OEL Manga...!?

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OEL Manga...!?

Postby yukoxholic » Tue Feb 05, 2008 4:31 pm

Ok, I don't know how many of you are familiar with OEL Manga (Original English Language Manga) but I just have to say they're some great titles distributed out there and yet, these artists/writers seem to go under the radar compared to Japanese/Korean (manhwa) mangaka! I know a lot of people who are Manga purists and do not like it when others call Korean Manhwa manga or OEL titles "manga". Personally, I don't really care what you list it under you'll get the same point across to me! ...but anyway... :)

I was wondering if anyone here has read any OEL titles? The few I have read are Miki Falls, Dramacon, Last Hope, Unearthly, Inverloch, and Earthsong. I have to say I really enjoyed Svetlana Chmakova's Dramacon the best! Though Miki Falls comes in a close second!

Brief Synops:

Dramacon revolves around your stereotypical Otaku con-goers but with a twist. Christie the protagonist is the writer for a manga she is making with her artist boyfriend Derek. Christie however has never been to an Anime con ( and she herself doesn't really know a thing about the Otaku world i.e. cosplayers, animes, the jargon! like "What's a glomp!?") before so you know trouble will ensue! Especially when she meets up with the mysterious cosplayer Matt. /end infomercial spiel

Svetlana's storytelling is awesome! You never once loose interest in what's unfolding between characters and if you have been to a con before it's almost like you're in attendance with how to the T she is with the joys, mishaps, ups and downs! All wrapped up with chibis, what goes on behind the scenes at anime conventions :D and a touch (but not really) of romance ^__^


So, what about all you wonderful manga readers of the CAA...have ya read an OEL? :cool:
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Postby EricTheFred » Tue Feb 05, 2008 5:26 pm

Did you know that the top-selling OEL, "Megatokyo", a web-manga turned book-manga, is now being marketed in Japan? Kodansha licensed volume 1 last year and will be putting it on the shelf in a couple months.

My favorite 'series' is Rising Stars of Manga, but that's a short-story anthology / contest. For actual series, I'm a big fan of "Amazing Agent Luna", which is on Volume 4 and sadly going to finish with volume 5, and a new title, "Hollow Fields". I sort of like Last Hope, except I would wish for more originality in the script. Good character designs, though.
"Unearthly" is frustratingly on hiatus, which is very unfortunate because it is basically the one with the most potential of any OEL.


Others that look like they could be good, if the writers step up to the plate (all of these have excellent art) on volume 2:
Pantheon High
Grand Theft Galaxy
Atomic King Daidogan
The last one was pulled from print, and I don't know why. The short version in RSOM was brilliant, and it was going to be a three-volume series. Some sort of breakdown between author and publisher, I suppose. The other two are ongoing, but very slow.
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Postby minakichan » Tue Feb 05, 2008 11:12 pm

You know, I love some manhwa and manhua (the oft-ignored Chinese comics; some are manga-based, some are AmeComi-based, some are original), but I have not read any Tokyopop OEL series (some of the RSoMs are pretty good) that I think has been up-to-par with even the most average, less-than-stellar Japanese manga running in a somewhat-major magazine. It's said that Tokyopop makes it really easy for one to become a mangaka; too easy, in my opinion. I read Dramacon, which is probably TP's best in art and story, and although it was actually pretty decent, I really disliked the blatant propoganda and the melodrama. There are some other non-TP titles that are pretty good (some WirePop titles, one or two of Seven Seas', and I know the Nina Matsumoto's Yokaiden is going to be amazing).

I used to really love the idea of OEL until I actually started reading them. As someone who wants to be able to write manga-style comics in the United States, I have really mixed feelings about the subject-- I really, really want to support OEL, but I haven't found any worthwhile examples of it. It's probably just because the OEL subindustry is very young and undeveloped; it will probably improve in a couple years. Right now, I can't stand it as a whole.
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Postby yukoxholic » Wed Feb 06, 2008 5:27 am

EricTheFred (post: 1197270) wrote:Did you know that the top-selling OEL, "Megatokyo", a web-manga turned book-manga, is now being marketed in Japan? Kodansha licensed volume 1 last year and will be putting it on the shelf in a couple months.

My favorite 'series' is Rising Stars of Manga, but that's a short-story anthology / contest. For actual series, I'm a big fan of "Amazing Agent Luna", which is on Volume 4 and sadly going to finish with volume 5, and a new title, "Hollow Fields". I sort of like Last Hope, except I would wish for more originality in the script. Good character designs, though.
"Unearthly" is frustratingly on hiatus, which is very unfortunate because it is basically the one with the most potential of any OEL.


