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Comics Are Dead, Long Live Manga!

strange headache

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Back in the days, I used to be a big comic collector. I had a pretty eclectic collection ranging from Maus, over Transmetropolitan, to Watchmen, Crisis on Infinite Earths, JLA, Lobo and Preacher just to name a few. At the time I also read lots of BD and manga, mostly stuff like Dragon Ball, L'Incal, Metabarons, Leonard, Kid Paddle etc...

Nowadays I still continue to read BD and manga when time allows, but I've completely given up on comics. Except for maybe the Thanos Wins run from 2016, there's really not much that comics have to offer anymore. Most of their output is comprised of identity rebranding, constant reboots and derivative interpretations of the same old tired superhero tropes. I feel like the American comics industry is creatively bankrupt as evidenced by the rapidly dwindling sales numbers. I mean look at this:



When new stuff comes out, it is unbearable design by committee trash that specifically caters to the flimsy tastes of a social media audience that doesn't even buy comic books. Like Emilia Clarke's upcoming "MOM: Mother of Madness". A comic book about a menstruating soccer mom who can swing around using her armpit hair:



“The bloating, the hair growth, the mood swings, the [acne], all of it. We hate that when it happens, speaking for myself and everyone I’ve ever met who has had a period. What if we turned that around and made the period something that we can feel as this unique, crazy, superhuman thing that happens in our body? When Maya is scared, she goes invisible, when she’s angry, she has superhuman strength. She can swing like Spider-Man from her armpit hair,” Clarke says.

I'm not offended that it exists, but who the f*ck reads that stuff? Do you really think a 40 something mom, that is busy juggling her career and family life, is gonna pick up a comic book in order to read about heroic menstrual cramps and unshaven armpits? How far removed from real life do you have to be in order to promote that crap?

In the meantime you have the rich and colorful output of the manga industry that is not afraid to take risks and is offering you some really crazy stories with an appealing core message that doesn't pit different identities against each other. You get shonen cooking battle mangas (Shokugeki), post-apocalyptic survival inventors (Dr. Stone), trope subversions (One Punch Man), OP protags (Mob Psycho & Demon Misfit), really good classic battle anime (Demon Slayer), far out stuff (That Time when I Got Reincarnated as a Slime), flamboyantly gay gucci fashion battle anime (JoJo), crazy high stakes gambling (Kaiji) and the list goes on and one and on...

Manga is even doing the superhero genre better than comics. If anything, My Hero Academia should have been published by American comics creators. It is the perfect juxtaposition of the moral message conveyed by modern comics and manga. Manga are vastly superior in that regard, they still convey the message of working hard, loving and protecting your next ones and striving to be decent people even if we're all flawed human beings. Despite the crazy settings and stories, mangas still promote meritocratic values and the basic message of personal responsibility.

American comics is all about instant gratification, emotional validation and everything being served to you on a silver platter. American comic heroes don't work hard for their powers, they don't train, they are overly self-absorbed, everything revolved around them and their problems. They are not selfless, but more preoccupied with their own identity, gender, sexuality, looks and clothes. Modern superheroes are shallow vehicles that merely serve to tick different boxes, rather than compelling flawed characters that strive for something. They have no aim, no ambition, no goal, they just... are. That's it!

The stories we tell today shape the people of the future. In that regard American comics have completely lost the plot!
 
J

JeremyEtcetera

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What doesn't add up to me is how manga authors and artists are treated. Over in western countries, once a comic hits big(even as a TV show) it feels like the creators are treated like gods amongst men and are given bags and bags of money. Yet a manga author can hit it big, get an anime deal, have a live action movie done on their work, and all I hear is how they're overworked and underpaid. Make it make sense.
 

Spaceman292

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What doesn't add up to me is how manga authors and artists are treated. Over in western countries, once a comic hits big(even as a TV show) it feels like the creators are treated like gods amongst men and are given bags and bags of money. Yet a manga author can hit it big, get an anime deal, have a live action movie done on their work, and all I hear is how they're overworked and underpaid. Make it make sense.
You'd think a solid 7 hour day, 5 days per week would be more than enough to write stories and draw pictures. Doesn't really make sense that all these artists are refusing to sleep, working themselves into hospital then dying of explodive heart attacks. I know it's a cultural thing but even so...
 
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JeremyEtcetera

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You'd think a solid 7 hour day, 5 days per week would be more than enough to write stories and draw pictures. Doesn't really make sense that all these artists are refusing to sleep, working themselves into hospital then dying of explodive heart attacks. I know it's a cultural thing but even so...
To me it makes sense why western companies like Netflix are poaching manga and anime creators, and I don't blame them for taking the deal(even if the quality between shows is questionable). It's the better bag of money.
 

Amiga

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you are over a decade late to the funeral. DC/Marvel comics have been an editorial mess for a long time. imposable to jump on at this point. Manga books are contained and simple to start/stop. event's from book 1 are relevant in book 99.

there was a period where things were run tight at DC with Geoff Johns books. and Marvel up to Civil War. then things started to collapse again.

Manga are cool for kids and teens. Comics are targeting the same 40+ old time fans. basically Vertigo books using mainstream characters. this was cool for a while but now they are getting Vertigo sales.
 

kunonabi

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you are over a decade late to the funeral. DC/Marvel comics have been an editorial mess for a long time. imposable to jump on at this point. Manga books are contained and simple to start/stop. event's from book 1 are relevant in book 99.

there was a period where things were run tight at DC with Geoff Johns books. and Marvel up to Civil War. then things started to collapse again.

Manga are cool for kids and teens. Comics are targeting the same 40+ old time fans. basically Vertigo books using mainstream characters. this was cool for a while but now they are getting Vertigo sales.

They dont even really do that anymore as they're mostly aimed at weirdos on Twitter that dont actually buy comics.
 

Yoboman

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What doesn't add up to me is how manga authors and artists are treated. Over in western countries, once a comic hits big(even as a TV show) it feels like the creators are treated like gods amongst men and are given bags and bags of money. Yet a manga author can hit it big, get an anime deal, have a live action movie done on their work, and all I hear is how they're overworked and underpaid. Make it make sense.
Is that true?

The One Piece author is worth $200 million. They even have an official One Piece day in Japan. Even a less successful manga like Attack on Titans author is worth $45 million.

