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View Full Version : Why Does Manga Succeed Where American Comics Fail?


ZiggyB
02-07-2003, 05:39 AM
Why Does Manga Succeed Where American Comics Fail? (http://www.slushfactory.com/content/EpupyEuFlyHLupbnaZ.php)

A very interesting article I found on Slashdot (http://slashdto.org/) .

It takes a very serious view, culturally and economically about why it seems that Manga does better then American comics.

dmdflarekojima
02-07-2003, 11:44 AM
Personally I think it succeeds where our comics don't because it keeps a constant storyline and doesn't vary all the time. On top of that all of our comics tend to turn into animated soap operas.

Ranma Saotome
02-07-2003, 11:55 AM
You took the words right out of my mouth.

Dark Vision
02-07-2003, 12:57 PM
I think american comics generally hit a small percentage in the US. Mangas tend to hit everyone in every class, position, executives etc. Its not the lack of storylines but the lack of diverse topics and genres in american comics.

Deathscythe
02-07-2003, 01:40 PM
Originally posted by dmdflarekojima
Personally I think it succeeds where our comics don't because it keeps a constant storyline and doesn't vary all the time. On top of that all of our comics tend to turn into animated soap operas.



Well, thats because American comic books get different writers every now and then. It's the main reason they vary. Every writer comes on to a certain book to tell a certain story. Also, American comic books are ongoing whereas manga usually has a beginning and an end to a story. Just look at Action Comics. This month is the 800th issue. Lots of stories have come and gone since 1938.

And not all comic books actually vary all the time. Fantastic Four, Amazing Spiderman, Action Comics(and two other Superman titles), Detective Comics, Batman, Uncanny Xmen and New Xmen are probably the only books that continue to vary due to the fact that they bring in huge sales numbers for their parent companies and they have to get the next big writer to keep that book interesting with new plot twists. Although, nowadays you find more mini-series(or maxi-series) on the racks.

Deathscythe
02-07-2003, 01:47 PM
Originally posted by Dark Vision
I think american comics generally hit a small percentage in the US. Mangas tend to hit everyone in every class, position, executives etc. Its not the lack of storylines but the lack of diverse topics and genres in american comics.



American comics hit more than a small percentage in the US. I agree that there are not enough genres in American comics, but they still have more buyers than manga. Also, manga began to be accepted more and more due to Joe Madureira. His art style is what made the manga artform hip.

Sakura
02-07-2003, 03:55 PM
American comics are all superheros... I know a lot of manga is but those are more interesting. American: some evil dude plans on destroying the city. Buff superhero to the rescue. Manga: there's good, evil, and a little bit of everything. The hero (if any) can be young, old, anything. It's so much more diverse and creative.

ZiggyB
02-07-2003, 05:52 PM
I have to admit I haven't read any American comics since... oh boy, The X-Files? :)

But yah, I have to agree that the american comics just don't interest me. For instance, I really liked Ghost in the Shell and Ah My Goddess. I'm sure there's something in American comics that similar to GITS, but probably not like AMG.

Hell, considering all of the sports manga that's out there, I'd read something like Princess Nine manga if there is such a thing (I got hooked on the anime). Yes, it's a baseball soap opera, but I like soap operas. :)

If I'm stereotyping american comics, I'm sorry. But I'm open to suggestions, if you can recommend me something sci-fi or very good plot based drama comics, I'll be glad to check it out.

For the sake of argument, no "superhero" comics, not that I'm personally against it, but just to make people work harder on their suggestions. ;)

Edit: fixed some typos :)

soshi
02-07-2003, 07:19 PM
There are a LOT of very good American comics - they are NOT all superheros! Those are just the popular mainstream ones. >____<;;; I have boxes and boxes full of comics about very UNsuperher-ish things. If I was home, I would haul them out and list titles for you. Just because something isn't at your local mainstream Marvel-DC-Image-only comic store doesn't mean it doesn't exist. RAR.

Manga has more variety because it is a bigger media. In America, people think of comics as a childish media, simply because that's how it is in our culture. It's different in Japan. Manga in Japan is like books in America - there's far, far to many to make a generalized statement.

ZiggyB
02-07-2003, 07:28 PM
I stand corrected. :)

I would like to get an American comic just to see what I'm missing...

