PR: What Not to Do: Manga as Coat of Paint

Bluewater Productions (whom you likely haven’t heard of, because their best-known titles are 10th Muse and Legend of Isis) announced that they will be starting a manga line consisting of adaptations of their comics.

Bluewater manga promo image

This idea — that by redrawing existing properties with big eyes, spiky hair, and pointy chins will magically make you hip with teens and increase your sales — is stupid. Even if, as they claim, they’re using “some of the top manga artists in the industry.” Why, then, are they not citing any Japanese names? The only artist attached so far is Bryan Golden, who is doing character redesigns. Other artists will be named later. (So this is obviously a publisher-driven, not creative-driven, idea.)

Even better, they’re trying to talk customers into not waiting for the collection by releasing only the single-issue comics in color. Most manga readers prefer the usual format of thicker collected books in black-and-white anyway.

This whole thing feels like a lame attempt at relevance by people who don’t seem to understand the characteristics of the hot term they’re trying to co-opt. Manga is not a coat of paint that can freshen up properties that aren’t selling under their own steam. The majority of the audience that buys it is very sensitive to issues of authenticity and only want the “real” translated books.

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8 Responses to “PR: What Not to Do: Manga as Coat of Paint”

  1. Simon Jones Says:

    The irony is, based purely on the product page at their site, I’d say Bluewater already has a few titles that would *naturally* appeal to some manga readers, without having to resort to such shallow rebranding… just a slight advertising tweak and a redesign to a more palatable format would suffice.

    I hate to rain on this kind of thing, though… someone out there might be getting a nice gig out of this.

  2. George Salire Says:

    Hilarious. They’re actually going to do this? They will actually REDESIGN their characters into big eyes, spiky hair and big mouths to cater to the manga crowd?

    I wouldn’t call it lame, though. They’re clearly going to great lengths to push through with this endeavor. Peculiar I’d call it.

  3. MangaBlog » Blog Archive » Rush looking for new publisher Says:

    [...] Bluewater Comics is starting a global manga line based on its properties; Johanna Draper Carlson is not impressed. [...]

  4. Lori Henderson Says:

    Isn’t this just the “Marvel Mangaverse” all over? And how well did that work for Marvel?

    I think Blue Water should worry about getting books out on time and getting real artists (I’m sorry, but the art for Return to Mysterious Island was just atrocious) before they start new lines.

  5. John Chennavasin Says:

    This reminds me of Herb Trimpe’s attempt to imitate Rob Liefeld’s and Jim Lee’s art styles in the 90s. The basic elements are there, but the end results somehow don’t look right.

  6. Lori Henderson Says:

    You know, looking at the artwork above, if they did it like “10 Little Gal Force” or “SD Gundam” (the original), a parodied itself, then it might be good.

  7. Stupid Publisher Tricks: Not Naming What You’re Promoting » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] I got a copy of Bluewater’s latest press release, I thought that I’ve picked on them enough, that I wasn’t going to point out how badly written their latest marketing attempt [...]

  8. Why I Won’t Cover Bluewater » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] them. After all, they’ve made stupid, entry-level mistakes when they weren’t dementedly seizing at trends to get something, anything to sell. Their latest approach, rushing out tie-ins to whatever people [...]

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