The funny thing is that I’ve read lot of “comics theory” articles relating to manga, but not much of the actual stuff. I’ve read one of the EVANGELION manga volumes, some parts of the first volume of AKIRA and some of that DIAMOND GIRL one we got a while back. Actually, now that I think about it, when I was living in Singapore as a little boy, I remember reading some OLD MASTER Q collections while I’d wait for a haircut at the barbershops. Though, that was actually manhua. Have any of you heard of it? I don’t know how popular it is out Hong Kong and other Chinese nations.
Do I find anything strange about manga? I still think some publisher’s refusal to flip the pages so you can read them left-to-right is a little unreasonable. Sure, I know there are purists. Sure, maybe it costs more to the do the flipping. Sure, a lot of you have said you get used to it. But I just had the hardest time trying to reverse my way of processing information.
Aside from that, the kind of stuff I was put-off about when I was a teenager have been assuaged by what I hope is a broader perspective. There’s actually been a lot of cross-polination in the comics world, anyway. A lot of American creators have been consciously adopted “decompressed storytelling” to follow some examples from Manga.
My own theory, cobbled from Scott McCloud’s theory book UNDERSTANDING COMICS is that American comics lie between the two poles of manga and European comics. Manga’s super-decompressed, with a lot more space afforded to give the story breathing room, to focus on individual moments, et cetera. Euro comics are super-compressed, whether they're limited by space in anthologies like JUDGE DREDD in 2000AD or because of they've got bigger album pages for more panels like Jodorosky’s INCAL and METABARONS. Hence, the pacing is usually wonderfully fast. One is not better than other, just different.I might start reading manga for this some time. I'm pretty busy, as is, watching all this anime!
Anyway, keep the questions coming! Post them in the talkback and I will answer them.