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Here comes another LONG podcast =D
(SEE EPISODE TIME STAMPS BELOW)
Continuing where we left off from our last episode we get things poppin by addressing some requested feedback on HOT TOPICS such as
Next we follow by answering some of your listener questions….
THEN Kimono Joe goes to war with a EPICALLY MASSIVE and thorough comic book recommendation list section…which I must inform is about an hour long alone BUT is certainly well worth your time if you want some cool comic recommendations :oP
KIMONO JOE’S EPIC COMIC LIST (HYPERLINKED)
Marvel - Current
Young Avengers-old-Heinberg & Cheung The Incredible Hercules-Pak, Van Lente, & Pham Runaways-Vaughan & Alphona Immortal Iron Fist-Brubaker, Fraction, Aja Captain America-Brubaker & Epting X-Factor-David & Sook Thor: the Mighty Avenger-Langridge & Samnee Annihilation-Various Ultimate Spider-Man Bendis & Bagley
*DC - Current
All-Star Superman - Morrison & Quitely Superman: Secret Identity- Busiek & Immonem Hitman-Ennis & McCrea Secret Six Simone & Scott Justice League International-Giffen, Dematties, MaGuire Batman: The Black Mirror-Snyder, Jock, Frankavillia Power Girl-Gray, Palmiotte, Conner New Frontier- Cook Astorcity-Busiek & Anderson Valiant (2012 relaunch) Batwoman-Ruka & Williams
Swamp Thing- Alan Moore & Totleben Sandman-Gaimen & Keith American Vampire-Synder & Albuquerque Lock and Key-Hill & Rodriguez Witchdoctor-Seifert & Kenter Preacher-Ennis & Dillon I Kill Giants-Kelly & Niimura The Sixth Gun-Bunn & Hurrt Beast of Burden- Dorkin & Thompson Bone-Smith Orc Stain-Stokoe
Drama / Other
Y: The Last man - Vaughan & Guerra Sweet Tooth - Lemire Northlanders Wood & Gianfelice Daytripper Ba & Moon Too Cool to be Forgotten. Robinson Blankets Thompson Tale of Sand-Henson, Juhl, and Perez Infinite Kung Fu-McLeod
Once again, what seems like a small line up takes over 2 HOURS so strap yourselves in for some good ol’ convosation’ w
EPISODE TIME STAMPS
HOT TOPICS: START: - 00:55:14
LISTENER EMAILS: 00:55:15 - 01:19:00
JOE’S COMIC SECTION: 01:19:00 - 02:17:18
THE WRAP UP: 02:17:19 - 02:29:06
PODCAST ANNOUNCEMENT: 02:29:07 – THE END
Lastly here are some links to the many other things we may have mentioned along the way from these podcast’s…..WHICH YOU SHOULD DEFINITELY CHECK OUT!!!!!!
Masturbation Master Kurosawa (Not Hentai, good story) - (FREE DOUJIN)
Other Comic Documentaries to check out*
The Mindscape of Alan Moore by DeZ Vylenz
In Search of Steve Ditko by Jonathan Ross
The Cartoonist: Jeff Smith Bone and the Changing Face of Comics by Ken Mills
Grant Morrison: Talking With Gods by Patrick Meaney
Adventures Into Digital Comics by Sébastien Dumesnil
Stripped: The Comics Documentary by Fred Schroeder
and lastly Spill.com's Epic Comic Book Podcast that ran for over 5 years: THE LEOG
As always, thanks for listening Folks =D
I haven’t thought about concept in relation to manga for quite a while now, It has been years since I first thought of manga, looked at a couple of books and wondering aloud what the hell the authors expected me to do with a series of black and white images.
As a manga novice I admit to being one of those people that was completely turned away from manga at the idea of a colorless illustrated story. It simply didn’t make sense to me, and it wasn’t until my anime craze kicked in that I finally decided to check out its close cousin, mostly because I wanted to see if naruto was as awesome on paper as it was on screen (those were the days when I would spend sleepless nights watching volume after volume of naruto part 1)
I only recently considered the notion that if I as an anime fan, encountered a serious struggle with the notion of black and white comics, then chances are this is an even bigger problem for comic obsessed fans trying to get into the anime and manga craze.
More than that though, besides the crazy eyes, big hair and ridiculous muscles, the biggest difference that separates western comics and manga is color.
We know that a comic is a comic because when we open a page, our eyes can more easily leap from panel to panel, instantly absorbing information without the strain of having to focus in on specific scenes and analyzing and reanalyzing them just to get a basic idea of what is going on.
There is no denying that color makes a big difference between these two and that if manga could only deal with the coloring part of production, we would see an instant world wide manga craze, and here is why.
