And I thought the seinen category was tough. That was before I saw the Best New One-Shot Manga poll over at About.Com. Looking at the list, I’m reminded that there might not be tremendous volume in off-brand, non-genre manga, but there’s significant variety and serious ambition on display, and publishers (from ultra-mainstream Viz to boutique operations like Last Gasp and Fanfare) are to be applauded for pushing the boundaries of what’s available. 2008 may not have been the year that manga grew up, and 2009 and 2010 might not either, but I think the fact that Deb Aoki can assemble such strong slates in these potentially marginal categories indicates that the foundation for that maturation is solid and getting more solid all the time.
Of course, a crappy economy may suspend the maturation for a while, but I’ll go with optimism at the moment.