Overworked though? Definitely
 
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Yoboman

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You'd think a solid 7 hour day, 5 days per week would be more than enough to write stories and draw pictures. Doesn't really make sense that all these artists are refusing to sleep, working themselves into hospital then dying of explodive heart attacks. I know it's a cultural thing but even so...
A typical chapter might have 70-100 panels. They are probably completing a panel in less than an hour on average if they wanted to keep a 40 hour week but that's not realistic because some illustrations can be extremely detailed. Plus meetings, story boarding etc.

It looks like a hellish life, especially for those who become creatively tapped out (eg the Bleach author)
 

FireFistAce

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Is that true?

The One Piece author is worth $200 million. They even have an official One Piece day in Japan. Even a less successful manga like Attack on Titans author is worth $45 million.

Overworked though? Definitely
I believe they are overworked because they refuse to delegate some of their work.
 
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sol_bad

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I agree, manga sells more than western comics but western comics are still fun to read.

I'll personally take East of West, Saga, Black Science, Kill or Be Killed, The Fade Out, Velvet, Low or Sex Criminals over any manga any day.

Recently re-read a large chuck of Jason Aaron's Thor, that means Thor: God of Thunder + Original Sin + Thor + Mighty Thor. It's an amazingly well made story pretty much across the board, Aaron totally gets the characters. And the art by Esad Ribic and Russell Dauterman is sublime.

I've been catching up on Marvel post Secret Wars and this month I've also read Chip Zdarsky's Howard the Duck, Dennis Hopeless' Spider-Woman, Squirrel Girl by Ryan North and Captain Marvel by Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters.

Squirrel Girl I read Volume 1 and a bit of volume 2. The book is damn God awful, both in terms of story and art.

But Captain Marvel, Howard the Duck and Spider-Woman have all been great.
Howard is quite drenched in sci-fi which I wasn't expecting, I didn't like the art by Joe Quinones but it works for the story.
Captain Marvel has bad art by Kris Anka and Felipe Smith. Enjoyed the sci-fi derelict space ship that infects their space station story.
Spider-Woman has great art by Greg Land and Javier Rodriguez both matching their story arcs. Greg Land during the Spiderverse arc and Javier when Jennifer quits Avengers and goes street level.
These recent books I'd rate higher than any of the stuff I've read from the 60's, 1970 or 1971.

I'll be honest about manga, I'm currently only reading Naruto which is fine and fun. I'd easily take the above mentioned comics over Naruto any day as well.

Marvel does not have reboots by the way, never have. Their new #1's mean a new story arcs or new creative team but the characters histories are not erased. DC are very bad with this unfortunately on the other hand. There is very little Identity rebounding either, popular characters have constantly changed over the past 60+ years, it's not new.
 
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Amiga

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Marvel does not have reboots by the way, never have.

the Ultimate universe was merged with 616. Spider-Man has been reset several times, infamously with the clone saga and brand new day. same with X-Men. and characters and status frequently change with different creative teams. BMB just ignored everything and wrote established characters into arbitrary roles in his plots.

I agree, manga sells more than western comics but western comics are still fun to read.

I'll personally take East of West, Saga, Black Science, Kill or Be Killed, The Fade Out, Velvet, Low or Sex Criminals over any manga any day.


these are basically published like Manga. original creator driven and contained within the book. there are others like Invincible, Sandman, Hellboy, Planetary.. but the main dominators of the industry DC/Marvel are awful.

I'll be honest about manga, I'm currently only reading Naruto which is fine and fun.

you haven't even started then.
 

sol_bad

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the Ultimate universe was merged with 616. Spider-Man has been reset several times, infamously with the clone saga and brand new day. same with X-Men. and characters and status frequently change with different creative teams. BMB just ignored everything and wrote established characters into arbitrary roles in his plots.




these are basically published like Manga. original creator driven and contained within the book. there are others like Invincible, Sandman, Hellboy, Planetary.. but the main dominators of the industry DC/Marvel are awful.



you haven't even started then.

I've read manga in the past.
Akira, Gunnm, Ghost in the Shell, Appleseed, Trigun, Chobits, MPD Psycho, Crying Freeman, Beck, Love Hina, I's, Blade of the Immortal, Evangelion.
etc etc
I also have 20 volumes of Berserk but never got around to reading it, now that there are Deluxe hardcovers I'll probably start reading with that.

It definitely has a lot of great stories and great art!
 
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As a fan of manga I couldn't be happier. People are buying good content, while abandoning bad comics. That part of the market is healthy. I don't undertand why American comics seem unable to shift gears and appeal to what people want though. I doubt they're entirely unable to. Super heroes are more popular than ever as well, though maybe those movies take away the need to read comics for many fans.
 
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sol_bad

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As a fan of manga I couldn't be happier. People are buying good content, while abandoning bad comics. That part of the market is healthy. I don't undertand why American comics seem unable to shift gears and appeal to what people want though. I doubt they're entirely unable to. Super heroes are more popular than ever as well, though maybe those movies take away the need to read comics for many fans.

I've mentioned numerous reasons why western super hero comics aren't easy to get into in other threads. The sad fact is that even comics based on popular shows like The Walking Dead, The Boys, Invincible and now Sweet Tooth still don't reach the sale numbers of manga. And I'm pretty sure these shos are more popular than anime shows.

Anime/manga is primarily aimed at young boys and teens, people who don't have much money. Tankobons are very cheap. Cheap price + no 60+ years of legacy = easy to get into. Grab tankobon volume 1 off the shelf and away you go.
 

MayauMiao

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Comics can't even sell itself on their own turf, let alone the rest of the world that long embraced manga.

Making multiple Captain Americas means jack shit.

I have a good laugh at seeing the comic industry destroying itself for the sake of woke points.
 
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JeremyEtcetera

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Is that true?

The One Piece author is worth $200 million. They even have an official One Piece day in Japan. Even a less successful manga like Attack on Titans author is worth $45 million.

Overworked though? Definitely
If this is truly the case and these two aren't exceptions, then the media needs to do a better job of showing this. Whenever they do interviews or documentaries about manga authors, they show their living spaces sometimes too, and it looks like poor living conditions while at the same time they look either stressed, depressed, or both.
 
