Big Eyes Small Future

Is the Manga bubble about to burst?

This isn’t like the Image bubble of the 90’s where clueless speculators and shortsighted comic book retailers gave the industry a shot in the arm and then a shot in the foot. The appreciation for Manga was real, though overrated.

I’m hardly knee deep in the Manga industry but I do read the Previews pages for Manga publishers and I’ve seen a trend away from Japanese produced Manga to American produced titles (I’m sure Manga fans have names distinguishing them but I’m too lazy to look those up). And the new titles that are coming out of Japan seem like more of the same, derivatives of previous older, better books.

America has always been a secondary market for Manga and publishers like Tokyopop have been hauling it over here at a gold rush speeds. I suspect that the backlog of good material has dried up and the American publishers tried to push out second and third rate Japanese and American produced material in an attempt to keep the momentum going.

For example, Tokyopop’s been a middleman for years and now it seems like they want a piece of the proprietary pie, (Bryan Lee O’Malley, creator of Scott Pilgrim seems to think it’s a bad deal.)

I suspect the Manga industry is experiencing a correction. It won’t be the end of the medium but I wonder how this’ll effect the convergence with European and American comics art forms. Will they all merge into a global sequential ant and industry or will they go back to their core audiences where it’s safe?

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