September 21, 2005

I think I'll stop here.

full set



Complete CLAMP No Kiseki chess set.

One year ago, I started this blog to fulfill a personal need. Although already a big fan of the comicbook blogosphereiverse at the time, I wanted a one-stop shop where I could find the latest news and bloggery specifically about manga. It's not that I'm averse to anything outside of manga -- in fact, the sphere opened my eyes to the wider world of comics and helped me find new things to like -- but I still felt an urge to sweep up all manga-related things into one place. That's all I wanted to do: find any recent online articles/essays/writings/news about manga ... -ish stuff, link to it, and in doing so provide a unique service.

My service isn't so unique anymore. Everyone already knows that David @ Love Manga performs the same function that I do, except faster, better, and smarter. Brigid @ MangaBlog updates less frequently but always has something useful to say. David @ PreCur takes time at least once a week (and on his blog, usually more) to weigh in on matters. And Rivkah's Culture Clash offers not just a young creator's perspective, but one of the best young creators out there. Or, heck, I could just stroll down to The Engine where everybody is automatically better than me. Really, what purpose is there for a rampaging fanboy who still hyperventilates whenever he sees the latest Hot Gimmick on the store shelf?

I don't even find as many good links as I used to. I think I've gone into automatic and a well-trained Googlebot could probably do what I do. (Do Google news search for "manga." Check ICv2. Check ANN. and so on. reverse. repeat ... ) I owe it to my readers to not do a half-assed job, and if I'm going to link to stuff, I should link thoroughly and link well. I don't really think I'm doing that anymore.

Incidentally, Isaac Alexander is GOD. He passed this collection of links to me a few days ago, which starts with some OEL sites, goes on to more general sites, and then just explodes into awesome. THIS is the guy who should be running a blog of cool manga links, except he doesn't, which is a damned tragedy.

So today ends my (almost-) weekdaily blogging pattern, and I thank everyone for following along. Personally I'm surprised I lasted a year. If I stuck around any longer, I wouldn't be doing the best job I could. I might try to keep this blog alive in some reduced state. We'll see. And for those who wish to find me elsewhere, you already know where to go.

So for now, LOVE ...


... and Peace.


September 20, 2005

Sugar Sugar (doodoodoodoodootdooo) is the first to get the weekly Taiyosha Top 10 list this time. Nodame Cantabile skyrockets to the top (what?! they're already on Vol. 13?!) with Angel Heart, Kimi wa Pet / Tramps Like Us and Fruits Basket close behind. The first shounen title doesn't even crack the list until Death Note at #5. A rather varied profile this week.

Viz's new 1 World Manga initiative is set to "engage and educate young readers about a range of important issues facing humanity" through an original manga series. I want to know who's drawing it, though.

AoD tells you where you can get a jump ahead of everyone else with Del Rey's preview pages. The catch is, each preview page will be released once per day for an entire month until the actual release date. Check out Ghost Hunt, Gacha Gacha, and the magical girl series I am wetting my pants for because it's Moyoco Anno, Sugar Sugar Rune.

Love Manga has a handle on other new stuff that's coming out. Infinity Studios has a new manwha Zero lined up, while Jagged*Team reports that the Jim Henson Company may now be getting involved with the Parasyte movie.

Meanwhile, Queenie Chan interviews Rivkah, which is kinda like Michaelangelo having a sit-down-and-talk with Leonardo da Vinci. More pictures. More text.

Love Manga also reports Queenie's latest bloggery about the Manifest convention in Melbourne, but I LOL'ed most for her AllDrawSame self-portrait. Yeah, those damn Asians not only all look alike, but they all draw alike. Har.

... I wish an American comicker would have the same idea. You could get Derek Kirk Kim in on it!

But what about Asians who draw like other Asians? Gerry Alanguilan sounds off on the powerful influence of the manga style and his thoughts on what it means to be a Filipino comic artist. I wonder if Bleedman is reading.

Dorian has his retailer's report on future manga orders.

Somewhere in this post Chris @ 212 bitches out Bizenghast. And the lesson we all should learn is that the world of comics doesn't just need good comics, it needs good editors too. David @ Precur also asks: "I wonder how interactive the editor-creator dynamic is on the OEL end?" I hear that they keep the creators chained and feed them scraps of food three times a day, but then I also hang out with various irreverent OELists and editors who have way too many inside jokes. ;)

And Lyle of Croc Caucus caught this one: The first translated Boy's Love games! Unfortunately, they are both rather shady. Just follow the comments on this LJ post to get the dirt.

