Manga! Manga!
Comics in Japan

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Manga Makers - Manga to Read - Comic Market Convention - Costume Play

A $3.00 comic book, released weekly in Japan...
please note how thick it is: 400 pages!
I did mention I make comic books, right? Well, for those of you who don't know, if a person is at all interested in comic books, Japan is the place to go. In Japan, comic books (called manga) have a long history -- at least back into the 1600's -- and is a culturally accepted form of storytelling, equal to movies and television in stature. This means that about ninety-five percent (if not more) of the Japanese population read manga (though, of course, some people read more than others).
Because of this unique status for comics in Japan, there's a much richer variety of story and art available than the USA has yet to offer (but I think we'll get there eventually). Japanese comics set the standards for truely professional comic book art worldwide; and the stories range from the classic 'just for kids' variety to a huge variety of specialty audiences... there are stories specifically for adults, for the elderly, for sports fans, for salary workers, for housewives, etc. ... if it's a distinct group of some sort, then there is likely to be at least four or five comics meant just for them. Comics are also often utilized for education, because they can be read faster and remembered better than the typical boring textbook (and yes, they have those too).
Also because of their unique status, new comics come out a lot more often than in the US, and they have a lot more content. For instance, Shonen Jump -- literally 'Young Boy's Jump', the anthology title shown above -- comes out weekly and averages around four hundred pages per issue! Imagine reading a comic the size of a phonebook, which doesn't cost more than the average American comic [with a mere 32 pages]... I love this place! Anyhow, the more popular stories are collected in paperback book formats, where you can read about 220 pages of your favorite story at a time. These are on better paper than the weeklys, and, frankly, survive multiple readings better than most comics in standard US format. And this completes my second brief seminar on the nature of Comics Japanese (if you came here from the introduction page, then why did you re-read this? Pick a link, silly!).

Manga Makers -- Learn about some of the people who create the comics!

Manga to Read -- Find out more about a small number of culturally influential manga!

Comic Market -- A huge comic convention I attended while in Tokyo!

Costume Play -- Some cool costumes from the Comic Market Convention!

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All illustrations in these pages are copyright (c)2002 Garth Haslam, and shouldn't be used without his permission. To contact him Click Here!