Manga’s Popularity in america – Where Did it Come from?

In the last six years manga has gone from being about a third of the $75 million graphic novel industry to claiming almost two third’s of what is now a $330 million industry MyReadingManga! This being said however does not mean that it is all bad news for American comic publishers as the new manga boom may have bypassed comics specialty shops, but it has opened up additional space in bookstores helping to sell American graphic novels.

Artist’s around the world are creating works influenced by manga, in 2006, the U. S manga publisher Seven Seas Entertainment issued titles that represent the pinnacle of manga assimilation. It asked its western artists to draw in the japanese format of right to left. Kurt Hassler, former novel buyer for Walden books and Borders, played a major role in the manga boom . He said that “At the time there were maybe 10 or 20 graphic novels in bookstores, some were uneasy about right to left paging. I was in a position to say if you make this change, Walden books will support what you’re doing. ” The paperback format, the lower price, Kurt’s encouragement, the growing familiarity with Japanese styles. All of these factors combined to make Tokyo pops stand up manga a smashing success.

Soon, manga has its own aisle in many stores. Eventually more than a dozen manga publishers were competing to woo readers in the booming bookstore market. As sales of manga rose, sales of comic books plummeted. Hundreds of pages of manga could be had for $10, while most 32 pages American comic books cost $5. In late 2002, VIZ started publishing a stand up English version of the Japanese Shonen jump, offering nearly 500 pages for $5 through big boxed stores. It’s current monthly circulation is 250, 000. The amazing spider man sells only 100, 000.

The biggest cultural export in terms of manga was in the 90’s and it was the export of Pokemon. Pokemon helped mange to bust out of the comics shop ghetto. The manga spin offs of the franchise sold millions of copies mostly through outlets like Toys ‘R’ Us and for the first time a manga was the best sold comic franchise in america.

After this first success many more were to come through manga’s such as Dragon Ball Z, Sailor moon, Digimon and Gundam Wing. To make the manga more popular in the us. Companies went on to animate these manga which made them appeal to children at a young age way before they could read and then once they had become able to read they would be interested in the manga form of the animes that they grew up watching. Most people may think that when they hear the word comics then it is all the same no matter where its origin is all comics are the same. This is not the case as although both American Manga and Japanese Manga are the same in the sense that they are both telling a story on paperback form, the actual designs are completely different. One of the key differences in both of these manga is how everything is over exaggerated in the Japanese version for example in some manga the eyes are drawn very big and exhibit an almost gem stone effect to them whereas in American manga everything is more realistic.

Another key difference is that most Japanese manga is printed in black and white form and have several hundred pages per book whereas the American manga is in colour and has about 32 pages per book. There is also the size of the books that present the two types of manga that differ in size. A manga from Japan will be a lot smaller than the American manga book. For these reason Japan’s manga are also cheaper than American manga as they use black and white inking and smaller pages meaning that they can sell for a lower cost and still make a profit. The American manga also has unique selling points against the Japanese manga as well such as being in colour and being in a bigger book. The main benefit of this is that the American version does not have dozens of pages so therefore it is detailed and does not dwell too much on one scene whereas the japanese manga has hundreds of pages and so it has a lot of scenes very similar which results in the japanese manga being reading fast and there is not much to take in on some pages whereas the American goes at a much slower pace with a lot of detail on each page requiring the reader to take their time whilst reading through.

In my opinion the main key difference in the two manga is not so much what they include but in fact it is how they are viewed and stereotyped by society. The American manga has for a long time been stereotyped as a childish thing for children and teens to dwell upon and use up their time with, whereas for Japanese manga there is a genre and type for everyone and so it is seen as Japanese manga is for everyone and not just for a specific age group.

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