When we use the term ‘manga’, what exactly do we mean? What are the components, or features, or characteristics of manga. Are these features or characteristics equal and equally necessary – does a work need to have all of them to qualify, or are some of them more fluid or optional than others. Is something either manga or not manga? Or can we talk about degrees or a spectrum? Can we say that one work is “more manga” than another? And, for that matter, how is the definition created? By whom? Why? When? How has it changed over the years? Are the borders of this definition subject to any kind of friction?
What do different scholars mean when they use the term ‘manga’ is a topic for another post. But it is clear that at least in America, manga has always meant something that can serve as a base or structure, but is open to modification. And a lot of the history of manga in America is a history of taking this term and all of its meanings, and creating new ones. So, from manga came the decidedly awkward Amerimanga (the title of an anthology magazine published over several issues by the long-forgotten Studio Ironcat; though it’s hard not to wonder whether “Amerimanga” was a conscious – or even unconscious – mirror image of the term “Japanimation”, which at one point in time was a perfectly acceptable way of referring to Japanese animation). From manga came OEL (Original English Language) manga, with the marketing and branding power of Tokyopop, for years, easily the most successful publisher of Japanese comics in English. From manga came “original-English language manga”, the preferred turn of phrase still used by the publisher Seven Seas Entertainment. And, from manga came “global manga”. A number of scholars have already commented on how the definition of “manga” has changed outside the Japanese context. Mark MacWilliams (2008) calls it a “process of indigenization of the media” (Introduction, in Mark MacWilliams, Ed., Japanese Visual Culture: Explorations in the World of Manga and Anime, pp. 3-25, Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe). Cathy Sell (2011) discusses the different terms in Manga translation and interculture, Mechademia: An Annual Forum for Anime, Manga and the Fan Arts, 6, 93-108, as do Casey Brienza (2013), in Beyond b&w: The global manga of Felipe Smith, in Sheena C. Howard and Ronald L. Jackson II, Eds., Black Comics: Politics of Race and Representation, pp. 79-96, London: Bloomsbury Academic, and Angela Moreno Acosta (2014), in The “Japaneseness” of OEL manga: On Japanese American comics artists and manga style (Monica Chiu, Ed., Drawing New Color Lines: Transnational Asian American Graphic Narratives, pp. 227-244, Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.
And so, it is really interesting to find out about an upcoming essay collection that presents a global overview of how different cultures take Japanese comics and the term manga, and adapt it to suit their own needs, wants, desires, and conceptions of what manga can be and mean.
Global Manga: Japanese Comics ‘Without’ Japan?
Editor: Casey Brienza (City University London)
“Outside Japan, the term ‘manga’ usually refers to comics originally published in Japan. Yet nowadays many publications labelled ‘manga’ are not translations of Japanese works but rather have been wholly conceived and created elsewhere. These comics, although often derided and dismissed as ‘fake manga’, represent an important but understudied global cultural phenomenon which, controversially, may even point to a future of ‘Japanese’ comics without Japan.
This book takes seriously the political economy and cultural production of this so-called ‘global manga’ produced throughout the Americas, Europe, and Asia and explores the conditions under which it arises and flourishes; what counts as ‘manga’ and who gets to decide; the implications of global manga for contemporary economies of cultural and creative labour; the ways in which it is shaped by or mixes with local cultural forms and contexts; and, ultimately, what it means for manga to be ‘authentically’ Japanese in the first place.
Presenting new empirical research on the production of global manga culture from scholars across the humanities and social sciences, as well as first person pieces and historical overviews written by global manga artists and industry insiders, Global Manga will appeal to scholars of cultural and media studies, Japanese studies, and popular and visual culture.”
- Introduction: Manga without Japan?
Casey Brienza (City University London)
Dr. Brienza is a lecturer in the Department of Culture and Creative Industries, City University London. She has authored over a dozen articles and book chapters, primarily on comics, manga, and scholarly/academic publishing, and is currently working on a monograph, Manga in America: Transnational Book Publishing and the Domestication of Japanese Comics, which is expected to be published later this year.
- The Western Sailor Moon generation: North American women and feminine-friendly global manga
- The manga style in Brazil
Roberto Elisio dos Santos, Victor Wanderley Correa and Waldomiro Verguiero
- Scott Pilgrim vs. MANGAMAN: Two approaches to the negotiation of cultural difference
- Euromanga: Hybrid styles and stories in transcultural manga production
- ‘Manga is not pizza’: The performance of ethno-racial authenticity and the politics of American anime and manga fandom in Svetlana Chmakova’s Dramacon
- On everyday life: Frédéric Boilet and France’s Nouvelle Manga Movement
- An American manga artist’s journey down a road less drawn
- Sporting the Gothic look: reconstructing the Gothic mode in German manga trends
- Constructing the mangaverse: Narrative patterns in Marvel’s appropriation of manga products
- Pinoy manga in Philippine komiks
Karl Ian Cheng Chua and Kristine Michelle Santos
Global Manga is currently set to be published in July 2015. Additional information about it is available from the publisher.