By FoxxFireArt 47 Comments
Could Comic Vine Use a Staff Manga Reviewer?
Manga are never really ever covered or reviewed on Comic Vine, but I've been sort of pleasantly surprised by how often the topic has been brought up in questions to the weekly podcast. During the Big Live Show, I was in the Comic Vine chat, and I enjoyed talking with the users about manga. It certainly means people are curious. I don't mean to make this sound as if I'm registering any sort of complaint that these series aren't being covered at all. I adore the work done by the Comic Vine staff. It would be unreasonable to think they have the time to jump into the deep end of these series, along with all their regular review work. I just wish to pose the question to the community or any staff that may read this. Could Comic Vine Use a Staff Manga Reviewer?
I originally never thought much about the idea of someone on the Comic Vine staff reviewing manga series, given they had Anime Vice for that. But now the sites are no longer associated -- in the business sense. Though, even when Anime Vice was a member of the Whiskey Media family and had in house staff. These staff writers hardly ever reviewed many manga. In fact, it wasn't until shortly before they left that they had mentioned in podcasts that they were just beginning to read series such as NARUTO and ONE PIECE. That was kind of a big shock to me. These are two of the biggest manga series running, and they admittedly never read them or reported on them. Could you image if Comic Vine had been run by staff who had never read BATMAN, X-MEN, or SPIDER-MAN before joining? When the former AV staff did review a manga, they'd cover the first volume then never return to the series. When Tom Pinchuk covered the AKIRA manga over on AV a few months back. He covered the entire series for review. I thought that was a great way to do it.
Don't underestimate the growth of manga reading in America or the rest of the world. Are there comics from different nations that have as large a footing in America? When I was younger, I would often see comics in the news stands of the supermarkets -- though they were often weeks out of date. Now, I go to the store and see no comics, but I often see the US edition of SHONEN JUMP or the latest volumes of NARUTO. My local book store has several bookcases filled with various manga, and it seems to grow with the passing months. The American publisher VIZ made a concerted effort to increase several of their publications to be mere months behind the Japanese releases.
People in the Western world often draw a line between manga and comics, but manga are just comics from Japan. The only real difference is the language they're originally written in. If you look on the Japanese Amazon website, all manga are categorized as コミック (Komikku). So, why do we separate the two here? Would we classify comics from France or Mexico as something so different? Isn't BATMAN still a comic when it's translated and published in Japanese? Manga and comics share a similar history in their entomology. I remember my grandmother seeing me reading comics as a kid and being confused as she'd call them "funny books". Things weren't very funny in X-MEN, at the time. That's becasue some of the earliest comics were intended for printing humorous comic strips. Manga are as old in Japan as the 18th century, and the literal translation of the kanji that make up the word means "whimsical drawings". I never subscribed to the sense of tribalism that I'd see. That if you were into comics you couldn't be into manga. I'm well into both and proud of that.
Even on the chance that this could actually ever happen, this reviewer should have some history in the series they'd be covering. The way Comic Vine has always hired comic lovers to review them. It would also be to cover some of the largest series, and be reviews of the official U.S. releases. Remember that Comic Vine doesn't cover every comic that comes out in the week. They focus on the biggest titles and the odd rarity. Which I think is a perfect balance. Manga volumes, as they're published in the US are often done months apart. Easily, the biggest series in the US right now are NARUTO, BLEACH, and ONE PIECE. Being familiar with all these series histories is no easy task. They're all rather large. Even over on Anime Vice, I think I'm one of the only real active users that has read up to date on all three.
I've written several manga reviews on AV, but I've been considering bringing those to CV. I've already added two of my more recent reviews, and I plan to add more when I have a bit more time.
So, let me pose the question to you all. Would you like to see some official staff reviews of a few manga series every few months on Comic Vine? Are there any series that you'd like to learn about?