Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Another newspaper discovers manga

The Waterbury (Conn.) Republican-American -- where I worked right out of college -- takes note of the manga phenomenon and the young female readers who are fueling it:
Doubters as to the power of manga are invited to visit Barnes and Noble at Brass Mill Center. You'll know you've arrived when you find yourself stumbling over teens prone on the floor beside the shelves, browsing through the titles. Here, two standing displays, packed with books from Japan's two main imprints (Viz and Tokyopop), lean against two full bays with nearly 800 different Manga titles, dwarfing the rest of the comics section (yes, including Spiderman) the way Godzilla dwarfed Tokyo's skyline.
But one local retailer, Craig Ferguson of Legends of Superheros (no "E"?), is hesitant to embrace manga, apparently because of limited shelf space:
"In the U.S. the perception is still out there that comic books are for kids, even if that's not necessarily true," said Ferguson, whose shop steers mostly clear of manga for the simple reason that he doesn't have the space to do the genre justice. "You can't do manga halfway or you'll lose your shirt. You need to develop a critical mass of it so you get a constant draw of customers and a revenue stream flowing. I'd need another entire store just to get started. That's why when people ask for manga here, I send them to Barnes & Noble or the video shops for Japanese anime [animated film and cartoons]."
My favorite part of the article, though, is the headline -- "Your girls are eating up manga" -- which, for some reason, I read in a tone akin to "Your dog pooped in my yard."