Diamond Gem Awards Show Comic Market View of Manga

The 2010 Diamond Gem Award winners were just announced. These awards are nominated by a “panel of Diamond industry professionals”, voted on by comic book shop retailers, and selected based on “quality, creativity, and overall sales impact”, as you might note from the subtitle “Suppliers of the Year”.

The winners are the industry “good guys”. For example, DC Comics, which has more retailer-friendly policies, beat out Marvel for Publisher of the Year (for the second year in a row), even though Marvel sells more. Marvel got two awards to DC’s ten, and those two were both in Licensed categories for Kick-Ass, Mark Millar’s property. That’s got to smart — if Marvel cared. It doesn’t seem to affect them getting orders and sales from the direct market.

Five of DC’s awards were for action figures, statues, and the colored plastic rainbow Green Lantern power ring set. I also find it fascinating that these awards have two comic book award categories, “Comic Book of the Year Under $3.00″ and “Over $3.00″. Remember, these are about what sells for the direct market — and now that Marvel prices so many comics at $3.99, they’re practically eliminated from one of those categories.

But the thing that most struck my notice was who was recognized as Manga Publisher of the Year: Dark Horse Comics. They’re not a dedicated publisher, unlike Viz, Yen, or Vertical, but they’ve been part of the direct market for several decades, so they’re a comfortable, familiar choice for a group of retailers who are often ambivalent about the category overall. Don’t get me wrong — I enjoy some Dark Horse manga, such as The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service, but to call them publisher of the year for manga? That seems to ignore the many and varied publications released by other outlets — who are more interested in the bookstore than direct market, which likely explains it.

Best Manga of the Year, meanwhile, went to Yen Press for Twilight: The Graphic Novel, a book that isn’t even really a manga. But it’s something that direct market retailers had heard of, at least. Never underestimate the power of a familiar name on an overstuffed ballot when busy people are checking off their choices.

4 Comments

  1. I’m sorry. I can’t take Diamond or the ‘industry professionals’ seriously anymore. Dark Horse for best manga publisher? Twilight as best manga? That’s so asinine, I keep expecting Diamond to post a follow-up PR saying it was all a joke. If you want to know why manga buyers don’t go into comic book stores, there’s your answer.

  2. Likewise. I can see where they’re coming from where Dark Horse is concerned, but Twilight isn’t a manga. It just isn’t. You can’t even call it manga-style accurately. Manhwa-style, I’d get. Manhwa… you’re reaching. Manga? No.

    *Ahem* Sorry. That one’s been bugging me for awhile. I just don’t get how a story written by an American and drawn by a Korean in a Korean style ends up being called manga. I know they were trying to piggyback of manga’s popularity, but I wish more credit were given to the people it’s due. Okay, rant over.

    I’m a bit surprised by these results. Maybe I’m showing my age, but I first started buying manga through my local comic book shop. That first shop didn’t have the best selection (not that there was much available back then), but the one near my college was quite good. It was only after I graduated and moved home that I switched to Borders. (Only to stop buying manga almost entirely, right around when they started having business trouble… I wasn’t buying that many:) ) Anyway, I would have expected Diamond to display a bit more knowledge.

  3. I’m not sure who I would say is best publisher of the year, I have deep rooted favorites from almost all the publisher options these days. But as for the Twilight manga…I don’t know about that. I’ve never read it but I read the books for my sister and if the books themselves didn’t impress me I doubt the manga would.

  4. [...] clarification on my end: when I questioned Dark Horse being selected as Diamond’s Manga Publisher of the Year, my point (which I may have made too subtly) was to [...]

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