Actually, this is just another personal thing, so don't kill me. ;)

I just like the art work in manga better. Sure the American comic COVERS are fantastic, but then you look inside and it's sorta disappointing. I know that's the "style" that American comics have, it's just not my taste I guess...

soshi
02-07-2003, 08:03 PM
You are totally generalizing - obviously you haven't seen all that many American comics! Yes, there's a bit of a quick-and-easy style to a good deal of them (mostly the super hero ones), but that's because they were originally made to focus on the story. Sadly, with most popular comics, stories have degenerated and art has not advanced.

Rosiel
02-07-2003, 08:29 PM
(And the French comes charging in...)

I don't believe continuous storylines should be a factor in the relative success of manga vs american comics, because short stories have fueled a great part of the European comic industry.

And, coming from the European comic culture, I will say that manga is popular for the same reason junk food is popular: it's flashy, in large quantities (updated often), pop-culture, and easy to digest (does not require much thought). The only thing that gives is a boost compared to the US comic industry imo is the fact that it has many -mainstream- genres catering to uptapped markets, such as girls. Most of the well known mainstream US comics seem to be geared towards boys.

But what saddens me, is that it is gaining ground on other genres such as, yes, European comics, which are lightyears ahead in terms of art, quality, storylines, writing, and especially philosophy/history... all I can think of is that with our current pop-culture society, people want instant gratification. Why read Bourgeon and learn historically accurate facts about colonization and the slave trade when you can read Fruits Basket and awwwwww at the empty sugary fluff? (Yes, I love Furuba, but I admit it's something I read when I just don't want to be burdened with thought.)

As for the US comics being soap operas... MANGA are the biggest soap operas I have ever read. Especially when dealing with the shoujo genre. What plot is there in Furuba other than "who will Tohru choose in the end"? There isn't. Fushigi Yuugi IS an animated soap opera and doesn't try to hide it. Moreover, I don't think plot has anything to do with it, as most mangas I have read have little to no plot, at least compared to what I am used to.

Seriously, I am sitting here trying to think of a manga with an intricate plot that makes sense... I'm looking at my collection... and I don't see any.

Then why do I read so much of it?

1. It's easy, no thought-needed entertainment.
2. Unique styles.
3. Pretty girly men.
4. Pretty girly men. (you can never have too much of those)
5. Sap.

From what I've seen of US comics, I haven't come across any 3,4 and 5, and very little of 2.

Ranma Saotome
02-08-2003, 02:19 AM
Last American coming I bought (Anything by Adam Warren is excluded) was the Scarlet Spider mini-series. Talk about a letdown...

Deathscythe
02-09-2003, 12:25 PM
Originally posted by ZiggyB

For the sake of argument, no "superhero" comics, not that I'm personally against it, but just to make people work harder on their suggestions. ;)

Edit: fixed some typos :)



Well then, if you want something NON-superhero, then you must read Powers. It's crime-fiction with a twist. It has superhero's in it, but its not the superhero's who save the day. Trust me, you'll like it. And it doesn't have that soap opera feel to it. Also, you could definitely read Leauge of Extraordinary Gentlemen by Alan Moore. He uses characters such as Alan Quatermain, Captain Nemo, the Invisible Man, and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Definitely a worthwhile read.

A J
02-09-2003, 02:01 PM
Disclaimer: Keep in mind, I've only read mainstream titles like X-Men/Shi/Withblade/etc.

Personally, I like manga better for a couple reasons. Mainly because back when I was collecting American comics, I could not friggin keep up. They would have spinoff comic after spinoff comic and there was never an ending in site. It's impossible to keep up. It was like they would take an idea that was popular and just run like mad with it. It got to the point where I just gave it up altogether.

I also think manga, for the most part, has better art. There are some pretty bad American comic book artists out there. =) Like the guy who used to do X-Factor back when Jim Lee did X-Men. Hi idea of drawing a person was a colored blockish shape with a face. I'd like to see a little articulation or something. =P Not that I can draw, but I don't get paid to do it either...

Also, I've found that manga has better storylines. American comics sometimes have the most inane writing. Image/Top Cow comics is a great example. I dunno what they're like now, but when they first came out, they seemed to think they could get by on pretty pictures alone. Pretty art is nice but at the end of the day, I'd like to have a storyline that doesn't suck. =)

I know there are a lot of alternative/small name comics out there that are probably worth reading but it just seems they're a bit more obscure and have more of a cult following. The hey-dey of comics was back in the 80s. Now it's just a dying field.

