Manga/Comics?

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Manga/Comics?

Postby Zohar » Tue Jul 01, 2008 4:53 pm UTC

OK, maybe I'm a bit picky about this issue, but it annoys me when people call western comics "manga". I mean, isn't manga any comic written in Japan, regardless of drawing style? Maybe I'm wrong here, what do you think?
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Re: Manga/Comics?

Postby Naurgul » Tue Jul 01, 2008 5:10 pm UTC

"Manga" literally means "whimsical pictures" which is as much fitting a term as "comics", only it's not English. If many people use it, the term sticks and it becomes standard. It's called cultural imperialism. I don't think this will occur any time soon with manga though (if at all). Anyway, English-speakers probably don't notice it much since they're culturally dominant in so many areas. On the other hand, I'm really used to not having real Greek words for many many terms, especially in technical areas that have seen radical development in recent years.
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Re: Manga/Comics?

Postby Endless Mike » Tue Jul 01, 2008 5:25 pm UTC

It's pretty fitting when you consider that there's a ton of upcoming artists who are heavily manga-influenced, some to the point that you'd have a hard time determining whether it's American or Japanese without a name attached.
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Re: Manga/Comics?

Postby Melannen » Tue Aug 05, 2008 5:04 am UTC

Endless Mike wrote:It's pretty fitting when you consider that there's a ton of upcoming artists who are heavily manga-influenced, some to the point that you'd have a hard time determining whether it's American or Japanese without a name attached.


And even then, the Japanese-Canadians or Japanese-Americans might write a Manga and then it'll be pretty much impossible to tell the difference between a true manga that's from Japan and one that's from North America without having a little "author bio" in there telling where the author is from :)... even with a pic!

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Re: Manga/Comics?

Postby EmptySet » Fri Aug 08, 2008 3:20 am UTC

I think most Westerners use the term "manga" to distinguish between comics drawn in the Japanese style from those drawn in Western style - it doesn't matter which country they actually originate from.
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Re: Manga/Comics?

Postby toshiro » Tue Aug 19, 2008 10:37 am UTC

Hmm. This is actually a pretty interesting topic, one I have come across quite often. In my opinion, the fact that you can (usually) associate specific styles of how picture stories are being created (I'd cite Scott McCloud, only I'm not word-perfect) to the coutnry of origin. Manga (i.e. stories told by pictures and text originating from Japan) differ to a significant extent from Manhwa (same thing from Korea), at least judging from the examples I've seen. And comics, even if drawn in manga style, originating from America or Europe, are, at least in my opinion, also different from the two examples beforehand. It's not just the drawing style, obviously, but also how stories are told, what kind of 'image language' is being used to convey which concept et cetera. cf. more Scott McCloud.

So, to have an easier and more unique method of distinction, I use manga/anime for such works of art originating from Japan, manhwa for those from Korea and comics for those from America or Europe. AniDB draws the same line of distinction (Avatar, for instance, is not considered to be anime). And in the end, I guess everyone has to decide on one terminology and use that, clarifying if necessary. As far as I know, there is no hard definition.
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Re: Manga/Comics?

Postby Endless Mike » Tue Aug 19, 2008 2:46 pm UTC

It's not like there's any single "manga" art style. The differences between, say, Akira and DragonBall are tremendous. The storytelling is pretty similar throughout, and is a good way to determine it.

Honestly, Euro comics are pretty distinct from American comics in storytelling, as well.
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Re: Manga/Comics?

Postby toshiro » Tue Aug 19, 2008 5:42 pm UTC

Yes, they are, it was not my intention to put European and Northern American (for there are Southern American comics too, and they are different from the north, to me experience) in the same category. But as for the artists' different styles, it is natural that they are different. In Europe, it is the same thing, as well as in America. However, there are distinct similarities in how stylistic elements are used. You can even put it down in numbers. I really recommend reading Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics, I think it has some great insight. Ultimately, the similarities are due to the artist's cultural environment. I would imagine that, say, a European citizen brought up in Japan and exposed (and receptive) to the popular culture there would, if s/he took up drawing manga, have little to none actual Western European influence.
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Re: Manga/Comics?

Postby Rinsaikeru » Sat Sep 13, 2008 4:10 pm UTC

Personally I refer to Japanese works as manga and manga-inspired non-japanese works as OEL (Original English Language). But I don't cringe or get upset when someone refers to manga as comics or comics as manga etc. In Japan any comic book would be manga, here it's used as a term to distinguish between traditional North American comics and Japanese comic books--as the boundary blurs it's harder to tell. It's just like calling anime cartoons and vice versa--some people get bent out of shape, but anime are cartoons.

There are lots of Korean comics out there too--called Manwa (that's my guess at the phonetics of it :D).

I figure, so long as people know I'm talking about a book with pictures and speech bubbles we're mostly on the same page.
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Re: Manga/Comics?

