Compare and Contrast: Manga vs. American Comics

American comics are largely in the tank – with a few notable exceptions such as these items here*, here*, here,* and here*. Manga is making a killing in the market because of this, outselling American comics by the veritable ton. Given the Japanese writers’ commitment to storycraft, that’s not surprising.

Does this mean the comic book market is saved? No, I do not think so. Manga deserves its place in the sun, and you will never hear me say otherwise. But the fact is that each market is separate and nothing lasts forever. One day, for a wider American audience at least, manga will likely lose its appeal.

We need to step up with our own stories to fill the void. To that end, studying Japanese writers’ work is helpful due to the fact that it reminds us how to tell good stories. Reading and studying our own culture’s fiction will work as well. One doesn’t need to go all the way back to The Aeneid* and The Odyssey* (though if you can, why not?) to learn the job, but that would certainly be of service. Checking out A Princess of Mars* and/or early Marvel comics* (as well as Doc Savage* and The Shadow* comics) will be a good way to remember how to put the “American” back in American entertainment.

In preparation for that I recommend listening to Literature Devil’s video on Comics vs. Manga. He goes into details that are very important and which will be good to memorize for when you study Western canon. East and West are different but the art of storytelling, like mathematics and music, has universal constants. That is why it is a universal language. 😉

Enjoy the video, readers!

Woke American Comics vs Manga

*These are Amazon affiliate links. When you purchase something through them, this author receives a commission from Amazon at no extra charge to you, the buyer.

If you liked this article, friend Caroline Furlong on Facebook or follow her here at Her stories have been published in Cirsova’s Summer Special and Unbound III: Goodbye, Earth, while her poetry appeared in Organic Ink, Vol. 2. She has also had stories published in Planetary Anthologies Luna, Uranus, and Sol. Another story was released in Cirsova Magazine’s Summer Issue in 2020, and she recently had a story published in Storyhack Magazine’s 7th Issue and Cirsova Magazine’s 2021 Summer Issue. Order them today!

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6 thoughts on “Compare and Contrast: Manga vs. American Comics

    • There are several independent comic book writers who want to (and are) telling good stories. One of the writers at DC recently quit after they changed Superman’s motto from “Truth, Justice, and the American Way” to “Truth, Justice, and a Better Tomorrow” as well. The “Big 2” comic companies are dying, slowly but surely, because they want only to destroy. Individual comic book writers, though, are not so uniform in their aims and desires.

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  1. I’ll take Jeffro Johnson’s stance: regress harder. You need to go back to pre-1980 in more forms of entertainment than just games and books. The Thor Power decision affected comics, movies, TV, and other media buy cutting the cultural bonds that informed entertainment. Step into the 40s, 50s and 60s — pre-1968 — to see what was there in comics. It was by no means perfect, but there is more to see in those years than many believe.

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  2. Manga, for the most part, still has some connection to the general marketplace. They have to earn enough money to justify continuing publication, and if they don’t make that money, they don’t get published. It doesn’t hurt that once a manga or light novel series gets popular enough, it gets tied into a well-designed vertical marketing system that quickly ties it into secondary production systems (video games, anime, official hentai, etc, etc, etc), that is always looking for the Next Best Thing.

    The Big Two and the Top Five comic book companies, for the most part, are isolated from market pressures. Since comic book stores buy from distributors, the comic book companies have to sell to the distributors, and the distributors need to fill up boxes, so they need to sell as many issues to the comic book stores as possible. This skews the marketplace badly, and there’s no real market competition in the comic book industry.

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