Ron Rant: What’s the deal with Manga? Seriously

This has been building up in me probably since San Diego. Can someone please tell me, what is the deal with Manga? I mean I know what it is, the style of comics, the smaller size, the 10 dollar price tag, the increased number of pages, the speed lines blah blah blah. I get it. I know it exists, but since when does it thrive here in the US? I feel like Steve Rogers here, except there ain’t no block of ice.

Keep reading to see why I’m finally speaking up about this…

As I mentioned, this question came to me while we were in San Diego, partially fueled by that whole Naruto debacle, but also by the fact that almost everywhere I turned, there was a manga book or someone dressed up like a character from a manga book. Then, on the last podcast (which you can check out here if you haven’t yet), someone wrote in asking what we thought of Manga, did we not like it or were we indifferent. We answered mainly indifferent, but it made me think and wonder, am I indifferent? Or am I just ignorant?

Fast forward a few days and I’m bumming around Seattle, killing time before my flight back to NY, so I figured I’d try and find a bookstore and pick up a trade for the plane (since I blew through The Walking Dead, Book One and New X-Men, Vol. 1 on the flight there, which by the way, both are REALLY good. Happy, Josh?). I didn’t have much luck finding a comic store, sure I could have looked one up, but I thought I’d ask the clerks at the cool record store I found. He looked at me like I was crazy and said there hasn’t been a decent comic book store in Seattle in years. For some reason, I don’t believe them. (Do you live in Seattle? Where do you get your books?) So I ended up in a Barnes & Noble. In three Barnes & Noble in total, actually. Mainly because I couldn’t believe what I saw in the first one.

I walked into the store and navigated my way to the graphic novels section. It was pretty standard fare, the oversized books along the top and then some miscellaneous titles in alphabetical order, then the DC Comics books, then the Marvel Comics books, then some more random indies and what not. Now, this was the kind of Barnes & Noble where the shelves go up to your shoulder. All in all, the graphic novels took up two full bookcases worth of shelf space. To the right of them, started the Manga. These little paperback sized books went on for 10, count’ em, 10 bookshelves. They went four bookshelves to the right of the regular comics and then looped around across the way for another 6! AND there were two spinner racks full of them! It was like they spread like the Borg, or the plague, or The Beatles, take your pick.

I shook my head in disbelief and figured it must be some sort of oddity. The store over ordered or something. So a few hours later, I found myself in another Barnes & Noble and sure enough the same thing. Only this time, the shelves were the real tall, floor to ceiling ones and again, the Manga DOMINATED over the regular comics. More than 2/3 of the books were TokyoPop or some other company. Onto the third store, the same thing.

Now maybe Manga is immensely popular only in Seattle, so when I got home, I went to my local Borders. Sure enough, Manga as far as the eye can see. I seriously am confused here. Here’s why:

  • There’s no way a big box store like Barnes & Noble or Borders would keep that much stock if it doesn’t sell. I used to work retail, like Tom Cruise, I know these things.
  • So, if they’re selling, who are they selling to? Keep in mind, when I was in all 4 stores, NO ONE else was in the aisle. No one was looking at any of these books, manga or not.
  • I could be wrong, but I seem to remember hearing about how Marvel and DC had finally broken through to the book retailers. And yet, they have less than a third of the shelf space, and the books that were there? Well let’s just say I didn’t buy any of them…

So I think I’m ignorant. You’ll probably agree. But I’m asking to be enlightened, so help me iFanboy faithful and clue me in. What’s the deal with Manga?


  1. Well – the TokyoPop booth babes were hot.

    Ron – your question is awesome. And, just to tag on a bit – It’s not just comics. Truly in our lifetime we have seen a huge increase of Mangaa/anime on TV too.

    I don’t know who the audience is.

    I don’t know what this means.

    Somebody answer Ron’s question…PLEASE!!!

  2. Dude, the kids have just latched onto it like it’s THEIR thing, and so it is. This is a generation raised on POKEMON. It’s a short leap from there to SHONEN JUMP. Plus, they get to confuse their parents by reading right to left. They get character-based stories, not plot-based. They get big juicy gobs of story at each sitting. They have ease of availability to the material.

