Kurt Hassler’s decisions over the last few years set a tone for book stores across the US as manga began to expand from its traditions mainly in comic shops. There was a time before TP blew up where shonen, seinen and ero-manga was practically all you could find in the recesses of a handful of comic shops across this land. Eventually a manga revolution took hold and with it came shojo and OEL along with the many other pieces of the manga market. Shelf space in Borders grew with the start of the TOKYOPOP led Manga Revolution but the floodgates seemed to have been controlled since then. And over the last few years despite lack of growth on the floors, the number of books and types of books expanded greatly. Certain books could not be shelved no matter what. Eventually certain unwritten rules were devised – parental advisory notices, shrink-wrapping, etc. Issues with editing, with placement and the such were topics of conversation I have had with people across the board stemming from Border’s clout. So even though most manga readers have very little connection with the distribution aspect of manga, as the market began to expand, taking in more books outside of Japan and even outside of sequential art, what Hassler would or would not buy became a serious deal.
(We talked to several people over the weekend about Hassler’s move, and the consensus is that it will have a very big effect indeed — opinion was entirely evenly divaded as to whether the effect will be for better or worse.)
UPDATED: More Hassler links at Precocious Curmudgeon.
§ Advertising Age looks at the burgeoning world of webcomics, vis a vis SHOOTING WAR:
The growing mandate to create culture-spanning content and a new generation for whom video games will replace “traditional” reading means the cheap, accessible comic is set to become a bigger player, offline and online.
The burgeoning online comics world produced a bona fide sensation recently with “Shooting War,” a graphic serial with a most topical, if uneasy, storyline: the war in Iraq and the war on terror.
§ The Chicago Tribunelooks at contemporary war comics:
Visions of mutilated dead soldiers appear to a young recruit in boot camp. Bombs rain down on Baghdad, setting loose its zoo’s inhabitants. Or — most chilling of all — two hijacked passenger planes explode into their twin targets one fateful September morning, announcing a frightening new world order to a heretofore ignorant citizenry.
Each of these stunning visuals can be found on bookshelves and spinner racks this autumn, as graphic novels and comic books rediscover the power of war stories. “The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation” (published by Hill and Wang) led the pack in September, translating the bipartisan 9/11 Commission’s text into 128 illustrated pages. Soon thereafter, Vertigo Comics released two powerful works: “Pride of Baghdad” is a gorgeous graphic novel that traces the fate of four lions in Iraq’s capital after a U.S. bombing raid frees them from their cages; and “The Other Side,” a five-issue monthly miniseries (the second issue comes out Nov. 1), takes an unconventional look at another controversial conflict, the Vietnam War.
§ Sexy fantasy heroines not welcome here.One brave Canadian’s quest to buy LOST GIRLS (which is banned in Canadan, pending a the outcome of a Customs dispute.)
Ordinarily, comic books sex = one happy 12-year-old. Lately in Toronto, however, it’s also meant controversy, backpedalling, and more than a bit of legal trouble.
The comic book (ahem, “graphic novel”) in question is called Lost Girls, and it’s the latest work by a writer whom many consider to be the finest in the field: Alan Moore. He gave us Watchmen, V for Vendetta, From Hell, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and many other brilliant works of comic art that have been butchered into piss-poor Hollywood movies.