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English Manga, Thoughts On It? Do you read it, like it, think there should be more of it?

Poll: Do you like or Read English Manga (23 member(s) have cast votes)

Do you Read English Manga?

  1. Yes (10 votes [43.48%])

    Percentage of vote: 43.48%

  2. No (5 votes [21.74%])

    Percentage of vote: 21.74%

  3. Sometimes (8 votes [34.78%])

    Percentage of vote: 34.78%

Would you buy a Shonen Jump Style book of English Manga?

  1. Yes (6 votes [26.09%])

    Percentage of vote: 26.09%

  2. No (8 votes [34.78%])

    Percentage of vote: 34.78%

  3. Maybe (9 votes [39.13%])

    Percentage of vote: 39.13%

Do you think there should be some sort of book that acts like Weekly Jump for English and International Manga artist?

  1. Absolutely (9 votes [39.13%])

    Percentage of vote: 39.13%

  2. Not Really (5 votes [21.74%])

    Percentage of vote: 21.74%

  3. Possibly (9 votes [39.13%])

    Percentage of vote: 39.13%

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#1 User is offline   Dark Spellmaster 

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Posted 21 April 2010 - 03:12 PM

As a reader of Yen Press I have to admit one of the first reasons I picked up the big book was because of Night School by Svetlana Chmakova and found out that they are actively looking for artists and writers. My question is, if manga has become big enough in the states that it outsells in some cases Marvel and DC comics, why is no one cashing in and making a English Only Manga weekly or monthly book like they have in Japan? I'm sure we have a ton of talented artists that could churn out a weekly, or biweekly, or monthly book, so why has this not happened?
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#2 User is offline   kenkendazo  

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Posted 21 April 2010 - 03:30 PM

Personally I wouldn't read it. It's not Japanese.

Here is my reason for saying that. I'm not an otaku, or a real big anime fan. I started learning Japanese first and anime came far after that. I use Japanese anime/manga as a primer for the language for me. If it's in English I have no interest in it. It's nothing about purity, just nothing that would really help me study. That being said, if it were to be translated into Japanese I might go for it.
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#3 User is offline   Voxx 

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Posted 21 April 2010 - 03:48 PM

I'm a bit confused with your post. Do you mean, what if someone made a 'manga' in America? Because that technically isnt manga. From what I've seen I dont like American "manga". Now if you mean English manga as in the language...um well yes I do like it because I cant read japanese, therefore I have to read it in English, but after I learn japanese I'll read them in their native form.

But if you think about it, the target audience for such things like bi-weekly american manga is so low. Most fans of anime are japanophiles anyway, so they would probably wouldnt want to read an american based manga. Just saying, even though there are those that like both.

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Posted 21 April 2010 - 04:13 PM

okay, brace yourself for STRONG OPINIONS from a would-be illustrator..

Quote

My question is, if manga has become big enough in the states that it outsells in some cases Marvel and DC comics

it already does. manga has been outselling western comics in the west for a while now..look at the sales charts in wizard, the new york times bestsellers, etc. it doesn't help that actual comic books are more unpopular than ever in america right now, despite the recent fad of comic book films.

Quote

why is no one cashing in and making a English Only Manga weekly or monthly book like they have in Japan?

there has been a pretty big line of OEL--originally in english language--manga for a while now. tokyopop (gag)had a pretty big line before they had to downsize. if you're a fan of svetlana (i am, too)you're probably aware of that.
western anime fans are pretty fickle to give comic books a shot that aren't japanese, especially the ones that look like blatant rip-offs of japanese series that already exists. it's a tough sell; and on top of that, most OEL manga series...aren't very good. there are a few brilliant manga-influenced works, but most of them are just indie comics with giant eyes or spiky hair. the ones that look totally mangaified are generally super-cliche and crappy, marginalized versions of much better japanese series.
(see: Nick Simmon's Incarnate)

part of that is due to tokyopop wanting really well-defined and genre specific OEL manga series. this caused most new authors to write within a very small border and not do any of the genre-blending that makes manga what it is, or allows for original ideas and characters to happen. on top of that, most fans were cautious about giving OEL manga a chance to begin with. OEL manga was a hard sell to anime fans, and tokyopop really helped give it an even worse reputation imho. still, there are some really amazing manga-influenced indie comics coming out under independent imprints; check out the works of bryan lee o'malley, brandon graham, or corey lewis. those artist do have a japanese comic style and DO sell pretty well. not as well as naruto, but then again, no western comic sells as well as naruto right now.