September 18, 2005

The Voyage Begins

Today on Love Manga:
- AoD is first to notice the new (unofficial as of now) Tokyopop licenses which include Die Todliche Dolis, Glass Wings, Sequence, and Gorgeous Carat (DMP is doing the related series Gorgeous Carat Galaxy).
- C.B. Cebulski tempts us further with a cool preview image of SOMETHING.

I didn't know that UK publisher Voyager was getting into manga. But now I do. Their first title will be Tezuka's Buddha series, which is about as good a debut as you can pick.

Help fill in their oh-so-comprehensive manga magazine guide!

And check out the cover of ICv2's latest Retailers Guide to Graphic Novels. I realize that Tokyopop probably just paid their way onto that cover, but it's another step of recognition for The Genre That Shall Not Be Named.


September 17, 2005

No Blood For OEL

If anyone else asks about "OEL manga," please send them to this page. I'm pretty sure I was the one who started using the term, so I feel that I should at least hold myself responsible and clarify any further issues.

Who invented that buzzword, anyway? and WHY?

Several months ago on the Pseudome forums, Queenie Chan expressed her distaste for the term "Amerimanga." It implied that Americans were the only non-Japanese creators who could adopt the "manga style" into their comics. It certainly wasn't fair to a Chinese-Australian (and occasionally Hong Kong) creator such as herself. Like most creators, she simply likes to make comics, and if manga-inspired techniques happen to creep in, well that's fine. It's all those people who insist on naming things that are making trouble.

*Arguably, there is no specific style to manga, but that's not the point I'm addressing here.

So here's where I started making trouble. When I coined the term "OEL manga" on April 28, 2005, it was because Tokyopop had announced some news for their original homegrown titles, and I had to say something about it, but I didn't really want to call it Amerimanga. (Dramacon was involved, and Svetlana Chmakova is Russian-Canadian.) So I sat there for about five seconds with the following train of thought:

- The most distinctive feature of these comics is that it is similar to manga but is written in English.
- English manga? But that might make some people think it's just, well, ANY manga that's been translated into English.
- Original English manga? Well, that addresses the fact that it's "originally in English," but it might mislead others into thinking it's "manga originally made in England."
- Original English Language manga? OEL manga? Okay, close enough.

So in a fit of typing, I invented a term of convenience that I slapped on there so that I wouldn't have to use the naughty A-word. And then I used it a few more times since it was quite a handy little term and the acronym made it look cool. Then it started making the rounds among other bloggers, creators, editors, and industry professionals, got shortened to "OEL," and became a catch-all term for anything that might be manga-ish, but is not actually from Japan.

Which brings us to here.

I never expected a five-second brain fart to become a linguistic battleground. I just started using it for that particular kind of comics because I didn't like any of the other terms currently going around. If other people find it convenient to use, that's cool, and I encourage them to use it. If other people don't like it, then go make up your own word, and hopefully it'll catch on. (I see that Japan has already done that.) Hey, I'm all for finding another word to describe this movement, because I don't expect OEL to be a permanent fix. You don't see movies being called "talkies" anymore, do you? Or cars being called "horseless carriages"? Similarly, this is just a little patch-in-the-hole word that I invented to talk about something that's really new in comics. I certainly didn't sit in a Thinking Chair for five hours going "HMMM ... I must come up with the PERFECT name for the Western-Eastern comics-manga hybrid ... " No, it was more like, "Crap, I have to blog about this but I must describe it in a way that's technically correct, descriptive, and has no nationalistic overtones! Um ... "

Well if YOU claim to have coined the word, why don't you tells us what it MEANS, Mister Smarty Asse?


OEL Manga. (pøop'-on-ä-stîck' cómïcs) [abbr. Original English Language manga.] n. a type of comics (sequential art) that incorporates distinctive elements of manga (comics originating from Japan) but originally scripted in the English language. Often shortened to OEL.

(Side note: "OEL" alone is its own brand of confusion, since ALL comics scripted in English are technically OEL, but that's why you have to understand the implied "manga" that comes after the acronym.)

