Robot 6

Comics A.M. | How to save the struggling manga industry

Lucky Star

Publishing | Longtime industry hand Jason Thompson has written a thoughtful essay on why the manga industry is in trouble, going beyond the American scene to point out structural problems in the Japanese market: An aging readership, the decline of print and the reluctance of Japanese publishers to embrace digital publishing in any coherent way. “Perhaps wary of creating an iTunes-like behemoth which could drive prices down,” Thompson writes, “publishers haven’t united in any reasonable way to create a consistent digital newsstand/bookstore format for their titles.” This, of course, has just made life easier for the scanlators. He also points to a shift toward the individual creator — it’s the big publishers who are hurting, while self-published and indy manga are on the rise. All this may sound familiar to American comics fans, but Thompson’s prescriptions for the future — more gag manga, simpler art, more color, and motion comics — don’t seem like convincing ways to rescue the industry. An iTunes-like behemoth is probably the way to go. [io9]

Awards | The Horror Writers Association has released the preliminary ballot for the 2011 Bram Stoker Awards, which includes a graphic novel category. [Horror Writers Association]

Awards | The Japanese publisher Shogakukan has announced its 57th annual manga awards. [Crunchyroll]

Retailing | The comics business is booming in Johnson City, Tennessee, and the retailers are giving a lot of credit to DC’s New 52. [Johnson City Press]

Fukitor

Creators | Jim Rugg interviews Jason Karns, the creator of Fukitor. Don’t feel bad if you have never heard of Fukitor, but do check out the article: Rugg starts out by explaining why the comic is important — and why he thinks it is deserving of greater renown. [The Comics Journal]

Creators | This interview with Caleb Melby, writer of The Zen of Steve Jobs, makes some interesting points about journalism and, in particular, journalism that uses the graphic novel medium. However, it’s hard to get past the fact that Forbes assigned Melby to write the Jobs book when he was an intern at the magazine, just out of college. [@PSFK]

From The Sixth Gun #5

Creators | Cullen Bunn walks through his process for writing an issue of The Sixth Gun. [CullenBunn.com]

Creators | Lunch Lady creator Jarrett Krosoczka hands out some solid advice to elementary school students about drawing comics and perseverance: “I tell the kids to write for the love of coming up with stories. I try to show them what I did as a child and show them it doesn’t have to be great … The main thing is they use their imagination. Writing is using your imagination on paper.” [The Press of Atlantic City]

Comics | Paul Gravett treats us to a brief survey of comics creators in the Middle East, an area where sequential art seems to be flourishing right now. [Paul Gravett]

Comics | An exhibit in New York looks at the way comics have portrayed Tibet over the past six decades. [PRI's The World]

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Comments

10 Comments

I gotta get me some Fukitor!

ugh. let manga die.

I read more manga than anything else these days.

Don’t be that guy, Ben. Don’t be that guy.

The problem is Manga is too “Free” sure u can get Comics online but its too much work for some people, unlike Manga where its a website away.

I tend to believe that there are two issues face the Anime industry in Japan, the first is of course the rampant piracy issues, the second and more important issue is a general lack of creativity and diversity. As a fan of over 20 years I have seen what was a very diverse (and high risk) industry turn into a very grey and flat industry, the high risk = high returns mentality seems to have been replaced with a low risk = safe returns position. The industry now seems to be merely one studio ( or writer ) copying another. This is really the time when companies need to be throwing money at nobodies (even if it just for a one shot ova or manga) to see where things may lead, rather than maintaining the simpsons mentality of people will still watch it simply because of what it is (I refer to Bleach, Naruto and One Piece).

So…manga is basically following comics down the well?

Well, as I’ve said elsewhere, checking the actual total numbers of visitors to the manga portals, the readership numbers in the hundreds of millions worldwide, and is far more popular among the younger generation than what is claimed.

Hence, the solution to the problem lies in using SOPA to not just shut down, but confiscate the databases, merge them into one whole, launch it as a one-source only monopoly app for Android market etcetera, treat it as a TV license for monthly subscription to read as much as you like, with virtually all the profits going directly to the actual makers of the manga, and gain a paying audience of a few hundred million people. However, this is a unique opportunity/crossroad for the manga industry, and it has to embrace what people want in this area, which again is digital publishing directly to the phone without having to pay exorbiant amounts for a very brief amount of entertainment.

Because othervise the public will use what is most convenient, which in this case amounts to the already existing apps and databases run by unscrupulous financial predators.

Personally I have continuously supported what I can afford of what I most appreciate, but most people don’t bother, including the ones who could technically afford much more than me, and it would be neater to just have a running subscription and not have to order lots of easily damaged paper that takes up space, which is both a waste of trees and production costs.

Manga in trouble? LOL, really now, seeing that one manga issue of one piece by itself sells more than the entire selection of comics in one month (Over 1 million pieces per month), I think manga is doing just fine. In Japan at least.

Yeah, One Piece sells 3 million copies an issue in Japan alone. In terms of readers worldwide it numbers in a few hundred million, although most of them don’t pay anything.

Also, you who said that manga should die, seriously screw you. I love manga, and at least many of the creators are actively doing everything in their power to instill the ability to enjoy, appreciate, and be interested in life in their readers, to truly elevate the human spirit, whereas plenty of western creators and especially video game makers are doing everything in their power to reduce it to an unhealthy dystopian wasteland filled with disease, filth, abandon, psychopathy, nightmares, and mental illness.

Of course there are many of exceptions, but the difference being that for the western creators the negative forces clearly have the upper hand, whereas for the Japanese it is the reverse situation.

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