Quote

I'm sure we have a ton of talented artists that could churn out a weekly, or biweekly, or monthly book, so why has this not happened?

thing is, companies don't want to risk putting out a book like this with unestablished artist. even the north american edition of shonen jump don't want to risk putting a single comic by an american artist into the pages among the already established japanese series. companies don't want to risk losing money when they can publish a manga series with an already established fanbase in america.

also, japanese work ethic is something like 5x rougher than the american one. most professionals wouldn't be able to churn out a monthly--and definitely NOT weekly--series on a regular basis. even the american comics with the highest demand aren't put out that quickly in the states. and, once again, comics are just more mainstream in japan. there's not as much of a demand for japanese manga or american comic books in the U.S. there's a weekly comic anthology in japan, because EVERYONE reads them over there. were comics as big as television shows in america, there probably would be a similar bi-monthly comic magazine in the west.

it's too much work for a market that doesn't WANT a western shonen jump. there actually was a weekly release of a shonen jump-esque anthology in america for a while. it was called raijin comics, they had about 5 different series going of varying genres, and it came out every single week IN AMERICA. that was manga manga and it went bankrupt after a year or two. you'd have to pay to license all these popular series and then pay a huge staff to work around the clock chucking it out every single week. even with japanese manga, which are popular, and it still it probably wouldn't work with the american industry. OEL manga would never work right now.

most comic fans dislike japanese manga, most manga fans dislike american comics. american manga just irks and polarizes both crowds. besides, if you're american, you shouldn't be calling anything you draw/write a 'manga'. your best bet would be to try and write something with manga influences that would appeal to a western audience without feeling like a total facsimile of japanese manga. basically, a comic book that appeals to manga fans or blends the best of both? that's a really tall order to achieve, not to mention to sell the book to people. the only book to achieve major success and cross both fanbases is Scott Pilgrim.

now that that books is out and outselling both comics and manga, things are different. comics are changing, and there's
a template for "post-manga" comics out there. because of that book's success, you're going to see a lot more
comics with heavy manga influences getting a chance in america, and hopefully they'll be of a better quality than
that tokyopop wave of OEL manga.

#5 User is offline   dorkatlarge 

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Posted 21 April 2010 - 04:26 PM

I admit my tastes are kind of "weeaboo-ish." There have been a lot of animated shows/comics/games/other media that I've ignored because the illustrations don't resemble the East Asian pop culture styles that I like. But that's not a good thing, because I'm probably missing a lot of good stories and experiences because I don't enjoy the surface appearance.

According to Sturgeon's Law, ninety percent of everything is crud. This can be applied to any media form, style, category, or genre. So it's safe to say that ninety percent of English language comics influenced by East Asian comics are poor, it's also safe to say the same is true for many, many other things...

View PostKeiichi-chan, on Apr 21 2010, 11:13 PM, said:

...comics are changing, and there's
a template for "post-manga" comics out there. because of that book's success, you're going to see a lot more
comics with heavy manga influences getting a chance in america...


Well said, Keiichi-chan. I'd be quite okay if creative people try to avoid creating imitations of their favorite series, and strive to create something new. Perhaps someday soon fans can talk about "fusion art," much like foodies use words like "fusion cuisine" now. Or perhaps multicultural art, in which the creative individuals show the disparity in their influences.

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Posted 21 April 2010 - 06:32 PM

::without having yet read through K1's Wall-o'-Text::

I flipped through a few Ameri-manga recently (and whenever I see a new one at the bookstore I happen to be in), and while being somewhat impressed that the artists kept true to the art style and feel of original manga, I just couldn't bring myself to care for any of the stories I have encountered as of yet.

I've been into comics since Archie (when I was very young) and X-Men, Spider-Man and Spawn (in middle and high school), until stuff started getting super-complicated and spinning off universes left and right every millisecond; and I'm currently following a comic series called Echo, so it's not that my tastes don't fall into American works--it's just that I haven't found anything in particular that I've found worth my time.

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#7 User is offline   wrexness 

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Posted 21 April 2010 - 07:25 PM

Don't think I could anything else to K1's post, very well said.
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#8 User is offline   sentinel28a 

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Posted 21 April 2010 - 09:54 PM

Depends on what you call "English manga." Are we talking English translations of Japanese manga? Absolutely for it, since most of us can't read Japanese and neither have the time nor inclination to learn.

