Vice in Paradise: OEL Edition

Topic started by gia on Feb. 24, 2009. Last post by HeeroYuy 6 years, 1 month ago.
Post by gia (3,032 posts) See mini bio Level 13
A lot of OEL has popped up in the news lately. Here's a little talk about what OEL is, and a few titles to get you started, if you're interested in checking out (but are unsure of what's good and what's a heinous attempt to cash in on the manga trend).


So the question is: how do you define "manga"?
Post by gia (3,032 posts) See mini bio Level 13
I tend to come at manga from a who-is-it-for perspective; in my mind anything marketed at manga readers is manga-related enough for me to at least post about...but that's a kind of different viewpoint for it, I think. Basically, if they're trying to sell it to you readers, I want to make sure I've offered up the information on it.

But that's sort of a circular definition (can't use the word 'manga' in the definition of 'manga'!), so it's maybe not a very good definition, eh?
Post by rocketbomber (226 posts) See mini bio Level 9
1. Manga is a Japanese word that means "comics".  End of story.

The rest... is marketing.

In bringing Japanese comics to a US market, Manga-as-a-term has been appropriated, abrogated, monetized, promoted, elevated, and augmented to the point where hell, I don't know what is and isn't manga anymore.  The way some people (including people involved in licensing and publishing) use the term, Manga is a Genre, or a Format, or a Revolution -- it's the New Generation, it's the Next Big Thing, it's the salvation of a moribund comic industry -- it's a combination of New Coke and Pepsi Clear and not only is it the best thing you can buy for less than $10, it cures cancer, acne, piles, scurvy, shingles, and may even take your virginity away.

Manga is Whatever You Want It To Be, so long as what you want includes big eyes, panty shots, and overwrought melodramatic plots that will never be resolved becasue the company decided to cancel the original-comics initiative due to less-than-projected sales, a dearth of courage, and lack of executive direction that turns bad business decisions into bad editorial mis-steps.  (I say less than projected because, hell, some of these must have made *some* money, and more money than Princess Ai at that for gods' sake.)

Yes, that's a knock on Tokyopop.  

2. Manga is another word for comics.  Some extra weight can be applied because it is a Japanese word and is best applied to comics of Japanese origin, but past that we're all just making stuff up.

'Manga' is not a genre, anymore than 'TV', 'cinema', or 'theatre' are genres.

Manga is not a format.  We could publish individual chapters of Naruto in 8x11, 32pg pamplets for 3 dollars each and it would still be manga (and successful) even though for all the rest of the world it'd look like a Spiderman comic.

Things like Hollow Fields, Dramacon, Steady Beat, Dany & Dany, Manhwa, Manhua, Scott Pilgrim, and even the Powerpuff Girls can *all* be called manga, in as much as they are all comics.

So there.

That said:  my personal preferrence isn't the term Global or OEL for these manga, but rather:  GNOMiE -- global, nominally original, manga in English.  or maybe GolEM -- Global (original language, English) Manga.  But then we can all have fun coming up with acronyms.
Post by Kirielson (34 posts) See mini bio Level 1
I think that Manga is Japanese comics like anime is Japanese animation.  I call Korean comics Manwah, and American comics comics and American animation cartoons.  I personally like any animation in general as long as it can entertain.  I've just been lazy about the comic industry becasue I find it hard to jump into it since I'm not surrounded by people into comics.  As for American animation, the only good new kids comedy worth carying about is Phenias and Ferb (Disney Channel).

Sidenote: Are you going to come out with your own podcast or still be on Japantors, and I'd love to jump in on one of podcasts sometime.
Post by gia (3,032 posts) See mini bio Level 13
rocketbomber: excellent points all, but I fear GNOMiE and GolEM are a bit too lengthy and complicated to pick up much steam. ;)

Kirielson: technically, 'anime' is just short for 'animation' in Japan. They use it for both American and Japanese animation, and they use it for CG, claymation, dollmation, any kind of animation there is. Kind of similar ot manga in that sense :)

We're still working out details on podcasting, but never fear, it's on the to-do list. ^_^
Post by rocketbomber (226 posts) See mini bio Level 9
Oh, I attempted to introduce both Golems and Gnomies into the lexicon 22 months ago (if anyone read that blog post) and it went absolutely nowhere.  I still cling to the idea because I feel "nominally" should always, *Always* be attached to "original" when we are talking about 'O'EL.
Post by rocketbomber (226 posts) See mini bio Level 9
The original was written for (now defunct) but it still lives on my harddrive, and while intended as a commentary on the online sales rankings for that week there were many, many asides -- including the chunk that I'm sharing here:


OEL is fine and all, but why not ELM, then? “English Language Manga.” Too simple, perhaps.