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theclaw135

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Lack of variety, a common perception is comics are predominately superheroes.
The industry became too dependent on the direct market. Comics (and manga also) have next to zero general retail availability.
Rotating artists and writers every other issue.
Constant, nay relentless varying degrees of reset and reboot.
 

Yoboman

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If this is truly the case and these two aren't exceptions, then the media needs to do a better job of showing this. Whenever they do interviews or documentaries about manga authors, they show their living spaces sometimes too, and it looks like poor living conditions while at the same time they look either stressed, depressed, or both.
Im sure it starts that way but if they make a bit and get an Anime that's also a hit then there is big money to be made
 
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Northeastmonk

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I thought the story arcs for Marvel and DC were good when they made huge changes to the world. I thought The Other, One More Day, and the multi verse/Doc arc were just ways to make a “What if?” comic, but instead were actually canon for the characters. House of M was good, but I stopped caring once I got to the end of the graphic novel. American comics hit their high mark on certain occasions, but it’s hard to follow them until they do. I bought Civil War back in the day and a couple of graphic novels. It never felt like the stories flowed together to stay current. At least I never bothered to stay current. I have a Cable graphic novel, the Onslaught saga, Age of Apocalypse omnibus, but they aren’t complete. I sit down to read them and they aren’t consistent with one another. The best stories I have are the single Batman graphic novels. The weird Batman arcs they did after his death felt off. I also think adding new heroes to take their place doesn’t make up for the lack of interesting stories.

I prefer manga for the genres and the way you can pick up one volume and jump to the next one. With manga you can pick up a horror book and read short stories or pick up a volume to a brand new story. I have gotten use to manga and I can’t find the same feeling with American comics. They’re two different worlds. Alan Moore, Frank Miller, and Joe Hill are good writers. Manga has just gone beyond that in many ways. The flow of the comic book is totally different than the flow of a manga. In manga you’ll have these crazy events happen and comic books are often times way too short. Granted I never read weekly Shonen Jump. American stuff hints at that uniqueness that the manga industry has, but it always feels like it has an agenda or it’s just not that interesting of a twist to make it worth spending money on.
 

Shouta

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Lack of variety, a common perception is comics are predominately superheroes.
The industry became too dependent on the direct market. Comics (and manga also) have next to zero general retail availability.
Rotating artists and writers every other issue.
Constant, nay relentless varying degrees of reset and reboot.

Pretty much all of this. Comics are still riding that decline from the 90s and after as well. It lost its market and it hasn't really done much to get it back at all. It's chugging along the same as always now with even poorer attempts to bring in new readers. Manga has stayed steady in its home market and it's only grown in the US and a lot of that is due to just better business practices overall.
 

strange headache

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I agree, manga sells more than western comics but western comics are still fun to read.
I'll personally take East of West, Saga, Black Science, Kill or Be Killed, The Fade Out, Velvet, Low or Sex Criminals over any manga any day.

Saga was good, but that also started way back in 2012 and is very reminiscent of European BD. East of West is alright too, but the rest of your list is unimaginative garbage bin schlock.
Sex Criminals, really? The story is laughable and the art is even worse. The Fade Out presents you with a run of the mill crime story and Velvet is just female James Bond. Ed Brubaker and his middling crime stories can walk right off the plank.

I've been catching up on Marvel post Secret Wars and this month I've also read Chip Zdarsky's Howard the Duck, Dennis Hopeless' Spider-Woman, Squirrel Girl by Ryan North and Captain Marvel by Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters.

Howard the Duck, what is this the 80s? Spider-Woman is just Spider-Man but with a woman, Captain Marvel is awfully derivative and Squirrel Girl...



...yeah let's not talk about that.

See? That is exactly what I mean when I say that American comics just don't produce cool stories and appealing characters anymore. Manga make even cooking look cool! Heck, I've just finished reading a Manga called Drops of God, which is entirely about wine tasting and it was such a gripping read, simply amazing.



The amount of research that went into the wine, the taste process, the art of being a sommelier is just out of this world. The story and interpersonal relations are also really captivating. I'd never have imagined that I would one day read a manga about frikkin' sommeliers, but here we are. Manga are pushing the envelope, they are constantly trying new stuff or at least applying tried and true formulas to new and imaginative settings.

That is how Manga stay fresh instead of remaking and retelling the same stories ad nauseam. In many cases, manga rekindle a deeper interest in niche things that you never knew you cared about in the first place. The manga really made me buy a few wine tasting books, that's how captivating the subject was presented.

Comics do none of that sort. They don't explore other themes, they don't dive into niche interests, they make no research into the things they try to portray and they don't spark my interests. Manga can take something mundane and make it really really captivating, offering you a deep dive into the rich world that is often hidden behind it.
 

sol_bad

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Saga was good, but that also started way back in 2012 and is very reminiscent of European BD. East of West is alright too, but the rest of your list is unimaginative garbage bin schlock.
Sex Criminals, really? The story is laughable and the art is even worse. The Fade Out presents you with a run of the mill crime story and Velvet is just female James Bond. Ed Brubaker and his middling crime stories can walk right off the plank.



Howard the Duck, what is this the 80s? Spider-Woman is just Spider-Man but with a woman, Captain Marvel is awfully derivative and Squirrel Girl...



...yeah let's not talk about that.

See? That is exactly what I mean when I say that American comics just don't produce cool stories and appealing characters anymore. Manga make even cooking look cool! Heck, I've just finished reading a Manga called Drops of God, which is entirely about wine tasting and it was such a gripping read, simply amazing.



The amount of research that went into the wine, the taste process, the art of being a sommelier is just out of this world. The story and interpersonal relations are also really captivating. I'd never have imagined that I would one day read a manga about frikkin' sommeliers, but here we are. Manga are pushing the envelope, they are constantly trying new stuff or at least applying tried and true formulas to new and imaginative settings.

That is how Manga stay fresh instead of remaking and retelling the same stories ad nauseam. In many cases, manga rekindle a deeper interest in niche things that you never knew you cared about in the first place. The manga really made me buy a few wine tasting books, that's how captivating the subject was presented.

Comics do none of that sort. They don't explore other themes, they don't dive into niche interests, they make no research into the things they try to portray and they don't spark my interests. Manga can take something mundane and make it really really captivating, offering you a deep dive into the rich world that is often hidden behind it.