Or are we talking manga made here in the US? I have no problem with that either, but I don't know if there is a market for it. Antarctic Press used to run Mangazine with their monthly titles in it for about six years, but it got too expensive to produce, and a lot of fans were unwilling to pay $13 a month when all they really wanted to read was Gold Digger and/or Ninja High School ($3 each), and didn't want to read the other titles and the ten pages of ads and fillers in each issue. That's the closest equivalent to an American Shonen Jump that I can think of.

Whether or not you consider manga made in the US to be "true manga" is a matter of personal opinion. Me, if it's drawn in the manga style, it's manga. Maybe technically it isn't, since it wasn't made in Japan, but I'm not so much a purist as to turn my nose up and say, "If it ain't Japanese, it ain't manga." Because then we'd have to define what makes manga manga. Big eyes and speed lines? Sure, but what about manga like Crying Freeman or Sanctuary, which is drawn in a very realistic style? I would consider both manga, naturally.

But then you can bring in American manga artists such as Adam Warren (who did Dirty Pair and currently does Empowered) and Ben Dunn (who does Ninja High School and Heaven Sent). Both of them draw in firmly mangaesque style--more like manga as we're used to it than Crying Freeman. And where does Ted Nomura (who did Tigers of Terra and Luftwaffe 1946) fit in? He's Japanese-American.

So yeah, I think it's more personal preference.

I definitely agree with Keiichi that American comics have gone down the tubes recently. The stories are increasingly stupid, the characters increasingly ridiculous, and too much is done for sales gimmicks. When Superman was killed off, that was something...but they didn't keep him dead, which ruined it. By the time Marvel "killed" Captain America, nobody really cared, because we all knew he would be back. Lately comics have gotten politicized too, which ticks me off to no end. Don't get me going on that subject.

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#9 User is offline   this_chick25 

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Posted 21 April 2010 - 10:05 PM

View Postsentinel28a, on Apr 21 2010, 10:54 PM, said:

Lately comics have gotten politicized too, which ticks me off to no end. Don't get me going on that subject.


My comics history is admittedly quite rusty but I think that's fairly common, especially around wartime... I don't know what kind of "political" the comics you mention are nowadays (having not sampled much), but I would honestly expect to see politically-charged comics right about now.
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#10 User is offline   The Spider 

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Posted 21 April 2010 - 10:17 PM

View Postthis_chick25, on Apr 21 2010, 11:05 PM, said:

My comics history is admittedly quite rusty but I think that's fairly common, especially around wartime... I don't know what kind of "political" the comics you mention are nowadays (having not sampled much), but I would honestly expect to see politically-charged comics right about now.

A plain example of putting politics in comics is Civil War. Pretty much it is as subtle as a tank parachuting through the sky.

#11 User is offline   wrexness 

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Posted 21 April 2010 - 10:33 PM

View PostThe Spider, on Apr 21 2010, 11:17 PM, said:

A plain example of putting politics in comics is Civil War. Pretty much it is as subtle as a tank parachuting through the sky.

What if it's a stealth tank? *drive by comment*
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#12 User is offline   Dark Spellmaster 

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Posted 21 April 2010 - 11:51 PM

View PostSka_Toranpetta, on Apr 21 2010, 04:48 PM, said:

I'm a bit confused with your post. Do you mean, what if someone made a 'manga' in America? Because that technically isnt manga. From what I've seen I dont like American "manga". Now if you mean English manga as in the language...um well yes I do like it because I cant read japanese, therefore I have to read it in English, but after I learn japanese I'll read them in their native form.

But if you think about it, the target audience for such things like bi-weekly american manga is so low. Most fans of anime are japanophiles anyway, so they would probably wouldnt want to read an american based manga. Just saying, even though there are those that like both.


I guess I should explain a bit. See I've been reading western comics for years now, one of the biggest gripes is, "Why are we loosing readers to Manga, and how do we get them back." I know there's a lot of great artist from here, and my question was, so we have these talented artist who's styles are similar to Japanese style art. If the concept of shojo and Shonen are so widely popular, why does it seem so hard for say a Western publisher to be like "hey there are a lot of awesome artists out here in the states and abroad who draw in a style that is like Japanese Manga, why not create a book that could be structured like say Weekly shonen jump and allow them to create series that could be just as memorable as the stories and art from Japan" ?
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#13 User is offline   Kaay-chan 

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Posted 22 April 2010 - 12:28 AM

No. I'm one of those people who doesn't consider it manga if it's from America, just comics that wish they were manga. It's not just because it's not from Japan, though; I do have my reasons.