Postby Insomnist » Mon Dec 15, 2008 1:33 am UTC

I look for something entirely different from comics than manga, so if someone tells me they just read a great manga, I expect it to be from Japan. :| Even ignoring the illustrations, the culture that produced the series is entirely incomparable. Ignoring that difference is criminal IMO.
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Re: Manga/Comics?

Postby Jesse » Mon Dec 15, 2008 9:38 am UTC

But in that vein we shouldn't call both British and American comic books the same thing, because you do get such differing styles. I mean, if it reads left to right, is it no longer a manga? If it comes from China, is it no longer a manga (even though it has the manga style and conventions).

It's just yet another term that stores use because it's easier to sell manga as exotic and foreign, and that people who read them use because saying manga instead of comic makes them feel less kiddy about buying them.
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Re: Manga/Comics?

Postby Insomnist » Mon Dec 15, 2008 4:11 pm UTC

Still, Watchmen (U.S.) and V for Vendetta (U.K.) are comparable. If you didn't know they were from different continents, you probably wouldn't notice (although still learning the background behind how both stories came to be still adds dramatically to your understanding of the context). Now, compare Watchmen to Berserk, Sidooh, or Blame! and you'll see why I hesitate to plop them all into one big pot. :roll:

I don't mind how other people look at it though, it's just me (I'm extraordinarily picky about some things). Still, calling manga a comic to me is kind of like this: "Your country was in a civil war? Wow, which side were your folks on, the Union or the Confederates?" :P
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Re: Manga/Comics?

Postby Endless Mike » Mon Dec 15, 2008 8:48 pm UTC

Insomnist wrote:Still, Watchmen (U.S.) and V for Vendetta (U.K.) are comparable. If you didn't know they were from different continents, you probably wouldn't notice (although still learning the background behind how both stories came to be still adds dramatically to your understanding of the context). Now, compare Watchmen to Berserk, Sidooh, or Blame! and you'll see why I hesitate to plop them all into one big pot. :roll:

They're also written by the same (English) writer. It's not a good comparison. Better would be, say, a year's worth of 3000AD versus, um, X-Men or something (I can't think of *any* American anthologies published more than annually).
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Re: Manga/Comics?

Postby Jesse » Mon Dec 15, 2008 9:46 pm UTC

When I say British comics I don't mean comics written by English writers and published in America. I'm talking about anthology comics (Anything from 2000AD to The Beano). Whereas the American comics seem to have seperate issues dedicated to each concept, British tend to have an overarching comic, containing several different stories concerning different characters.

Compare Amazing Spider-Man to 200AD, and you'll see what I mean.
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Re: Manga/Comics?

Postby Insomnist » Tue Dec 16, 2008 6:23 pm UTC

I must admit I'm not very familiar with comics; only enough to say they're vastly different than manga in several respects. From what you've said, maybe we should have different words for American vs. British comics as well. :wink:
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Re: Manga/Comics?

Postby Jesse » Tue Dec 16, 2008 8:16 pm UTC

My point is that there's simply no need. Manga and comics are the same thing from different cultures, often they have different conventions, but in the end they're still comics/funnybooks and there's no need to obsess so much about it.
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Re: Manga/Comics?

Postby Endless Mike » Tue Dec 16, 2008 9:24 pm UTC

Yep.

Again, there's so many crossover influences, it's not worth the effort to differentiate. The Japanese "style" was originally attempting to copy/emulate post-WWII Disney works.
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Re: Manga/Comics?

Postby Insomnist » Tue Dec 16, 2008 10:26 pm UTC

I wouldn't relate current Japanese manga to heavily with Western influences. In the beginning, manga was heavily influenced by Western ideas, even back to 1905 with Rakuten Kitazawa. Osamu Tezuka (after WWII) was very aware of Walt Disney's work and respected him greatly, so it'd be easy to spot correlations especially during that era between Japanese and American works, both on paper and in animation, but saying that they're the same thing today - to me - would be ignoring over 50 years of culturally-influenced evolution on both continents within the medium.

This is very plain when you look at how it's unfolded. In the beginning, Japanese manga was influenced by Western comics. Today, Western comics are being influenced by Japanese manga. They've gone in directions which we have not - not surpassed us, but done different things with the medium.

In my experience, you can tell the difference between manga and comics immediately. If differences exist which are that remarkable, not making any differentiation between them wouldn't make any sense. Your argument would be like saying let's call all fruit apples, because in the end they're all just food. :roll:
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Re: Manga/Comics?

Postby Rinsaikeru » Tue Dec 16, 2008 11:33 pm UTC

And your argument is that we should make so many distinctions as to make it difficult for people to sort out what the heck they're looking for in a comic shop.

