentioned in passing as an alternative. In such a climate, it's not terribly surprising that there would be an influx of 'already made' comics from elsewhere. Yeah, a lot of it's really bad, but at least it did mean, for example, the stateside release of Nausicaa and other good pieces.

I doubt they'll put any good comics in the papers, however, so I don't think it'll breathe a breath of fresh air into the newsprint comics. This is mostly because of the sheer editorial power exerted over them, meaning they're censored and stagnant and usually only the most tame, watered down, or popular stuff will be introduced. We'll see, though.
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Postby Phact0rri on Wed Nov 09, 2005 9:07 am

bustertheclown wrote:Actually, I can only remember the crappy titles from Image's early days. That's because, if you didn't like superheroes, they were all crappy. They were all superteam books that utilized the exact same dynamics as X-men. Honestly, Youngblood, Wetworks, that one that Jim Lee did that I can't remember the name of offhand, they were all terrible.


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Postby Prettysenshi on Wed Nov 09, 2005 9:22 am

Even I have fallen victim to the manga trend a few times. However, after being bombarded with manga for 5 years now, I've kinda grown annoyed of it. All the new anime coming in don't give me the same feeling I did when watching the anime originally aired before 2001.

I just hope that American comics don't fade out because of the "latest thing". As for the newspapers using manga in their funnies section, I think it's a dumb idea. Although alot of people read manga, you'd be surprised how many people don't. They'll look at the paper and go "What the heck is this stuff?"

Just look online, and you'll see everyone doing the manga thing.Online Comics.net, or even DeviantArt. Manga is cool, yeah. But people need to get a life. Stop drawing a certain way cuz it's the cool thing, and make your own. I drew manga in 5th grade cuz it was "pretty", but I always had my own style. Drawing manga makes me feel like I'm copying someone else's work.

Even now, when I see someone drawing Goku from some silly fansite, and someone tells them "Hey, Inemesit, they draw better than you." I still get pissed off.
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Postby MixedMyth on Wed Nov 09, 2005 9:31 am

I havn't been able to watch much recent anime, but I think there are still some quality shows being made...just not many in comparison to the number of bad shows out there. Shows like Paranoia Agent, Fumouffu, etc.

I think I tend to see the influx of manga as a reaction to the fading American market rather than its initial cause, although, certainly, I could see it becoming a sort of feedback loop.
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Postby Jackhass on Wed Nov 09, 2005 1:48 pm

I went through a short period where I was really into Japanese comics and whatnot...it was just so different and generally edgier than American stuff and as a teenager that excited me. It largely wore off though...I still take in the occassional manga/anime, but I far prefer American cartooning.

As for your fears that the Japanese style will over-take the American one...I don't think that's a big threat. If anything, the two will meld into something unique and different.

Let's not forget that manga/anime itself was originally influenced by American cartoons and animation...basically the influence of American animation by studios like Disney was mixed with traditional Japanese art and you got manga. Japan and America influencing each other is nothing new and not necessarily a bad thing.
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Postby Nicotine on Wed Nov 09, 2005 2:09 pm

I think putting manga in the funnies is a pretty dumb idea. But there are so many anime fanatics out there, why wouldn't they? You kinda can't blame them for wanting a piece of the anime craze these days if it'll generate more money for them. I'm surprised they didn't do this before. And I'm really not surprised TOKYOPOP's behind some of this. They're everywhere when it comes to manga.

Even though they do horrible work with their translations and printing of their manga. >_>
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Postby TheSuburbanLetdown on Wed Nov 09, 2005 2:41 pm

Jackhass wrote:Let's not forget that manga/anime itself was originally influenced by American cartoons and animation...basically the influence of American animation by studios like Disney was mixed with traditional Japanese art and you got manga. Japan and America influencing each other is nothing new and not necessarily a bad thing.

Correct me if I'm horribly wrong, but I read somewhere that Tezuka (Astro Boy) was influenced by the massive eyes of Bambi.
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Postby MixedMyth on Wed Nov 09, 2005 3:04 pm

Jackhass wrote:Let's not forget that manga/anime itself was originally influenced by American cartoons and animation...basically the influence of American animation by studios like Disney was mixed with traditional Japanese art and you got manga. Japan and America influencing each other is nothing new and not necessarily a bad thing.


It's like a wiffle ball. A large, international wiffle ball getting batted back and forth across a giant puddle. :D
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Postby McDuffies on Wed Nov 09, 2005 5:13 pm

In any case manga will hardly ruin traditional American school. Whenever there is a huge breaktrough of something new, people start being concearned about preserving the old. But nothing really dies.
I mean, there was a concern that film would make books or theatre dissapear. There was a concern that video games would ruin comics or film. That TV would destroy cinema. That digital colouring would kill old-fashioned hand colouring. Heck, that acrillic would ruin oil painting. However, nothing dies if it still offers something that the new thing doesn't.
Sure, traditional typewriters are nearly nonexistant, but they really don't offer anything that computers don't ('cept for, perhaps, some very subjective things, like if someone really enjoys to kill his hands by pressing those hard buttons or to fix his mestakes with correction fluid - for reasons of nostalgy). But manga will shrink selling of American style comics at best, go on for some time and then something new will come that will make people want to protect manga. Nothing of this will make American comics die, they're all a part of one very rich and dynamic tapestry.
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