For one thing, the artwork is very distinctive. It takes a lot more than a few years looking at "how to draw manga" books to get it right. As far as I know, the vast majority of manga-ka start out as assistants to other manga-ka. Case and point: the manga-ka for One Piece used to work for the manga-ka for Rurouni Kenshin (as a matter of fact, in one of the panels there's actually a little pirate symbol that he managed to sneak in). Put an American made "manga" next to a manga, and any anime fan worth their salt is going to be able to tell which one is which based on the art alone.

But it's a lot more than just the art. Every culture is unique, and the uniqueness of Japan's culture is incorporated in manga. Once again, show any anime fan the plot summaries of an "American manga" and a manga, and nine times out of ten, they're going to be able to tell the difference.

Think of it this way: if the roles were reversed, and Marvel and DC comics were insanely popular around the world, would you really be okay with people from other countries trying to copy our comics and claim that it's the exact same thing? There's so much in them that's so unique to American culture that you can't tell me at least some people wouldn't be miffed, at the very least.

This post has been edited by Kaay-chan: 22 April 2010 - 12:29 AM

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#14 User is offline   Trini 

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Posted 22 April 2010 - 12:38 AM

My views on this have pretty much been stated already, but I can toss my $0.02 in. A monthly/bi-weekly American manga would be interesting, but seriously, it wouldn't last long. Like people above have said, some just don't consider it manga. As for me liking it, I've only read Shutterbox (Rikki Simmons and Tavisha Wolfgarth-Simons) but it's pretty decent. If I can find more like it, I'd def pick it up, American made or not. As long as it has that style, it's cool with me.
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#15 User is offline   Keiichi-chan 

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Posted 22 April 2010 - 01:05 AM

View Postsentinel28a, on Apr 21 2010, 10:54 PM, said:

Whether or not you consider manga made in the US to be "true manga" is a matter of personal opinion. Me, if it's drawn in the manga style, it's manga. Maybe technically it isn't, since it wasn't made in Japan, but I'm not so much a purist as to turn my nose up and say, "If it ain't Japanese, it ain't manga." Because then we'd have to define what makes manga manga. Big eyes and speed lines? Sure, but what about manga like Crying Freeman or Sanctuary, which is drawn in a very realistic style? I would consider both manga, naturally.


I definitely agree with Keiichi that American comics have gone down the tubes recently. The stories are increasingly stupid, the characters increasingly ridiculous, and too much is done for sales gimmicks. When Superman was killed off, that was something...but they didn't keep him dead, which ruined it. By the time Marvel "killed" Captain America, nobody really cared, because we all knew he would be back. Lately comics have gotten politicized too, which ticks me off to no end. Don't get me going on that subject.

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'manga' is japanese for comics. i can't think of a case where using the japanese word in an english-speaking country
is ideal, especially when you already have a word in english that means the exact same thing. gold digger
is drawn in a manga style, but i think it's inaccurate to call it a manga. =\

whoa, whoa, whoa..not saying that. i outgrew superhero comics long ago, but there are plenty of american comics
that're just as good as, often better than, a lot of manga i read; just, none of them involve 'secret identities' and
'capes' imho. superman dying was a stunt to revitalize interest when the comic boom of the early nineties was dying
out. he was never going to stay dead, superman is an icon.

Quote

Put an American made "manga" next to a manga, and any anime fan worth their salt is going to be able to tell which one is which based on the art alone.

kaaaay-chan..that's not exactly true. tokyopop mentioned in an interview that the japanese authors that came and worked cons with them mentioned mistakenly thinking many of their OEL american manga line was made in japan by japanese manga artists. you're totally right about it being a window into other cultures, though. on the other hand, japanese comics
are about japanese kids, dressing like japanese kids, going to japanese schools, eating at japanese restaurants, forming very japanese friendships and playing taiko drum master in japanese arcades. there is a certain connection that you get from reading stories about characters who look like you, dress like you, have friendships like your own friendships, eat cheeseburgers from burger king and play guitar hero in their friends basement on a friday night.

you can read about japanese culture as an american, but you can't relate to it in the same way. that's an
element you can only get from a comic created in your own country.

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Posted 22 April 2010 - 08:11 AM

First off let me say that I support Ameri-manga completely and fully. I think it's honestly sad that few people wish to look at them and give them a chance. There are a number that I have read that impressed me but have not been published. These I usually find at comic conventions. Jumping from booth to booth and meeting and reading the creations of very talented independent artists, that sadly have not been signed.