Spider-Woman has been around since 1977 and is nothing like Spider-Man. Squirrel Girl has been around since 1991. They aren't new creations so no need to throw around sentences like "don't produce appealing characters anymore" in this instance.

I couldn't care less about a wine tasting manga and would never read it. Each to their own. I don't see your wine tasting manga in the top sellers list which is what you were boasting about to begin with. They are all shonen manga which are all essentially the same thing but with different settings and different powers. Train to fight or use powers, fight the big bad, beat the big bad. New more powerful big bad comes along, train and improve skills/powers, fight and beat new big bad. Rinse and repeat. Or you have the other type of shonen where they need to collect items like Inuyasha or Jujutsu Kaisen. There is no more depth to these top sellers than there is with Marvel or DC comics.

For me personally I either need my physical books in a nice hardcover format or I need a digital subscription model, I don't like buying books digitally. If more manga was released in the same quality as the Berserk deluxes or the Akira and Ghost in the Shell hardcovers I'd be into buying manga a lot more. I hate the tankobon format, it's too small and low quality. I want my art oversized so I can see all the details. It's also a shame that Kodansha, Yen Press, Vertical or Seven Seas don't have any sort of digital subscription service.

It's very obvious that you have not read American comics for a long time because this paragraph right here:
Manga is even doing the superhero genre better than comics. If anything, My Hero Academia should have been published by American comics creators. It is the perfect juxtaposition of the moral message conveyed by modern comics and manga. Manga are vastly superior in that regard, they still convey the message of working hard, loving and protecting your next ones and striving to be decent people even if we're all flawed human beings. Despite the crazy settings and stories, mangas still promote meritocratic values and the basic message of personal responsibility."
It still exists in todays comics.

PS: Your thread and posts confuse me. This whole thread was made to shit on modern American comics because modern mange is kick ass. But you mention Drops of God as an example to show how amazing modern manga can be? It's from 2004.

How well did the Safespace and Snowball comic sell? we all had a chuckle then I didn't hear anything about it ever again.

It never got released.
 
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strange headache

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They aren't new creations so no need to throw around sentences like "don't produce appealing characters anymore" in this instance.

Exactly, it's the same crap since the 70s. If that doesn't tell you how creatively bankrupt comics are, I don't know what to tell you.

I couldn't care less about a wine tasting manga and would never read it. Each to their own. I don't see your wine tasting manga in the top sellers list which is what you were boasting about to begin with.

Maybe the comic audience doesn't deserve better comics if your narrow tastes are anything to go by. I didn't care much about wine tasting either, but the manga made me appreciate it. Which is what good stories are all about, to open your mind to new aspects of life. A good story can even make a boring thing such as decanting very exciting.

They are all shonen manga which are all essentially the same thing but with different settings and different powers. Train to fight or use powers, fight the big bad, beat the big bad. New more powerful big bad comes along, train and improve skills/powers, fight and beat new big bad. Rinse and repeat. Or you have the other type of shonen where they need to collect items like Inuyasha or Jujutsu Kaisen. There is no more depth to these top sellers than there is with Marvel or DC comics.

Promised Neverland, FLCL, Monster, Death Note, Planetes, Kaiji, Made in Abyss, Dorohedoro, GTO, Space Dandy... none of these Manga are shonen. Show me the comic equivalent to these stories! The closest you would get to this were the Vertigo comics and they were closed down last year. Even the shonen manga are deeper than most American comics and that's the funny part.

PS: Your thread and posts confuse me. This whole thread was made to shit on modern American comics because modern mange is kick ass. But you mention Drops of God as an example to show how amazing modern manga can be? It's from 2004.

I was just an example of a piece of storytelling that manga does really well and that is severely lacking in comics. Good storytelling should inspire, broaden your horizon and diversify your tastes. Comics don't do that anymore, they are contempt with reiterating on already established characters and lore. It's like eating different variations of a hamburger each and every day.

The new characters that do get created fail horribly, because American comics creators have no vision anymore, no message to convey, no burning passion or interest for something. They look at what's popular on social media and try to copy it. Over the last decade, manga have given me plenty of exciting new characters, comics on the other hand have nothing to offer.

It still exists in todays comics.

Where?
 
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OmegaSupreme

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American comics are made for trades and big crossover events these days. For years really. Rember when you could pick up a comic and it told a self-contained story? Yeah me neither.
 

JSoup

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The memes that spawned out of that sommelier image above were worth the price of admission all on it's own.
"Oh! decanting at such a height!"
*flips image upside down*
"OHHH!"
 
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Where is the best place to get digital copies of manga? I am getting sick of the American comics and have been looking to try manga.
 

NeoIkaruGAF

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“The bloating, the hair growth, the mood swings, the [acne], all of it. We hate that when it happens, speaking for myself and everyone I’ve ever met who has had a period. What if we turned that around and made the period something that we can feel as this unique, crazy, superhuman thing that happens in our body? When Maya is scared, she goes invisible, when she’s angry, she has superhuman strength. She can swing like Spider-Man from her armpit hair,” Clarke says.
This is basically Super Princess Peach.
I remember people calling that game and its concept sexist and misogynistic 🤔

I had my manga phase in my late teens/early 20s. The offer in Italy was limited and cheap. Now there's an absolute deluge of manga and the most interesting ones are deluxe editions that weigh a ton, take so much space, and cost double the price of cheaper manga.
But yeah, I too always found manga so much more interesting than American comics. I enjoyed some old Spider-Man comics fro Stan Lee himself, but broadly speaking I never much enjoyed the writing, the art, the coloring of any comic from America since the late 80s. The only exception has been Don Rosa's Disney works. And speaking of Disney, the irony is that when Italian Disney artists tried something more in the style of American comics, they did a much better work than a lot of American artists.
 
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GeorgPrime

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Back in the days, I used to be a big comic collector. I had a pretty eclectic collection ranging from Maus, over Transmetropolitan, to Watchmen, Crisis on Infinite Earths, JLA, Lobo and Preacher just to name a few. At the time I also read lots of BD and manga, mostly stuff like Dragon Ball, L'Incal, Metabarons, Leonard, Kid Paddle etc...

