While surfing around to see what the kids are saying about manga these days, I found this thread at the Comicon.com message boards, which led me to this blog entry. It’s a response to Dirk Deppey’s essay from the shojo issue of The Comics Journal.
And… well… I think I’ll just pull some quotes and let Pat O’Neill speak for himself.
On manga, in general:
“Manga are not comics. Both manga and comics are forms of graphic storytelling…but so are kids’ picture books, but we wouldn’t call those comics.”
“I think of the relationship between Euro-American comics and manga somewhat the way I think of the relationship between Euro-American drama and kabuki–both are forms of theater, but kabuki is not a form of drama in the traditional Euro-American sense.”
On whether girls really like manga:
“The percentage of girls buying and reading manga is probably smaller than the percentage of boys buying and reading comics, and almost all of those girls are participating in a fad, not a movement.”
Then why do they buy it?
“Simply put–it’s not American. It’s foreign, it’s exotic. To really get into it, it helps if you are willing to put in a lot of time learning at least rudimentary Japanese or learning about Japanese culture. The manga fangirls, to use Deppey’s term, are the same group of girls who would have gotten into French cinema two decades ago.”
On the future of the manga market:
“In five years, the currently burgeoning manga sections in bookstores will dwindle to two or three shelves…and the titles on the specialized anime racks in places like Suncoast Video will merge back in with the science-fiction or animated titles. The boomlet of interest in Japanese graphic culture will have died.”
And a parting shot:
“For now, let me end this way: Manga is not, and never will be, the salvation of the comics form in America.”