  • English Manga would be even better, but that might be construed as exclusively the manga output of that specific UK constituent country so we have to have the word ‘language’ in there.
  • Amerimanga just sucks. Don’t go there.
  • Most descriptive: ELCiMS. English Language Comics in Manga Style. (Pronounced ‘el-SEEMS’ in a vaguely foreign accent. Obviously. …what? no?)
  • I’ve been leaning toward GOLEM. Not that the acronym is better–Global (original language: english) Manga–it’s just cooler. Golems.
  • One could also take exception to the ‘O’ in OEL; how about GNOMiE: Global, nominally original, Manga in English. After all, what’s really original about 98% of all manga — foreign *or* domestic?
  • “Eigo Manga” might be an apt term, except of course someone else thought of that, registered the domain name and started a limited liability company (what do you need for that, a pulse, some paperwork and a paralegal?) (for the domain name all you need is a credit card)
  • Hell, how about コミック — if we’re going to use the english transliteration of 漫画(まんが) to describe manga sold in the US, why not use the katakana for “comics” (pronounced komikku, I think) to describe American comics trying to be manga? Or is this too freakin’ geeky?

I like geeky. I can cut and paste コミック all day, too, I don’t even need to remember the kana for it. Of course, if your browser isn’t set up for Japanese characters then all you’re seeing is □□□□ or a string of question marks and other angry characters, but hey- if you can’t set up Firefox for the proper unicode stuff then I feel no pity. (and even less if you’re still using IE) I guess it comes down to GOLEMs vs GNOMiEs vs ELCiMS. Or, manga. Even better is just comics. For the whole world-wide lot of it: Russian original script in the Filipino Komik style done by a work-for-hire Indonesian freelance company for a Franco-Belgian bande dessinée publisher (printed in Quebec) intended for the...

Hm. What kind of market would buy that? Well, I might, if only for novelty’s sake. Translate it into Latin or Attic Greek just for kicks and get that Comic out to me, thanks.

Post by OkazukiIchigo (350 posts) See mini bio Level 11
I don't know about you but I think those mangas that Blizzard Entertainment released are quite good
Post by MoonStorm (360 posts) See mini bio Level 9
To me a comic is a manga is a manwa is a graphic novel exe. Why try to act as if one is better than another there all storys told with to some extent with pictures.

The only OEL I can't think of that I'm reading right now is 'Maximum Ride' and I love it. A good comic to read is 'The Walking Dead'. Fav manga 'Battle Angle Alita'. I love them all.
Post by transgojobot (122 posts) See mini bio Level 2
But can Manga pat its head and rub its tummy at the same time?
Post by gia (3,032 posts) See mini bio Level 13
OkazukiIchigo: You mean the World of Warcraft ones? Actually TOKYOPOP released those as part of a deal with Blizzard; I haven't read them though :)
Post by Niko (865 posts) See mini bio Level 8
Why are you shooting at us?!

I tend to think of manga as Japanese comics that are done in the traditional manga style by Japanese creators. OEL manga is the adaptation of that style by non-Japanese creators.

I don't get uptight about anyone using the term in a way that differs from mine though. They're all sequential art with little word bubbles.
Post by HeeroYuy (1,210 posts) See mini bio Level 12
To me, manga is like those words that have two definitions that aren't necessarily mutually exclusive but still two different things. If you use the term manga around me, I'm going to interpret it as either A) the format of graphic novel that tankoban generally are, or B) graphic novels any weird shape or size that are from Japan. Take your pick, I don't give a flying hoot, just be sure to specify though which you mean if it's ever a situation where it's not obvious. There's a lot better stuff out there to argue about since at least in this case most of us tend to have the same general idea of what we think it is.

@rocketbomber: Calling manga a format DOES at least make some sense. I don't care what shape you put it in, Naruto as a four panel strip comic is a friggin four panel strip comic. It's not manga anymore. Would you consider Rex Morgan M.D. a manga even though it has continuity between strips? hell no!
Also, although I do, I'm going to assume most of us don't care to have to press shift tab every time we want to type コミック assuming they even have the Japanese language pack installed...

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