You're digging yourself into a pretty big hole right there, so please, continue.

"OEL manga" makes no distinctions as to the country of origin, which was the original problem anyway ("Ameri-..."). It makes no distinction as to the official or vernacular languages of the country of origin. It makes no distinction as to the creator's ethnic/national background, previous countries lived in, or current residence (which would have been a nightmare in the case of Hanzo Steinbach). It also makes no distinction as to the format in which the work is distributed. It is only concerned with (1) the original language in which the work was created, which is English, and (2) the artistic approach, which must in some way be similar to manga (which we shall define for now as "sequential art originally scripted in Japanese, by a Japanese creator, in Japan").

It means if you are producing your manga-ish comic-thing in the English language, it is still OEL, even if you are currently residing in Hong Kong or Tokyo or the Moon or Hell (which is in Norway).

It also means that if you reside in an English-speaking country like Singapore, but are producing your manga-ish comic-thing in a vernacular language like Chinese or Malay, you are NOT producing OEL manga, because it's not originally in English. Similarly, manga-styled European works like Yonen Buzz (originally in German), Monster Allergy and W.I.T.C.H. (both originally in Italian) would not qualify as OEL. In fact I'm sure that the Germans and Italians already have their own words for it.

If you run a webcomic in English that contains manga elements, that's OEL manga. If you graffiti an Azumanga Daioh-esque 4-panel strip on the side of a bridge, you've just made OEL manga. If you create manga-ish comic-things on a grain of rice and sell them at a crafts fair, feel free to stick "OEL manga" on the signboard.

"OEL manga" is NOT a marketing ploy. It was not invented by a company to sell more of their stuff to manga fans. In fact I'm still yet to see English-language companies using it in their press releases. It was invented by me, because I didn't know what else to call it, and somehow it got around the English-speaking fandom and now we're using it until a better description comes along.

As for Japan, well, they can call it whatever they like. As I said before, I'm all for finding another word to describe this movement. If Japanese speakers find "OEL manga" confusing and even insulting, then I'm sorry. I had no idea that it would make it as far as Japan. I originally thought that the only people using the word would be me and some of the other English-speaking comics bloggers, and then it would die out and stop being cool because everyone decided that it sounded dumb. It was only ever intended for use in the English language. If "Nissei/Nisei/Nise Comi" is what works for Japanese speakers, then please, continue using that and forget about OEL. I hear that France has "nouvelle manga." Every language has specific terms for genres and styles, and it would be silly to tell international readers "You have to call it POOP ON A STICK COMICS or else!!!" when they might already have something like "Mist auf einem Stock."

You idiot, manga is Japanese-language comics made by Japanese creators in Japan. The definition above even says so. How can you call it OEL manga? That's a contradiction.

No it's not. "OEL manga" is not the same as "manga." It contains three extra capital letters and a space. (Okay, that was facetious, I admit.) It's saying that, although manga is a uniquely Japanese artform, it has certain characteristics that comic artists of other cultures can use, and when an English-speaking creator uses those characteristics, it becomes "OEL manga."

No one is trying to say that "OEL manga" = "manga" (at least, I'm not). It is its own unique and evolving form of comics. That is why there is a unique term for it. It just so happens that one of the words in that term also describes another form of comics. It's like how "Classical" refers to a form of Western music that flourished between about 1750 to 1820, but "neo-Classical" refers to a form of Western music between 1915 and 1940 that attempted to capture the original Classical style. (I wonder if Prokofiev ever got yelled at: "You can't call it Classical! It's 1916 for God's sake!")

Manga is comics. Manga is comics. Manga is comics. IT'S ALL JUST COMICS!

Right, and if I said that Steady Beat was the same thing as WorldWatch, I know that at least two people would kick me in the face: Rivkah and Chuck Austen.

It's human nature to label things into different categories. That's how we identify objects and ideas that are different from each other, even if they might fall under one, bigger classification. "This is a pen." "I am a boy." Are you going to tell me to stop being human?

What's this I hear about MIC (manga-influenced comics)?

A term coined by the folks at to take the mick out of OEL proponents (pun intended). Actually no, they do have their reasons, but I think they would do a better job of explaining it than me trying to do it second-hand.



I hear that Mike Schwark and Ron Kaulfersch also like "Neo Genesis Pseudonga."

