Link of the day

June 11, 2009

Someone’s probably already linked to this, perhaps repeatedly, but I came across it when I was doing some research for another piece, and I thought it was fascinating. It’s the text of noted shôjo scholar Matt Thorn’s presentation, “The Multi-Faceted Universe of Shôjo Manga.”

Anything that starts with a sampling from the translated script of Moto Hagio’s The Heart of Thomas has to be good, and this certainly doesn’t disappoint, looking at the history of the category, its current state, and the future. Money quote:

“In a digital world, female artists who have been restricted for decades by male editors who think they know best what female readers want, will find a very different landscape. We have only glimpsed the borders of that Undiscovered Country, and it will no doubt be a harsh frontier. Many artists, accustomed to the old ways, will no doubt follow the printed magazine and the publishing dinosaurs to extinction. But others will surely make their way and create a place for themselves where they can connect directly with their readers, without worrying about whether or not their work ‘adheres to editorial policy.’ You can get a taste of what that Brave New World might look like if you attend one of the hundreds of comic markets held across Japan every year. There you will see vast gatherings of women–in some cases, tens of thousands–buying and selling self-published manga, utterly free of editorial constraint.”