    And it’s especially prevelant on the West Coast, I’d imagine, where the Asian influence is even stronger than here in the NY area. It’s been growing quicker and quicker in San Diego in the eight years I’ve been going. It used to be limited to just the screening rooms upstairs, a couple of J-Pop import vendors and one or two costumes. Now, that group has exploded out onto the con floor, with major manga publishers taking up large footprints of space on the show floor, dozens of costumes (mostly Naruto and Trigunn, though, with less COWBOY BEBOP this year than in the past), and more.

    I can recommend you some manga for those who hate manga, if you’d like.

  3. So, I’m just old. Is that what you’re telling me there Augie? 🙂 Now I never said I hated manga, just that I don’t even get it. So if I wanted to, what would be some good books to start with?

    Where’s Spidermav? He’s probably someone with a good POV on this topic…

  4. i guess you could say i’m part of the “pokemon generation” as i was about eleven when the whole pokemon craze started. i remember playing the shit out of my gameboy and watching the show almost religiously. i think a lot of the allure of these anime shows and mangas is that they seem a lot more mature than some similar american offerings, at least to little kids. cartoon network would show shows like dragon ballz and gundam wing right next to dexter’s laboratory and powerpuff girls. these japanese cartoons just seemed more suited for older kids, and consequently a lot cooler. and as a lot of comic readers know, once you become a fan of one form of entertainment or story, similar forms such as manga are soon to follow. i myself never really got into too much anime or manga besides the aforementioned (sp?) pokemon obsession, but a lot of my friends memorized entire the mythology of shows like dragonballz, which i guess is similar to how you guys must have experienced comics when you were younger.

  5. Hate hate HATE MANGA! My seven year old reads some of it, and I dread when he asks me to read some of it. A lot of the kids show’s ape that style of animation as well. Teen Titans was an embarassment, especially after Justice League.

    Death to Manga.

  6. Manga = the suck. I wholeheartedly agree. That is all.

  7. I don’t know about these kids with their gameboys and their Yu-gi-ohs and Razr blogs and so forth. All I can tell you for sure is that even here in stodgy, flyover St. Louis, Missouri, the river is choked with manga; it outnumbers the cape books 2 to 1 at the Borders by my work. I will sometimes see it and think, “I should give this stuff a spin. I’m open-minded. I’m ‘with it.’ All those people can’t be wrong.” Then I remember that disco, mechanical bulls, and “So You Think You Can Dance” have also been very popular at one time or another.

  8. The same thing happened to me on Borders in N.Y. Specially on one where there was a few scattered comics and a lot of neatly sorted manga books.

    I think manga has gained much popularity because:

    1.People, specially kids, have more exposure to Japanese toons on T.V (think how much anime there is, compared to how many superhero shows.

    2. Manga may appeal to a wider audience, because it’s not directly related to the capes, the POW, ZOING, BANG. Also, In many ways manga doesn’t take itself as serious as the comic industry in general (I know changes have been made), and doesn’t suffer the “stereotypes” that may drive away other readers. (I try to understand this from the uninformed person’s P.O.V)

    3.The Christopher Columbus syndrome,People love the exotic and are always dazzled by the New and exciting.

    I’m not a Manga reader, but if I should recommend. I’d say LONE WOLF & CUB

  9. here in san diego, manga is definately a pretty potent comic format especially at my university bookstore. two shelves of graphic novels and BAM five shelfs of manga, although i don’t read manga i have noticed that a lot of girls do, college girls at that O_O, and the times i’ve walked in to b&n i’ve seen kids read them and teen girls as well. there’s surely an audience that it captures, i’m reminded of the Emma manga that was being offered at the DC booth during SD Comic Con, to me it seems to be marketed toward females more than anything…as for the naruto explosion…i was highly skepticle about the show and the manga … my college roomates coaxed me into watching a couple of episodes a year ago and believe it or not it’s actually not bad. it’s very character driven and involves ninja kids and ninja action you’d be surprised how well it’s animated and btw you need to see the original non dubbed episodes if you’re ever interested, the cartoon network versions are dubbed horribly and cut stuff here and there

  10. Manga = the suck. I wholeheartedly agree. That is all.

    I don’t think it’s enough just to say “it sucks”. You need to explain why you think it sucks so we can see where you are coming from.