Nowadays I still continue to read BD and manga when time allows, but I've completely given up on comics. Except for maybe the Thanos Wins run from 2016, there's really not much that comics have to offer anymore. Most of their output is comprised of identity rebranding, constant reboots and derivative interpretations of the same old tired superhero tropes. I feel like the American comics industry is creatively bankrupt as evidenced by the rapidly dwindling sales numbers. I mean look at this:



When new stuff comes out, it is unbearable design by committee trash that specifically caters to the flimsy tastes of a social media audience that doesn't even buy comic books. Like Emilia Clarke's upcoming "MOM: Mother of Madness". A comic book about a menstruating soccer mom who can swing around using her armpit hair:





I'm not offended that it exists, but who the f*ck reads that stuff? Do you really think a 40 something mom, that is busy juggling her career and family life, is gonna pick up a comic book in order to read about heroic menstrual cramps and unshaven armpits? How far removed from real life do you have to be in order to promote that crap?

In the meantime you have the rich and colorful output of the manga industry that is not afraid to take risks and is offering you some really crazy stories with an appealing core message that doesn't pit different identities against each other. You get shonen cooking battle mangas (Shokugeki), post-apocalyptic survival inventors (Dr. Stone), trope subversions (One Punch Man), OP protags (Mob Psycho & Demon Misfit), really good classic battle anime (Demon Slayer), far out stuff (That Time when I Got Reincarnated as a Slime), flamboyantly gay gucci fashion battle anime (JoJo), crazy high stakes gambling (Kaiji) and the list goes on and one and on...

Manga is even doing the superhero genre better than comics. If anything, My Hero Academia should have been published by American comics creators. It is the perfect juxtaposition of the moral message conveyed by modern comics and manga. Manga are vastly superior in that regard, they still convey the message of working hard, loving and protecting your next ones and striving to be decent people even if we're all flawed human beings. Despite the crazy settings and stories, mangas still promote meritocratic values and the basic message of personal responsibility.

American comics is all about instant gratification, emotional validation and everything being served to you on a silver platter. American comic heroes don't work hard for their powers, they don't train, they are overly self-absorbed, everything revolved around them and their problems. They are not selfless, but more preoccupied with their own identity, gender, sexuality, looks and clothes. Modern superheroes are shallow vehicles that merely serve to tick different boxes, rather than compelling flawed characters that strive for something. They have no aim, no ambition, no goal, they just... are. That's it!

The stories we tell today shape the people of the future. In that regard American comics have completely lost the plot!

The only supreme king who will reign over everyone is still "Superman". :) Even One Piece wont be able to beat him.
 

Ulysses 31

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sol_bad

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Where is the best place to get digital copies of manga? I am getting sick of the American comics and have been looking to try manga.

Viz has a subscription service, $3aud a month I think. It's the Shonen Jump app.
Otherwise I think Comixology is one of the only places you can buy them digitally, I think.
The mangaplus and mangamo apps might have some good stuff to read. I'm sure they are both licensed sites/apps. I haven't tried them yet so don't know.
 
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kunonabi

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Pretty much all of this. Comics are still riding that decline from the 90s and after as well. It lost its market and it hasn't really done much to get it back at all. It's chugging along the same as always now with even poorer attempts to bring in new readers. Manga has stayed steady in its home market and it's only grown in the US and a lot of that is due to just better business practices overall.

Yeah, anime and manga actually help boost sales for each other while western comics have none of that synergy between mediums.
 

GeorgPrime

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Is he? Maybe if you count everything since his inception but no Superman comic is selling today.

Superman sold to this day around 600.000.000 Comics
Batman was second for a long time with 460.000.000 Comics

Up to this day One Piece sold around 480.000.000 copies world wide but due to Oda finishing One Piece soon they dont expect it to beat Superman in worldwide sales
 
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sunnysideup

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Why is manga viewed as better than comics?


All other answers are written by non-Japanese so here is a perspective from a Japanese.

Firstly, let start off with very obvious one. (Western) comic are usually in colour while Japanese comic (manga) are in B&W. Some Western comic used to be b&w but nowaday, comic is sold as art piece to be collected.



Manga, in its initial issue is always printed as a part of anthology periodical, which is size of small phone book printed in cheap recycled paper. They get thrown away together with old newspaper, sometimes only after the end of a train trip from home to work. See the different colour of papers visible on the side of these magazine. That show the magazine use same recycled paper as newspapers. This is the reason manga are all in B&W. Papers used to print it are too cheap. Manga is still a pulp fiction at heart.



Related to this is art style. Overall, while old classic Western comic like Tintin or Asterix or Archie have “cartoon” style of drawing, current drawing style of Western comic is more realistic and, dare I say, BETTER. I don’t buy the idea that stylistic difference between American and Japanese is all relative and matter of culture. For example, compare this, which is one end of extreme….



with an award winning manga comic by Nobuyuki Fukumoto



This guy seriously can’t draw. All of his characters have geometric face with triangle nose and chin because he can’t draw facial curve from different angles. He couldn’t get an entry level assistant job for manga artist (He was fired from the first then never worked for anyone afterward). So he had to strike out on his own. He is successful purely for his compelling story and characters.

Sure, manga published on monthly basis, like Blade of immortal
or Berserk
(below) are nice to look at, but this level of technical details cannot be maintained in weekly production. Some, like Akira Toriyama of Dragon Ball fame, can draw but still adopt cartoon style (in a nice way, as shown in below). But some successful manga artists don’t actually have proper drawing skill.





 
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sunnysideup

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What people associate as manga/anime style of drawing is not quite a stylistic preference but an economical one. American comic artist have a luxury to spend a week on a page. Japanese comic artist have to continuously produce about 20 pages a week for one title, while coming up with a story at the same time. Some do 80 pages a week for multiple titles but such output require use of assistants. Another related reason for cartoony look is because stylised face are much easier to emote than photo-realistic face. Manga artist have to cheat, skip and economise a lot to keep up with deadline. (Why do my art teachers hate it when I draw anime? What’s wrong with it?). On the other hand, American comic characters by large are no longer cartoony like below because both Marvel and DC franchise are now driven and defined by Hollywood.



So for many Westerners, this villan



is no match for



I, on the other hand, am opposite. I can read English. And I (and most Japanese) greatly appreciate Hollywood reincarnation of comic superheroes. Many Japanese get interested in American comic due to their exposure to films. Yet, I (and most Japanese) find American comic nearly unreadable. It is not that I’m blind to visual details of their illustration. I, personally, actually don’t like anime in general (with some exceptions) precisely because it is even more cartoony than manga, and anime are often mere deliberative of manga. I am also aware of Graphic novel genere. I liked the film version of Watchmen, and the plot of Superman: Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?
read great. I can also see the artistic merit of Frank Miller’s Sin City. But I found American comic too painful to read.