Others that look like they could be good, if the writers step up to the plate (all of these have excellent art) on volume 2:
Pantheon High
Grand Theft Galaxy
Atomic King Daidogan
The last one was pulled from print, and I don't know why. The short version in RSOM was brilliant, and it was going to be a three-volume series. Some sort of breakdown between author and publisher, I suppose. The other two are ongoing, but very slow.


I totally forgot MegaTokyo! And I even met Fred Gallagher (super nice! even drew a sketch!). He signed my first volume of Megatokyo. Yeah, his work is pretty epic, especially his chapter on L33T! ^__^ I have seen the Rising Stars of Manga but have never picked it up! It may be a title in the future I'll check out to see what other OEL arists/writers have to offer.

Flight (Volumes 1,2, 3 and now 4) is also another short-story style almost akin to The Rising Stars of Manga series. I believe it has a mix of Japanese mangaka and American writers/artists. It features artists Amy Kim Ganter (Sorcerers & Secretaries) as well as Scott McCloud oh! and Hope Larson of Salamander Dream and Gray Horses fame. I like how the stories all flow into eathother. Also, features Jason DeAngelis who wrote the short series of Captain Nemo.

And I have to agree with you, I am frustrated by the Unearthly hiatus. :(

[quote="minakichan (post: 1197334)"]You know, I love some manhwa and manhua (the oft-ignored Chinese comics]

Well, I hope in the future your opinion changes on OEL but I do understand where you're coming from. :) Now, I do agree some of the series are a little lackluster but then again I could say the same for the Japanese-manga industry which has hundreds on hundreds of titles but more than half are hit and miss or are staying eerily close to it's predecessor mangas for example: Kekkaishi, I love the series but it's so close to Bleach I might as well read Bleach. Same with almost all the magical girl titles, a lot of the series revolve around 'monster of the week' themes, other slice of life almost always revolves around love-triangles and high schoolers. Some of the stories are interesting and some are just plain jane to other mangakas works.

TokyoPop I really don't put too much stock in because they sign on a lot of different titles but a lot of them flounder, it's almost like they collect writers and artists! The smaller presses seem to come out with the better titles like newly founded YenPress, CMX (Emma! ^__^ ), and Ice Kunion (Korean Manhwa press).

Yes, like you stated the OEL industry is really undeveloped and will most likely improve given time but I still won't say I can't stand it only because the art-style is very different compared to most foreign manga: take Pink Hanamori's art-style on Pichi Pichi Pitch and than flip through Arina Tanemura's Full Moon O Sagashite, the styles are very, very similar though each have a few distinguishing features to characters.

I have to give credit to the OEL underdogs for trying to break into a Japanese dominated art-form. It takes a very long time to cultivate your story ideas, draw your series up and pitch it to presses that most likely won't take it because "It doesn't look right!' or have the story appeals of Japanese story-telling which is probably half the reason why Americans flock to Japanese manga and not OEL... we're just accustomed to Japan's flavor :)

This probably all sounds very cliche but it's just my 2 cents. ^__^
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Postby EricTheFred » Wed Feb 06, 2008 7:13 am

It's a volume thing. OEL is a very sparsely populated market, and few titles have a chance to really get rolling at all. Compare OEL to typical volume 1 or 2 of your favorite Manga, and you will discover it is much closer in quality than you think. Comparing volume 1 of 'Unearthly' to Volume 22 of Bleach might not be so fair.

And, there's a filter you need to consider. I compare it to old Sci-Fi. If you look at all the great old Sci-Fi novels out there, it looks like the post-war generation had much better writers than us. The real reason is that fifty years of attrition has eliminated all the crap that never got past the third printing.

We don't see all the manga from the Japanese market, just the best stuff. Some publishers (Tokyopop for example) are willing to dig deeper, but mostly, we just see the higher quality titles.

I have read a lot of 'scanlation' in my time, and I have a few untranslated titles I struggle (very slowly) through for Japanese language training. We miss out on some real gems (my favorite failure-to-import is 'Yokohama Shopping Trip') because nobody believes they have a market here, but mostly, what we miss out on is crap.
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Postby GrubbTheFragger » Wed Feb 06, 2008 11:12 am

Original Megatokyo Ftw.
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Postby ShiroiHikari » Wed Feb 06, 2008 12:36 pm

I read a little of Sorcerers and Secretaries, it wasn't bad but I never found any more volumes in the stores.