I may be a little bit biased, I am diving into the world of comics myself which the style are heavily based on the manga style. and every day I am reminded that for this style there is not a lot of room, yet...

I honestly think this is going to change in the near future. America has a very established fanbase for manga and anime, and I only think it is time till the influence really starts to flood the American comic industry, especially looking at the independent scene at the moment.

To the comment that it is believed that American comic artists do not work as hard as the Japanese, I disagree. Behind every established/published manga-ka is about four-five, maybe even more unknown assistants that only on occasion get their names in the credits. If you wish to get a real look at single artist manga in japan..you go to the doujinshi community, which are made by fans and are rarely created by a team.

Now the one thing that I do think needs to grow is the stories, because quite often, the art work in manga inspired comics is great, but the story is lacking and immature in message. WHICH IS ALRIGHT, especially for a growing community. I am sure as the current artists grow, so will their work, it is just going to take time since all things considered, the Japanese inspired comic style is still very young.

I really hope the comic will get bigger with this in the years to come :D

#17 User is offline   sentinel28a 

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Posted 22 April 2010 - 01:46 PM

So which is manga? This or this? One is translated and the other is not...

And actually, Kaay, people have copied American styles. Matter of fact, Osamu Tezuka himself acknowledged that he copied straight from Walt Disney and Betty Boop in establishing much of what we call "anime" today. I've heard the argument made that manga is a synthesis of feudal Japanese woodcuts, post-contact Japanese artwork, and American cartoons. For instance, the oft-cited criticism of a lot of manga: "Why do they look American when they're supposed to be Japanese?" Sailor Moon looks about as Japanese as I do. Any blond Japanese you run into is either the victim of a dye job or has some non-Japanese people in their immediate heritage; the only other hair color besides black with 99% of the Japanese is red, and that is exceptionally rare. Usagi's also got blue eyes, another exceptional rarity in Japan. But she's most definitely Japanese, and I think both Moonie fans and Naoko Takeuchi would be insulted if you insisted that Usagi is somehow a transplanted American. Copying is the sincerest form of flattery--as long as you don't bust copyright, anyway.

And indeed this sort of copying was intentional. After the Meiji Restoration and full contact with non-Japanese, the Japanese began adopting Western ways wholesale--which is why shaved eyebrows and blackened teeth are no longer seen as objects of beauty in Japan, why the Japanese like to eat meat with their rice, and why even the way kanji is read has changed. The Japanese in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries wanted to become more European because they felt it was the only way to avoid being overrun like the Chinese, and the only way they would ever be taken seriously. This attitude has changed since, of course, but enough has changed that Kenshin Himura would no longer recognize Japan, were he real and if he could be sent forward in time. The technological advances would not bother him as much as the cultural changes.

We don't seem to be too angry with the Japanese for copying us, and they don't seem to be overly bothered by manga-style artwork and anime-style productions coming into vogue here in the US. Nor should they.

I already started a thread in Chit-Chat a few weeks back on why politicization of comics ticks me off, so I won't go into it here.

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#18 User is offline   Voxx 

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Posted 22 April 2010 - 03:54 PM

Sentinel is correct. Anime/Manga was widely influenced by America to begin with.

But to be on topic... I think that the reasons why american comics arent doing so well as manga is because of OUR stereotypes. Think about it. With youth they grew up pretty much thinking that comics are gay and for nerds and they always have to do with superheroes and thats not everyones bag. Then they see kids with some new kind of material called manga and its strange and new and awesome and the stories arent all about lame superheroes thus creating a new sub-genre that they can be unique in. Thats one major reason why manga is doing much better. Now that isnt the only reason because some american comics kick major butt and dont have superheroes as the main character, but that is what was driven into the media and to the readers.

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#19 User is offline   Keiichi-chan 

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Posted 22 April 2010 - 04:02 PM

Quote

To the comment that it is believed that American comic artists do not work as hard as the Japanese, I disagree.

oh, i didn't mean japanese inherently work harder than american artist. just that there is a much tougher schedule
and more is expected from the work ethic. yes, mangaka have assistants, but even with them, they still have to
go many days without sleep while doing nothing but writing and drawing with occasional food and bathroom breaks.
these would be considered unfair working conditions for any job by our work standards.

working for weekly shonen jump is a double-edged sword in that you can gain notoriety and become a millionaire
over night, but on the other hand, you work nonstop and see your family a friends once a week if you're on schedule.
you're wealthy and have consistent work from just making comics, but your entire life pretty much centers around making
comics only.

