UPDATE: Fuck it, I screwed up. I’m redoing the post here
. Meanwhile, Noah’s response
to the original version is here.
Now the old version:
We at HU are having our second round of “theme” posts. First time we talked about our comics discoveries of 2008. This time we’re talking about manga: what is it, why is it, why do I hate it so badly I can’t look at more than a page? “Hate” is a strong term, but it’s true that my brain and eye shut down as soon as I encounter a manga specimen. All that solid-black hair, those pie-shaped googly eyes and triangle mouths (with rounded corners!), the stunted pseudo-children, the skimpy few words stranded in fat balloons. And never anything in view but more black hair, googly eyes, and a lonely sprinkling of words against white space. Page after page, book after book, truckload after truckload. Manga makes me feel claustrophobic.
Mind you, I haven’t read any. I’m starting off the round robin because perfect ignorance and unreasoning dislike provide a striking backdrop for the informed and authoritative. My colleagues will soon be along to provide some intelligent content. In the meantime, I’ll suggest the following: manga, all manga, carries to an extreme the formal trend followed by US mainstream comics over the past few decades, which is to streamline word-and-picture arrangements so that the eye is always pinging forward with as little drag as possible, even if a concomitant of drag might be better dialogue or more detailed drawing. [ Preceding sentence is not clear. To Noah it sounded like I was saying manga was imitating new-style US superhero comics. I just meant the two show the same tendency and manga takes it further. ]
Another observation: All the above, right down to my closing suggestion, places me in the same class as some fellow turning on the radio in 1968 and deciding that Jimi Hendrix, Otis Redding, the Beatles, the Young Rascals, the Four Tops, and the Velvet Underground are all pretty much the same because they have that damn beat and the electrified instruments. So, having set myself up, I now await my education at the hands of those who know better.
UPDATE: Wait a second, is this manga? Maybe I should rewrite. Nah … double down. Time for the big guns.
For example, over on some message board a guy called blackasthenight breaks off from frotting his pimples and declares:
ok now honestly, who has ever seen anyone whoes head, eyes, mouth, ect. is shaped like that? to me this just appears as a lack of willingness to studdy anatomy.
and whats with this gay stuff. half the time i see this crap its two dudes about to get it on. i mean wtf japan? also why do 80% of the dudes look like girls? and all the people with tails and stuff? and extra ears???
Yeah, Japan — wtf?