I also used to read Roadsong, but same story there: couldn't find any more of it.

Oh, and Earthsong. I used to read that regularly too.
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Postby minakichan » Wed Feb 06, 2008 1:24 pm

No, I totally understand what you guys are saying. I'm seriously, seriously on the fence about OEL at the moment, and I think it'll take a few years for me to actually accept it, but I know that I will probably be OK with it after a while. Korean manhwa and Chinese manhua used to REALLY suck, but some are excellent now (and some still suck). I'm just saying that I read a lot of bad Japanese manga that doesn't make it to the States (I'm a masochist), and even with that, a lot of titles (Tokyopop in particular) just aren't even as good as that in one way or another.

Just to explain my perspective on things, I do write comic short stories 100% inspired by Japanese manga, and I only really read manga, and I want to be published in East Asia (although that's partially also because Tokyopop just treats their artists terribly). I also submit to RSoM. Despite all of this, I have reservations and I really don't know if I want to call what I do "manga."

One of the big beefs I have with OEL artists is (generally, not all the time) that their position is so contrary-- they say that they want to be called "manga" and accepted as "mangaka," but so many of them are far too eager to talk about being different and "improving" Japanese manga-- I remember reading in Mangaka America, one artist described her work as taking a recipe for cake (a metaphor for manga that comes from Japan) and making the cake with some adjustments-- adding strawberries, frosting, whatever, I can't remember the exact wording (symbolizing the American twist on things). The issue I have with this is that it makes the assumption that there's some magic formula that ALL JAPANESE PEOPLE use in manga, and that Americans are adding their own touch to make it better or something. Um, no, Japanese mangaka already add their blueberries and graham cracker crusts and crap, and they all do it differently (mango cake plz); saying otherwise is like saying all Japanese manga are the same, and that only an outsider can make a tired old product something fresh and new and delicious.

The other issue I have is that people are willing to categorize comics into manga, manhwa, manhua by national origin, but will then insist on calling American manga-style comics "manga." So, if you're Korean or Chinese, you get your own label, but American works are all manga? But there are also some people who consider "OEL manga" to also suggest national origin, so I'm OK with that.

Like I said, I'm on the fence. The rational, nonpartisan side of me asks "What the heck do these terms even mean?!" Manhua, for example, encompasses comics that look exactly like "Japanese manga," comics that look exactly like American superhero, and crazy HK wuxiapian style stuff, yet it's all grouped with one term. Does manga mean a style of storytelling or just the national origin? (And technically it just means "comics," so Superman is manga too. Then it gets trippy.) How can one even have this debate if the key vocabulary term is so vague and everyone defines it differently?

If you want me to rant about people who are completely against OEL, I can do that too.
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Postby yukoxholic » Wed Feb 06, 2008 1:41 pm

ShiroiHikari (post: 1197466) wrote:I read a little of Sorcerers and Secretaries, it wasn't bad but I never found any more volumes in the stores.

I also used to read Roadsong, but same story there: couldn't find any more of it.

Oh, and Earthsong. I used to read that regularly too.


There is actually only 2 volumes of Sorcerers and Secretaries because Tokyopop 'kicked' her out of their publishing cycle! I have read both volumes and thought volume 2 summed everything up and that more installations would be unnecessary. ^__^ She has stated that she will continue to make OEL manga through her website but as for Sorcerers and Secretaries it will sadly end at volume 2.

Since she's left Tokyopop, those volumes are sparse on the bookshelves. Thank goodness for Amazon.com though! :)
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Postby uc pseudonym » Wed Feb 06, 2008 2:16 pm

OEL manga makes a decent label (getting away from the "definition of manga" argument), but so far I haven't found the field terribly impressive. There is some nice art out there, but the writing leaves a great deal to be desired. I could discuss specific titles in more detail, but some of them are ones people have already listed as their favorites in this thread.
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Postby yukoxholic » Wed Feb 06, 2008 2:37 pm

uc pseudonym (post: 1197497) wrote:OEL manga makes a decent label (getting away from the "definition of manga" argument), but so far I haven't found the field terribly impressive. There is some nice art out there, but the writing leaves a great deal to be desired. I could discuss specific titles in more detail, but some of them are ones people have already listed as their favorites in this thread.


Feel free to state your opinions on certain OEL even if they are listed! I like what I like but I am always eager to hear others opinions. :)
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Postby EricTheFred » Wed Feb 06, 2008 7:21 pm

minakichan (post: 1197474) wrote:The other issue I have is that people are willing to categorize comics into manga, manhwa, manhua by national origin, but will then insist on calling American manga-style comics "manga." So, if you're Korean or Chinese, you get your own label, but American works are all manga? But there are also some people who consider "OEL manga" to also suggest national origin, so I'm OK with that.

