Robot 6

Nice comic, but is it manga?

In 2005, when manga was the Next Big Thing, a lot of things got called manga that weren’t. But those days are long gone, so it was surprising when this popped up: The Official Firefall Manga, a comics tie-in to the online multiplayer FPS game. The comic looks decent enough, but why call it manga?

It doesn’t appear to be Japanese — the comic is by sci-fi novelist Orson Scott Card and his daughter Emily Janice Card and produced by the Canadian publisher Udon. No artist is credited, but this whole thing looks mighty North American to me.

Nor is the comic in “manga style” — OK, OK, we all know there is no single manga style, but non-Japanese comics that are labeled “manga” usually do hew to a certain set of conventions that includes big eyes, speed lines and sweatdrops. That’s not how this comic is drawn, and furthermore, it’s in color, which manga seldom is. Admittedly, there is one manga flourish in the page above: The three panels on the right that call out little details of the scene. But that isn’t uniquely Japanese; I have seen it in plenty of other comics.

So it’s hard to see what the marketing advantage was to calling this thing manga. The natural audience is people who play the game, or who play similar games, and for them, the draw is going to be the game tie-in, not the word “manga.” It’s a nice little comic but it probably won’t make much sense to anyone else. And anyone who finds it on a Google search for “manga” is going to be sorely disappointed. Just call it what it is — a comic.



“comics that are labeled “manga” usually do hew to a certain set of conventions that includes big eyes, speed lines and sweatdrops. ”

I feel so embarrassed for you. . . .

“I feel so embarrassed for you. . . .”

Why, because his assessment of western-generated pastiches of manga is accurate? He quantified that this doesn’t apply to all legitimate manga, and then further explains this is what usually occurs in comics that are LABELED manga. Pull the stick out, man.

Her assessment, but, yeah, Brigid is well-versed in manga and its imitators.

*that you had to read those american based manga styled comics*

Stupid message got cut off. This is why I hate posting on my phone.

Note to all aspiring comic artists: You are not, and will never be, a mangaka. Just call your comics “comics”, and hope that people compare your work favorably to the japanese comics or anything else that you feel influence you. After all, in the end, there are only two categories: good and bad. Try to focus on those labels, and NOTHING ELSE.

I wonder if the people running Firefall chose to call it manga because Udon being the people to make the comic? Udon does publish some manga, as well as make original content for Capcom in North America. That’s the only thing I can think of that puts a logical argument out for them calling this manga.

Hey guys,

Matt Moylan, managing editor of UDON here. Honestly I’m not sure if I agree with the the manga label either but I guess that is up to the Firefall gang at Red 5 to decide how best to name the project for their fans.

In my opinion UDON artists are usually influences more by anime and Japanese video games than manga. Anime has always been the driving force behind our coloring – that generally means cel-cut characters against painted backgrounds for strong contrast. Otherwise our crew is influenced by the great Capcom artists like Bengus, Akiman, Kinu, and more, but also by American comics since we all grew up reading them!

Generally though we jsut want to produce great work. I hope some of you enjoy it! ;)

OH, maybe I should have mentioned, the creative team on this specifically is:

Joe Ng on pencils
Rob Armstrong on inks
Espen Grundetjern on colors.

Joe’s got a lot of that classic Bengus look in his characters, with the chunky hands and square-faced dudes. But he also brings some great tech-drawings skills from his days as a Transformers artist.

Funny. I just came across that ‘Manga’ and did a search and found this post. Yes. My feeling is that it is a Comic, and they are calling it a Manga for marketing reasons. It’s just a foreign word, but it seems wrong since it doesn’t look like anyone from Japan worked on that comic.

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