Sides, who has time to read... I have to go SEW!!! ::Katsucon panic::

-AJ

Deathscythe
02-09-2003, 02:27 PM
Originally posted by A J
Disclaimer: Keep in mind, I've only read mainstream titles like X-Men/Shi/Withblade/etc.

Personally, I like manga better for a couple reasons. Mainly because back when I was collecting American comics, I could not friggin keep up. They would have spinoff comic after spinoff comic and there was never an ending in site. It's impossible to keep up. It was like they would take an idea that was popular and just run like mad with it. It got to the point where I just gave it up altogether.


Well, comic books are no longer like that. I'd say the only book that has those constant problems are the Batman books at DC. Batman gets a cool storyline, then you have to buy other issues that deal with said storyline just so you can complete the whole freakin' storyline. That sucks because most of the books suck anyway.

Other than that, the Marvel titles are all becoming self-contained when it comes to big storylines.


Also, I've found that manga has better storylines. American comics sometimes have the most inane writing. Image/Top Cow comics is a great example. I dunno what they're like now, but when they first came out, they seemed to think they could get by on pretty pictures alone. Pretty art is nice but at the end of the day, I'd like to have a storyline that doesn't suck. =)


Not all American comics have inane writing. I could name some really good writers out there in the field right now: Alan Moore, Brian Michael Bendis, Bruce Jones, J. Michael Straczynski, Kevin Smith, Geoff Johns, Jeph Loeb, Brian K. Vaughn, Joe Kelly, Chuck Auston, Greg Rucka, Grant Morrison, Garth Ennis, Simon Furman, and Ed Brubaker.

But yes, Top Cow does have some garbage that they have to throw out. I've never read a Top Cow book in my life because the concepts just suck.


I know there are a lot of alternative/small name comics out there that are probably worth reading but it just seems they're a bit more obscure and have more of a cult following. The hey-dey of comics was back in the 80s. Now it's just a dying field.

Sides, who has time to read... I have to go SEW!!! ::Katsucon panic::

-AJ



The Small press scene is picking up a lot of heat as of late. Some of the best stuff is coming out of the Small press right now. You should read "30 Days of Night" by Steve Niles. The graphic novel is out now.


The 80's were the hey-day of comics with Batman especially and his grim and gritty storylines. But don't be fooled, comics are going strong now. 2001 was definitely a rennaisance for the masses who read comic books.

ZiggyB
02-09-2003, 08:44 PM
J. Michael Straczynski? *THE* JMS? Babylon 5 JMS? <drool> Gimmie.

Basic Beecicchi
02-09-2003, 09:15 PM
Originally posted by Ranma Saotome
Last American coming I bought (Anything by Adam Warren is excluded) was the Scarlet Spider mini-series. Talk about a letdown...

You kinda came in at a bad time......no one liked the Scarlet Spidey, who the company tried to write off as the "original Spider-Man from the 70s[?] only to come back and potentially reclaim his title"

He's among the top 5 bad choices made in mainstream [Marvel or DC] history. Jason Todd being Robin is another.

Oh. ZiggyB : Find his Top Cow series, Rising Stars, available on Trade Paperback, or the individual issues.......25 ishes i think there were........[damn, i've been out of comics a long time] Or pick up on the Spider-Man, where he is slated to write the next 60 issues[?]

Top Cow's probably one of the last publishers that still has that 'bad girl' image left over......especially after Chaos! Comics went under. But Self-Contained, reboots after 50 issues [moving to next volumes] or 6 issue limited series are fast becoming a staple simply because of the regular person's ability to pick up a decent comic nowadays.

I mean, do you want to pick up Spider-Man #539 and never be able to pick up from the first of the storyline, or do you want to pick up Spider-Man, Volume 5, #22, and only attempt to find any of the 21 previous issues?

There are a lot of people who have a lot of stories to tell. When was the last time you saw a DBZ story done by someone else? Or a manga done by various people, divided into chapters? Sure, it's a nice trade off to have one writer, mainly the creator, do so many stories, but sometimes, people won't let characters die. Hence, the diversity in shuffling writers.