BAD:> The fact is the lack of color in manga is a big disadvantage, most none manga fans will most likely never pick a manga volume off the shelf because they just can’t understand the concept of a black and white comic
And why should they? Because in a way, it just doesn’t make sense. Comics provide a fully realized world, and that doesn’t mean that manga doesn’t, but we simply cannot see it. it all comes down to the imagination, and those little descriptions in the margins describing the color of hair, auras and magical blasts involved in any scene.
I recently wrote a review of the Gamaran manga. Afterwards,I ran off to Google to find some images to use, and you won’t believe my shock at the number of colored Gamaran pictures that I found online. The shock wasn't the number as I just insinuated, but the fact that Gama’s samurai outfit was blue and Zenmaru’s was yellow.
It caught me off guard that everything from hair to weapons was nothing like I had pictured it. And it makes a difference when you see the color, because suddenly you can finally understand the mangaka’s mind and what he meant to illustrate.
Who would have known that ichigo’s bankai mode produced a reddish aura with a black edge within his reitsu, because if you have watched bleach, then you will know that all of those little details make a different to the aesthetics that make bleach such a visually amazing series.
Manga is all about the excesses, colored hair, red eyes, glowing skin, all those little quirks that manga heroes and characters possess to better set them apart from your average comic character. But how the hell does that translate in a black and white manga?
I see this every time I come across the rare first or last colored page of new manga that I begin to read; they elaborate on the specific traits of characters, color wise, and I am always shocked that everything I imagined in the last thirty something chapters was nonsense; sometimes the reveal is positive and other times it can be negative.
My point is, manga loses a lot of its defining and shining traits in the colorless world it treads in, and leaves too much of the world designing to the reader, and since we are all influenced by what we have already seen and read, it is easy for the mangaka’s unique idea to get lost in our muddled and ambiguous preformed ideas.
I cannot stress how much manga is losing out with the color thing. We are talking about Asian industries that could contend with giants like marvel and DC for the minds of the western and African world; because most of us have grown up with comics and the idea of a colored book, and if manga made the jump, all those resistant minds wouldn’t pause to explore a whole new world of ideas, trends and concepts beyond anything they may have read in any comic or imagined in their craziest dreams.
THE REASON:> While I hated the black and white concept for the longest time, before finally finding my footing within the manga world, I have come to understand the necessity of uncolored comic books. It will explain it in two reasons.
1. Finances---The manga and comic industry markets are somewhat interesting. At first glance, it doesn’t seem possible to compare them; the comic industry has a massive fan base with several ongoing titles, along with a myriad of animation and movie deals; while manga industry is only beginning to distend beyond the shores of Asia.
But it might be a surprise to realize that, on the whole, these two are moving in different directions; while the manga trade is slowly rising, with expanding target markets in all parts of the world (America mostly, which has of recent discovered a veracious taste for all things Asian and animated), the comic industry is all but grinding to a halt, and while that doesn’t seem nearly as bad as actual falling numbers, it does matter in the grand scheme of things.
Alan Moore, famous comic writer and the author of watchmen spoke, in a recent BBC interview (as well as other articles), of how the comic book industry had all but shriveled up around the world, except for the Comic book industry USA; and even within those borders, Moore complained about how the centralized domination of Marvel and DC titles were leading to a massive decline in the industry in America.
Basically because other books were not allowed to grow, with the kind of publicity and prioritization given to Marvel/DC books, it was stifling the rise of new fresh talent and ideas exogenous to the Marvel/DC world, ideas and concept that could revolutionize the comic industry, and allow a new generation of writers and artists to carry the industry to the coming generations. He basically believed that Marvel/DC’s domination had stagnated the growth of comic book concepts to the ways and workings of the past generation; and while that could be chocked up to other companies’ inability to compete, the domination of these two so drastically affected the sales of other less publicized titles, that new unknown titles would eventually get cancelled before they had a chance to show what they could do.
And other than stifling talent, Moore saw this as the major reason numbers had been falling so drastically; the drop in numbers here obviously refers to a general outlook on comic book sales across a period of 10-20 years. IN other words, yes the revitalization the Marvel/DC universes has brought sales up, but it isn’t really comparable to the figures of earlier times. Not that many are reading comics as they used to, which is why these two universes are starting over,to bring in new readers like me who WILL NOT go back to read issue one of anything.
This is in contrast to manga. The manga industry has been around ages longer than the comic book industry, stretching back to the 1800s where images were drawn on canvas. But the concept had always been a predominantly Asian one, with stories and ideas developed solely for the Asian audience.
