Monday, August 16, 2004

Good lord, it's been a while, hasn't it? Too many projects... working on a few strips for a couple different publications, and also two web design commissions. A good friend of mine is starting a small zine called "Ataxia" which I've also been doing some design work for.

I've also taken my first dip into hell retail, as a bookseller at Barnes & Noble. The job's not awful, I just have the sort of brain that's thinking of all the other stuff I could be getting accomplished during the time I'm there. But it's work, you gotta do it.

While working there, something that was clear to me before has become even more so... how totally and utterly Japanese comics and animation are overwhelming all American offerings. For every one "Ultimate Spider-Man" trade paperback I see sold, five pieces of manga are sold.

I've boiled down the reasons for this:
  1. Anime and manga are closely tied in with video games, which is currently a larger industry than movies in America.
  2. Manga does not continue for 40 or 50 years (usually). Once the story is complete, it's DONE. Continuity is scary to new readers.
  3. There are many, many, MANY different genres for readers to choose from. This is true of American comics as well, but only in hidden venues... there's a manga for everyone out there, and on most bookstore shelves there will only be superheroes from US creators.
  4. At an average 9 or 10 bucks for some 200 pages of story (or 400 for $5 if you like Shonen Jump), kids are just able to afford the stuff better.

I could go into the minute storytelling techniques I admire the Japanese for, but I honestly don't believe the average manga reader is even conscious of these... if you're curious, pick up "Manga Manga! The World of Japanese Comics" by Frederik Schodt.

When manga and anime first became popular in the US, I was really looking forward to it. The Japanese were far better at producing intelligent dramatic material for an older audience. But it seems like the only stuff that becomes completely out-of-control popular is the shit. It's either Pokemon (awful), Yu-Gi-Oh! (putrid), or Dragonball Z, which I hate for completely bastardizing Akira Toriyama's original manga (which, for those who don't know, is MUCH better paced).

Cowboy Bebop is the only show I've been completely impressed with in comparison to US material, and at only 26 episodes, it just doesn't make up for the rest of it.

Now, television American cartoons have been stinking to high heaven on the whole for quite a while, so the Japanese cartoons would be forgivable if they weren't making our cartoons stink worse. I'm sorry, fangirls... but X-Men: Evolution and Teen Titans suck really, really badly. They are absolutely awful cartoons. I'd rather watch one of the old 70's Spider toons than either of those series... which is sad, since the old Spidey toons suck as well. X-Men: Evolution takes the brilliant concept of this isolated group that helps people who would just as soon have them all killed, essentially acting as a huge metaphor for racism... and made all the mutants into the popular crowd you hated in high school. NEWS FLASH: Nightcrawler isn't a heartthrob. He's a traumatized Christian sideshow freak. All I can say about Teen Titans is that it feels like it should have been released as a special VHS to aid homes for retarded people.

Am I being naive thinking that general audiences cartoons can still be good? They don't have to be kid's cartoons, just... general. Does that make any sense? Any animation that I've been impressed with lately seem to have crossed some "line" and been chased out existence. Ren & Stimpy can't exist in today's animation world unless it's got the TVMA rating and is on at 10:00 at night. What happened?

Blah. I have no way to wrap this post up, so I'm done...


   - posted by Tyler Sticka @

Testing! Woo woo woo!

uhh... I disagree with everything you say.

# posted by Blogger Tyler : October 16, 2004 at 8:14 PM

And again! Bwa-ha-ha!

# posted by Blogger Tyler : October 16, 2004 at 8:16 PM

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