If Full-Color Manga Were The Norm
The Mandana Tsushin (Manga Bookshelf Transmissions) Blog ponders what the Japanese manga scene would look like if full-color comics were the norm, much like in American and European comics.
To this day, most Japanese manga is in black and white; however, in the US and France, color is the norm when it comes to comics. What would have happened if full-color manga were the norm in Japan as well?
First of all, the cheap, thick weekly manga anthology magazines ("phonebooks") probably wouldn't have existed. Manga might still be serialized primarily in monthly mags. And there would be considerably fewer pages than now. More titles would be published as individual graphic novels right away, rather than being serialized in magazines.
If that were the case, the total span of each individual title would be considerably shorter. It would be impossible to find a series that continued on for thousands of pages: they would all reach a conclusion in a few hundred pages, at most. On the other hand, short-story manga might have evolved more.
If there are fewer pages, it would be difficult to separate one action into multiple panels: larger panels would contain more dialogue; the elapsed time in each panel would grow even longer.
You could use color, so hatching may never have been developed. Instead of competing to see who had the best screentone skills, people would compete based on coloring.
Inevitably, the price-per-page paid out to artists would go up: however, you would no longer see graphic novels with initial runs of a million copies like you do now.
You could say that the advances in Japanese manga happened because precisely because they were in black and white. However, what will happen now that computer coloring has become the norm? Will we see an increase in color manga?
Translated by Neuroretardant