While the online manga world continues to fret about whether manga will ever grow up, Chris Butcher spots some evidence in TIME Magazine:

Meanwhile, Time Magazine is running an article on the guilty pleasures of famous authors. #1? Why it’s Pulitzer Prize winner Junot Diaz talking about his love of Naoki Urasawa’s MONSTER:

“Urasawa is a national treasure in Japan, and if you ain’t afraid of picture books, you’ll see why.” – Junot Diaz, Time.com

Maybe there’s some hope that adult manga fiction will cross over into the mainstream after all, eh?

Only if you consider Junot Diaz “Mainstream.” Like, he’s a well-respected author and all but he’s no A-Rod, if you take my meaning.

Our prediction? Japanese literary manga will continue to be a small market for the artistically adventurous, but it will never go away.

Related: Butcher reprints an interview with Taiyo Matsumoto, of TEKKON KINKREET fame.


  1. It would be nice to think that the adult American reading public will magically glom onto the manga format. That wont happen. Instead, the current generation of readership will mature and, if the manga pubs were paying attention, they would bring in titles to match the new interests. Some of them already are moving in this direction…

  2. Sure, Junot Diaz doesn’t have “mainstream” fame like A-Rod; not many writers do. But he does have a Pulitizer, a National Book Critics Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and lots of other cred among people who read Literature with a capital L. If I were an author, I know who I’d want a pull-quote from!

  3. Junot is the shit, and an incredibly nice guy to boot. I got to have lunch with him and introduce him at a talk last fall, and he’s (as you might guess from his work and reading interviews with him) supremely astute about all topics— and knows his comics and manga :) Would you expect anything less from a guy that also reviewed GTAIV for the wall street journal and used a Galactus quote for his novel’s epigraph?

    I remember informally him mentioning that he has been to Japan a few times to visit friends and was into manga… Doesn’t Urasawa makes sense as the choice for Pulitzer prize winning manga readers? Oh, and surely Pluto will cement this high-falutin’ reputation Urasawa is cementing.

  4. I wish that American manga publishers would be a little more adventurous. Now that manga has reached a broader audience then ever before, I hope that we’ll see at least a little bit more arty manga. I would love to see a new anthology magazine, like Viz’s Pulp. Also, I hope that Vertical starts looking at authors beside Tezuka.

    Luckily, I speak French, so I have access to the massive amount of arty manga that’s been published in France…

  5. Manga publishers have been quite adventurous in trying to introduce more mature manga variety, but sales are usually abysmal such that retailers will seldom stock the books. Monster, Vagabond (one of Japan’s most critically-praised modern manga) and pretty much anything Josei sell at such low numbers, that it’s only out of obligation an altruism that they keep going. Vertical and D&Q’s manga are incredible, but they’re operating in a different sphere than manga publishers — different margins, different audiences. If only comics blogosphere buzz would translate into actual manga sales, the marketplace would be much more diverse.

  6. Whether manga will grow up? There are specific genres of manga made for men and women of a certain age. I think the specific question is if the tastes of American manga readers will grow up.

  7. After reading his novel, and being a Dominican geek myself, I’m surprised anyone not my kind understood so many obscure pop culture references in Spanglish. Dominican geek power! (but why did you have spoil the ending of Watchmen to those who haven’t read it, Junot?)