Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Just wanted to share that I recently was invited to take part in a roundtable series of essays on The Comics Journal's column, The Hooded Utilitarian, which is an outpost for comics critic Noah Berlatsky (and a slew of guest contributors) to talk seriously about comics.

The roundtable was called "Komikusu: Selling Awesome Manga" and was focused around "indie manga"-- what it is, the challenges of finding a readership, and how to get more people turned onto the quirkier and underground titles out there.

Other folks included were:
My contribution, "Indie is as indie does" meanders a lot and doesn't quite make its points very clearly, but I tried to tackle the history of manga released in the states and how it has been positioned via genre/publisher. And also the idea that a title being referred to as "indie" in the States often has little to do with how it was originally published/received in Japan. Or something? Give it a read and tell me what you think!

I encourage you guys to check out the entire roundtable when you have some free time!


How are you? said...

I agree on this point:
Dragon Ball, Naruto: Ok that is mainstream
Osamu Tezuka: Wow that's so underground! Let's sell this only in adult section!

Yukiko Forever! said...

What comic is that second picture from? I'm interested in that.

Yukiko Forever! said...

Haha, never mind, I went to read your actual contribution and it was sited there . . .

Also, I actually (by the skin of my teeth) made it on that school Japan trip that I mentioned here a while back, I'm studying Japanese (for the first time) in a little Adventist (obscure Christian religion that my parents belong to) College in Otaki but we planning to spend the final week in Tokyo. I know there are a bunch of people here who can recommend their favorite comic stores in Tokyo and though I don't know how much freedom I'll have in Tokyo or how well I'll be able to communicate with shop keepers by then I was wondering if someone would give me a tip.

Yukiko Forever! said...

it's funny what a small world it is for Japanophiles . . . I'm reading the link to that translation of Manga Zombie where in the Preface Lolicon is mentioned and in it the author explains the controversy after the Tsutomu Miyazaki killings . . . my favorite band (who sadly seems to be more or less on hiatus and in the midst of a stylistic change) is named for a pseudonym of that same serial killer (Yuko Imada) . . . small small world, Manga Zombie is great so far btw, this is the first I've heard of gekiga and I also found a gem in the mention of L'Incal, as a fairly new Jodorowsky fan (saw El Topo this year) and having just read through all of the Tekkonkinkurito manga (or whatever the actual name was) and read Matsumoto's tip of the hat to Moebius that is a really interesting find . . . :D, always a pleasure to find these things Ryan . . . also I may buy Taumerei in Japanese just to practice Kana and Kanji, haha

Root said...

I enjoyed the roundtable immensely. It was a fantastic read to hear everyone's take on the situation not to mention it made me reflect on how much manga has exploded in the US over the last ten years or so.

Hopefully the AX book does well (there's already been an insane amount of buzz over how good it is...) and maybe TopShelf will turn it into a Kramers Ergot-esque type of thing (by which I mean a huge anthology that comes out like once a year or so...)

jimpac said...

@yukiko - Go to Nakano Broadway if you can. It's awesome. Check the Same Hat post from last year(?) for more info.

Ryan S said...

Here it is: sorry for the slow reply! (and Jim, thanks for looking out for other Same Hatters :B)


Yukiko Forever! said...

AWESOME! Thanks for the tips Jim. A friend who has been said the same things about Nakano. I'm definitely going to do my best to drop by there. I also read the two entries from Samehat so thanks Ryan! How expensive are those old issues of Garo? I've been interested in it ever since I started being a regular here and seeing its name pop up so often but I really know nothing about it save for what I've heard here and what wikipedia could tell me (haha). Assuming they still have any of them, (I'm not sure how realistic that sounds, like I said I know nothing Garo) is there any specific issues people can recommend?

Yukiko Forever! said...

Luckily, the actual itinerary of the trip guarantees that I'll be in Akihabara so I can at least stop by the Mandrake there. I'd like to make it to both Taco che and Nakano though. :D

I'll let everyone know what I find if I can make it. I guess I technically have around $700 available to me to spend on this trip so hopefully I find at least a couple things. ;D

Ryan S said...

@Yukiko: Have a great trip, dude! Any Mandarake will make you pretty happy, though I still say that Nakano is the best shopping in Tokyo for weirdo fans like us.

Old issues of GARO (and Com, AX, etc) are actually not that expensive at all. I think I've mentioned in posts about the exhibit in New York, but you can easily get a lot of issues for $4 to 8 bucks. Some of the older/rarer issues are more, but they aren't really "collectors" items in that sense.

Go to the Mandarake Maniacs shop on the 4th floor of Broadway, they have almost the entire run of GARO there in stock :)

If I was there and had some cash to spend, I'd pick up a few goodies/oldies, but also just check out new comics on the Featured table in Taco Che... it's a great way to get a sense of the contemporary "indie" manga scene!