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Webcomics Roundtable at Otakon 2006

edited September 2006 in GeekNights
Hello all, I am Sammy d and I am new to this forum. I have been listening to Geek Nights for about 6 months and enjoy the show very much. I really do appreciate the work Rym and Scott do to put out four shows a week. I have to admit that I never planned on joining this forum, but I just had to take issue with the above stated show. First although I can put up with the disrespectful and just flat out rude way Rym and Scott choose to describe super hero comics, the know it all way they approached their news of the day I cannot. If they would have just taken a minute of research and thought they would have realized their conclusion of: "manga out sells super hero comics" was wrong.
I will not go into great detail on why this is wrong, I will only say that if you were to open a Wizard magazine and flip to the top 50 single issue comic books for the month you will not find one manga title. This would mean by my information and reasoning, superhero comics out sell manga. Sounds pretty silly right? Why Rym and Scott couldn’t simply have said "Manga is doing well in this format, this news is great for the hobby in general." I guess I don't understand this hostility Rym and Scott have for super hero comics.

I generally would have just brushed off the news and the views expressed, but I noticed the same themes in the roundtable discussion as well. It just seemed to me as if every one in that room had either a hostility or hatred for superhero comics and fans. It seemed to root from what sounded like jealousy. Instead of working on new ways to market themselves and their work to tailor to certain conventions, they were just hell-bent on blaming the fans by saying "they are anti-social" or "their hobby is a solitary one" and the funniest "they are just old." What!?
If those creators continue to have such a shallow opinion of superhero comic fans then they are missing out on a huge market that is incredibly loyal. The only positive thing that came out of this panel was the discussion about a possible hybrid of conventions Anime/Manga meets Comic books, but was disappointed to hear the lack of enthusiasm for it. Am I a superhero comic book fan? Damn straight! I am also an anime fan, manga fan, and an Asian cinema fan. So are many others. It is better to bridge the gap then to build up walls.
We are all victims of the stigma that the mainstream gives fandom. Why not band together and try to become the mainstream instead of having different levels of tolerance from the mainstream based on faction of fandom? These are my thoughts and if you agree or disagree, my hope is that I can at least make you think about this topic.

Via con dios,
Sammy d

P.S. Rym and Scott are totally gay. LOL.


  • The top 100 best selling graphic novels and comics of 2005. You are wrong.

    If we say something in the news you disagree with you should probably go to and see the link to the news story in the shownotes. We aren't just making stuff up here.
  • I'd also suggest you listen to our coverage of Philly Wizard World. Most of the people there were so shy they wouldn't even talk to me, microphone or no. It was the most unfriendly convention I'd ever been to. Aside from the independent comic artists, everyone seemed almost afraid of me if I so much as said "hello," or else practically demanded that I purchase their overpriced comic.

    I don't hate super-hero comic fans or comics. I verymuch dislike most superhero comics, however, and the majority of super-hero comic fans I've met have indeed been older than me, generally anti-social, and lacking significant non-comic pursuits. I'm by no means saying that all super-hero comic fans are this way, but many are.

    I loved Watchmen. I loved V for Vendetta. I love Ex Machina. Most every other super-hero comic is, in my opinion, drivel. That's my taste and my opinion, and you're welcome to disagree with it. You can't really disagree, however, with the fact that traditional super-hero comics are selling terribly, or that there are distinct difference in the majority culture of super-hero comic fans versus fans of other media.

    You also really seem to read into how we "disrespect" super-hero comics. How is it disrespect to point out obvious problems with an industry? Or to quote sales numbers? Or to offer possible solutions? Super-hero comics are very easy to make fun of, mostly through fault of their creators and distributors. If you don't want them to be disrespected, you should hope they change their ways.
  • These guys don't mention it too often, but they think the Batman is the only decent Superhero. Or at least Rym does.
  • I will only say that if you were to open a Wizard magazine and flip to the top 50 single issue comic books for the month you will not find one manga title.
    This is because most manga is not published in single issues anymore. They are mostly all released in graphic novel format. This doesn't mean manga isn't selling - because it is. (See Scott's Top 100 link)
  • edited September 2006
    That "story" is very misleading. The list makes no distinction between single issue comics and volumes/graphic novels. This was my point. These days Manga is 95% of the time ONLY available in volume/graphic novel form, unless it is Pokemon or something. On the flip side about 80% of superhero comics are ONLY available in single issue form for many months until the story arc is complete. Furthermore, volumes/graphic novels are still in their infancy among superhero readers and are slowly gaining momentum. It is a little like TV and DVD; you could watch every week or get the whole season on DVD. Superhero readers have been conditioned to a serialized format for so long it will take some time to latch on to this new format, unlike manga which has been volumes all along in the US at least. Also I find it hard to follow Rym and Scott's reasoning when their "news" is just a list with no accompanying story or explanation of the list or break down of each books units sold.
    Also to respond to Rym, you have a slightly skewed vision of the reality. Yes, the industry has been on a downturn, but it is mostly due to the competition for the entertainment buck. Although one can't ignore superhero events like Marvel's Civil War that sold somewhere near 500,000 copies and when Spiderman unmasked himself in issue two, every mainstream news outlet picked up the story. When was the last time a manga story event was picked up by the AP? That's right, never.
    While I can respect Rym and Scott's position for their dislike of superhero comics, all I am requesting is just for a little respect and open mindedness, because let's face facts, without the superhero/sci-fi trail blazers, anime and manga would have never hit US shores the way it has. That is the gospel truth.
    Post edited by Son of Skywalker on
  • Uglyfred, I wonder why manga is no longer availibe in single issues? Probably because they were getting thier asses handed to them by superhero comics. This is my point. Rym and Scott took a "list" and threw more spin on it then Fox News would have.
  • While I can respect Rym and Scott's position for their dislike of superhero comics, all I am requesting is just for a little respect and open mindedness, because let's face facts, without the superhero/sci-fi trail blazers, anime and manga would have never hit US shores the way it has. That is the gospel truth.
    Why do you think that? How did superheros help anime and manga hit the US shores in any way, shape or form? If anything, superheros have hurt manga. Because of superheros the american public thinks of only one genre when they think of graphic literature. Manga is anything but superheros, and people's false impressions of what comics are have made it harder to sell manga, not easier.