  11. I can’t stand Manga or Anime, and I tried, I really did, I have friends who are addicited, manga is heroine to them. I think it exploded because (from what I see in my friends) people will follow Manga or Anime no matter what, the story, the character and what not, it doesn’t matter to them really as long as it LOOKS like something else they know. They just gobble it up. I tried to sit and watch some of this stuff and it gave me a headache and seemed like the same story lines over and over and over again. I also just can’t stand that style of animation. I’m in the computer graphics department at my school, and that’s merged with animation, so I got to see that most Anime is one cell again and again and again. It just seems all so repetitive, now I realize some can say the same about comics and in some cases that’s true…but I don’t read those comics. I have a joke with another friend of mine who can’t stand Manga or Anime, that Salior Moon (remember that gem!) was a gate way drug for alot of kids into bad animation and mediocre story.

    Now this is just my opinion, if you love it, that’s great, you have something, just don’t shove it on me and realize I, and others, don’t like it. (I say all this from my own experiences with Manga/Anime fans)

  12. I am not the biggest manga fan out there, but I am a pretty big fan. And, as many of you have pointed out, manga is a big sufferer of Sturgeon’s Law. This problem is further compounded by the fact that many of the titles that get translated go for the easy tween market. In Japan, however, manga covers a huge spectrum of stories.

    Here are a few of the titles that I have enjoyed; feel free to Wikipedia/Google them:

    Hikaru No Go
    Oh My Goddess
    The First President of Japan
    Love Hina

    I guess what I like about manga (at least the titles I get attracted to) is that they give me something different to read in the comic format. As always, YMMV.


    PS. I am a new iFanboy fan, but I am convinced. Y’all have already convinced me on Astro City and Escapists…

  13. I don’t get manga. It has never appealed to me. I think that is because I am too mentally and financially invested into American-styled comics. It seems like there is some sort of learning curve to manga that I would need to get around before I could enjoy it and the comics don’t appeal to me enough to want to navigate that trip. I am satisfied with my super heroes and zombies.

    Now my experience with anime has been different, I have enjoyed a couple series. I mean, like, two. I watched Gundamn Wing when I started college and liked the giant robots. I watched Teknoman a looooooong time ago when I started high school, again because of the giant robots. Both series were exciting, but nothing I would go back to now. I always felt there was something lost in the translation. I mean, people go crazy over Dragon Ball Z and I just don’t get that at all.

  14. Manga definitely appeals to the 10-18 crowd, I think. I, also, have tried to pick it up and enjoy it. A couple of reasons why I can’t seem to get into it:

    There’s no variation in the art. It’s like all the artists are mimicking one another. And that’s fine, but I prefer some differing looks.

    It seems like every book has a character that likes to: 1) Eat too much 2) Sleep too much 3) is a lecherous old man.

    I used to try to watch Dragonball Z, but I got so infuriated after watching 5 of them. The whole time was spent with some guy running to a fight and not even fighting.

    I’m sure there’s exceptions to the rule, and I don’t hate manga art (Some Oni books look manga-esque). I just don’t think it’s for me because it just feels way too formulaic.

  15. Now, anime’s a different story. Manga, I want to be open-minded about because I haven’t had much experience with it; the anime I have seen almost universally makes me want to bash my head on a rock.

    At the same time, saying “I don’t like anime” is probably a little like saying “I don’t like music.” I can’t dismiss an entire genre or medium just because I haven’t yet seen anyone use it to my liking.

    To that end, I really wish someone here would pipe up and say, “I’m a thirteen year old, and I love manga! The best manga ever is _____,” so I can read it and be introduced to the form with manga’s “Watchmen” instead of manga’s Clone Saga.

  16. HIKARU NO GO is an anjoyable book about a kid who becomes a master of GO after being inhabited by the ghost of a GO legend. Or something like that. Slightly lighter, more traditional looking manga. Should be available everywhere, plus it’s only $8 a pop instead of $10.

    If you’re looking for something fun, I might suggest LUPIN III. Nice short self-contained stories of a spy on the run.

    LONE WOLF AND CUB is the gold standard of serious samurai manga.

    Dark Horse’s presentation of BLADE OF THE IMMORTAL is just a drop dead beautiful book. Plus, it’s left to right and slightly larger than TokyoPop manga-sized.

