September 21, 2009
You know, if you get the opportunity to spend a weekend settled down with a long run of manga volumes you know are really good, I really recommend it. This weekend was spent revisiting and catching up with Kyoko Ariyoshi’s Swan, which resulted in this week’s Flipped column. Such a great series.
September 21, 2009
Over at The Manga Critic, Kate Dacey takes readers on a tour of her Manga Hall of Shame:
“The flipside of being a gourmand is that I’ve encountered my share of truly dreadful stuff, too — the kind of manga with such incoherent plots, unappealing characters, clumsy artwork, and tin-eared dialogue that they beg the question, Who thought this was a good idea?”
My personal set of neuroses must be such that I edit out memories of truly dreadful manga that I’ve read, and that’s a blessing, because I know I’ve read a lot of it. So it’s much easier for me to define some qualities that render a comic unreadable for me:
Needlessly impenetrable logic systems: When characters need to provide a running narrative on what precisely they’re doing for a reader to have the vaguest clue, it’s all over. This is probably because I care less how the characters are using their incomprehensible power sets than I do about what the characters are like as… y’know… characters.
Fan service that isn’t remotely sexy: I honestly don’t have a problem with fan service, provided it’s actually enticing. When it ends up looking like some weird anatomical chart or it’s ultimately sex-negative, I’ll take a pass.
Indifferent execution: Is there anything sadder than a great idea that ends up stillborn because more energy went into the conceptualization than the execution? It’s probably unfair, but I get more irritated with comics that could have been great but wound up mediocre than I do with comics that never stood a chance of being anything but dreadful. At least resolutely dreadful comics can be fun… briefly.
Bait and switch: Along the same lines, I entirely over-personalize it when a good first volume is followed by an absolutely untenable second. I don’t know if that’s the result of editorial interference or if the creator only had once decent volume worth of ideas in them, but it really, really gets on my nerves.
Anyway, go over and share the pain with Kate. You’ll feel better.