Firstly, I have to READ Western comic while I VIEW manga. The term graphic NOVEL is quite apt. There are just too many text per frame in Western comic.



The above frame is an extreme but not so uncommon example. It has unbelievably dense amount of text for a single frame. I can appreciate illustration is very nice but I really don’t want to go through that amount of text for one single frame. Manga is other way round. It is frame heavy and text light.



Manga usually keep text at minimum unless author deliberately want viewers to fix their eyes on a specific frame. In such instance, scene is meant to be stationary for the length it takes to read text. For example, the below is where a character is having a monologue in his head. Then manga author want the viewers to feel as if they are mindreading the character. Lack of speech bubble further reinforce the impression that text is thought of the character.



Clever manga artist use technique like below to make viewer read large amount of text. An evil monologue by a villan is split into three panel to give a quiet sence of tempo.



But in the below comic for wonder women, there are more than an issue of dense text. It is a quick motion of punch up action scene with “CHUKK” “CHOK” “PAK” and “KRAMMMM”. So why is she conversing with the monster at the same time for a minute? Seriously, if I’m just viewing the page, my eye just zig (left to right then down) in few seconds. Action scene and conversation scene are completely out of sync.



Compare that with the below manga. Two pages illustrate a whole sequences of combat, while introducing another sequence in the next page with an imminent collision into a building. (Japanese comic read from top right to bottom left) Also notice how frames are cut diagonally and are in different size to punctuate the action as well as to indicate the correct direction of zig and zag.



The above dynamism in manga is credited to one person, Osamu Tezuka
, father of manga as we know it. He was a medical doctor by training but he only trained to become a doctor to avoid military draft. He also had hemophobia (he was afraid of blood). So he didn't want to practice as a doctor, and tried to make a living by what he actually liked, comic. He was an avid fan of Disney animation so he attempted to animate his comic by doing below in 1947.



In the above spread, there is not a text, not even onamatapea of brooom. But you can see the speed of car and hear the sound of engine and even feel the dust the car leave behind. He is widely regarded as someone who introduced “cinematic technique” in comic medium, but this statement is widely misunderstood in West. He did not invent cinematic “angle” (camera shot) in comic. Quite few comic artists were doing just that before him. What he did was to synchronise size, shape, placement and sequence of frames with reader’s eye movements to create a sense of dynamism and drama within sequence of static pictures.

Let me demonstrate this idea of “time syncing” by showing how not to do this in the below, which is another example of beautiful illustration from American comic with great cinematic angle.



Frame 1: So Superman is descending to the ground, and that the scene is captured from sideway camera in long distance.

Frame 2: Instead of the camera then closing in on the superman following him going down, the camera suddenly switch to the location below him, looking up at him. Not only that, instead of Superman’s head pointing 5 o’clock south east direction (which would indicate he is still descending), his head is, instead, pointing 2 o’clock north east, flying away from fire in the background, which give an impression that he is now either ascending or flying side way.

Frame 3: But oh, wait, the camera switch back to chasing mode. So he is still descending. Also, it seems that I missed the part where he flipped so that his leg is now pointing down ready to land. Also, I can’t see the other person who is speaking to superman. And lastly, text is bit too long up to this point because that give an impression that superman has been gliding down in leisurely pace but the red line in the first frame should mean that superman is going down really fast. This is another example of text and frame being out of sync.

Frame 4: Frame 1 and 3 gave me an impression that superman was descending diagonally from left to right, but now in this frame he descended from top right to bottom left because camera flipped again. I personally prefered that camera chased Superman, and then, as he land, the camera also land behind Superman and rotate and face sideway, capturing superman’s back on the left of the frame, closer to the camera and catching the batman on the right, further away from camera. Also, if the superman’s back is facing the camera while batman’s front is facing the camera directly, the sequence of scene would naturally shift viewer’s focus from Superman to Batman.

Frame 5: I’m nitpicking here but if one want to close up on Batman’s face from frame 4, then you should just rotate the camera to right, which continue well to the next frame where someone is entering from the right with the dialogue “nothing is simple”, where the camera can keep rotating to right. (Also, why is superman suddenly standing so close to batman, sticking his head like he is photobombing? )

Frame 6 (the main pic): Wow, did Batman just teleport to the left of superman? In the previously frame, Wonder woman entered the scene from the right. And the previous frame 3 appear to confirm that she is standing in the circle podium which is on right. So the camera hasn’t flipped like the last time. Now Bruce is located to the left of superman.

I still like how the centerpiece of this page look though. It is a grand entrance of another main character, Wonder woman, with a wide shot which also capture superman and batman with a sense of depth. And with this nice camera angle, all eyes (batman, superman and the readers) are focused on her, announcing her appearance with a line, “None of us do, Bruce”.

Wait, what? What does she means by that?

Oh, ok, I should have, instead, moved my eyes to the furthest side of where my attention was naturally directed to, where Bruce is saying “You don’t belong here Diana”. So not only Batman inexplicably teleported furthest from the position of where people’s eyes are focused, he force-rewind time backward for viewer, then make reader/viewer to look at his back on the opposite end of the frame to read his speech, effectively ruining the moment (and momentum) of Diana’s grand entrance. I never worked in Tinseltown but if I was a studio execs who see this, I would be like “Who the fuck did this scene? This is worse than a high school project!”.

In term of visual details, the above DC comic strips is superb but as a sequential visual scene, it is one big mess of visual mindfuck. Editing is really terrible. Camera flip too often without good explanation. Texts are out of sync with the direction of eye movement.

If I was to fix this, I would have made superman fly from sideway from left to right, instead of descending from top to down. So in the fourth frame where the camera is behind Batman, we should see superman glide down toward camera and Batman instead of coming down from right to left. In the main frame, Bruce should have kept his mouth shut and let Diana say something dramatic straight after “Nothing’s simple”. Then he should have used “You don’t belong here, Diana” line in Frame 7 at the bottom left, and Diana could have countered that in Frame 8 with “None of us do, Bruce”.