To Your Beat

Now here's something with a more rigorous scientific grounding, the August Top 50 direct market sales list courtesy of Love Manga. Among Tokyopop's new titles are a pretty respectable showing from The Genre That Dare Not Speak Its Name, with Bizenghast, War on Flesh, and Off*Beat (check out the review on MangaLife) making the list.

The New York Times has a feature on manga, with particular focus on shoujo. Good reading.

Gosh, those comic book movies sure are doing well.

September 16, 2005

The Dictionary Game

Uh oh.

The Engine goes into overdrive as Warren Ellis says, "Define OEL. Go." But for the first time that I've seen, the actual Japanese perspective comes into play, courtesy of C.B. Cebulski:
"Komikusu" (the transliteration of "comics") is Japanese for comics. There's a big difference. I've had this conversation a thousand times and argued both sides, from the American and Japanese POV, but the simple fact is, if you ask any Japanese manga reader, writer, artist, editor or publisher, the term "manga" is Japanese for "Japanese comic". Plain and simple.

Trust me, the Japanese are very specific in their comic terminology. Manga means Japanese comic. AmeComi is American Comic. BeDe or Bande Desinee is for anything produced in Europe. Manwha is Korean. Manhua is Chinese. And so on.... They're sticklers for their labels.

Now I've spoken with editors at many of the major Japanese publishers, and at lots of the smaller ones too. They all agree on one thing; this "OEL" boom they hear about coming from the States is a marketing ploy. They don't appreciate it being branded as "manga". So much so that (and I don't want to piss off other fellow comic creators here any more than I already have), the Japanese already have a term for it. What we call "OEL", they're calling "Nissei Comi", which can be translated to mean "second generation" or "fake" comics.


I have three projects coming out with Japanese artists in the States over the next year. I also have two projects I'm working on in Japan with Japanese artists that will be published in Japanese in Japanese gekkan manga in the next year. And do you know what I'm told, even by my Japanese pubishers? "These are not true manga.", and that's simply because I'm involved. But because I understand their way of thinking, because I understand what manga is, I accept it.

Hearing it from Japanese publishers makes me far more willing to accept it than the jingoistic internet rantings of Nipponophiles who hate anything that involves Western businesses dealing with Japanese entertainment.

David @ Love Manga adds his own wise words.
If your ultimate aim in creating these OEL books was to just imitate Manga and get some sort of obscure “acceptance” by Japanese Publishers then I for one would question your motives in the first place. Having, say OEL published in Japan would be a great thrill I guess, but to see it as some form or replacement or betterment then Manga just seems plain silly.

Like I said I’m not a creator so maybe I would feel differently if that was the case, but in my romanticised ideals of what it would be like this doesn’t seem like something to get worked up about.
I do feel that most of the better OEL-ists aren't even concerned about Japan at this point; they just want to make good comics, and if someone wants to point out "Hey! That looks vaguely Japanese!" well, you're free to point that out, but it's not like you get a cookie or anything.

Meanwhile, Queenie still isn't happy with the term. As one semantic issue is quashed, ten more pop up in its place. Can "manga" really be assigned to an artistic style when there are Japanese comics that don't necessarily employ the commonly accepted "manga techniques"? What about countries where the dominant language isn't English? What if the comic itself is neither in English or Japanese originally? What about webcomics? And if the term "OEL" is so problematic, what's the solution?

September 15, 2005

Jump! reports Tohan's Top 10, which isn't too different from what Animania had, really, except for where everything is:
1. Death Note Vol.8
2. Worst Vol.12
3. The Prince of Tennis Vol.30
4. Eyeshield 21 Vol.15
5. Densha Otoko Vol.3
6. Angel Heart Vol.16
7. Cross Game Vol.1
8. Nana Vol.13
9. Baki Vol.28
10. Penguin Kakumei Vol.2

Big big big big news: over at The Engine, Bryan Lee O'Malley whines for an "OEL Jump" sort of anthology, and C.B. Cebulski is all like "Why yes, I'm working on one. SOON."
There's currently a new comic/manga anthology in the planning stages actually. Ideally, it will include short stories from Japanese manga-ka, pro and amateur, as well as an international line-up of comic and OEL artists. All non-superhero, of course. The plan is for an English version to come out in America in late spring 06, with a Japanese version to follow soon thereafter. (Yes, a Japanese publisher is already onboard.) Both editions will hopefully include a survey card where readers can write in and rank their favorites. There will also be a website set up with an online summary card, as well as blogs and forums for the creators worldwide.

