Politics, religion and so on

April 23, 2007

Team Manga is everywhere. According to this article in The Japan Times, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso finds front-running French presidential candidate Ségolène Royal’s view of manga to be painfully narrow. Rumors that Minister Aso was assembling a diplomatic pouch filled with volumes of The Rose of Versaille are as yet unconfirmed.

Vertical, much loved for its releases of classic manga like Eisner-nominated Ode to Kirihito and To Terra…, will be launching a line of contemporary titles, according to this article in Publishers Weekly:

“The imprint will focus broadly on shojo manga for teen readers. [Vertical editorial director Ioannis] Mentzas acknowledged that acquiring licenses for these titles has become very competitive. ‘It’s nearly impossible to get good licenses now, but we’ll do it,’ he said. Three of the new staffers will run the new imprint. The house will continue to publish classic manga under the Vertical imprint.”

There’s an interesting piece on global manga in The Austin Statesman, featuring interviews with creators like Rivkah (Steady Beat), Tony (PSY-COMM) Salvaggio, and Paul (Pantheon High) Benjamin. Memorable quotes abound, like this one from Benjamin:

“I know I’m going to be dead and bones and Batman is still going to be dealing with his issues over his parents dying by beating up bad guys. That’s never going to change. That’s just the nature of a property owned by a big company. But with manga, anything goes, anything can happen, and that’s very exciting.”

Lots of people enjoy priests as characters in manga, and the Catholic Church’s Vocations Office for England and Wales hopes that there’s an overlap between people who enjoy manga and actually want to be priests:

“‘Cartoons, particularly Manga-styled ones, are a good way of reaching young people, even up to the age of 25,’ says Father [Paul] Embery. ‘We want more young people to consider the call to priesthood and religious life, whilst at the same time acknowledging that many more people are making commitments later in life. We have a “both-and” rather than “either-or” policy, as we recognise that older candidates bring different life experiences with them.’”

The piece I wrote for Print on manhwa has been picked up by BusinessWeek.Com, and is available online, for anyone who’s curious.