Like I said, I'm on the fence. The rational, nonpartisan side of me asks "What the heck do these terms even mean?!" Manhua, for example, encompasses comics that look exactly like "Japanese manga," comics that look exactly like American superhero, and crazy HK wuxiapian style stuff, yet it's all grouped with one term. Does manga mean a style of storytelling or just the national origin? (And technically it just means "comics," so Superman is manga too. Then it gets trippy.) How can one even have this debate if the key vocabulary term is so vague and everyone defines it differently?

If you want me to rant about people who are completely against OEL, I can do that too.


Actually, while I get what you mean, don't forget the words "Manhua" and "Manhwa" are both simply the word "Manga" as assimilated into Chinese and Korean respectively. So really, they're just shorthand for "OCL Manga" and "OKL Manga" (and I didn't make up the last two terms; I've seen them used elsewhere.)

However, I think what people are trying to do with the terrm "OEL Manga" is draw a marketing distinction that is very necessary so that they can reach the audience most likely to be interested. Most people who either don't read comics or read only Manga have the idea that American comics are superhero pulps and nothing else. You can see it at Borders or Barnes & Noble. The American graphic novels shelves are invariably next to the Manga shelves, yet two completely different groups of people visit each. It's like there's a brick wall between the book cases. The manga fans rarely look to these shelves to see if there is anything interesting. If 'Dramacon' or 'Megatokyo' were on these shelves instead of the manga shelves, they would not sell anywhere near the copy they've sold.
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Postby yukoxholic » Thu Feb 07, 2008 4:07 am

[quote="EricTheFred (post: 1197611)"]Actually, while I get what you mean, don't forget the words "Manhua" and "Manhwa" are both simply the word "Manga" as assimilated into Chinese and Korean respectively. So really, they're just shorthand for "OCL Manga" and "OKL Manga" (and I didn't make up the last two terms]


Normally, I'd post a few sentences to this but you've taken the very words out of my mouth! Everything you just stated, I agree with, couldn't have said it better!
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Postby minakichan » Thu Feb 07, 2008 8:19 am

(Some people actually even drop the OEL-- so manga from Japan is manga, manga from Korea is manhwa, and manga from the US is... manga. That's what I mean; that, I find silly. Used properly is OK. Also, while it's true the manhua is the Chinese word for manga, not all manhua are really OCL manga; in fact, most are not. The Chinese word manhua retains the simple meaning "comics" from the word manga.)

What the heck. This whole categorization thing makes my head hurt.
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Postby EricTheFred » Thu Feb 07, 2008 10:58 am

It's a marketing reality... not a Reality reality. Although I understand what you are saying.

Anyway, I personally have a tendency to refer to my favorite Korean graphic novels (Angel Cup, Dokebi Bride and Into the Starlight, if you're curious) as "Manga". I'm only careful to say "Manhwa" around manga fans so I don't get jumped on. To me, the word actually is just a synonym for comic book, and I think that's what it will become to the world at large eventually. In other words, the word will mean the same thing in English that it already does in Japanese. It's only in English that we're drawing silly distinctions anyway.

And they are silly. We think of the Japanese style as somehow different, forgetting that there has been give and take between all the national styles down through the years. Osamu Tetsuka was imitating the style of Disney artists when he came up with the whole Big Eyes / Little Mouth thing in the first place. Kia Asamiya inspired the wonderful background work we now think of as Japanese after he developed a liking for detailed backgrounds working for DC Comics in New York, where they were being inspired by certain French and English artists at the time.

Manga is a better word than Comic Book, anyway. What is so 'Comic' about Sin City, or Mushishi, or Ghost Hunt? The name comes from the early product being almost always comedy. In the long run, it will be better to have a word that covers a much wider range of genres. Even "Graphic Novel" doesn't work, since it implies a long story arc. It fails to describe episodic works that have no story beyond the individual chapters.
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Postby minakichan » Thu Feb 07, 2008 11:55 am

This is where the term "sequential art" comes in =D Sure, it also encompasses Egyptian hieroglyphs, but it works pretty well, right?

I think that while manga (as we understand the word, Japanese comics argh) definitely started out emulating Disney, it's kind of evolved into its own animal now. Scott McCloud has his little shmeal comparing the storytelling techniques, the cinematic shots, the panel transitions, and even the stories, all of which show a really clear distinction between "American" and "Japanese" styles of seqart, to the point that the Japanese-American gap is much, much wider than the already well-defined European-American gap.

