Chuck Dixon has literally written thousands of American comics, and on his YouTube Show Ask Chuck Dixon he received the following question: “What is your theory/thoughts on why Manga is wiping the floor with American comics?”
The question arrives at 20:26 in the video, and Dixon chuckles while he reads it. Then he goes on to give a detailed answer.
“It’s not too hard to figure out, really,” he said. “There’s a lot of dedication, passion, and craft in manga comics. And that’s missing, almost entirely, from the Big Two. Marvel and DC still run the store here. They still are the market leaders. And unfortunately, there is no variety there. There’s nothing really different. There’s not something for everybody the way there is in manga.”
He went on, “It’s not hard to see. The artwork is attractive. It’s different. It’s engaging. It’s interesting. It’s varied. So there’s a lot of reasons to like manga. And not a whole lot of reasons to like what’s out now. Because what’s out now, for the Big Two, is, for the most part, poorly crafted. There’s a few exceptions, but for the most part, it’s poorly crafted, poorly conceived, there’s an obvious political agenda to everything, and there’s no variety.”
“I mean, in Japanese manga there’s golf comics. There’s not one comic about golf. There’s multiple [manga] about golf. And I’ve made reference on these videos to one of my favorite manga, which is about fishing. It’s just about fishing. It’s not about vampires fishing on another planet or witches fishing or fishing after a zombie apocalypse. This is about guys fishing. Surf casting and whatever. Fishing from boats, fishing on the shore, fishing from the banks of rivers, and the stories are fascinating, and beautifully drawn, and beautifully realized.
“But here, what do we get? We get superheroes and poorly done superheroes. There really isn’t anything else at the mainstream companies. It’s superheroes, superheroes, superheroes. And they are all avatars for the writer’s political agenda. And they’re kind of tiresome. They’re not particularly well drawn. They’re not particularly well-realized.
“Why, why would you want to read this crap if you had a choice of reading a genre that you prefer, be it horror, or mystery, or espionage, or golf? When there’s only one flavor in American comics, of course Japanese comics are going to win the day.”
He went on, “The biggest problem here is that all I see American comic book creators, the people in the mainstream do, is complain about manga. Well, why don’t you learn from manga? Why don’t you look at what manga is doing and do that? And I don’t mean draw people with huge eyes and lots of speed lines. Do more varied stories, do more complex stories. Put more effort into the artwork. Put more effort into the craft.”
While he thinks comic book writers ought to look toward manga, he doesn’t mean just copy it. “If they try to copy it just like they did in the 90s here in the United States, they’ll just get it all wrong. They don’t know what they’re doing. They have no interest. They’re just complain about it, as if that’s going to get them any more readers. . . I don’t see the mainstream, the Big Two ever catching up,” he said.
Source: Ask Chuck Dixon #65
Danica Davidson is the author of the bestselling Manga Art for Beginners with artist Melanie Westin, and its sequel, Manga Art for Intermediates, with professional Japanese mangaka Rena Saiya. Check out her other comics and books at www.danicadavidson.com.