Compare the above with what Tezuka did in 1947 again. This time, the second half of strip is accompanied by the onamatapea of break being applied.



which has evolved into https
in 21 century. (Thanks to Geofanny B. Yohanes who provided this in his comment).







But Tezuka did more than making a comic into a graphical conversion of filmed entertainment. His bigger innovation was his radical use of paneling (komawari, lit: frame division).



In the above two pages spread by Tezuka (start from top right and end with bottom left for each page), a guy is looking down a crowd from a terrace, then he spot a lady. His eyes widen with suprise, but she is moving away, he shout out, “Hey!” at the end of the first page. Then in the second page, the conventional paneling break down. The man begins to run into the corner of triangle, down the stairs trying to catch the lady before she disappears. The left page is give impression of urgency and desperation, because the shape of panel make character stretch into narrower corner, where viewer feel squeeze into so-close-yet-so-far sensation. Tezuka’s synched not just time but shape, size and placement of frame as a part of dramatisation. This innovative experiment in paneling moved comic away from mere graphical conversion of filmed drama and made it stand on its own as a distinct narrative media.

For example, below is a spread from a very popular high school football/soccer comic in 1980s by another manga writer. There have been several baseball mangas before but this was the first soccer manga which was a mass hit. Baseball is a sport where two teams take turns batting and fielding. It has clear attacking and defending phase, making it easier to dramatise action. (like Charlie Sheen’s Major League). Soccer, on the other hand, is a very tricky sport to convert it into a drama because game don’t pause, no clear attacking/defending sides, and multiple things happen continuously and concurrently.



So let me explain what is happening with the soccer spread. The story so far is that the hero’s team is losing by a point near the end of the game, and the opposition switched to heavily defensive tactics, hoping to carry the game with 1 score advantage. The hero’s team is desperate to penetrate the opposition’s defensive line but are failing. And to top it off, their (our) striker hero, Tsubasa, has retreated from the front line to the mid field because he sustained injury on his left shoulder and left feet. The hero’s team is nearly at wit’s end.



1) The first 3 frames on top right is where offensive forwards of hero’s teammates are thinking “This is impenetrable”, “We gotta change the play”, and “Send the ball back to Tsubasa, the gamemaker”. While these texts are read sequentially, these are actually viewed concurrently as one single meta frame.

2) So one teammate pass back the ball to Tsubasa (the hero), with thought text saying “You are hurt but we still believe in you”, (this is the part where visual line move horizontally from left to right). The speech bubble on the right middle of the page, which have straight geometric shape rather than round bubble is a narrative speech by the commentator, “Wait, they passed the ball backward?!”

3) This is followed by the opponent team’s reaction at the bottom of the right page, being taken back by the move. “What!?”, “Oh, no!”, and the commentator’s narrative speech “Look, Defensive side left Tsubasa without a mark! He is moving in!!”, which is coupled with the camera shot from the above and the front of our hero moving into the ball.

The camera close up to the face of the hero at the top center of the spread. Motion lines
of this close up indicate he is moving forward at considerable speed. Hero’s mind is shouting “The Dive Shoot! There is an opening at top right of the goal!”.

4) The reader's eye then move from the peak to down left direction, this time capturing the full body of Tsubasa making the Dive shoot, his right striking leg almost invisible with speed, about to launch the final Hail-Mary attack with his super shot (it goes over the defence super fast yet just before the goal, the ball suddenly dive down, making it almost impossible for any goalie to intercept. Complete fictitious super shot but the main audience was pre-teen.) At the same time, there are two onomatopoeia placed on the left shoulder and his left foot indicating his injured body parts creaking and being almost at breaking point. Also, the commentator is screaming with two speech bubble around the hero’s legs, “HE IS GOING FOR THE GOAL!!” and “CAN HE DO IT?!”, Then the last frame point to the opponent’s goalie (sorta rival/villain in this comic) shouting “Bring it on!! My right hand will stop it.” which then lead to the next new spread.

In this spread, physical actions, psychological drama and dialogue and narrative commentary are presented concurrently in one single visual spread and characters are literally breaking out from their frames. Even though this spread contain 10 frames and packed with relatively large amount of text, there are actually only 3 meta frame separated by two blue lines shown below and four classical narrative phase, 1. Arising, 2 Movement, 3 Turning, and 4 Convergence (Kishōtenketsu
) shown by the red lines. This narrative presentation is no longer a pictorial presentation of filmed scene which are sequential in nature. Multiple thread of drama are presented simultaneously in one spread. I actually hated the animated version of this comic because character’s thought, dialogue, narrative commentary, once put in animated sequence were too long, and it killed the pacing of action. (I rarely like animated version of any manga.)



The above is no longer a sequential linear narrative typified by film. The comic, with its dynamic use of paneling, can pack multiple thread of dramatic development into one single spread. This make comic as an unique narrative medium separate from novel and from film. So when I see a panelling like the below, it is a real eye sore. It is painfully flat. It is as if a film was merely made by fixing a camera in front of a theatre stage. And the camera never move, no close up or long shot.



And to top it off, American comic usually show very little sense of dialogue (and emotion which come with it). For example, below strips is something which recently came up on BBC about wonder woman finally coming out as a bisexual. I really likes the eyes/looks of Diana in the 1st frame, which is sad but empathic and caring. I have usual complaint here about the blonde woman talking too long in one single frame. But my biggest complain is that this scene could be so much more.



Contrast the above strip with the below one spread (two-page) fanfiction of Doraemon
, which went viral in Japan.



Frame 1 Doraemon: “Nobita-kun”

Frame 2 Nobita: “What is it?” (Nobita in real comic is a boy in a primary school. In this fanfiction, he is a wrinkled grey haired adult.)

Frame 3 Doraemon: “We could still do stuffs. We could go anywhere, and fly everywhere, just like old days.” (Doraemon is a gadget bot, and his two main gadgets are teleportation door and flying helicopter cap, which come out of his subspace pocket located on his tummy, visible in this frame.)

Frame 4 Nobita: “I don’t need gadgets…. as long as you are here.” Doraemon: “Is it so……”.

Frame 5 Nobita: “Let talk instead, about old days until I fall asleep.” “Will you, please, Doraemon?”

The next page is



Frame 1 Dorami: Welcome home brother. (Dorami is Doraemon’s younger sister. She live in the future so we know that Doraemon is now back in the future. )

Frame 2 Dorami: “Have you said goodbye to him?” Doraemon: “Yep”.