    Someone mentioned FIRST PRESIDENT OF JAPAN, which is a favorite of mine. Political thriller. The problem is, I doubt you’ll be able to find it anymore. It came from the late, great RAIJIN line, which also featured REVENGE OF THE MOUFLON, a great plane crash comic.

  17. Manga is really what got me into comic books in the first place. It is not for everyone but if you have an open mind, you could probably pick up some of these suggestions, but I would stay away from most of the cartoon network stuff like naruto and dragon ball because it is just mediocre sometimes. (please no hatemail)

    Rurouni Kenshin- kind of a historical japanese tale about a former assasin who wants to give up his murderous ways but finds out that he cant completely . this aired on the CN but is still good
    Trigun- It’s by dark horse but i have not read it but a friend of mine is really into it
    Full metal alchemist- Not the best but it is kinda cool i reccommend kenshin more though.

  18. Kids, Teens, twenty-somethings, and some adults only like manga for the violence, swearing, and anime chicks. All most all of the story lines are the same. When they go onto TV the violence and swearing is taken off(unless its adult swim). Even on Naruto, Naruto turned into a naked woman for his teacher. Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z are pretty violent. PETA should be all over Pokemon. The characters are training thier mutant pets to beat the crap out of other animals!

    They American-ized versions are just so the characters look cool. They really messed up Teen Titans. The Titans are less realistic and they dont seem like the same titans. It also makes it hard to bring in characters from the Justice League.

    You need to like watch a lot of manga to get it. Like when characters say ‘yes’, they grunt. Their doughnuts are white puff balls with black lines on them. I am suprised that kids understand what is going on.

  19. I don’t read much manga but I don’t have anything against it either. I have thought about trying to pick some up but it is so overwhelming because there is so much of it, and honestly I barely have enough time to read the 10-12 American comics I pick up each week. I will say I have borrowed and read most of the Battle Royale books and have enjoyed them, but not enough to recommend them over most of the higher-quality American books.

    However, I will agree with a couple other posts that say Lone Wolf and Cub is generally considered the one to read if you can only pick one. I haven’t read it but have heard several people say it is awesome. If I were to start reading manga (which I probably won’t), I would start there.

  20. I’m not sure that Lone Wolf & Cub is what Ron’s really confused about, but I’m not sure about the classification. That being said, LW&C was one of my favorite comic read ever. I could not stop reading it, and I don’t usually like stuff like this. It was just that good.

    Full disclosure: I was reading my roommate’s copies, because I couldn’t justify spending the $10/issue every month for 26-27 issues. Now I would, but then, no.

    Other than that, the political book, Eagle was really good. But I didn’t get past the first big volume.

  21. O

    Ok, I just might have to call in to you guys because there are way too many things for me to talk about why Manga is not only amazing, but is really really good for the American Comics Market.

    lucky for you, I’m at work… but the thoughts are brewing in my head.


  22. Josh is right, I get Lone Wolf & Cub, I’ve heard its a classic etc. Someday I’ll get to it. But for some reason, I don’t consider it part of this manga phenomenon…

    Are the kids in borders reading Lone Wolf & Cub? I don’t think they are?

    So there is that much of a tie between the anime and the manga? Let’s get our terms correct, manga is printed and not animated, where anime is. So basically these manga books are the equivalent of our Transformers and GI Joe comics of the 80s?

  23. In my opinion, there are three primary reasons why manga is so popular here in the U.S. right now: (1) it and anime are very “in” right now with a younger audience (say, early teens to mid-20s) and particularly a female audience, (2) manga series span numerous genres (without being dominated by just one, as American comics are), and (3) individual manga series are self-contained (for the most part).

    Manga and anime have a kind of symbiotic relationship. Generally, popular manga series are made into anime (when the reverse happens, the manga tends not to be very good). So, it’s kind of like Transformers comics in the 80s, except perhaps 7 out of 10 popular anime series have a manga antecedent.

    Especially in America, I’d say the most popular manga are those related to anime that has made a big hit there. Anime fills a gap in American entertainment. American cartoons tend to be geared to fairly young ages and there are numerous anime series appealing to teens and 20-somethings. Anime provides as “in” to manga that American comics don’t really have.

