Quote of the day

Deb (About.Com) Aoki interviews Gary (Fantagraphics) Groth about their new manga initiative:

Q: In my conversations with U.S. manga publishers, most, if not all of the mainstream U.S. manga publishers have said that they are not willing to take a chance on classic manga titles (e.g. published in Japan in the 1960’s, ’70s, ’80s or even early ’90s lately!) anymore. What does Fantagraphics hope to do differently to introduce new readers to the titles you’ll be bringing to the U.S.?

Gary Groth: “Due to my almost complete ignorance of the manga publishing industry and the editorial strictures that guide it, and my pitiful lack of guile in these matters, I was insufficiently aware of how timid and craven our editorial choices should’ve been!”

Ah, that’s just the kind of Grothian commentary I’ve been expecting.

By the way, I’m obviously still linkstalking the story, so point me to your thoughts if I’ve missed them.

4 Responses to Quote of the day

  1. ScottGreen says:

    I recently picked up a used copy of Viz’s release of the second Legend of Kamui perfect collection. Reading the cover copy, what jumped out at me as use of the word “classic” and reference that Sanpei Shirato began creating manga in 1957.

    I was thinking, now, most manga publishers wouldn’t promote a work as a “classic” or its creator as a veteran.

    I’d personally prefer it were otherwise, but given how much of pop medium manga is, this makes commercial sense. It’s what’s popular now, not what was highly regarded, or in the case of Kamui, revolutionary, decades ago.

    Wait till Death Note becomes ancient news. I imagine that’ll happen in the next year or so.

  2. davidpwelsh says:

    I’ll make a similar confession. For all the frequency with which I ask for classic or oddball manga to be licensed, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with publishers focusing primarily on manga they can sell. I think it’s great when publishers use the leeway that commercially successful properties give them to publish riskier material, and I’m delighted when boutique publishers make efforts to contribute to the literary canon, but I also recognize that they’re all businesses, and if they don’t make money publishing something, they won’t be able to publish anything.

    At the same time, smug as they can sometimes sound about their place in the comics landscape, the titles that Fantagraphics has already announced are very much in keeping with what I see as their brand: contributions to the comics canon, whether we’re talking about classic comic strips or alt-comix masterpieces or, now, Moto Hagio and friends. They’re just geographically widening their purview of sources.

    And, wait, Death Note isn’t ancient news already?

  3. […] manga of the early 2000s, the possibilities seem satisfyingly vast. And while Gary Groth may not be the cuddliest messenger in the world (on this or any other subject), one can rest assured that his sensibility is as curatorial as it […]

  4. Simon Jones says:

    Heh, Groth can say whatever he likes. What’s important is that Matt Thorn and Dirk Deppey understand the landscape of the market they are entering, which is already populated by the likes of D&Q, Top Shelf, Vertical, Viz, Last Gasp, and Fanfare. That’s why they’re editing the line.

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