Ranma Saotome
02-10-2003, 12:55 AM
Basic, good thing I got out when I did! :p Viva La Manga! :D

Miroku
02-11-2003, 01:09 AM
I prefer manga over American comics because
1.) I hate crossovers. Batman vs Superman vs Witchblade vs El Loco Man vs Al Gore...............sigh. I want to read a comic book to read THAT comic, not to be suckered into reading another comic I dont like by turning my favorite comic into an advertisement.

2.) The Japanese make comics for girls. I know Im a guy, but I can still read girls comics. They can be geared towards girls but still interest me because they have universal ideas.

3.) I like the Manga style. It can be pretty, it can be silly, it can be Grr, it can be dark, it can be happy etc. American comics are mostly Grr, look at me Im angsty!

But this is just a preference. If you like American comics its fine with me. Everyone likes something different.

Jin
02-12-2003, 05:33 PM
Originally posted by dmdflarekojima
Personally I think it succeeds where our comics don't because it keeps a constant storyline and doesn't vary all the time. On top of that all of our comics tend to turn into animated soap operas.
yeah i agree, and also the animation isnt as good and doesnt draw u in, i believe that the only good comics "american" is marvel, mcflarn er dunno how to spelll.. "spawn", JTHM, SQUEE, LENORE, and the aliens vs predator comics.. well thats just wat i think.:eek:

tamahomegurl
02-23-2003, 10:30 AM
hmmm....*scratches head*....besides blowing off my money weekly on mangas, i still try to stay on the track with my x-men, uncanny x-men, spawn, and wildcats comics....i still love my american comics!!!

american comics are expressed much more in action whereas i think mangas are more verbally with more pictures depicting expression/feelings. but thats just me though....^^;;

bottom line is that i can't choose between the two - i love them both!!! anime on the other hand, is my preference over american tv cartoons *sticks a tongue at them*

AnimeParty
02-23-2003, 10:39 AM
I agree with Tamahomegurl...American comics do have more action whereas manga has more verbal expression.

Personally. I had no interest in American comics...I don't know why. Occationally I'll read X-men or some comic strips in the newspaper, but to me they have never caught my attention. I don't not like them, but they aren't on my favorite list.

Ranma Saotome
02-23-2003, 12:29 PM
That and American comics have too many Superhero themed titles. -_-

Scrapps
02-23-2003, 01:09 PM
The only superhero themed comic that I own is Noble Causes. But its about the "behind the scenes" of a superhero family. It's great. It's published my Image if anyone wants to check it out.

Other than that my american comics are mostly independant titles. I LOVE Chynna Clugston Major and her Blue Monday series. It's about kids in highschool and aimed at all genders. I love Jhonen Vasquez. Andi Watson rocks! Skeleton Key is one of my favorite comics of all times. Has a beginning, middle and end. Jim Mahfood..bit on the liberal side...Grrl Scouts is awesome. I've recently gotten into Nightmares and Fairy Tales. It's an on going series but it has is made up of minitales revolving around a doll.

Oh I guess I do have another superhero related comic and thats "Shades of Blue"..but its definitly not your typical superhero.

And Queen and Country is also awesome. I love Oni press. And pretty much anything written my Kevin Smith is a must buy.

But back on topic, I like manga and american comics..together they fill my written/artwork needs.

Scrapps desu

Kirschwasser
02-28-2003, 11:57 AM
I prefer manga by a long shot. I have not looked at an U.S. comic for a long time now. (The last one I saw was an Alien vs. Predator one. That was some good artwork.) Even then, I was never interested in U.S. comics. I hope I don't offend those who like U.S. comic, but I find them a bit boring.
I love manga. Give me a kick-arse storyline like Angel Sanctuary, Yami No Matsuei, or Alichino. Manga is great. I love the artwork, and a lot of it is very detailed. Manga is aimed at everybody...there is manga for school children or business men or just house wives. It's very diverse. And it can have everything under the sun in it, which makes it more realistic. But hentai = evil. I will NEVER look at that stuff.
So I prefer manga all the way.
Current manga of the moment: Yuki Kaori's God Child - Chapter 31
But for those of you who know U.S. comics, are there any medieval-themed stuff? There are very few medieval-themed manga.
Oh yeah, speaking of medieval...gotta love the LOTR doujinshi.