    Well, American comics _do_ have superhero movies, but notice that American comics, particularly superhero comics which make up most of comic movies, are long serials. A manga series like Dragon Ball or Ai Yori Aoshi may be sprawling, but it has a definite starting and stopping point.

    I’ll be honest, I love American comics, but for better or worse we do tend toward complicated continuity. I love Batman and know tons about his history, but not so much about the rest of the DCU. Infinite Crisis was not exactly an easy read for me (though 52 is better in this regard). What I’m getting at is that the entry barrier to popular American comics is still fairly high compared to manga.

    Finally, many manga series appeal to female readers. Let’s face it, the female audience for American comics has always been a fraction of the total audience. Not so with manga. You have manga like “His and Her Circumstances” and “Magic Knight Rayearth” that appeals to a female demographic. Even in indy books, I don’t think we have much of an equivalent to these kind of books (especially those for younger ages).

    Oh and I do think the foreign aspect of manga may help make it popular. I find it surprising that almost all manga series are printed right-to-left (spine reversed) here as they are in Japan.

    Now… I don’t mean to sound like a manga polemic. Like most people here, I’m a huge fan of American comics (superhero and otherwise). Perhaps unlike others here, I do read manga occasionally. (It helps that I speak Japanese.) Manga is like anything else. Much of it isn’t very good… but there are gems now and again.

    For those comic fans looking for a artistic and quality manga rather than the current trendy ones, I would suggest Hayao Miyazaki’s “Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind”. That deserves a place by some of the best American graphic novels.

    P.S. Manga rhymes with Tonga.

  24. Transformers and Ninja Turtles are a good point, but I think today the phenomenon is much more agressive.

    I haven’t seen Naruto but all these new Anime shows that broadcast on standard western T.V like POKEMON, YU-GI-OH, DIGIMON, BEYBLADE, even MEGAMAN, define themselves as a pure consumist things. If you see the format it’s like a template they fill-out for each episode(On that note,has anyone seen the NEOPETS scam, the guy ripped off pokemon, and know it has his own magazine)

    If us, comic fans, bitch about variant covers, the marketing strategy of these anime/manga shows abuse the concept to the death. And I’m not trying to be a conspiracy-theorist, but kids today are being brought up by that kind of mentality so they become compulsive consumers of the same product.


  25. (1) it and anime are very “in” right now with a younger audience (say, early teens to mid-20s)

    so manga and anime is to now as Ska was to the mid-90s? 🙂

  26. Ryan – I agree with 90% of what you’ve posted here as to the reasons why manga is so popular. I just have two nitpicky points:

    (1) it and anime are very “in” right now with a younger audience (say, early teens to mid-20s) and particularly a female audience

    You make it sound like a fad here – see Ron’s ska joke – but manga/anime has been growing in popularity for almost ten years now. And it is sustained growth that shows no sign of stopping.

    (2) manga series span numerous genres (without being dominated by just one, as American comics are)

    This is a pet peeve of mine, but “superhero” is not a genre. Comics that feature superheroes cross all sorts of genres.

  27. I am 13 and like manga rurouni kenshin is the illest!!!!!!!!

  28. Manga is this generation’s Dungeons & Dragons. It’s the reason that kids who might be into comics that don’t actually suck ass get shoved into lockers at school. Death to Manga. and anime. and Americans who would rather be Japanese in general
    But seriously though, totally agree with Ron. It sucks.
    Even that one that is the ‘illest’

  29. I think people who say ‘I hate Manga’ are being a little short sighted, because it spans so many genres and styles that there is probably some out there somewhere that you’d like. I generally find it a little inaccessible however; Tokyo Pop seem to be putting out books aimed at a rather specific target audience, and that being one that I don’t fall into.

    I have found a couple of decent reads during my random blind forays into manga, and I’m a big fan of certain anime, such as Miyazaki’s films. I think the problem is that for every decent anime movie or manga book there are about a million crappy ones/ones that are not catered to someone with my tastes.

    As to why manga/anime is so popular at the moment, I’d guess it began with video games. Gaming is an industry where japanese games make up a huge percentage of those available (in relation to other medium such as film and tv). I think the success of certain japanese games led to the exposure of anime to western kids, which’s success has similarly led to manga’s popularity.