    Also, while some comic book issues like Civil War might sell hundreds of thousands of copies, the best selling manga sell over a million copies. That's how they get on not only the best graphic novels seller list but the overall best selling book list. Comic books used to sell in the millions back on the golden age, they don't anymore. That's why I'm so mad at the underwear pervert industry. They have demeaned an entire artform by creating harmful mindshare in the popular culture. The fact that manga is beating them despite this is what gives me hope.
  • If a single issue, which costs practically nothing, can't outsell a $10 trade, then that single issue comic isn't doing so well... What spin exactly did we put on that list? Did some issue-comic magically outsell all of those titles, yet somehow not get counted? How is this list incorrect?

    If the single issues are selling less, then that means even LESS single-issue content is actually getting out there, since you get more comic per unit with the books. The reason the books do so well for manga is that the single-issue format is NOT popular. Part of the reason I dislike comics so much is that I don't want to have to deal with buying, reading, and storing a million little comics. The book format just makes more sense.
    When was the last time a manga story event was picked up by the AP?
    When was the last time ANY superhero-related work sold more than even the median manga title? Individual manga issues outsell entire runs of comics. What the news does and doesn't pick up on has nothing to do with the real market share.

    I'd like to respond more fully, but you really need to form these things called "paragraphs." I'm surprised Mr. Period hasn't re-written your posts yet... Either way, there's no way I'm going to wade through all of that.
  • edited September 2006
    I don't know for sure, but it seems likely that manga used to be sold in single issues in order to make it more palatable/familiar to Western buyers who were used to that format. However, original Japanese editions of a manga are sold in graphic novel format. When you consider issues such as licensing and translation, it seems that it would be more convenient to maintain the format of the Japanese edition. This is also why most manga is published right-to-left (Japanese style) nowadays. The less change you have to make to the work, the less people you need to pay to make the changes. People have also sufficiently accepted manga that preserving its foreign format won't weird out prospective buyers.

    How much do you pay for a single issue of a superhero comic? Manga graphic novels usually contain 4-6 chapters - basically 4 single issues put into one volume. When I bought comics at Mile High Comics in Denver, they had single issues selling for 4 or 5 dollars per issue. Manga graphic novels cost $10 apiece, so it comes to $2.50 per part if there are 4 parts. So let's see... $2.50 compared to $4.00 for about the same amount of content? Yeaaah. You get more for your money buying comics in graphic novel format.

    My hypothesis is that the superhero comics industry is holding on to single issues because they make more money that way. Old school comic fans and collectors are used to single issues and will keep buying in that format, and the industry capitalizes on this. Whether you buy superhero comics or manga, I think graphic novels are the way to go. You get more entertainment for your money's worth, and the satisfaction of sitting down with a big fat book of comic pages and not this little dinky thing thinner than a Time magazine.

    As for manga story events not getting picked up by the AP - the question isn't "why aren't they," but "why would they?" Manga as we refer to it is from Japan or Korea - it's a foreign product. Its characters, then, bear no cultural significance to the American public. Yet most people have grown up with Spider Man, Batman, etc. If you take a look at Japanese newspapers, I'm pretty darn sure you could find them discussing manga characters or storylines - because that is the place where manga is relevant to the mainstream culture at large.

    Edit: Typos.
    Post edited by Johannes Uglyfred II on
  • Manga stories are picked up in newspapers around the country every day. It's just not headline news because, as UglyFred said, it doesn't involve popular widely-recognized characters.
  • I want to point out that the high sales of individual comics usually isn't indicitave of a large number of readers. It's actually quite deceiving due to bullshit such as variant covers. I've seen comic nerds by three or more copies of the same exact comic. The comic publishers focus on selling as many issues as possible to the same small group of people. They don't seem to care about getting more readers. Sales numbers also only reflect how many copies were bought by retailers, not how many actually ended up in reader's hands or how many readers there are. However, you can be sure that a manga sold is a manga reader. Nobody is going to buy multiple copies of the same manga.
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