Frame 3 Drami: “I see, so you are not going back to that time era”. Doraemon: “Nope”.

Frame 4 Draemon: “Nobita won’t be there”. Frame 5 Draemon: “He is gone forever……”

Now, at this point, everything in the first page make sense. Page 1 was in the hospital, and Nobita was in his deathbed. The strip could have started off by something looking like the fourth frame and repeats that camera shot with dialogue back and forth. That would be similar to Wonder Woman’s strips. Instead, viewers are introduced to 3 close up frames, which give unusual angle of Doraemon talking to Nobita while facing away from him and looking down at his own hand because Doraemon can’t bear to look at Nobita. And he is still trying to make adult Nobita happy like old days with his gadget because he doesn’t know what else to say in this situation. Nobita, on the other hand, has already accepted his fate. He can look directly at Doraemon and he is no longer concerned with gadgets. He still make a wish like he does in every episode but of different kind today.

In the Doraemon strip, impending death is implied but not mentioned. Awkwardness of two are also expressed by Doraemon looking away, and the whole frame sequence gently push viewers’ focus downward toward Doraemon’s hand which Nobita physically and emotionally touch at the last frame, with the signature one liner “Please, Doraemon” of this manga series. Just this time, it is the final wish. Also, notice that pencil drawing is deliberately rougher and shadow deeper in the last hand holding scene because, when Nobita say his signature one liner, the time froze for a brief moment for two of them. This is an effective comic writing despite being show in B&W toons.

Imagine, what is unsaid in the above is explicitly explained by dialogue. Doraemon: “Nobita-kun, Aren’t you afraid of dying?” Nobita: “I have accepted my fate. Let’s talk instead about old time.” Not only this version of dialogue mention the unmentionable “D” word, Doraemon ask directly to Nobita as if he actually doesn’t care. Similarly, the blonde one in Wonder woman strips says “And that would break my heart” out loud. So we know she actually doesn’t care. She is “disappointed’ for sure but obviously it is no big deal for her. Also, when she explicitly spelt out that “You sacrifice your place in paradise and everything that come with it”, Diana’s sacrifice actually doesn’t sound that bad. The wonder woman dialogue is flat and the scene has no emotional depth. The reader won’t feel the pain of separation.

It is Film Study 101. If something have to be explained to audience by words, then film maker is not doing a good job. Also, it is Creative Writing 101. If, for example, you are going to describe a scene where a beautiful woman walk into a room, then do not describe her as “beautiful”. Describe how her hairs shine or how long it is, depth of her stare, her eye brow/lash, her poise, or stunned reaction of people in the room, but don’t mention the B word, because that will kill the mood. American comic characters don’t usually have proper dialogue because they are too busy explaining what is going on to readers so to fill the gap between pictures.

Contrast this with collection of no-speech manga from around the world

セリフなし。絵と演出力で勝負するマンガコンテストが凄い - NAVER まとめ

Press Center
(Winners get their comic animated or transformed into short film. SMA01. SMA02. SMA03. SMA04. SMA Extra Round 2016. SMA05. SMA6. SMA Extra Round 2017
)

So to answer the original question, American comic has very high production value compared to manga. Characters’ body and face are anatomically accurate and sculpted like greek statue and background drawing is also grand, all in high details and in colour. Plots are often serious, real and art. Overall, American comic looks superb. Yet, characters don’t move, they don’t emote, dialogues are in-your-face awkward, camera works is terrible and editing has no sense of how the reader view the spread. This is all because American comic are essentially illustrated story book for adult.



Japanese manga, on the other hand, have terrible production value as illustrative art. It is essentially B&W drawing with Mickey mouse characters printed on recycled papers which get thrown away like old newspaper. Yet characters can properly emote, action are dynamic, drama have dialogue with proper subtlety (well at least good manga do), and crucially for comic, all story are narrated visually rather than by text. You feel sound, action and emotion in manga. And it is not just a knocked off version of a movie, but it can narrate story in a way only comic can.

And there is really no need for American comic to be stuck in its current paradigm as illustrative art. Current direction of making comic as collector’s item is making matter worse because more time and effort is spent on smaller number of illustrations to make illustration looks pretty, while texts had to be used liberally to fill in narrative gap. There is a huge gap in creative outlet for Westerners who aspire to be storyteller. You either write novel or write screenplay (direct). And filmed medium is generally prohibitively costly. In Japan, manga as a graphical story stand between written story (i.e. novel) and filmed story (i.e. TV/Movie/Animation). Comic can match any genere in novel or film yet the cost of producing a manga story is as cheap as writing a novel, especially with the advent of PC. Many manga author start making manga when they are in high school because anyone, including those who cannot draw well, can create manga.

American comic does not need to ape disney/manga/anime style of character to transform their medium to narrative art. Big eyes characters are secondary effect of weekly production deadline, and is not what manga (and comic) is about. The essence of comic is in its panelling (komawari
) and not the style of illustration. Also, American comic artists would have advantage of not being constrained by by b&w presentation of Japanese manga, which is tied to Japanese specific issue of being pulp fiction. Hopefully, someone find a way to fill the gap which exist between filmed and written narrative story in English media (and preferably do so in colour). Manga just means comic in Japanese.
 
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kiunchbb

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Can't wait until manga become mainstream so they can ruin it like they did with comic.
 

Shouta

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Yeah, anime and manga actually help boost sales for each other while western comics have none of that synergy between mediums.

The very fact that comics sales didn't go up with the rise of superhero movies really should say everything about the state of the industry. Shit was broken a long ass time ago, lol

But yeah, anime often helps fuels manga sales and manga sales help anime get made so it's a really good loop when it's working well.
 
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Dacon

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Yet a manga author can hit it big, get an anime deal, have a live action movie done on their work, and all I hear is how they're overworked and underpaid. Make it make sense.

I think you're confusing Japanese animators with manga authors.

Animators are indeed mistreated and overworked. Most famous manga authors are making big bank like Rumiko Takahashi, Oda, and so on. Some are overworked due to their own work ethic and their desire to appease their communities, but then there's wildly successful authors like Yoshihiro Togashi who seems to draw and release new chapters whenever it suits him, which can be what seems like years apart.
 
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