One of the common statements I’ve been seeing pop up from time to time is that Comic sales are fading while Manga sales are growing for varies reasons, one of which strongly argues that Progressive & SJW’s agenda are hurting comic sales while Manga is “not bowing to the ideologies of the west“. I wanted to explore this and see if this hypotheses holds any truth to it.
Now, I’m going to keep this as concise as humanly possible because ain’t nobody got time to read a book. I am a comic book and a manga fan. I don’t read too often due to time constraint, but when I have time and/or find the right book, I could read for hours. I’ve never found one to be superior to the other in the past, as that merely comes down to subjective taste.
However, one can’t deny that Manga sales over here in the west are booming while comic have had a rough time over the past few years. According to ComicBook.com:
Not only is the sale of manga on a rise in North America, but the report reveals that about 25% of the entire graphic novel market belongs to manga in the United States. A solid 23% of the industry’s entire gross revenue is bolstered by manga sales with Viz Media leading the charge. The publisher prints 47 of the 50 top-selling manga titles such as My Hero Academia, One Piece, and more.
Meanwhile, according to Comicchron:
After 2017 was the first down year in six for the Direct Market, 2018 served as a year of partial recovery, with two growth quarters bookeneded by two down ones. Diamond Comic Distributors reported that overall comics and graphic novel sales ended down 1% versus 2017. Our estimates for the Top Thousand Comic Books and Graphic Novels appear below; click to read our detailed analysis of those charts.
So what give? Well, according to many of the rhetorics that I’ve seen online (yes, that’s my source), manga is currently offering something that comics has been lacking for some years now, and that is a compelling story with great characters. One of the comments that frustrated comic book fans have made in the past is that, new comic book characters in recent years have been shoe-horned into stories they don’t fit it yet, legacy characters have been unnecessary changed to meet some status quo or have been feeling bland as of late, with some even making claims that comic writes have forsaken telling a compelling story in favour of making a political statements. Of course not all comic books are suffering from this, but as the days go on, that number seems to grow!
Meanwhile, most manga are telling great stories, writing interesting characters and subtly adding statement (ideologies, politics etc) in an engaging manner that doesn’t disrupt the immersion. It’s really just supply and demand at this point. Geek and nerds in the west aren’t getting what they want in comics, so they go to manga for their escapism.
It’s also important to mention that manga and anime have been under attack by certain on the western groups for certain aspects if it does not adhere their ideology. Usually you won’t hear anything about a manga not adhering to their stances until its anime adaptation hits mainstream, but that will soon change with the popularity of manga in the coming years. This only helps to bolster the success of that manga/anime series. Take the 2019 Joker movie and the Dave Chapelle show for example! The attention these items received only help boosted their reach.
From an artistic point, both are great in their own rights, each with their own strengths and weakness, and of course you can enjoy both at any given point. However, it’s undeniable that manga is in a stronger position than comic is at this moment. Unlike its comic brethren, manga-verse has no chains or anchor keeping it down so to speak. If they have a story to tell, they will tell it exactly however way they want. Simply put, Manga writers are more focused on thinking outside the box to give you a new experience, while comic writers today are more focused on telling you how you should be thinking or force their viewpoints down your throat.
Of course, I’m not mentioning panels, colours and frame positioning which help keep the flow of a comic/manga going, I’m mostly talking about story. Without it, all you got it a page with words on it.
That’s just my take on this subject. It may not be accurate but that’s how I’ve been observing it. Let me know what you guys think?