I REALLY hope this comes out big.

Being at ground zero for Viz's European invasion, Love Manga has plenty to say on how the European market stands, and also points out Calvin Reid's new comics newsletter, which promises to cover "comics, manga and graphic novel news," which I suppose is just about everything.

Culture Clash 2 is out. Read. Learn. Philosophize.

Franchise-based novels seem to be doing all right.

And from the Japan Times, one of the first English reviews for the NANA movie is out.

September 14, 2005

I shoot my eye beams at people I don't like!

Just win, baby. Love Manga points the way to some manga contests including Tokyopop's Takuhai spamming contest and Broccoli's fanart competition. (Somehow I can see them getting a LOT of Dejikos and Harukas ... )

MangaBlog picks out some of the more interesting points in Hayao Miyazaki's interview with the Guardian ("Take THAT, you subtitling purists!"), along with taking note of Viz's venture into Europe with UK publisher Copyright Licensing Promotions, and fandom getting academic.

And here's Mainichi gawking at the rise of geek culture yet again, with particular focus on women.

September 13, 2005

Worst is best

Rowdy high school punks brawl their way to the top in Japan's Top 10 on the Animania blog. Worst Vol. 12 puts a DMP title on the list for the first time at #1, and syrupy geek romance Densha Otoko makes it to the 4th spot. But of course, you can't forget the mainstays like Eyeshield 21 (#7) and Prince of Tennis (#8).

And ANN corrects our mathematical interpretations by reminding us:
The 40% growth statistic listed for Tokyopop's graphic novel sales in a recent article refers only to sales to the direct market, not sales across the board. Direct Market sales account for less than 20% of North American manga sales.

So I'm still wondering where all the crazy people come from, but Love Manga knows where the smart people go -- to The Engine forums, where a well-informed discussion about manga is taking place.

And somehow, Scott Pilgrim makes the news again as the series will soon be stocked at Barnes and Noble. Wonder if it'll fool the Japanofans?

(As a side note, looks like I'll have to start watching The Engine and linking to it a lot, since anyone who's anyone goes there.)

September 12, 2005

Revenge of the Scott

Mao Inoue plays Tsukushi Makino in the new Boys Over Flowers live-action drama series.

Hot, fresh new solicits from Tokyopop and Del Rey! You already knew most of these titles that were coming out, but now they have dates!

On to more immediate matters, Love Roma just came out and it's David's new favorite thing at Flipped. I hear that it's CLAMP's personal favorite too (yes all four of them), and I definitely got the quirky vibe from what I skimmed in the bookstore. And hey, anything that's compared to Scott Pilgrim is cool in my book.

Speaking of which, I'd like to know what MangaLife had to say about Scott Pilgrim Vol. 2, because my connection keeps getting refused.

And's cool link of the day: get your recommended dose of gay with BLM, the new Boy's Love magazine.

September 11, 2005

Boys Over TV reports an upcoming Boys Over Flowers live-action drama series starting this October. The cast list.

September 9, 2005

Where do you think Densha Otoko goes for his (once or twice a year) haircuts?

Who cares about graphic novel sales figures? Plenty of people. Tokyopop's huge first-quarter surge continues to mystify, and, uh ... HEY KIDS! COMICS!

Love Manga also has the Top 10 bookstore sales for the week, and the most interesting effect is Naruto Vol. 1 surfacing on the list, bolstered by its anime premiere on Cartoon Network this Saturday.

Asahi talks with the actors and filmmakers behind the Chinese live-action Initial D movie. "My God, what are the Japanese people going to think? Chinese people acting in this Japanese manga. Are they going to even want to watch it?" says actor Edison Chen. North American fans can already watch it, thanks to a quick international release.

Today's LOL Japan moment is brought to you by the newly opened maid-themed hair salon.

September 8, 2005

Yostuba and action figures

David and Shawn are all about the new Sgt. Frog figures.

(Please, pleasepleasepleasefortheloveofgod, someone bring Yotsuba&! figures over!)