  30. Is Scott Pilgrim considered manga?

    As I mentioned on the podcast, I’ve only read that and the first Eagle book. Oh, and like 15 years ago I read Akira, but I don’t remember any of it.

  31. Daredevill: rurouni kenshin is the illest!!!!!!!!

    I don’t know what this means

    Awesome Android: But seriously though, totally agree with Ron. It sucks.

    Now now, I never said it sucked. I just said I didn’t get it. I may may be judgemental and what not, but I at least try to understand something before I dismiss it

  32. I also don’t get the popularity of manga, and at the risk of sounding like a complete idiot, i cant even figure out how to read that stuff right to left. Im embarassed to admit it, but can someone explain how to read this stuff??

  33. Maybe part of the reason several of us don’t really understand this whole manga thing is because we aren’t aware of popular characters and their story formats. For example, maybe Naruto or some other character comes out often (monthly or bi-monthly) and features high quality stories. Most of us (like myself) don’t care because we don’t know who Naruto is much less what is happening with her character.

    Regardless, I would definitely read manga if the stories were well written and the art was tolerable. However, no one has ever recomended a manga book to me until now. From what I’m reading, I need to procure a copy of Lone Wolf and Cub. Maybe I’ll try to read it during some of the slower weeks that will accompany Marvel delays.

  34. I would say Scott Pilgrim is not manga, but rather influenced by manga. Just like Kill Bill isn’t a foreign movie, but rather heavily influnced by them.

    Am I wrong, but the word manga just means Japanese comics, which we have come to relate with a certain style which we call manga.

    But to say you don’t like manga is like saying you don’t like foreign movies, which I guess is possible, but within that definition of foreign movies, there are many many variances, just like in american movies.

  35. Does the Sentinel mini series from like 2 or 3 years ago count as manga?

  36. Conor – You’re right, manga has been growing in popularity for 10+ years. I don’t think manga is just a fad, but I do suspect that some of its current popularity is because its an “in” thing right now (which it and anime weren’t in the past). Eventually I think we’ll see manga’s popularity stabilize and level off some.

    Regarding superhero as a genre… Good point. But couldn’t you say that a certain comic was part of two or more genres, like “superhero / noir” or “superhero / science fiction / suspense”? After all, a “genre” is just a box we try to fit stories in for convenience and some things don’t fit cleanly into one box. Or perhaps superheroes are more of a motif in various genres?

    At any rate, when the man on the street thinks of American comics, he thinks “superheroes”. (Look at how “comic book movie” means “superhero movie” among film fans. Things like Road to Perdition are not what people think about when they say there are lots of comic book movies this year.)

    Corduroy – Don’t feel that embarrassed. Here’s the issue: In manga, Japanese is written vertically (top-to-bottom) and right-to-left (on the internet, Japanese is written like English, however). That means the entire comic flows “backwards” from an English-speaker’s perspective.

    Traditionally, manga was flipped to be left-to-right in English-language translation (i.e. we get the mirror image of the original). This is definitely an alteration of the original work though and some people feel it hurts the artwork. So in new translated manga, you get right-to-left images but left-to-right English text… The comic is sending you some mixed signals about which direction to read it in.

    Chris Morley – Excellent point. I forgot about video games… but you’re absolutely right. Japanese video games still outnumber American ones and many a video game fan becomes an anime fan… becomes a manga fan.

  37. Okay, first of all illest means best. I would also like to respond to some comments.
    Awesome Android
    “Manga is this generation’s Dungeons & Dragons. It’s the reason that kids who might be into comics that don’t actually suck ass get shoved into lockers at school. Death to Manga. and anime.”

    I like comics manga and a whole host of other things that one might consider “geeky” but I don’t get picked on in school for one reason, I do nt wear it on my chest.
    I am what some peple my age would consider a popular kid. I am on the football team, am a track star and I have a lot of friends and a hot girl.
    It angers me when people who dont know me apply the typical comic book reader stereotype to me and take it as an insult t myself and all of the other kids out there who read comics and manga

  38. Awesome.

  39. I know what illest means…”rurouni kenshin” is what confused me… 😉

    But regardless, Awesome indeed hell I played D&D in middle school, I also read comics and played soccer and wooed the women. But one thing bothered me:
    “I like comics manga and a whole host of other things that one might consider “geeky” but I don’t get picked on in school for one reason, I do nt wear it on my chest.”

