Manga-related reading

July 18, 2006

There’s a wonderful interview with Del Rey’s Dallas Middaugh (conducted by Dirk Deppey) over at The Comics Journal. Middaugh has considerable experience in and knowledge of the manga publishing industry, and he’s a really engaging conversationalist. The combination of these qualities results in memorable quotes like these:

On Random House’s cautious entry into the manga market and the resulting hit ratio:

“Those titles went on to sell in good quantities, and bookstores responded appropriately, so even though we were beginning with just a fraction of the output that Tokyopop and Viz were offering, we entered the market with an immediate clout that might not have been available otherwise.”

On offering a diverse line of titles:

“If we only bring over titles that we know there is a demand for, how will the readers be exposed to anything new?”

On the possibility of a “manga bust”:

“It happened a little over a year ago, but it was relatively minor, didn’t make that much of a bump and didn’t really get noticed by many people outside the industry itself. What you have to understand is that the novelty around manga has largely worn off; it’s still got a respectable rate of growth in sales, but not the 150-percent rate that you saw three or four years ago. It’s now largely perceived as a category of book sales like any other, like mysteries or cookbooks.”

He and Deppey talk about super-heroes, age ratings, Diamond, scanlations… I could go on, but you should really just go read it yourself. (Extra points to Deppey for adding relevant links to the text, not just to archival TCJ material but to other sites as well.) Or you could buy the print edition of TCJ that’s due out tomorrow and also enjoy interviews with such individuals as :01’s Mark Siegel, Top Shelf’s Chris Staros, Fred (Megatokyo) Gallagher, Chynna (Strangetown) Clugston, and many others.

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I can’t really do justice to the excellence of Naughty Ninja’s thoughtful examination of Ai Yazawa’s Nana over at Bento Physics. Again, just go read it. It’s spectacular. And go read Brigid’s response over at MangaBlog.

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Oh, I’m so relieved. I thought there was some kind of… I don’t know… estrangement, or something. It was unnerving, because they had seemed to be so in synch, and then… well… nothing. But not to worry… they’re back together and as close as they ever were.