Shaenon K. Garrity wrote an excellent overview of those little artist side notes found mostly in shojo manga. She provides a number of hilarious examples to support the idea that if you
Read enough of these notes, however, and you get the impression that shojo manga artists are both incredibly boring and completely insane.
I was impressed that she did an entire column on the format without even mentioning the overused “I’m so sorry my art isn’t good enough” type of entry.
Having Faith in Continuing Series
A senior editor at Tokyopop wrote a column (link no longer available) about how readers interested in a series should buy the books instead of waiting to see how committed the company is to continuing it. On the one hand, yes, it’s economic reality that series that don’t sell can’t be invested in with limited resources, so their continuation may be in doubt. But blaming the customer for your company running close to the bone, especially when many of them have been burnt before by having a favorite series canceled mid-run … as Christopher Butcher points out … is somewhat argumentative and combative.
The Tokyopop column is a good read, though, if you were interested in knowing how important physical shelf space still is to a manga publisher. And it makes me wonder how the loss of a percentage of that space with so many Borders stores closing is going to change things.
The column author has also followed up in a comment at Butcher’s site to elaborate on her motivation for the piece.
Dark Horse as Manga Publisher
A 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 show how out-of-touch I thought direct market retailers were with manga fans, not to pick on Dark Horse as a publisher. Brigid follows up by saying
I think Dark Horse has succeeded so well because they publish manga that appeals to the typical comics store customer, an adult male who likes action stories with plenty of battles and some scantily clad ladies on the side. … I once described them as “manly manga for manly men,” and since that sort of story sells well in the direct market as American comics, it’s not surprising it sells well as manga as well.
America’s #1 Comic Publisher
Taken from the very end of Brian Hibbs’ Bookscan column, comes this figure: the #1 comic publisher in 2010, based on sales figures, was … Viz. It outsells DC by about nine million dollars and Marvel by $15 million. Let’s keep that in mind the next time someone talks about the “Big Two”.