AS of recent however, manga (and anime) has began to find a serious audience in parts of Europe and Africa. Sure, some will speak of the anime explosion during the Robotech, gundam, Astro boy eras, but most of that hype was limited to America
Not to say that America is exempt from the current manga explosion. The reason the argument of One piece being the best manga in the world doesn’t work is because One piece is primarily massive in japan. Yes it sold more than a million copies in one month, in Japan. More than accepting it grudgingly, large parts of foreign audiences have shunned it, though recent marketing strategies might change that (such as its arrival to the new toonami schedule along with Naruto…showing sometime after midnight, the idiots).
Naruto is big world wide, and it has been foreign markets that have allowed it to evolve into such an enormously popular franchise. And my point is, foreign markets now play a major role in the future of manga.
But I am getting lost here; my point here is one of the reasons manga is so profitable an industry is because it is in black and white. Basically it is cheap. How many skilled staff do you think is required to produce an average comic book, and that doesn’t even include the studios involved in the actual work.
it is a lot of expensive work. when a manga is dropped due to ratings, it is usually because it is competing with another manga that the company believes would attract more readers to the magazine.
A such, Asian companies are looking at how much more money they can make. With comics, they look at how much money is being lost on producing and printing multiple copies of a comic that simply isn’t selling.
I really hope you understand how cheap it is to create a manga. Because they are dealing with illustrations of pen and pencil, most manga volumes will be printed on the cheapest possible paper you kind find. Same thing goes for an average 300 page weekly shonen jump; sure it is a lot of material, but at $6 dollars a copy, you should know that it didn’t take them much to print those 300 pages.
Comparing costs incurred to sales, it is easy to see how much money can be made with a successful manga. At the very least, even if a manga series tanks, you are not losing as much money for the 1000 copies printed, as opposed to a comic book that prints 1000 comics that don’t sale. I am not saying it is little money, but compared to the costs of creating a comic, the ink, coloring, quality of material, basically it is a lot of money.
2.Feasibility---The reason I always regret getting into series like Claymore and Breaker is that they are monthly, and I have to wait ages to find out what happens next in the plot. I don’t like that, and comics are like that, and sometimes a month might be too generous.
But most successful manga are weekly, and really, how feasible is it that you would expect a mangaka to draw and color 20-35 pages of content in a week. These guys have deadlines to meet, so if one has had the opportunity to have their manga serialized, each chapter will be one of 15 or so released in a weekly manga magazine.
So if it takes 8 hours or so to draw a page, you are looking at over 130 hours spent each week, designing and illustrating a manga chapter. That excludes the coloring, and as such, it is illogical to include the coloring; even with assistants, it isn’t possible for mangaka to color their work on a weekly basis.
That kind of time would take them into monthly releases, and even then, some monthly series like witch hunter have chapters in the 45-60 page mark; so even then it doesn’t seem feasible.
So basically, in order to continue receiving the kind of service and entertainment quality that manga has been providing to us for years now, it is necessary that manga retains its black and white format, if only we can keep getting weekly naruto, one piece and bleach.
Imagine you could get your naruto and one piece colored, but you would have to wait a whole month for each chapter. Would you really prefer that outcome? Because personally, if I want to see some color in my favorite manga, I can wait for the anime. After all, that is the point of anime, to show us the moving colored illustrations of usually static images.
But from what I have heard, it can be done personally. There is this guy called Zarasaki that inks and colors naruto chapters. But he is some ways behind current chapters, after all it is hard work. But I looks amazing. So go color a manga if you feel that strongly about it, though of course you won’t be selling it for a fee…I think I would be illegal but that is a guess.
THE GOOD:> The lack of color is a tradition when it comes to manga; you could even say that it is what separates manga from every other similar art form. And I can’t really say that it is that bad once you get used to it. As far as the good, I can only think of two
1. The first is as stated above. Because of black and white manga, we get to have our stories delivered on a weekly rather than monthly basis. The story remains fresh in our minds and we receive constant entertainment. I would take that over any colored manga.
2. STORY—as far as I am concerned, manga is and has always been about the stories. I have read this reason before on several occasions, that mangaka don’t have time to worry about little things like coloring because they would rather focus on telling a fresh, unique and mind blowing story. The fact is as long as the story is intriguing and amazing, I am more than willing to ignore everything else, so long as the art is at the very least okay
I don’t know if this is true, and I might be a little young as far as comics are concerned, but I have always found manga stories more intriguing. I would say that I don’t mind them sacrificing the art for the story, but I would add that in most good manga, so long as they can get there clear point across, it is an awesome story and intriguing characters that hook a reader rather than mind blowing art. The key is learning to get one’s point across in such a limited spectrum.
