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What's your favorite manga and what's your favorite comics? And now say which one of them do you love more?
I recently finished Watchmen and i was awestruck. My favorite manga is probably watashitachi no ....something(i've forgotten the whole name but i think you get it)...or something by the mangaka of Freesia. I remember getting this same awestruck feeling when i read them too...but from the point of view of criticism, i think Watchmen is indeed superior to them.
I'm not that well versed in either manga or comics(graphic novels), but i think that the general notion of manga being of better quality than comics is probably wrong. perhaps the popular/mainstream mangas are better than popular/mainstream comics...but when it comes to judging which of these genre have produced the best sequential art/literature...i wonder if the mangaverse truly have the answer to the likes of Watchmen/Sandman.
What do you mean by the best sequential art/literature?
Also, American comics and Japanese comics (manga) are different all the way down to structure, at least as far as the mainstream ones go. In comics, they kind of just throw the characters into their world without much reason, and just have them do whatever. There's no real end goal for these people. In manga, it's pretty much the opposite. You rarely come across a main character that doesn't have some kind of goal in mind, or some kind of purpose he has to fulfill, that, when completed, means the end of the manga.
So if you're going to compare them, you're very limited on what you can do. Artwork and how each comic tell a story seem are the first things I can think of.
A lot depends on what is being compared to manga. Like Zat said, the most recognizable American comics (Marvel and DC) are deeply unsophisticated super hero comics. But the American Graphic Novel market includes many titles that are comparable to the most sophisticated of seinen. The same can be said for Bandes Dessinées (Franco-Belgian comics), which have a long history of complicated story telling.
The manga market is littered with deeply sophisticated, literary, well written titles. They can be found in every genre and all demographics. Shingeki no Kyoshin comes to mind as a very intelligent shounen-action with more to say about the world than ambition - friendship - achievement. Shingeki is a complex, often difficult story about trying to survive in a cruel, often uncaring world, where danger is not always something with a name and face that can be confronted. There are almost to many subtext rich, well written manga to list. Rather than phrase it as a competition I would say that Manga, Bandes Dessinées, and Graphic Novels all offer many well written titles for sophisticated readers, assuming one is willing to take the time to look.
Well I wouldn't call Marvel and DC deeply unsophisticated. They're extremely fleshed out, but in their own way. They're just don't go "deep" with their main character(s) as in manga.
About the mainstream american superhero comics being unsophiscticated with no end...i think they are meant to be read as independent stories about a superhero. for example, Batman: Year One or Batman: Killing Joke are wonderful stories by their own right. One can't compare the whole of Batman to Naruto/One Piece....since there is no 'whole of Batman' really.
However i'm not asking to compare between the whole genres of manga and comics here. i think that has been done before. what i'm asking is which genre has produced the single best work of sequential work in your opinion. Like if you think Berserk is the best sequential art ever,then your answer would manga. if you think its watchmen(i admit that i'm very much tempted to think so) then it would be comics. if you think its Asterix in Egypt(Sorry can't find any better example in Franco-belgian comics since all i've read there is tintin and asterix...which are great btw)...then it would be Bandes Dessinées (how do i pronounce this Kait?).
Hopefully that answers this question Kaiten posed(which i understand that my OP probably didn't make clear): what is being compared between the genres here? nothing but the pinnacles of what they produced,in your opinion, respectively.
I think there are a lot of pros and cons to each.
Pro - Better artwork. Comics use teams of artists and writers which I think just brings more talent to the series and I think becomes very noticeable when you look at stuff like backgrounds and character detail. Plus, they are in color.
Pro - They try and fight against archetypical character flow, this seems funny to say about superhero comics but it's true. Modern comics writers are very aware that all superheros are rooted in archetypes and spend extraordinary amounts of effort to try and show an audience "Hey, this character is not just another hero he's a person."; and the same thing applies to villains, heroines, etc..
Con- Immortality. I think the central superhero comics Batman, Superman, Spiderman, etc are all shackled by a sense of "we can't change anything major" because there is a sense that the status quo must be maintained and that hamstrings a lot of the storytelling. While there are series that have more natural flow to their plots it seems like those are usually trying to build up that sense of immortality that the big never-ending series have.
Con - A tendency to rely on time travel, alternate universes, clones, and other stupid plot devices to try to overcome the restrictions of having so many things they aren't really allowed to change in their narratives.
Pro - Imagination. Characters, plots, and settings all tend to be spectacularly imaginative in manga. Stuff like Gintama or Beelzebub or One Peice just doesn't exist in conventional comics.
