Tuesday, December 10, 2002

NICHE-IFICATION OF AMERICAN COMICS CONTINUES: Shonen Jump, the new English-language manga monthly, is the top-selling comic book in the United States. Shonen Jump reprint's kiddie manga comics in serialized form. The number one American comic book, Ultimate War, is a post-Authority superhero story featuring new versions of the Avengers and X-Men fighting each other. Yes, you have to have been reading comics for the past twenty years to understand Ultimate War, or that last sentence, and go to a comic shop to buy it. No, you don't have to go to a comic shop to buy Shonen Jump or have been reading manga for the past twenty years to understand it. It is a little bit of a trick to read something in reverse order--because you still read the English language left to right (duh) but have to read the action itself backwards; I feel something like a typewriter afterwards--but still. The differences are just obvious, and I have no idea how the big American publishers will respond, or even if they want to, preferring to rule the tiny fiefdom of the collector's market and leave the Japanese publishers to dominate the market out of complacency--kind of like Detroit and cars in the 70s.

I could have my numbers wrong, by the way, as I don't have any figures for the other comics with American newsstand distribution--Archie comics. Gawd, why couldn't a big thick superhero comic sell a bunch of copies on the newsstand? Or any other popular genre, for that matter. Or a big thick art comic. I don't get it.

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