And admittedly, I have ran into comics that display page after page of beautifully drawn and amazing art, but with little to no story, like the author wanted to show off his art skills rather than focus on the story. Actually if I think about it, black and white comics force the reader to focus primarily in the story rather than the aesthetics.
Impressively drawn manga are fine, so long as the story takes precedence. It kind of reminds of the terrible anime released in 2011 (that I watched), with mostly brilliant graphics but crap stories.
3. TALENT--- I have always admired the work that mangaka do, especially the difficulties involved. Because as far as I am concerned, they have the tougher challenge.
Imagine that a comic artist and a manga artist are given a challenge. They have to draw a battle scene; two shinobi are tearing across a rocky land mass at incredible speeds, whilst unleashing terrible earth jutsus at each other.
All the comic artist has to worry about is making the scene look cool, However the manga artist has to think of how he will make the scene look cool, but more importantly that the scene looks understandable. Because with the limitations of back and white, an artist has to work extra hard to differentiate between different elements, and to represent a complete, wholesome picture,even without the use of coloring to make distinction.
A mangaka has to illustrate in a away that even without the blue you can tell that the sky is indeed the sky, and that the reader can distinguish between a rush of air and an energy blast, with one look.
It is no easy feat, and I have seen things go awry, when I read a manga and I can’t really differentiate the elements. And as such, I drop what could have been an amazing work, but the mangaka simply couldn’t put his vision to paper.
It takes some inventive art and imagination to create a clear cut image of an action on paper without color, and I admire the successful mangaka for it. Fact is, I appreciate a magaka’s talent so much more than a comic artist because of this reason.
It is a grueling task, especially when it is no longer a matter of simply drawing objects on paper. It becomes about creating the right tools to use on paper to make certain actions visible and for certain factors to be more easily distinguishable in scenes.
I have read comments from comic fans that speak of how a manga will make their eyes hurt after prolonged reading, because of the focus required to read and understand some manga. And when reading manga becomes a chore, you know it is time to stop and move on.
On this topic, I can’t really tell if the colorless thing is a plus or minus for manga. Certainly it wouldn’t make sense for comics to adopt this concept. From what I see, manga will always be black and white because it is an inherently Japanese thing. it is tradition and it works for them.
I would encourage all non manga readers averse to the black and white concept to give it a try; but I would actually understand that many of you aren’t really able to adapt to such an idea, black and white comics. For some people, this is a deal breaker, which is a shame.
These days we are seeing and hearing of more collaborations between comics and manga, especially Stan lee’s first foray into the world of the mangaka. I wonder if that is an appropriate title; since he created Ultimo, a manga, then technically and practically, Stan Less is now a mangaka.
Hm… interesting notion to consider. I would be interested to here you views on the matter.
So whenever I deal with comic related topics and there relation to manga and anime, I will consult Kenny. Kenny is my comic crazy expert. He knows everything there is to know about all things comic related. So in this case I thought I would consult him on this topic, especially since, while it has been his objective to pull me to the dark side of comics (which is why he is my source of all things comics, in terms of not only providing me with soft copies of the latest comics, but doing what he can to give the material context by catching me up on important details and history regarding the heroes in question) I have been doing my best to introduce him to the wonders of manga.
As such his perspective as a manga novice can be helpful in making comic/manga comparisons.
So I asked Kenny what he thought about manga, comics and the color issue:
Kenny:> Well, IMO(In My Opinion)...i believe color adds a sense of richness in terms of texture or visual 'feel' in comics in contrast 2 black and white which appears very abstract. However, this heavily depends on the artists, style or type of comic- for instance if the art style &/or comic is very cartoony(Tom & Jerry, Dennis the menace, Tin tin, Snoopy- types) then the color issue is indifferent; whether colored or not it doesn’t take anything away from d story. But with action heavy hyper-detailed type art common to superhero & superhero affiliated comics, color then compliments & accentuates such art to the benefit of the reader.
QN: Is black and white a plus or a minus for manga?
Kenny:> Uhm...from the different manga I have seen i think it comes down to shading, inking & detail which makes some manga stand out better than others visually & i do believe that manga would indeed benefit from color but that might perhaps take away the aura of speculative imagination manga provides its readers by not revealing everything visually whereby the reader can imagine the colors that suit his/her likes or preferences ...at least till the anime adaptation is released.
NOTE: Although color tends to bring a certain richness to art, the application of the right colors in the right places in the right shades &/or variations can either compliment the art if done very well(referring to the colorist here) or totally destroy the visual appeal.