I've heard some manhwaga call their work "manga." Yay for more confusion. Ah, also, it's not just America/Europe/the West that calls Japanese comics "manga" either; my mom read comics as a kid in Taiwan (as much as she refuses to admit it now), and they called it "manga." (Then again, this might have to do more with the Japanese occupancy than anything else...)
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Postby uc pseudonym » Thu Feb 07, 2008 2:06 pm

Indeed. I wish people would just choose a labeling system and be consistent about it.

EricTheFred wrote:And they are silly. We think of the Japanese style as somehow different, forgetting that there has been give and take between all the national styles down through the years.

Quoted for truth. The only way to make this debate worse is to add elitism.

yukoxholic wrote:Feel free to state your opinions on certain OEL even if they are listed! I like what I like but I am always eager to hear others opinions.

I'm reluctant to speak too broadly, because I'll admit my reading of OEL manga is skewed toward Tokyopop's titles. For whatever reason I see a disproportionate number of those (online chapters may be partially to blame). But as a whole, I'm disappointed with the quality of the stories being produced. This is especially evident to me in reading many of the recent RSOM compilations - the winners all have decent art, but in my opinion some of the entries as a whole are terrible.

I've read two volumes of Dramacon and personally find it mediocre. Better than a lot of their other OEL series, but the story is somewhat same old, same old. It is nice to see some decent dialogue, but I find the characters are all somewhat archetypal.

Megatokyo... I probably shouldn't get started on it. But this is one of the most hated titles online, so I'm sure you're aware of all the usual complaints.
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Postby yukoxholic » Thu Feb 07, 2008 3:48 pm

uc pseudonym (post: 1197795) wrote:Indeed. I wish people would just choose a labeling system and be consistent about it.


Quoted for truth. The only way to make this debate worse is to add elitism.


I'm reluctant to speak too broadly, because I'll admit my reading of OEL manga is skewed toward Tokyopop's titles. For whatever reason I see a disproportionate number of those (online chapters may be partially to blame). But as a whole, I'm disappointed with the quality of the stories being produced. This is especially evident to me in reading many of the recent RSOM compilations - the winners all have decent art, but in my opinion some of the entries as a whole are terrible.

I've read two volumes of Dramacon and personally find it mediocre. Better than a lot of their other OEL series, but the story is somewhat same old, same old. It is nice to see some decent dialogue, but I find the characters are all somewhat archetypal.

Megatokyo... I probably shouldn't get started on it. But this is one of the most hated titles online, so I'm sure you're aware of all the usual complaints.


Ok, let me just state one thing be it graphic novels, manga, comics, etc I know that any one of those genres that I pick up I won't find anything ground-breaking. I know it won't be as gripping as reading an actual 300 page suspense novel or picking up a biography on someone's life. I tend to think those types of literature rely heavily on the art more than the story. They want their pictures to do the talking, not the dialogue which is why most OEL, OCL, etc (and yeah they should just call it all one thing!! >__<) always lack in terms of story.

YenPress I have to give credit for they are at least searching for more depth in terms of manga. With the Light...Raising an Autistic Child by Keiko Tobe is basically a manga masterpiece in my opinion. It not only deals with the trials of those who raise an autistic child but also touches on what that child has to go through by using beautiful art and captivating storytelling. Another title that deserves to be noted is: Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms by Fumiyo Kouno which is about Hiroshima, Japan. Even though these are both by Japanese mangaka, if we put that aside what nationality they are, where they come from, etc and just look at first, the story which is based on 'life situations' and THAN the art we can see why these two are praised so much and given awards for their work.

I do agree with you somewhat on mediocrity in OEL. I think most artists/writers are trying to blend in with what's out there, instead of trying to stand out from the rest. Is it a good thing or a bad thing? I suppose only time will tell.

The reason why I loved Dramacon so much is because I myself am an anime con-goer (yes, I know that is pretty sad but also very fun! :D ) but to me if you left the character dramatics out of it she summed up an anime convention perfectly which I guess is why I praise it so much. I suppose I am biased! ^__^

As to Megatokyo, yes, I have heard the complaints of his works but than again these books have been translated into German, French, Italian Polish and recently Japanese. If these countries are willing to publish it than there must be something special about it to cause a spark across the globe! :)
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Postby EricTheFred » Thu Feb 07, 2008 4:22 pm

yukoxholic (post: 1197813) wrote:As to Megatokyo, yes, I have heard the complaints of his works but than again these books have been translated into German, French, Italian Polish and recently Japanese. If these countries are willing to publish it than there must be something special about it to cause a spark across the globe! :)


My theory on the complaints about Megatokyo is that they are legitimate if you understand what the gripe is. MT started with two writers, one of whom was the artist. They had very different views on what it should be, and eventually, (roughly at the end of Volume 1) they split up.

