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Old 2004-02-11, 16:52   Link #1
ElvenPath
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Drawing In the Gals

Finally, girls are getting their comics back. Having been abandoned by most U.S. comic publishers several decades ago, American girl comic readers have started flocking to shojo manga, the sub-genre of Japanese comics targeted to young females.

Manga comics, printed as cheap, multivolume paperbacks and sold at major bookstores, have ignited graphic-novel sales around the world. In the U.S. last year Manga racked up some $100 million, almost double 2002's sales, according to ICv2, a pop-culture trade publication. The two dominant U.S. publishers of manga, TOKYOPOP and VIZ, will ramp up their 2004 title count to more than 300 between them. Later this year DC Comics plans to launch a manga imprint called CMX.

Shojo manga are a big part of that boom. Read the rest here.


Article written by Andrew D. Arnold, Time magazine's specialist in comics.
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Old 2004-02-11, 17:14   Link #2
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Hehe, seeing how more girls read manga in japan than guys, maybe the same will happen in the us. x)
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Old 2004-02-11, 17:40   Link #3
flammie
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Originally Posted by LBW
Hehe, seeing how more girls read manga in japan than guys, maybe the same will happen in the us. x)
Aren't there already more girls reading manga than guys? I generally see 5-6x more girls reading manga in bookstores than guys. And it seems that manga boards have more girls than guys too.
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Old 2004-02-11, 17:56   Link #4
ElvenPath
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Let's keep the discussion around the article please.
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Old 2004-02-11, 18:02   Link #5
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Well I read the article, there's not much to say about it, really. So more shoujo manga is coming out, and...? I had to question his assumption about all shoujo heroines being empowered young ladies, though. That is most definitely not the case in at least half the shoujo manga I've read.
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Old 2004-02-11, 22:36   Link #6
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Getting them "back," you say... I used to collect American comic books and probably still have random issues of "Millie the Model," "Kitty Keene" and some other odds and ends. These were usually cranked out by male writers and artists at the lower end of the food chain (i.e. hacks). Many are omnibuses of melodramatic short stories; others (including the above-mentioned titles) are more like coloring books or books of paper dolls, with a minimal friction-free storyline tacked on to justify the umpteenth costume change.

"Shojo comics have little in common with the corny romance titles of yesteryear." That's more true than not. The fact that shoujo manga is almost always written by women is also significant and IMO accounts for a better product. But not all the American titles were simply corny romances.

I have to take exception to the article's omission of the Archie comics group, which has been published continuously for some 50 years. Archie titles are proto-romantic comedy. The visual design, once richer and more interesting, has long since settled into a recognizable groove. The titles usually focus on romance and comedy but also include mysteries and superhero parodies. In my experience they have always been accessible to girls, even girls who "don't read comics."
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Old 2004-02-11, 23:36   Link #7
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I like Archie too, but mostly because the girls are so fashionable. ^__^ Otherwise I got really tired of the love-triangle thing loooooooooooooooooooooong ago. Archie doesn't seem particularly worthy of their affections anyhow. I still read it occasionally, especially for other characters like Jughead and Reggie, but I'd rather be reading manga most of the time.
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Old 2004-02-12, 00:37   Link #8
babbito2k
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Originally Posted by Dorfl
I like Archie too, but mostly because the girls are so fashionable. ^__^ ... I still read it occasionally...
Nice to hear from someone else who has read and enjoyed it.

The point I was making about the topic was that TIME's comics "expert," beyond his lack of interest for shoujo manga, doesn't really know or think that much about American comics either. The whole article reeks of modern identakit journalism - 10 minutes worth of research into something vaguely unpleasant anchored in "reality" by statistics and a couple of quotes from interested parties.

The paragraph about "Death" is rather confused. Wouldn't it make more sense to say that the current interest in the Japanese titles has inspired American comics rather than call Jill Thompson "American-born shoujo talent?" Thompson, after all, is an established comics pro who took an old series and gave it a new look.

This article overall demonstrates the gap between the values of the fans and the onlookers. I just hope people like Andrew Arnold don't infect the manga world with the empty nostalgia that has haunted comics for the last 30 years...

I wonder if this mini-boom is going to translate into more interest in shoujo and mahou shoujo anime in the future. After all, the original audience for these shows consists of manga readers who watch adaptations of their favorite titles.
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Old 2004-02-12, 05:00   Link #9
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Finally! They realise that manga isn't just limited to giant robots and girls with oversized bossoms. ^^;; I remember just a few years back whenever I meantioned manga/ anime, people immediately linked it to being something of a pornographic nature... >.> how little did they know...