Quote

"Why do they look American when they're supposed to be Japanese?"

it's always weird when people react that way considering i don't know many uber petite americans with spiky asian
hair, and youthful, tiny facial features like anime characters do. most americans don't have triangle noses or
eyes half the circumference of their head, either. most anime characters look like stylized asians, or at the very
least stylized versions of human beings in the first place. yes, there are natural blondes, but there are also characters
with natural GREEN hair, too. you're more likely to see to see trendy japanese teens dressing like manga characters
casually in japan than you are in america. the 'look' of anime and manga characters tends to come from a combination
of stylization and the youth fashion trends in japan.
http://www.flyingczechman.org/gallery/hara...s%20mask%29.jpg
the 'giant eyes' thing seems more indicative of the japanese wanting every character to look cute rather than
wanting every character to look 'american'. but there are definitely exceptions on both ends.

not to mention, american cartoons aren't exactly photo-realistic depictions of the way people really look, either:
http://editorial.sid.../Posts/doug.jpg

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Posted 22 April 2010 - 04:33 PM

I think it's not so much about the political agendas that are scaring people away from comics. Yes, Super heroes are once again fighting "American Enemy No. 1" but that's been going on since the super hero comic gained popularity , the only difference is that it's not the Soviets anymore. Comics simply aren't as available as manga to the public. You cannot pick up too many titles at your local borders / barnes and noble and the few there are shoved into a tiny corner on a rack next to the window.( this is aimed towards actual comic issues, not the large collection books that come out much much later ) Yet, a couple rows down is a vast section of manga in an eye appealing section with a couple bits of mainstream merchandise. Comics simply aren't as accessible as they've been in the past.

The story-lines in the long running popular comics ( Captain America, Superman , etc. ) have been pretty awful recently, and that's probably because they do not have to be decent. The amount of merchandise those series still sell is insane. Sometimes I even wonder why they bother to keep these series going and then I remember that someone is getting paid to spill some ridiculous story-line on the fans that never seem to give up hope ( or collectors that pray this is an investment.)

back on topic....
if you mean American manga like made here then it definitely depends. Something that annoys me is when the art style tries too hard to exaggerate things ( big eyes with lots and lots of shine, hair that is too misshapen , etc. ). A lot of the plots feel strange to me as well. I still whole heartedly support any american that gives it a try though , or anyone for that matter...

if you mean translated then it's not an issue to me, otherwise I couldn't even read most of it . : /
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#21 User is offline   sentinel28a 

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Posted 22 April 2010 - 08:15 PM

Agreed, Keiichi, but it does also go back to the Japanese adoption of European ideals of beauty and sophistication.

Tezuka said he was inspired by Betty Boop and Mickey Mouse's big eyes, not because they were cute, but because you can show more emotion with them. And not all manga characters have big eyes, either...check out that second Dirty Pair link, or Crying Freeman. The different hair color goes back to the Meiji period, but is also prevalent in anime so you can tell the characters apart. (Same with the weird hairstyles. Exhibit A: the Sailor Scouts.)

It's the "style" of manga I'm referring to. I'm not saying the Japanese want to all be Americans, or that manga-ka are attempting to photorealistically show what Americans look like.

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#22 User is offline   Kaay-chan 

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Posted 23 April 2010 - 01:25 AM

View Postsentinel28a, on Apr 22 2010, 02:46 PM, said:

So which is manga? This or this? One is translated and the other is not...

And actually, Kaay, people have copied American styles. Matter of fact, Osamu Tezuka himself acknowledged that he copied straight from Walt Disney and Betty Boop in establishing much of what we call "anime" today. I've heard the argument made that manga is a synthesis of feudal Japanese woodcuts, post-contact Japanese artwork, and American cartoons. For instance, the oft-cited criticism of a lot of manga: "Why do they look American when they're supposed to be Japanese?" Sailor Moon looks about as Japanese as I do. Any blond Japanese you run into is either the victim of a dye job or has some non-Japanese people in their immediate heritage; the only other hair color besides black with 99% of the Japanese is red, and that is exceptionally rare. Usagi's also got blue eyes, another exceptional rarity in Japan. But she's most definitely Japanese, and I think both Moonie fans and Naoko Takeuchi would be insulted if you insisted that Usagi is somehow a transplanted American. Copying is the sincerest form of flattery--as long as you don't bust copyright, anyway.