Naturally, the schizophrenic nature of volume 1 led to a large number of fans who liked it for what the guy who left made it. And naturally, when he left, they didn't like the following product as much. It became more continuing story and less gag strip, and frankly, a lot of people don't like continuing stories in web comics. They want a pay-off with every strip, page, whatever, and that's what a gag strip is.

And there is nothing wrong with this. But, those people who disliked the Fred Gallagher only webcomic, but like Manga, probably ought to try MT in Tankoubon format. They will find it a very different experience than trying to follow the story at a rate of one page ever few days.
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Postby minakichan » Thu Feb 07, 2008 4:46 pm

Ok, let me just state one thing be it graphic novels, manga, comics, etc I know that any one of those genres that I pick up I won't find anything ground-breaking. I know it won't be as gripping as reading an actual 300 page suspense novel or picking up a biography on someone's life.


I disagree gigantifreakienormously. 90% of EVERYTHING-- manga, comics, 300-page suspense novels, biographies, everything-- is crap. There is only one exception to this rule, and that is that 100% of crap is crap. Yes, there are tons of super awesome deep classic novels, but they're the 10% of literature as a whole. For every novel of awesome there are 9 of not-so-awesome, but of course, we only see the awesome stuff because the others didn't stand the test of time. In manga, the 90% is very visible. Also, I mean, suspense novels get the same bad rap as manga for being bad pulp fiction. There are tons of manga that are very good. I liken the comparison to people's criticism of film as a medium that focuses too much on visuals than on story-- it's not necessarily the case, there are tons of literature-level movies that are amazing and will stand the test of time, but they don't necessarily get there for having good-looking actors and cool sets. The medium itself can achieve a lot that prose cannot, but it doesn't mean it has to sacrifice anything. Heck, your accusation that manga focuses on art instead of story would almost be akin to saying that prose is weak as an art form because it inherently focuses on pretty language and words than on story. It's just not necessarily the case.

As for Megatokyo, whether you like it or not, you have to admit that it's... really got nothing on pro manga, whether it be from Japan or Southeast Asia or anything. Draw in pencil, unimaginative panel layouts, amateurish anatomy... I mean, I don't suggest that I'm any better, but people who bash it really mainly do so because the success does not reflect the talent. There are tons of other amateur comic artists out there who do a much better job and have a lot less attention. Call it jealousy on some people's part; that wouldn't be totally untrue.
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Postby EricTheFred » Thu Feb 07, 2008 5:39 pm

[quote="minakichan (post: 1197824)"]
As for Megatokyo, whether you like it or not, you have to admit that it's... really got nothing on pro manga, whether it be from Japan or Southeast Asia or anything. Draw in pencil, unimaginative panel layouts, amateurish anatomy... I mean, I don't suggest that I'm any better, but people who bash it really mainly do so because the success does not reflect the talent. There are tons of other amateur comic artists out there who do a much better job and have a lot less attention. Call it jealousy on some people's part]

All very true, and I don't disagree one bit. I don't think I can point at one single professional OEL that I could characterize as 'lower quality artwork than MT'. Frankly, for the stuff on the bookshelves, it stands at the bottom of the pile in this regard.

However, in one way MT stands head and shoulders above almost all OEL manga. It has an imaginative, original story line which can not be called a stale copy of some much better Japanese original. What most OEL Manga suffers from is copier syndrome. The stories are usually written by people who are really, really good artists, but haven't developed good writing skills. Their stories are copies, not originals, and they lack the sharpness and quality of the original. MT is original material.

This is why I am so hyper on "Hollow Fields". Only the first volume is out, but it has a spark of imagination I haven't elsewhere except Unearthly and MT. I hope the writer can keep it up, because she started out very well.
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Postby yukoxholic » Fri Feb 08, 2008 10:51 am

[quote="minakichan (post: 1197824)"]I disagree gigantifreakienormously. 90%]

Well, I was mainly using the suspense genre as an example and I'd have to say that there are hundreds upon hundreds of books I could read over and over again instead of manga. Though I am a huge bookworm so you could say I am biased. Just as a mangaka takes his/her time with the artistry and words so does a writer who must come up with tens of thousands of words in a market so heavily laden with so many genres and competitors. I applaud graphic artists/mangaka/, etc etc and writers alike because it is a tedious and tiring line of work.