It's great to see that people are finally understanding the beauty of the japanese pop culture! There is something for everyone, and hopefully, this should create more interest in manga and anime.

More demand = more supply!!!

^o^
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Old 2004-02-12, 08:15   Link #10
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No no no no no no no. There is no beauty in J-pop (unless you talk about the bodies of those singers... if you're feeling generous enough to call them that). It is truly one of the most horrendous trends ever to face the world. Look at the Spice Girls from like 7 years ago with their lack of musical talents and extremely well-endowed figures and then multiply it by EVER SINGLE GOD FORESAKEN MUSICIAN IN A GIVEN AREA OF THE WORLD and you have the basis for what became known as J-Pop. Shoujo manga is not pop culture. It's longevity and appeal to multiple age groups is proof enough.

btw, I never bothered clicking the link to the article... was it any good?
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Old 2004-02-12, 10:10   Link #11
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I didn't think much of it. It was more or less a short series of over-generalizations, coupled with rough summaries (and spoilers?) of some of the more popular titles. It's good that manga is showing up in Time, but I came away from this article with a "so what?" kind of feeling.
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Old 2004-02-13, 20:14   Link #12
babbito2k
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Originally Posted by snoopy
No no no no no no no. There is no beauty in J-pop (unless you talk about the bodies of those singers... if you're feeling generous enough to call them that). It is truly one of the most horrendous trends ever to face the world. Look at the Spice Girls from like 7 years ago with their lack of musical talents and extremely well-endowed figures and then multiply it by EVER SINGLE GOD FORESAKEN MUSICIAN IN A GIVEN AREA OF THE WORLD and you have the basis for what became known as J-Pop. Shoujo manga is not pop culture. It's longevity and appeal to multiple age groups is proof enough.

btw, I never bothered clicking the link to the article... was it any good?
Jpop's roots certainly predate the Spice Girls by many years, but your lack of knowledge about and hatred of jpop does not interest me except in the context of your statement that "shoujo manga is not pop culture." This assertion has absolutely no basis in reality. Manga is very much an adaptation of American comic strips from 100 years ago (stuff like "Katzenjammer Kids"), which can hardly be considered high culture.

I have nothing against people enjoying pop culture, and I have no interest in the fine arts. But stooping to denigrate one pop culture form in favor of another is cruel and foolish. This is particularly loathsome in light of your contempt for the topic of this thread.

edit: definition of pop culture? Mass media cultural forms (pop music, genre fiction, television, cinema, comics, videogames) as opposed to fine arts (ballet, opera, "classical" music, painting, literature).
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Old 2004-02-13, 21:08   Link #13
Dorfl
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Oooh, them's fighting words. I'm waiting!
On a more peaceful note, perhaps one of you would care to define what they mean by "pop culture," that might settle things a bit.
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Old 2004-02-13, 21:10   Link #14
snoopy
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Perhaps we differ in out definitions of pop culture. I think of it as only slightly different from 'fad'. I've never bothered to check if there's an official definition and I doubt seeing one would change mine. That said, any long-standing entertainment form does not fall into my definition of popular culture, which I believe to describe a wholly transient entertainment trend. For example, Rock isn't pop culture, but sub-genres such as boy bands are (please excuse my poor example). It would also seem that according to my personal definition, a genre can transcend pop culture status and become an established entertainment form, yet I haven't quite decided what the prerequisits for this are. And it would appear that at least Babbito would disagree with me.

BTW, I hate J-Pop. Not because it's J-Pop, but because I find it distasteful and mindless. I also hate most American pop culture for that same reason. In fact, anyone who buys a truck and doesn't haul stuff in it or live in a place that gets snow 4 months out of the year is a complete moron and needs to die if for no other reason than to eliminate one more person that blindly follows trends from our society. And that is my opinion.
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Old 2004-02-13, 22:55   Link #15
babbito2k
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Originally Posted by snoopy
Perhaps... BTW, ...my opinion.
Your rant about truck owners is no more interesting nor topical than the last rant about jpop. Making up personal definitions is handy for provoking people but little else.
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Old 2004-02-14, 17:25   Link #16
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Did you expect a response directed at your banter or the original post in this thread? I was under the impression that in order to respond to your attack I needed to temporarily leave the topic of shoujo manga doing whatever it was the Time guy was blathering about and make my case for why I don't believe shoujo manga as a genre falls into popular culture. I'm truly sorry if you were expecting otherwise.

And the truck thing was just an example of my further hatred towards people who do things that I deem stupid. I know, I could hate minorities or something, but hating the majority is always more fun.
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