And wonders: How does manhwa compare to manga and could it ever surpass manga's popularity in N. America? and other things about Korean comics. (Notably, the "Hating Things South Korean" one.)

September 6, 2005

Badass street manga

What's the one thing that can unseat Yotsuba&!? More shounen, of course! This time in the guise of Death Note, says the Japan Top 10 on Animania. Hey, at least it's not a fighting series.

Sheesh, I leave for the weekend and I miss the next stage in Comics Theory plus an entire battleground erupting? Fine then, let's see what's up:

Who the hell resurrected this thread? I thought it stopped like two months ago. Anyway, Brandon is absolutely right about his butchering of musical terminology; you can say whatever you like about how Eastern and Western comics are made, but dude, "Ragtime Jazz" is like saying "manga comics" or "anime cartoons" and the "Symphonic Classical" analogy doesn't even make sense because there are so many ways to write symphonic music -- fluid OR syncopated (consider Stravinsky or Bartok), and even within the Classical period, I'd say that the carefully delineated phrasing of the music in that time was less fluid in than in the Baroque (cf. Rosen, The Classical Style). If you really want to talk about flow, a Baroque concerto might be a better approximation of manga, with its heavy reliance on a unified theme or mood that ebbs and flows through key changes and melodic transformations without ever really coming to a full stop until you get to the end of the movement. I'd explain this more but I'd have to break out the staff paper.
Fanboy Rampage just breaks out the snark.

Love Manga is being a lot more level-headed than I am about this.

And David keeps us on top of things by posting links to all the crazy (and not-so-crazy) people. I have to admire Shawn for taking it straight to one of the internet's biggest strongholds of pro-Japan-ism.

More admiration for Shawn thanks to his post about Sho Murase's ME2 -- with pictures! The art alone has got me hooked.

Has anyone else been noticing Tokyopop's gradual shift into more challenging, less mainstream titles? Of course, they still make crazy money on Fruits Basket and such, but stuff like BECK, BLAME!, Smuggler, and now ME2 suggests another new direction for TP besides OEL. After the ShoPro merger threw every popular manga EVER straight into Viz's hands, TP is now on the hunt for that cool badass street manga that's little known but still damn good. While it's not necessarily "alternative," some of TP's new acquisitions are certainly not the same things they'd have picked up in 2002 or so. Funny how things change, eh?

Now for some actual news:
I hope the guys in the Prince of Tennis live-action movie are hot enough for the yaoi lovers.

I'm glad to see Izumi Matsumoto back in drawing action after six years. I'm sad that I never even knew he was gone. Kimagure Orange Road is shounen romantic comedy done right and still stands as one of the pinnacles of the form, long before the age of harem stupidity. And it STILL hasn't been licensed? C'mon Viz, you've already licensed everything else in Shonen Jump, now do the classics.

You know what else I missed this weekend? The Tokyo premiere of the NANA live-action movie. Oh well, it's not like I was gonna have been there.

September 2, 2005

Leaving again?!

I'll be offline for a few days due to Pacific Media Expo. Be back in blogging action after Tuesday.

September 1, 2005



Yuu Aoi, who will play Hagumi "Hagu-chan" Hanamoto in the live-action Honey and Clover movie. The manga won the 2003 Kodansha Manga Award.

OJL Amecomi? Animania points to where you might find some Batman doujinshi, straight outta Japan, and also explains a little more on how Comiket and the doujinshi system works.

Read good comics. kthxbye.

This includes reading the Steady Beat preview ... you know you want to ... YESSS. DO IT.

Sequential Tart writer Pam Bliss is relatively new to manga, but she takes it on from a unique angle: that of a seasoned minicomics artist. See how this affects her way of thinking about the artform.
One of the problems with Western minis has always been creators' desire to emulate the "real" comics around them and pack the tiny pages with similar panel counts. For every creator who develops a clean, pared down art style that stays comprehensible in tiny spaces, there are a dozen others whose minis never quite escape being either cramped or muddy. A study of some manga, with their open, low panel count layouts can offer a new model for the mini-comics page.

David @ Precur shows some Love for NANA, and while he's at it, asks a very cool question: Is NANA more like shoujo or josei? The ensuing comments provide some interesting insights.

Lyle got to it before I did: Crocodile Caucus is now powered up with cute animal mascots! Damn, now I'm craving the choco koalas too.