Wednesday, April 25, 2007

In Defense of: Tom Brevoort and Manga

i'm seeing a lot of posts around the blogoverse regarding Tom Brevoort's column/blog on Manga and, for the most part, people are really having a go at Tom for his remarks. While normally taking pot shots at Marvel is pretty easy these days, I wanted to get the context of what he's saying. Here are the quotes that seem to be getting everyone's panties in a bunch:
I see the rise and spread of manga in this country as additive to the comic book market, rather than directly competing with what we do.... What manga has done is to get a lot more people reading comics. And while they may really only like that one type of comic, at least at the moment, that does open the door to the potential that we could lure some of those readers into checking out what we're doing.
And with that, I completely agree. There is nothing factually wrong with what he's saying, but what is going unsaid is how Marvel and DC will be bending to that Manga reading crowd over the next 20-30 years. Think about the work that was being published coming out of the late 60's: you had a generation fueled by Neal Adams and Jim Steranko that sparked Paul Gulacy and Bill Sienkiewicz and a whole host of others that dominated the direction of art for the next decade.

For the kids now entranced by Manga we'll see the continuation of Manga-fied Spidey as a way to keep the character relevant. Does anyone think that anyone would have published Humberto Ramos 20 years ago? He'd have been relegated to the "never use" slush pile that every editor has sitting in a corner of their crowded office. Things clearly have changed. The kids who did Teen Titans Go! will be looking for that for the next 10 to 20 years.

So, yes Tom, they will become graphically literate and may start to check out what Marvel and DC are doing, but chances are that the "big 2" will have to adapt more than they want to admit to survive and capitalized on those kids.

I think that Tom is getting piled on because he's a Marvel Editor, and he's speaking from that viewpoint. Nothing wrong with that at all, and it should mean something that he's openly speaking about Manga at all, since Marvel and DC had been pointedly ignoring Manga (TokyoPop and the rest) for a number of years. So whatever other stuff you have against Marvel, this acknowledgement shouldn't be one of them.

Tom concludes:
So there's a definite crossover of ideas and approaches going on.
Cool. Good summation. If there is anything that I love, it's that 2007 has more good ideas and more good stuff than we saw 10 years by far. Viva La Good Ideas!

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