QN: SO which do you prefer? If you could get a batman issue every week with no color, and a batman issue every month with color, which would you choose?
Kenny:> I settle 4 colored.
QN: But you are getting a monthly instead of a weekly issue. You choose to wait?
Kenny:> Different comics come out every week even though each is on a monthly basis so by picking up Batman once a month, it allows me to read other comics without being overwhelmed.
QN: Wait, I thought comics were monthly?
Kenny:> They are monthly but they don’t all come out on just 1 day a month....different publishers release different comics on different days.
QN: So you would wait for a month to get a comic, instead of weekly? madness
Kenny:> But EACH comic issue is released once a month...although there are some exceptions that are released bi-weekly(every 2 weeks). You are not getting it...DC releases at least 52 different comics monthly, Marvel at least 55 comics, then there are other publishers like Dark horse comics, Image comics, Top Cow comics, Boom comics, Archaia comics, etc....all releasing several individual & different monthly comics.
And they release different comics on different dates of the month; for instance sum comics are released monthly every first week of the month, others monthly every 2 weeks, etc.
QN:That makes sense if you read all 55 comics. But if you read only four for instance, then you might be waiting four weeks for an issue, and it isn't even that many pages.
Kenny:> Perhaps in that situation ...but the comics do not all come-out on the same week so you get to enjoy a different comic each week of the month for some one reading only 4 comics, unless of course that person is unfortunate to have all his comics released on the same date.
Which is Very rare. Anyway every comic book reader probably get at least 10 issues a month, & that’s just for starters.
How many different manga books do you read weekly?
ME:> If i am reading one piece, bleach and Naruto manga, then those are three chapters in one week, if i am reading 6 manga, then 6 chapters a week, and 24 chapters a month. Do you see the difference?
Kenny:> Yeah. How many issues does each chapter have?
ME:> 22-34 mostly
Kenny: Kool…that is the equivalent of two comic books
QN: SO is the black and white thing a barrier to you getting into manga?
Kenny:> In a way, yes but I'm kinda easing my way in2 it.....slowly.
QN: Are u saying if it was colored you would read manga?
Kenny:> It was certainly b a faster transition....anime already has me conquered
Ever since I became more intimately acquainted with manga and its workings, this subject about comics has irked me; especially with my recent foray into the world of comics. So I thought I would touch on it briefly, from my perspective as an ardent manga fan.
My earliest memories of comic books relate primarily to Xmen, as theirs were the titles that more frequently caught my eye. I was always fascinated to enter the comic book store and find so many differently titled books with the words ‘xmen’ written on them.
Basically I couldn’t figure out which was the real XMEN and which where the copy cats; because at that age I couldn’t see it any other way. There could only be one XMEN in one book and everything else was merely a cheap copy; so I always assumed the reason there were all these books with different authors and artists was because persons out their, probably located in some Asian country, were attempting to reproduce the success that was XMEN.
The variations differed, some with the phrase ‘uncanny’, others entirely renamed, such as ‘X-force’, but all primarily concerning the lives of mutants and their respective challenges.
AS I grew older, I began to notice that not only did the titles of XMEN books on the shelf change fairy regularly, but even the names of the authors would vary with time. Again this perplexed me, but made sense as I would traverse the pages and realize that the story that I had been reading in the last couple of months wasn’t the story that was continuing in the current book; and even more than that, there were as many missing characters from the old story as there were new characters.
Sufficing to say, I finally caught on, on the idea of how comics really operate, with regularly changing writers, artist and the directions. Funny enough, up to 2004, I was certain that not only had Stan Lee created spider man, but that he had been writing the comic for the several decades it has been in circulation.
Anyway, what I am saying is that while I have gained some understanding about the serialization of comics, I am still…disturbed by this one element…well actually there are quite a number of elements about comics that irritate me.
I watch anime, a lot of it in fact, and I will read manga on a regular basis (if I can find a good one), so when I am confronted by the ways of comics, I can’t help but cringe at the idea. Whose story is it, why change writers so often and how is the overall quality of the book affected?
These are all factors that I have a predetermined notion about; but before I delve into what I see as a critical failure in comics, I am going to first try and understand comics.
So as far as comics a concerned, I believe that they find themselves having to change artist and writers every so often primarily because of three negative factors.
ONE:> The length- I will save the bulk of this argument for another post, but comics are excessively long. We otaku have had Naruto, One Piece and Bleach for the better half of a decade; other manga like Jojo’s Bizarre adventure and Detective Conan might even be hitting the two decade mark; but none of those or for that matter any manga or manhwa work (that I can think of) is capable of standing up the decades upon decades of time that many of DC and Marvel’s most popular works have spent on the shelf.