And indeed this sort of copying was intentional. After the Meiji Restoration and full contact with non-Japanese, the Japanese began adopting Western ways wholesale--which is why shaved eyebrows and blackened teeth are no longer seen as objects of beauty in Japan, why the Japanese like to eat meat with their rice, and why even the way kanji is read has changed. The Japanese in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries wanted to become more European because they felt it was the only way to avoid being overrun like the Chinese, and the only way they would ever be taken seriously. This attitude has changed since, of course, but enough has changed that Kenshin Himura would no longer recognize Japan, were he real and if he could be sent forward in time. The technological advances would not bother him as much as the cultural changes.

We don't seem to be too angry with the Japanese for copying us, and they don't seem to be overly bothered by manga-style artwork and anime-style productions coming into vogue here in the US. Nor should they.

I already started a thread in Chit-Chat a few weeks back on why politicization of comics ticks me off, so I won't go into it here.

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I was referring more to the style of DC comics and Marvel. Hence why I said "DC comics and Marvel". I'm fully aware that Tezuka was inspired by Disney. Btw, the second link is the manga, right?

@Keiichi: I'm going to start off by admitting that, despite my spending hours at a time in the manga section of Borders at the book store (my high school was a block away from a borders, and that happened to be where I picked up the bus. What's that you say? I missed the 4:30 bus because I was reading a random manga?...Oops. I guess I'll catch the 5:00 one.....etc. etc.), it's been a while since I've gone and spent any sort of substantial time in one. My college is in the middle of nowhere, so there's nowhere really to just browse, and every time I'm at a borders or Barnes and Noble these days, I'm looking for something specific. My point being: maybe the artwork of American made made manga has improved while I wasn't looking. I don't know. That being said, I still firmly believe that it's possible to tell the difference between an Ameri-manga and a manga based on art alone, in the same way most people can tell the difference between manga and manjwa.
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#23 User is offline   Keiichi-chan 

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Posted 23 April 2010 - 10:21 AM

you can tell sometimes, but it's due to certain art tools being used, not really skill.
there are plenty of decent manga that aren't exactly mind-blowing when it comes to art.
plus, a lot of manga is the exact same style with one or two tweaks, and the style itself seems designed to be easy
to draw--it's must easier for jr. high schoolers to draw something by rumiko takahashi than the stuff you
see in DC or Marvel comics..
the japanese are genius when it comes to developing things like that. a lot of manga art is simple, so
it can be produced quickly, but artist develop tricks so that it still looks pretty and appealing.

sometimes
the art itself is incredibly crude or simple and computer tones are used to make it look more elaborate than
it actually is. there are japanese paper types that help inking look better as well as pens that give finer line weights, too.
a lot of that stuff isn't as common or available in the U.S., so maybe that makes it look very different in some
cases. also: the hairstyles and fashion trends in america are totally different from the ones in japan, so characters
dress more 'american-looking' in the english manga. still, i don't think the japanese artist are more talented or
draw better than western artist or whatever. there are plenty of american manga that have that avatar the
airbender effect where you really can't tell if it's japanese or not when you first see it.
i dunno if that's necessarily a good thing, though.

#24 User is offline   SpoonRoll 

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Posted 23 April 2010 - 10:32 AM

As someone who reviews manga for a local TV station, I'd love to see more good, quality English translations. A weekly magazine would be a wonderful and affordable way to get exposed to several titles at once. I always check out the manga sections in the libraries when I sub teach, and even a few of the used bookstores around here are picking them up. Here's to an American manga revolution!

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#25 User is offline   kenkendazo  

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Posted 23 April 2010 - 10:39 AM

View PostSpoonRoll, on Apr 23 2010, 11:32 AM, said:

As someone who reviews manga for a local TV station, I'd love to see more good, quality English translations. A weekly magazine would be a wonderful and affordable way to get exposed to several titles at once. I always check out the manga sections in the libraries when I sub teach, and even a few of the used bookstores around here are picking them up. Here's to an American manga revolution!

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While these magazines maybe affordable in Japan, I can assure you do to how America is with publications, it will be very expensive over here. I'd have a feeling it would go the same route as Newtype.
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Posted 23 April 2010 - 10:41 AM

Would there be anyway to not have the import costs make it crazy?
($80 Doctor Who DVDs, grumble grumble)
There's probably other factors, but that's the first one I can think of.
Maybe...and this might be sacrilege to some of you out there... publishing some manga- and light novel-styled AMERICAN stuff?
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#27 User is offline   Keiichi-chan 

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Posted 23 April 2010 - 11:02 AM

View PostSuigetsu, on Apr 23 2010, 11:39 AM, said:

While these magazines maybe affordable in Japan, I can assure you do to how America is with publications, it will be very expensive over here. I'd have a feeling it would go the same route as Newtype.

