: "Manga dominates the shelves
""This time last year, I predicted that the most important story of 2003 would be the increasing domination of manga. At that point, it was already dominating the graphic novel shelves in American bookstores. We appeared to be witnessing the emergence of a completely parallel market for comics - one that featured different readers, different creators, different genres and different stores. Oh, and one which was almost exclusively Japanese."
(Article 10 / The 9th Art
Online Magazine / December 2003)
I know this article's a bit dated by now, but when I read it, it effected me greatly-- because I had always thought that the growing and in most cases already predominating popularity of mangas (or manhwas) was a "problem" solely restricted to the german
For example, when you enter a bookstore with a comics section, it usually looks like this: Four
entire shelves with mangas, and, crammed into a corner, one
single shelf for all the rest
- which means, most of it consists of only Asterix the Gaulle
, Donald Duck
and comic strips / funnies collected in trades. If you are really lucky, they also have something like the "Guide to the Batcave", Persepolis
. And that's it.
When it comes to comics, most german publishing houses openly admit that mangas are THE (and often the only
) thing to do if you want to make some money out of it. But the cheaper production (black-and-white art, small volumes which you can store in greater amounts, no need for glossy or high quality paper) is only a part of it. The main point, I think, is the different target group and also an image problem.
There exists a huge generation gap -- the average reader of american or european comics being a male around his mid-twenties, whereas the average manga reader is much younger and one of the very few statistics available also says that the percentage of the female readers goes up to almost 50%. Publishing houses also actively search out new talents who imitate the japanese art style. Young people nowadays grow up with mangas (and animes), period
This is intertwined with the "Japan Trend" that became increasingly fashionable during the last years: Everything japanese is cool, but everything else is total crap. That's why, if you like "western" comics, visiting manga message boards or communities can make you wince, head-desk or foam at the mouth, because by "crap", they mean absolutely vile, worthless, can't-be-good-even-if-I've-never-read-the-comic-in-question piece of shit
I'm still hoping that this behaviour can be put down to age differences and maybe also group pressure. *helpless shrug*
* Me? More and more often, I feel like a dinosaur. In a few years, they'll find me in a tar pit, surrounded by smudgy trades of the works of Neil Gaiman, Enki Bilal, Warren Ellis, Devin Grayson, Walter Moers, and Wendy and Richard Pini. The manga mammals will point at me and laugh.
I'm not sure myself where I wanted to go with this; I suppose I just wanted to get some thoughts down on
paper that have been on my mind for months. If you have any thoughts on the matter, or also if there's a similar mangasplosion ;) in your
country, please be so kind and share-- I'd love to know. :)