John "The Gneech" Robey (the_gneech) wrote,
John "The Gneech" Robey

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Something I Found Fascinating

Speaking for myself, the straw that broke the camel's back fell during this year's Emerald City Con in Seattle. I'd stepped out to smoke a cigarette and was watching the passersby. I noticed a family leaving the convention -- a Mom, a Dad, and a little girl no older than eight years of age. The girl was decked out in a beautiful, elaborate kimono and clearly distressed by what she'd just encountered. "But they didn't hardly have any manga at all!" she said as they walked away.

When I was done with my cigarette, I went back inside and relayed this story to an acquaintance prominent in the art-comics publishing scene. "I hate to say it, but good," was his reply. Indeed, I told the story several more times that day, to both indy-comics and superhero-comics professionals, and the reaction was more or less the same each time. A young reader disappointed by the selection offered to her? Good. The future of comics walks out the door, unable to find what she wants? Good. I left the convention early, lost in a foul mood. I swear: I love the comics art form with a passion, but my utter contempt for the American comics industry grows like a cancer with each passing day.

The Comics Journal: She's Got Her Own Thing Now -- A very interesting op-ed about the rise of manga in general and shouju in particular, and the "western" comics world's total inability to grok what's going on.

What fascinates me about it is that a lot of the stuff that's covered here is exactly my beef with the comics scene -- and one of the reasons I'm so interested in furry comics. Omaha the Cat Dancer, Carpe Diem, and so forth are all a lot closer to manga than they are to any superhero comic, and I think that it's with the manga fans that furry has the most room for expansion.

FWIW, although I have my problems with the prevailing trends of manga art style, all of the contemporary non-furry comic books I read are manga, except for Dark Horse's Conan series. Because that's where the interesting stories are. The best Detective Comics I ever read (and I have read some good ones) didn't appeal to me as much as any given issue of Love Hina for instance. Despite the slant of the particular essay above, I don't really think it's as much a boy/girl thing as all that. Why would there even be the concept of "fanservice" (largely meaning panty shots) in the manga world if it only appealed to women?

Speaking as a card-carrying member of the male sex, as far as I'm concerned, bring on the manga revolution!

-The Gneech

PS: As crazy as the term "American manga" is, it points towards something I'd really love to see -- and in fact towards something I would like to help create. Right now, my thinking on the subject is half-baked, so I'm sorta rambling. But the idea is definitely brewing in my mind!
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