    F-in A man, wear it on your chest, especially if you are of the stature you say you are. Stand up and be proud! I wore it on my chest and still do! The geeks will inherit the earth…just look in the news/financial sections…

  40. Ron’s right – wear it on your chest.

    If this website is about anything it’s about being proud about liking comics (and other geeky things) and that it’s cool to like them.

    Hell, it was one of our mission statements when we started.

    Not that any of you were here back then.

    But you get my point.

  41. thanks, I have shared my lve of some geeky stuff with some friends but i fear that the majority of people will treat me differenty than they would if they did not know that I read comics.

    p.s. Rurouni kenshin is manga

  42. better get used to it, the bookshelves of today are going to represent the comics of tomorrow. the majority of tomorrows comic creators are going to have grown up on manga and not american comics.

    like it or not, so all you manga haters can suck it!

    j/k, i mostly dig american comics, but i like manga as well and try to mix it into my diet.

    plus there are waayyy more genres in manga than in american comics. its just a fact. one of my faves is a title called Sgt. Frog, kind of a teeny bopper comedy. very well done.

  43. If Manga is a fad, would that mean that Manga is the same as the “Latino” fad that hit the radio waves on the late 90’s? Is Manga that shallow of a phenomenon?. Personally I don’t think so, what I do think is that for every Ricky Martin or JLO there will always be a Caetano Veloso or Sergio Mendez (who can’t even walk in the streets down here “Kramer”) and for every Pokemon or Yugioh, there will always be a Akira, Ghost in the shell or ranma

  44. Ron, you’ve never read NEW X-MEN before? I’m just baffled I guess, I thought you read every X title good or bad. BTW, glad you liked Walking Dead, they only get better.

  45. I wish I could afford ALL the X-books, and I used to buy them all good or bad, but a few years ago, I had to make a decision, just buy the core X books and have cash for other stuff, or buy everything, good or bad. I went with being able to get other things (like Invincible), which is a decision I’m happy with, looks like the only casualty was New X-Men, but I’mgoing to catch up on the trades and pick the title up monthly I think…

  46. I think maybe I stated my case imperfectly. What I meant by what I said was that every generation of geeks, myself included, has one aspect of geek culture that is so stupid that even they have a hard time defending it. For instance, D&D.
    Conor, I agree with you. Fly your freak flag. If you like Manga, admit it. Don’t think that you can cover it up by pretending to be a ‘cool’ kid who’s on the football team. Hey wait, didn’t people used to use football to hide their … nevermind.
    BTW Daredevill, way to stick it to the man on the stereotyping thing.

  47. Daredevill –

    I think you are the illest.

    Conor –

    I think you are the almost illest.

    Ron and Josh –

    I think you have some work to do on the ‘ill’ scale.

  48. I read somewhere that Conor could beat up both Ron and Josh at the same time. Is that true?

  49. Are you trying to make us fight?

  50. Yes. I don’t know a thing about Manga or DC and I couldn’t afford books this week, so I want you to fight.

  51. It’s exceptionally difficult to argue with that logic. So fight we will.

  52. I am a reader of both american comics and manga. I also watch both American cartoon shows and japanese anime. I would like to emphasis what oters have allready said:all of these forms of media serves the same purpose. To tell a story. I have found that both mediums put out both good and bad stories. The key to manga is that each book is aimed at a different kind of person. This diversity widens the range of people buying there products. Manga is something that both the D&D nerds and the cheerleader kind find a book they would like to read. American comic books have been broading there range, but they have been left with stigma, that they are only for nerds. Manga has become so popular because it doesn’t have the history that the american comic book does. And this lets them reach more people. Sorry if this post has been a little random, I’m really tired.

    I would like to reccomed the previouly mentioned Rurouni Kenshin. Kenshin is a story about a wandering swordsman named Kenshin Himura. He had fought in a recent war as an assasin, who had killed hundreds. After the war ended he gave up killing and decided to use his sword to protect people. As the story gets on he meets up with a group of people who will eventually become like a family. Kenshin spends his time making up for old sins and stopping villians from destroying Japan.
    I like this manga because it is well balanced. You get insane action as kenshin fights enimies with a dull sword, using a special high speed sword technique. Comedy driven by kenshin’s apparant clumsness when he isn’t fighting. Small romance that builds through out the story. And a little history lesson as the characters take part of serious events during the mejji area.