Comics are general ridiculously long. Chances are many of DC and Marvel’s titles will be in print by the time I meet my demise. And since comics are infinite, it seems necessary to keep them fresh. Every new writer that signs onto a project is expected to breath some life into the title. Even with decades of life, fans have to be able to pick up a title of XMEN and find something new to read.
More than that, new writers appeal to new fans. With each passing generation, the heroes and villains are evolved to match the challenges of the day. Captain America started off fighting Nazis (movie knowledge) but that was ages ago. A new writer is expected to bring such an iconic character to 2013 and it’s unique set of challenges, be it Al-Qaida or global warming.
AS such Comics, in their infinite nature, have created for themselves an obstacle that they must overcome to stay relevant with the new crowd. Sometimes even the creators of characters can fail to adapt with the times, especially when unable to distance themselves from the original purpose behind the creation of their characters.
TWO:> Here we have ratings. SO comics mostly work like TV. You make a comic, publish it and people read it. If too few people take the time to read the title, it is either taken off the shelf or changes are made. From what I have seen, editors can choose to redefine the concept, such as making drastic changes to characters, titles and genres. So you have a book about batman fighting crime. But that isn’t working, so they can take batman to new Transylvania and have him fight vampires. That usually requires a whole new team of writers with a better grasp of the concept than the original.
It is unfortunate but true that comics are slaves to the ratings, as displayed by Kenny, a friend of mine that put up a petition for signatures on face book to force marvel into re-commissioning the hero Blue Marvel.
I would say that this sounds silly, but I will admit that a portion of manga titles are controlled by ratings, but unlike you average comics, I doubt that manga artists and writers would ever be asked to make changes to stories and characters merely to satisfy ratings. Most likely, if a manga fails, rather than tweak his story, a mangaka will be asked to go somewhere else to publish his work, and because of the way the manga market works, it is easier to move from one publishing company to another than it is for a comic to get dropped by one company and get picked up by another company.
More importantly the chances of a mangaka striking out on his own and creating and publishing an independent manga are higher in terms of success than they are for a comic book writer that gets dropped by DC and decides that they will self publish and market. I believe this to be a result of the tastes of otaku out their that are willing to diversify and try any new thing out there. Many comic book fans on the other hand are so dedicated to the books the love, mainly mainstream stuff like superman or spider man, that they wouldn’t give some unknown self published book the time of day. So I guess this goes to comic book fans and their fickle tastes VS manga fans and there search for new untapped talent in writing and art.
THREE:>So this point is probably the one that I find most irksome, mostly because it was the one that most confounded my early comic life back in school. So basically you have a hero playing different roles in multiple books. For instance, you have wolverine as a member if an elite mutant team in one book, the leader of a school of mutants in another book, a member of the avenger in one part of the country, a member of another avengers team in another part of the country….and so on.
It get’s confusing because basically I am left wondering whether everything I am reading is occurring in the same universe and around the exact time, and usually that isn’t the case.
So you have this one character taking part in adventures from all over the world, and what I have seen happening is that writers are moved from one book to another depending on their ability to write the story and their interests. So you can trace someone’s style of art through out the journey of a character in different dimensions of his life in different comics.
More interesting is when authors are working on more than one book at a time, or rather when they show an ability to write a book that they are not writing better than the book that they are writing…it gets confusing, at least for me, especially when I am reading news of transfers, like it’s a football game and we are exchanging players.
SO let’s forget why the comic world chooses to rely on multiple authors, be it artists or writers to create books and stick to why I hate it. Personally when I look at it from the stand point of an otaku, it seems to destroy the quality and standard of a comic.
This is what I love about manga and why I think they have mastered a superior art in comic creation, that even comic book authors and companies should emulate.
We have a mangaka that, most of the times, comes up with a concept, develops a story, creates characters, and begins to narrate the plot through his own art, conveying his own mind through these images and telling us a story from beginning to end.
The author knows what he wants to say and only he can tell the story from start to end, SO when I hear all this business about comic books and varying writers, this is what I think and imagine.
I see INCONSISTENT CHARACTERS. So we have an artist coming up and creating a unique character with unique abilities to play a specific role. Such a character will most likely mirror a part of the artist. So what happens when you introduce ten, twenty artist and writers throughout a period of 20 to 30 years?
Clearly there will be changes. Every writer will come to the table with a different view of the character that they will impose on the reader, and nothing can help that fact. Now, is that bad? No, there have been several reincarnations of these famous heroes that have been downright brilliant (I assume, I don’t know, basing on comments from a source), that have taken the character to new levels and heights, and have allowed the stories to evolve impressively.