Pro - Better action. You just don't see the kind well fleshed out battle scenes in comics that you see in manga. A battle spanning 2 chapters is completely unimaginable in comics but in action oriented manga it's almost standard.
Pro - Characters are more expressive. Manga is a lot more willing to break from realism than comics are. The classic "vein sticking out in the forehead to show anger"( ) is an perfect example, abandoning realism in favor of conveying emotion; and it's that sort of thing that I think makes manga much more successful at doing that.
Con - Manga too often embraces archetypical character flow. It's the opposite of comics. Manga writers will often go out of their way to show the audience that "This character is not just another person, he's a hero!". Which makes characters a lot simpler, and I consider "simple" to typically be a bad thing where characters are concerned.
Con - Odd plot structure. The almost week-to-week nature of manga means that mangaka's sometimes have only the vaguest of ideas where their plots are going. This "make it up as you go" writing style can often result in them writing themselves into corners and being forced to use silly plot devices to move past it.
Con - No color. This isn't a huge deal but it does matter.
Overall I'd say I like Manga more because I believe creativity and emotional expressiveness are two of the most important aspects of storytelling, but both have their appeal.
As for favorites I think I would go with.. Beelzebub for Manga and Wolverine and the X-Men for comics; and I can't pick a favorite among they 2 of them, they are too different.
Last edited by Jammin; February 12, 2012 at 01:54 PM.
Manga : Berserk
Comics : uuuh. The Walking Dead ? Or Batman (all series included : Batman, Detective Comics etc).
Well actually, it's easier to compare Berserk to The Walking Dead than to Batman. In any case they are even. The thing is, with The Walking Dead, I'm not really updated, didn't have the opportunity to read further. I read the comics until Rick and co found "finally" an "open" well secured little community.
I think they're even, for now. (Batman is not included in the comparison, it's different).
I think people are forgetting that there are different writers who work on the superhero comics: you can have a terribly written Batman comic, but then at the same time you have something brilliant as Arkham Asylum. It's not the same as manga where there is usually one mangaka for one series only.
My favourite comic has to be Sandman, and I had Dream and Death as my signature a while ago. Part of the reason is my love for Neil Gaiman, and the other reason is because of the numerous references to mythology, history and even Shakespeare. I notice that a lot of manga tend to shy away from outside references, and it's a shame because it would help enrich one's reading experience by exploring outside the box.
I didn't forget that either but I didn't mention it because since it's both a pro and a con so it kinda evens out IMO. Sometimes a great writer can improve a series, such as Jonathan Hickman with the Fantastic Four, but a bad writer can absolutely trash it and then the series usually spends a long time trying to figure out a way to repair the damage; it happens to every series that cycles authors eventually.
Editorial decisions are the same way. Since authors often times don't own their characters, like Mangaka's do, the editors can force them to do things whether they want to or not. Like the whole "One More Day" business with Spiderman, any Spiderman fan will tell you that was atrocious. But on the other hand the editorial decision to split the X-Men, who had far to many members anyway turned out to be a great one. So there is good and bad that comes with that.
Last edited by Jammin; May 06, 2012 at 11:31 PM.
Someone told me that comics, american superhero comics, have to be taken as mythology of our time, and i agree. There is no one writer, there are hundreds of contradictions and retcons, but that doesn't stop it from producing great sagas from time to time. Hence i asked not to consider the whole of a superhero comics as one single work. Its not possible, neither logical to do so. A manga/graphic novel on the other hand are well defined single work of literature and should be taken as such.
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@Asarii Sandman is a very good work. I never got the chance to finish it...so i dunno how good it exactly is, but as far as i'd read, its was great. However i do wonder if it can best Gaiman's novel The american gods(which you must have read since you are a gaiman fan). My personal opinion is The Watchman is equal or better than The American Gods, though its very difficult to compare between the two.
I'm not really knowledgeable in super hero comics so I won't argue about their qualities. But since I'm French, I have to advertise Franco Belge Bande dessinée. If France is the second market for manga it's because we have a very strong comic culture here. Like Kaiten said, Bande dessinée doesn't have to be ashamed in term of good stories and good authors (cf some threads I started in the international comics forum).
One of the greatest point I see in Bande dessinée is the diversity of art. A lot of authors have taken liberties with the traditional ligne claire (Tintin is the most famous example of what ligne claire is). In manga, art is so standardized that when an author tries to be original he is labelled as 'bad art'. Readers should really be more curious.
As for manga, I can't deny that the long series allows to make great character development. Also the page disposition and the sfx allows to make great action scene that are even copied now by western authors. And I must admit that the weekly serialisation is really addictive, having to wait years for your next album of bande dessinée is really hard.