    Hope some of that made any since.

  53. (As per a check up from Conor, SpiderMav returns!!)

    I too, am an avid reader of both Manga and American comics. I can completely see where people are coming from on this debate, so allow me to contribute to this conversation :D!

    Manga, simply put, is a different type of comic style. I enjoy it because it tells a great story, just as American comics would. Now, I don’t see why people are always like “Wow, Manga is so much better”, because everything is just telling a different story. However, I believe that the American love of Manga stems from three things:

    1) Those ‘non-conformist’ kids. Trust me, I have them at my Highschool. These kids think that by reading Manga, they’re different and ‘cooler’ than everybody else (Even though they’re conforming to that culture.)

    2) A Human’s natural curiosity for the mysterious. Alot of Manga Readers these days have hardly ever traveled outside of the United States (Suburban White Kids, anyone??) and thus the mystery of this entirely different culture, not dishing out the same superhero stories we get over here in America, intrigues them. They want to gobble that shit up as much as they can, just because they are curious with the culture.

    3) Relating to point #2, Manga can offer us up a MULTITUDE of stories that we don’t typically get in America. In our comics, we get Drama, heroics, and mystery, right? Manga gives us books PURELY dedicated to Romance, Kung-Fu, or Going to Highschool. Manga also offers up really interesting NEW concepts that alot of American comic readers haven’t seen (Ninja tribes fighting it out, ala Naruto. A boy who becomes a girl when splashed with cold water, ala Ranma 1/2, a manga entirely dedicated to people who advanced the art of Alchemy, ala Full Metal Alchemist. I think that Manga just appeals to that part of everyone that feels they need ‘something new’, as opposed to reading essentially the same Batman or Superman story every other week.

    I have nothing against Manga, nor American comics! I love American Comics and buy them every week (Why else would I be on the site?), and my first exposure to my ‘comic book reader’ persona was through the brilliant Manga of ‘Dragonball’ (One of the best Manga’s around. I highly reccomend it to anyone who hasn’t already heard of it ((What rock have you been living under if you haven’t?))

    Mangas great. American Comics are great. All comics are great! (EXCEPT for any X-men miniseries we’ve had recently. The 198? X-men Civil War? What the hell man)

  54. Time to throw down.

    I think there are some important differences (cultural and economical) between American comics and manga that might have something to do with why manga has exploded here:

    1) The quality of manga overall has the law of averages on its side.

    Manga constitutes some rediculous percentage of all the printed material in Japan. There are simply put more printed manga series in japan than there could be printed comic books in the united states, due to the nature of the production process and the relative markitability of the product. More series means more chances to experiment with genres and artstyles. Manga tend to be black and white, for one thing, and are usually printed on cheaper paper which cuts costs way down. It’s a lot like the differences you guys mentioned between golden/silver age comics and comics today (What podacast was that? Damn). Of course a cheaper comic is going to garner a wider audience. Add that to the fact that in America, Manga essentially has a built in quality filter: the importers. Manga that is terrible, or at least, not marketable, will probably not see the light of day in the US. How different would the comics industry be if only a few series were selected to be published based on quality?

    2) Manga allows for more consistant creative control.

    What would comics be like if their original creators were still writing them? Manga tends to be written by a single person over the course of its run, and drawn by that person as well. So the artist always knows exactly what the writer had in mind.

    3) Manga doesn’t have as much of the “comics are for kids” stigma to deal with.

    4) Manga has a very different fanbase style.

    Manga fandoms tend to include a lot of fan produced material, fancomics, artwork, fanfiction, and so on. That means that aside from the actual series cannon, fans have so much more to go through and enjoy. How much American comics fanart is there? How much fanfiction? Is it actively encouraged by the fan community?

    That said, I don’t really read manga anymore (I love love loved it in my early teens), in favor of American comics, which I just enjoy more. So obviously manga is not the be all end all.

    Sorry about the length of this. Completely tl;dr.

  55. Don’t ever apologize about being in-depth!

    We love it.