In reality they are all comics. You would expect a comic from a different country to represent the culture of that nation--such as the difference between American, British, and Japanese comics. Taking a loan word from a foreign language is certainly acceptable--but technically in Japan any comic (including foreign ones) would be called manga, so the term manga is used in a strange way in Europe and North America. It boils down to some sort of elitism--I'll use all these jargony terms when I really just mean Japanese comics. The term Manga is fine, getting mad at people who use another term is silly in my opinion.
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Re: Manga/Comics?

Postby Jesse » Wed Dec 17, 2008 12:00 am UTC

The problem here is that Insomnist is coming to here from a place where he has read a lot of 'manga' and is unfamiliar with the majority of western comics. So earlier, when he was telling us that there were clear differences between the two he forgot to mention that he couldn't actually know this, because he's unfamiliar with western comic books.

"In my experience, you can tell the difference between manga and comics immediately. If differences exist which are that remarkable, not making any differentiation between them wouldn't make any sense." -Insomnist

Part of this thread has been how you can't really tell them apart. If I wrote a comic that read from right to left, and was illustrated in a style that mached, say, Chobits. Is that a manga? Some people are saying yes because there's no differentiation, others are saying no because I'm not Japanese. My entire point is that making any differentiation between them doesn't make any sense, because the two systems are so interchangeable and borrow so heavily from one another that no one can agree on what the actual differences are.
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Re: Manga/Comics?

Postby Insomnist » Wed Dec 17, 2008 2:19 am UTC

All I can do is explain my point of view. :wink: It's true I haven't read many comics, but from what I have read (Sandman, Watchmen, Road to Perdition, etc.) I noticed remarkable differences compared to the manga I am familiar with (culturally for one, but also especially in the art; not just the style so much as in the attention to detail, which I suppose is part of the style). But different people categorize/evaluate things in different ways, so I guess it wouldn't be too surprising if people do treat the two indiscriminately.

I would like though if someone could list a comic that's a manga doppelganger, because I have yet to see one (which isn't particularly surprising given my reading list in comics, just looking for an example). Something else I'd be interested in though is, if you're drawing conclusions about this, what sort of manga have you read? It's possible that the kinds of manga we've read, respectively, could lead us both to different conclusions for a comparison.
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Re: Manga/Comics?

Postby Rinsaikeru » Wed Dec 17, 2008 7:14 am UTC

It isn't that I'm claiming that comics and manga are identical. Both have different styles and are influenced by the culture from which they originate. Here's the trouble:

Within the range of titles called manga there is overlap into western styles and vice versa. Where would the line be drawn? Why is one necessarily required? There is enough fluidity in both asian and north american/european styles that there will be overlap and they influence each other more every day.

I read both, I do use the term manga--but I don't object to or restrict myself from calling anything in my possession a comic.
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Re: Manga/Comics?

Postby Jesse » Wed Dec 17, 2008 10:27 am UTC

Look at Frank Miller's 'Dark Knight Returns'. Compare that with the artwork done by Alex Ross in 'Kingdom Come'. Both are American comics by the style of drawing is so completely disparate. It is to the point where I feel you can't categorise comics by art style because it varies so much from comic to comic and artist to artist. If we classify Japanese comics by their sharing of a single art style (Which has already come under scrutiny by comparing Akira to Dragonball earlier in this thread) then I'd say we'd have to split out virtually every artist to have their own category of comics.

For a list, manga I have read:
Akira
Dragonball Z
Chobits
Tsubasa
(Some other Clamp thing whose name escapes me, some singer with an incredible voice when he harmonises, but can't sing solo)
Some of that hack/sign or whatever that was called
Batman: Child of Dreams
Battle Royale

That's all I can remember off the top of my head.
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Re: Manga/Comics?

Postby Insomnist » Wed Dec 17, 2008 7:00 pm UTC

I had one of those "holy crap I'm an idiot" moments last night. I've got a categorical personality, so finding a thread like this initially struck me as being almost heretical. :wink: I think I get it now though, at least enough to realize how far off my earlier posts were. I'm not sure if I'm converted yet, but at least it all makes sense. :)
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Re: Manga/Comics?

Postby Jesse » Thu Dec 18, 2008 12:34 am UTC

Did I just win on the internet? I don't care, I'm going to tell everyone that I did anyway.
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Re: Manga/Comics?

Postby Rinsaikeru » Thu Dec 18, 2008 3:01 am UTC

If you won, I did too. :P
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Re: Manga/Comics?

Postby Insomnist » Thu Dec 18, 2008 4:36 pm UTC

I didn't surrender yet though, just declared a ceasefire. :wink:

// edit //

Never mind, lol. I can't think of a counterargument that doesn't eventually agree with your point of view. :roll:
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Re: Manga/Comics?

Postby SlyReaper » Fri May 27, 2011 10:38 am UTC

Oh hey. A thread from The Past. Hello people from 2008. Warning from the future: you might want to make sure that Fukushima nuclear power plant is earthquake and tsunami proof. We've been having a few problems with it. You've got just over 2 years to get that sorted.
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