To classify only 10% of the volumes of literature out in libraries, schools, and bookstores as the best of the best is a pretty prodigious thing to say! I don't believe at all that 90% of our literaries are "crap" for without having books in existence for us to learn from and teach us things how on earth would the art form of the manga that we buy today come about? Someone had to write a book on drawing or the famous Osamu Tezuka-esque "cinematographic technique", brushstroke, etc....How on earth would teachers teach anything in school were it not for those that recorded histories, mathematics, foreign languages, and religion.

Why, if I may make a correlation between the Bible and literary works today you could say that all authors take from it's scriptures and doctrines. Stories of harlots, murders, prejudice, suffering, hunger, betrayal, etc are all just copied by writers from the Bible and formed into their own stories and why even bother with thinking your own story is something unique when only a certain percentage is worth reading.

As to manga focusing too much on art to some degree I think it does. Just as the old saying goes, "Don't judge a book by it's cover." It's only natural to look over the many colorful arrays of manga on bookshelves and be in awe of all the artwork you see splashed across the covers. I for one am guilty of buying solely on look alone and not story! ^__^

Though you do have a point I suppose I am being too rash in what I had stated in a previous post. The art drawn inside of manga is just as important as the story if not more so due to the vast competition from other artists. Yours has to shine best among the rest. :)
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Postby uc pseudonym » Fri Feb 08, 2008 2:39 pm

This is turning into an interesting thread. Pardon the semi-lengthy post, but that's what happens when I find things interesting.

yukoxholic wrote:Ok, let me just state one thing be it graphic novels, manga, comics, etc I know that any one of those genres that I pick up I won't find anything ground-breaking. I know it won't be as gripping as reading an actual 300 page suspense novel or picking up a biography on someone's life. I tend to think those types of literature rely heavily on the art more than the story. They want their pictures to do the talking, not the dialogue which is why most OEL, OCL, etc (and yeah they should just call it all one thing!! >__<) always lack in terms of story.

That is an apt description of the field, but that doesn't mean I like it or believe it is appropriate. As far as I'm concerned, any time an aspect of the medium is elevated above the story the series suffers immensely. Pictures can talk, yes, but if it is the characters talking I want that part to be well-written too.

yukoxholic wrote:YenPress I have to give credit for they are at least searching for more depth in terms of manga. With the Light...Raising an Autistic Child by Keiko Tobe is basically a manga masterpiece in my opinion. It not only deals with the trials of those who raise an autistic child but also touches on what that child has to go through by using beautiful art and captivating storytelling. Another title that deserves to be noted is: Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms by Fumiyo Kouno which is about Hiroshima, Japan. Even though these are both by Japanese mangaka, if we put that aside what nationality they are, where they come from, etc and just look at first, the story which is based on 'life situations' and THAN the art we can see why these two are praised so much and given awards for their work.

This is why I hesitate to criticize too broadly. I have not read every title and I'm probably missing some excellent ones. Bad but exciting stories tend to win out over excellent but mundane literature, so good series remain unnoticed. This directly relates to a later paragraph:

yukoxholic wrote:As to Megatokyo, yes, I have heard the complaints of his works but than again these books have been translated into German, French, Italian Polish and recently Japanese. If these countries are willing to publish it than there must be something special about it to cause a spark across the globe!

"Something special" is defined as "will sell many volumes."

yukoxholic wrote:The reason why I loved Dramacon so much is because I myself am an anime con-goer (yes, I know that is pretty sad but also very fun! :D ) but to me if you left the character dramatics out of it she summed up an anime convention perfectly which I guess is why I praise it so much. I suppose I am biased! ^__^

One could argue I'm biased in the opposite direction and that this explains our different feelings about the series. I've been to a few conventions and didn't particularly enjoy them (I was there to meet friends, for the record).

minakichan wrote:90% of EVERYTHING-- manga, comics, 300-page suspense novels, biographies, everything-- is crap. There is only one exception to this rule, and that is that 100% of crap is crap. Yes, there are tons of super awesome deep classic novels, but they're the 10% of literature as a whole. For every novel of awesome there are 9 of not-so-awesome, but of course, we only see the awesome stuff because the others didn't stand the test of time.

