Saturday, October 25, 2003

Marvel Editor talks manga... 

As promised, here is the little mini-interview with C. B. Cebulski of Marvel from this month's NewType USA magazine. It is so short that hopefully people won't mind me putting it online:

1. Why do you feel the manga market is growing faster than the American comic market?

The growing manga market is garnering much of the attention these days, but the American comic book market is growing month after month as well. I think the manga growth lends itself to three factors: the direct to graphic novel format being embraced by the readers; increased distribution by the bookstores; low production and printing costs allowing for lower price points.

2. Is the booming manga market for real, or do you see it slowing down any time soon?

I think the manga market was flooded too quickly and has reached its saturation point. REaders and their wallets can't keep up. There's just too much manga, and unfortunately a lot of it is crap that was licensed and rushed out just to make a quick buck. This in turn will lead to more informed choices by the fans who are buying manga, and force publishers to better evaluate the manga they are licensing and publishing.

3. What is the most important advice you can give aspiring artists?

Work on your storytelling! No matter what style you draw in, you have to be able to convey motion and emotion through your art. The story has to flow from panel-to-panel and page-to-page. Let the pictures tell the story; do not rely on the dialogue and word balloons to do your job for you.

While I agree that price points, distribution, and format have all been important (especially in jump-starting things), he doesn't mention the variety of genres and topics which has roped in all kinds of readers. If manga was selling very well to 20-30 year-old males, it still might be news, but certainly not as big a deal as appealing to kids and females. Also, I'm not so sure that the market is already too saturated (there seems to be growth of readers), even though it obviously can still happen. As far as tons of crap, well there is certainly some stinkers out there, but IMO, there is actually a surprising number of quality titles. Lots of truly bad titles already got filtered out of the mix in Japan, so that makes sense.

Other NewType comic stuff: Also on the Bagged & Boarded page are small reviews of Ruse, Teen Titans, and Dork Volume 2: Circling the Drain. The reading list (with little blurbs) is JLA: Liberty and Justice, Marvel's 10th Anniversary HC, Conan the Legend One-Shot, Demo 1, and The Matrix Comics Volume 1.

On other pages were half-page reviews of Vision of Escaflowne 1 and Wild Act 1, full page on the RahXephon Bible, The Yakuza Movie Book, Full Metal Panic guide, Mardock Scramble (in Japan).

I just read the four-page street fighter thing, and it was ok (nice art), but there isn't a whole lot you can do in that short a space. Even the fight seemed way too short... I'd call this more of a little promo thing than an "exclusive comic"...

The Neil Gaiman stuff is 6 pages, but has a lot of pictures (nice pics though). Switches between him growing up, to Princess Mononoke, to some comic stuff. Nothing amazingly substantial, but still nice to see.

There's also a nice two-page interview with Monkey Punch (author of Lupin III), where he talks about wanting to make digital manga...

ADV had a full-page ad on their new manga line, Borders/Waldenbooks has a full-page manga ad, Suncoast had an ad on Japanese soda ('ll have to pick some up. They show strawberry and melon in the ad), along with one of the nicest looking ads I've seen in a magazine for the Kenshin box set.

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