But how many times have I read comments of how the batman of book x or superman of book Y was off, that even with a new ‘this’ and a new ‘that’, it simply wasn’t right. I hear this more and more from the rantings of my source of comics, mostly about how his beloved black panther has been ruined in this book or that book, be it a strange wedding or an uncharacteristic action.
The point is, no matter how great a character's changes are, someone out there turned to and began to follow that character because of a special something that they showed, be it attitude, speech, swagger; and even the most attractive changes for some will be an aversion to these people, because for all intent and purpose the character they began following isn’t the character they are reading.
It can’t be helped, but this is why the manga method of doing things is so attractive. Only Oda knows what the true nature of Luffy is, how he laughs, what he would say in a certain situation, and the path he will follow in his evolution. Even if you could bring in a second or third assistant ten years down the line when Oda is burnt out, who has known Oda during his work and knows the mindset he had in creating a character, what happens with a fourth and fifth replacement, mostly originating from outside Oda’s assistant pool?
You will have a Luffy that no One piece fan knows or understands. And that is just one of very many reasons that Manga is so awesome. But enough of that.
To my second point, I also envision INCONSISTENT STORIES. This is a worse element for a comic to befall than even the character bit; because while characters are important, some times a story is brilliant enough to carry the excess weight. But just like characters, every book or concept created by an author has a specific and distinct…element to it, a pathos that defines and rules it, and that distinctly mirrors a specific mindset, dependent on the author.
And like the characters, different writers have different ideas of how a story should progress; more than that, different writers have different takes on entire concepts.
IN other words, Frank Castle can still be Frank Castle ten years from now, except that he will be a space pirate killing evil aliens. Yes, the character is the same, but you took up the comic book to watch a normal man take on normal crime plaguing normal streets. Now a new writer has chosen to change the very reason you took up the book from an action genre to a sci-fi genre. That changes everything.
Every time a new writer takes on a new book, there is every chance that they will alter everything that endeared that character to you, never mind the fact that others might enjoy the changes.
Of course this is one of manga’s prominently driving elements, that even if you took a story spanning several hundred chapters over more than 20 years, you would still have a single consistent story continuing throughout this run. That is the beauty, that even with drastic changes, it is usually something that you saw coming in someway form or manner, especially if you have been following a title long enough. Even the most unexpected and drastic surprises and alterations will most likely be welcome.
There is no point touching on the whole multiple books for single characters bit; clearly I have already mentioned that it is confusing for me to read a book with superman doing one thing and then turn to another book with superman doing a whole other thing.
My problem with it of course is that the purpose behind it is money. So superman has proven to be popular in a given time period, so why not give him an extra two books; let’s throw him out their and into every face that comes into the store. I have always though that the point of writing a manga was to tell a story. If it was necessary to create two or even three titles of the same story, then fine, if it is to tell a specific story.
With that said, it is clear that I think comics could learn quite a lot from manga. Sure, stan lee couldn’t have written spider man for all these decades; but how about keeping up with the story for ten years, then passing on the mantle of the idea and mindset on to the next chosen writer for the book.
Sure, he could be old, too old to understand what the current generation wants, possibly even incapable of adapting to the needs and wants of the current readers; but that doesn’t rule him out of an advisory role, in which he could lead the new generation along the path he had originally wanted for spider man, but with alterations to speak to new minds.
The way I see comics work is that you create a character, write a couple of stories for him for about a year or two, then let the company take the rights and use the hero as they wish; heck it’s like every writer is free to do with a character as they wish.
If Kishimoto released Naruto to his publishers for a year, and returned to find the young hero with long spiky hair and wings, he would have a fit; more than that, he wouldn’t stand for it, because that isn’t the Naruto he created.
But maybe fans are fine with writers ruining their favorite concepts and characters.
Anyway, so I took the time to consider the opposite of this argument. I am mostly a manga and anime fan, and I am only starting to get into comics. My first adventure into the world of comics was ages ago, when I was around 10 or 11 years of age, and a year or so later, I lost interest.
SO it could be possible that I am behind the times, and the comics method of doing things is the future. I mean, maybe it is manga that has something to learn. I considered this question for a day or so (maybe a few hours…or minutes) and decided that minus the coloring, that wasn’t the case and here is why.
Manga works for me because it is finite. It has a beginning, middle and end. So first of all, you will not be having multiple books of the same title, and even if you did, it would play out in a totally different way from what comics normally portray.
If Oda suddenly announced the release of two more One piece books, what you will have is two new stories, contributing to the major story. In other words, two books will eventually fuse with the first book and disappear, because the only reason a mangaka would consider having multiple books is to help tell the same story better.