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#28 User is offline   Kaay-chan 

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Posted 23 April 2010 - 11:18 AM

View PostKeiichi-chan, on Apr 23 2010, 11:21 AM, said:

you can tell sometimes, but it's due to certain art tools being used, not really skill.
there are plenty of decent manga that aren't exactly mind-blowing when it comes to art.
plus, a lot of manga is the exact same style with one or two tweaks, and the style itself seems designed to be easy
to draw--it's must easier for jr. high schoolers to draw something by rumiko takahashi than the stuff you
see in DC or Marvel comics..
the japanese are genius when it comes to developing things like that. a lot of manga art is simple, so
it can be produced quickly, but artist develop tricks so that it still looks pretty and appealing.

sometimes
the art itself is incredibly crude or simple and computer tones are used to make it look more elaborate than
it actually is. there are japanese paper types that help inking look better as well as pens that give finer line weights, too.
a lot of that stuff isn't as common or available in the U.S., so maybe that makes it look very different in some
cases. also: the hairstyles and fashion trends in america are totally different from the ones in japan, so characters
dress more 'american-looking' in the english manga. still, i don't think the japanese artist are more talented or
draw better than western artist or whatever. there are plenty of american manga that have that avatar the
airbender effect where you really can't tell if it's japanese or not when you first see it.
i dunno if that's necessarily a good thing, though.


You're telling me you can't give Avatar the Last Airbender and stuff like it a quick glance and instantly tell that it's not anime/manga?

Maybe it's because, as you said, the materials available and used are different, so American manga looks cleaner (Though if you try to tell me a quick trip to a good art store won't result in you finding comparable stuff, I'd probably have to start wondering about you. Japan isn't the only place where you can find special paper and pens; even if we don't have the exact same stuff as over there, that shouldn't stop people from experimenting with what we do have available until we find something that has a comparable effect). You can't tell half the time if it's hand drawn or not; I'm not sure if it's still around, because I haven't been on the Tokyo Pop website at all in years, but I know at one point they were advertising a computer program that would allow you to draw manga, and, looking at the art style of a lot of American manga, I always assumed that was what a lot of the artists were using.

Let's take the first link that Sentinel posted: At first glance, one might notice the large hair and eyes and so on and so forth and think "Oh, it's an 80's manga." But if that were the case, the art would be a lot rougher. The lines are far too clean for something that was hand drawn, especially if it were something from that era. This cleanness is part of the reason why American manga fail to give off the same kind of vibe that manga does.

It occurs to me as I write this that part of the problem might be that a lot of American manga artists try too hard to make their manga look like anime rather than manga, which could explain the clean lines and stuff.
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#29 User is offline   Keiichi-chan 

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Posted 23 April 2010 - 11:52 AM

you can tell with the comics sentinel posted because the popular paneling, pacing, angles, lettering, etc. are all very different from manga to western comics. but, with the art style alone, you can tell avatar isn't a japanese
series just by looking at it? isn't it animated in korea, where most anime series are done nowadays, anyway?

hearing the voices, seeing the story themes, and comedic style...yeah, i could tell immediately it wasn't japanese
then. but, from the art and character designs alone...i don't think anyone could for sure.
and yeah, artist COULD definitely find stuff to make their work look as close to manga as possible, but most
are concerned with drawing good art rather than making their lines look as close to a japanese
manga as possible.

i agree with you about the look, though. i think part of it is because computers are a much more prevalent
part of the comic process in america. most of the shonen jump line are 80% pen and ink with computers used
for lettering and tones when absolutely necessary. on the other hand, tokyopop especially, wanted all the
'manga' in their english line to use RIDICULOUS amounts of computer tones and have the look that many shoujo
series have with grey tones and sparkles everywhere. they really weren't big on high contrast
or whatever.

#30 User is offline   jsieczkar 

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Posted 23 April 2010 - 01:05 PM

I've never understood the whole "if it is not from Japan I won't read it or watch it". I don't care where something is from if it is good i'll read or watch it. Some of the best animation and comics are coming from outside of Japan or North America by limiting yourself to only a small scope you are missing so much great material.
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