Monday, December 13, 2010

Manga vs. Comics: Does it matter? @TCJ

Felipe Smith’s is an exceptional story, to be sure, as is the story of Peepo Choo itself—a US-Japan culture clash comedy that both mocks and celebrates fans of comics and manga, illustrated in riveting and sometimes surrealistically violent detail. His achievement would seem many a foreign manga fan’s dream. But the artist remains frustrated by the us-vs-them mentality pervading the manga industry in Japan and overseas.

“We have to get beyond these silly classifications of manga vs. comics and whatever,” he says. Smith even objects to English speakers using the term ‘manga.’“There’s a word for them in English—‘comics.’ Just call them comics."

Stu Levy of TokyoPop cites a personal favorite of his, the manga Zombie Hunter, authored by a Japanese, Kazumasa Hirai, and illustrated by a Korean, Kyung-Il Yang. “Does that qualify as manga?” he asks. “These distinctions are like splitting hairs. In Japan, ‘manga’ as a word is simply the term for ‘comics,’ but overseas, manga has come to mean a particular style within the overall world of Japanese-originated sequential art. This narrow definition of the term tends to rely on the more commonly-used character design and stylistic approach found in many Japanese manga—but by no means found in all manga. So, there has been unfortunately more of a closed-minded view of manga in the West." [more @ The Comics Journal]

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