You definitely not see the straw hat crew off on other adventures in other books while the main book focused on the main story, not unless they somehow added to the story. Most mangaka would see it as a waste of time.
Secondly, with a finite book, what would be the purpose of multiple writers exactly. If the mangaka knows the story’s trajectory from start to end, newly conscripted writers wouldn’t as much be creating new material as they would script already determined stuff.
Besides, one could say that manga’s counterpart, anime has already proven how flawed the idea would be in the form of fillers. Because that is what they are; a predetermined concept, is handed to fresh hands to do what they will with it, and they will usually create the most atrocious staff.
Just look at Bleach. If Kubo had truly intended Bleach’s ran to end at Rukia’s rescue and Aizen’s departure, the bount arc would have been an official manga saga, written by Kubo’s successor. More than that, we would have had several more hundred chapters of it; and I still can’t remember the bount arc without thinking ‘Oh that was crap’.
Basically by looking at fillers I have determined that mangaka cannot operate using the comic book methodology of hiring different authors to carry on the story (Though I could be swayed with DBZ, Toriyama should have given up the reigns after dragon ball).
Lastly in considering how the application of western comic methods to manga would work is the length. Basically I am wondering whether, if a series like one piece were to last more than fifty years, it would require and benefit from changing writers. Well it is clear that even if the story had the ability to last that long, Oda wouldn’t. But even if he did give up the reigns, it doesn’t change the fact that he has a specific vision for his story and anyone taking over would have to follow a predetermined route to a predetermined result.
At the end of the day, it is a matter of adaptability. Is manga too stiff and unwilling to change. Are mangaka too attached to their characters? I don’t think so. It is more like comic developers are too money absorbed and easily willing to relinquish control. It might be the way of the world today, but I think it affects the quality. Plus maybe comics writers are a little greedy.
SO if I am a comic novice and I am only beginning to read comics, why should any of my opinions matter? I know some one is asking that question, and I took that into consideration, so I asked Kenny, my source of comics and crazy comic book fan, and anime novice, a few questions about what irks me about this topic.
Ignore any bad spelling or punctuation in the answers, I asked these questions and got replies via face book.So to save time I just copied and pasted.
ME: What is your take on this matter. Is changing writers in comics good or bad?
Kenny Muts: Well, it depends on the writers. where the new writer is better or worse than the previous one...there have been some comics that have been on the brink of cancellation only to be saved by a new writer with a fresh perspective on the lead characters & perhaps different writing style while in other cases the reverse is also true.
Also what should b taken into consideration is that the same can b said about the change of artists
ME: SO what if the same thing was applied to manga?
Kenny Muts: The thing with anime & manga is that most of them are independently created & personally attached to the creators(individual people...writers & artists) who prefer to handle the creativity, progression & illustrations of their own creations which is mostly different from comics(at least from Marvel & DC) were any character or book a writer or artist creates is owned by the company who can change artists & writers on those books & characters as they see fit.
ME: I still think that changing a writer messes with consistency and all that
Kenny Muts: Not really...especially if the new writer chooses to follow the writing style of the earlier writer & continues the pre-established storyline/plots especially if the earlier writer was doing a great job(astonishing reviews & acclaim from critics & readers/audience). Of course there are other writers who would prefer to do their own thing with new plotlines but bouncing off & relating to past stories while others just start fresh plots, fresh personalities without due regard to earlier work.
ME: Still sounds kind of…crazy to me
Kenny Muts: In my opinion, a change in artist is a lot more harsh than a change in writer.
ME: Does length play a role in making changes to authors, writer/artist?
Kenny Muts: Well...i dunno much about that in relation to anime but it kind of matters in comics especially if it is an ongoing comic because some writers’ contracts may come to an end or a writer is doing commendable work on the book or suddenly gets pre-occupied with something(illness, marriage, etc.) or simply requests to leave the book especially if the writer has wrangles with the editor of that book.
Added comment: Given what was said above...if regular changes in writers & artists where made in a manga or anime it may have an uneven &/or haphazard effect on the consumers(audience & readers) most particularly with the change in artists than writers because if the previous writer was doing a great job then the new writer might probably choose to imitate the writing style & continue the pre-established plots/storylines instead of just starting a brand new plot ignoring the previous writers work. Given the long standing tradition of a majority of anime where creators tend to stay with & closely develop their creations from beginning to end which to a certain extent maintains consistency.
But consistency doesn't equate gr8 work.
At least not always.
All I am hearing is get rid of big evil greedy comic book companies and everything will be fine. Or maybe it is the fans who do not appreciate there comics, the way manga fans appreciate their manga.
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