I agree on this. Just how many cheap fantasy, romance, science fiction, or detective novels are there on the shelves? Or where are the rags-to-riches tales of early American history? How much non-fiction "fills a much-needed gap" or regurgitates known information? 10% of everything that has been written is still a massive amount of literature.

EricTheFred wrote:However, in one way MT stands head and shoulders above almost all OEL manga. It has an imaginative, original story line which can not be called a stale copy of some much better Japanese original. What most OEL Manga suffers from is copier syndrome. The stories are usually written by people who are really, really good artists, but haven't developed good writing skills. Their stories are copies, not originals, and they lack the sharpness and quality of the original. MT is original material.

I hadn't reflected on this at any length, so I may need to consider it more. Copy syndrome is indeed a problem, though I think some series have gotten away from the need to emulate a manga stereotype. Pantheon High, for example, has Norse mythology. Sure, we've seen superpowered high schoolers before, but I feel it does it in a different way (at least not a manga-ripoff way).

However, I have to say that I don't dislike Megatokyo because Rodney left or because of the art (I'm not really an art person, if you haven't noticed). I dislike it because I honestly don't like the nature of the story. Melodramatic wish-fulfillment, in my opinion. Unfortunately, it's free and online, so I keep reading...

yukoxholic wrote:Though you do have a point I suppose I am being too rash in what I had stated in a previous post. The art drawn inside of manga is just as important as the story if not more so due to the vast competition from other artists. Yours has to shine best among the rest.

Only somewhat. Hunter x Hunter had mediocre art at the beginning, dipping into atrocious levels quite often, yet it remains one of SJ's most popular series. There hadn't been a chapter for two years and not only was it not canceled, it remained high in polls. The reason is because the storytelling is solid and the style is unique.

Even in the sense of popularity, art can only carry a series so far before it will die due to being uninteresting. I imagine this principle applies all the more when considering the test of time.
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Postby EricTheFred » Fri Feb 08, 2008 3:10 pm

uc pseudonym (post: 1198032) wrote:"Something special" is defined as "will sell many volumes."


FWIW, the printed Megatokyo is the number 1 bestselling OEL Manga. Don't know if that backs up the OP's point, or is just irrelevant in this context. In my own opinion, it's irrelevant, but that's a different matter.

uc pseudonym (post: 1198032) wrote:I hadn't reflected on this at any length, so I may need to consider it more. Copy syndrome is indeed a problem, though I think some series have gotten away from the need to emulate a manga stereotype. Pantheon High, for example, has Norse mythology. Sure, we've seen superpowered high schoolers before, but I feel it does it in a different way (at least not a manga-ripoff way).


Pantheon High is one of my keep-an-eye-on titles. It seriously underwhelmed me with its opening pages, which I thought were terrible, then went on to lay out a well-spun tale with a novel scenario. It is strongly similar to the scenario in a Rick Riordan childrens' series (Percy Jackson) but the two hit the shelves close enough together that I think that was just coincidence. Anyway, I saw enough that I'm hoping it improves as it goes.

uc pseudonym (post: 1198032) wrote:However, I have to say that I don't dislike Megatokyo because Rodney left or because of the art (I'm not really an art person, if you haven't noticed). I dislike it because I honestly don't like the nature of the story. Melodramatic wish-fulfillment, in my opinion. Unfortunately, it's free and online, so I keep reading...


I admit, there's a serious wish-fulfillment flavor to Gallagher's alter-ego's life, but I love the side stories he's woven into it. The interplay between the two realites (what I call the Piro-verse and the Largo-verse when talking about the story with my sons), the storylines for Miho and for the Sonada family. And even if it's wish-fulfillment, the Piro story does have the same underdog-and-pretty-girl appeal as "Densha Otoko" (a J-drama you may have heard about. Someone told me recently it has been done as a manga, too.)

Anyway, every story isn't for every reader. Frankly, I've probably become more used to melodrama than most, being married to a Filipina (you'd have to watch some Filipino TV and Movies to understand that comment) and I always have been a sucker for a good love story. So there you have it.
May the Lord bless you and keep you.
May He cause His face to shine upon you.
May He lift up His countenance and grant you peace.

Maokun: Ninjas or Pirates? (Vikings are not a valid answer, sorry)

EricTheFred: Vikings are always a valid answer.

Feel free to visit My Writing.com Portfolio

Largo: "Well Ed, good to see ya. Guess I gotta beat the crap out of you now."

Jamie Hyneman: "It's just another lovely day at the bomb range. Birds are singing, rabbits are hopping about, and soon there's going to be a big explosion."
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