We’ll end our brief foray into onscreen comics with a legit freebie, the first chapter of Anike Hage‘s Gothic Sports, a new manga from Tokyopop. The premise is really “Why didn’t I think of that?”: Goth kids playing high school sports. Click on the image for a full-sized spread, and note the reason that manga is so immediate and immediately appealing to readers: You get the premise in the very first panel.

“I’ve been dying to transfer into this school for years, and this summer I finally made the cut.”

It’s high school, and goths and jocks don’t go together. You don’t need to read up on Wikipedia to know this is going to be a bumpy road.

(You will need a free registration to read the whole thing.)


  1. Firstly, bloody hell! That’s some nice work. Would have liked to have seen some actual sport, though – I’ve a feeling it’s going to be good.

    Second of all: for why is the comic in the Japanese right to left format? I mean, is that because they expect to sell to Asian territories? And is that why I’ve seen vertically-streched speech bubbles in other OEL manga?

    And is it a verismilitude too far, or are neomangaka REALLY that divorced from the Western tradition?



  2. It’s interesting – I’ve noticed that quite a goodly number of manga establish their premise within a page or two. It can seem as contrived and forced as any Western comic conceit, but certainly seems to serve the purpose of letting the reader know the score instantly.

  3. No – the pages are in the right orientation now. The comic is formatted like an original Japanese comic – reading right to left instead of left to right, and with the spine on the right hand side.

    It’s in the Asian format, which is what I find odd (and which raises the questions above).

    God, Tokyopopples are quick to send friend requests, aren’t they?


  4. Michael, I think the artist in question is female. Writing for a teenage female audience. Which means it would probably have some kind of focus on things teen girls would like. Like say, characters they can relate to, around their age and gender. The art in Gothic Sports is pretty tame, and quite cute. Versus say, the most recent issue of Supergirl.

    I mean what do you expect? Bearded Prospectors?

  5. About the reading direction: What good reason is there to use the western one? From our point of view in Germany, all Manga are in the Japanese reading direction. We have gotten used to that. So when we make Manga ourselves, we make them that way, too. It would be more confusing if it was in the western reading direction because that would make it stand out. It’s also easier to turn pages this way for me as I am left handed. :D

  6. The typical reason would be because… manga is right-to-left because Japanese is right-to-left. If your language is left-to-right, why would you draw your comic backwards? Manhwa, for example, is very clearly manga-influenced, but Korean is left-to-right, so, logically, manhwa is as well.
    I don’t see why drawing it in the Japanese direction would make it any more “manga”. They’re all comics in the end. You can be influenced by manga without trying to somehow be more “authentic”, right? ^^; Reading direction isn’t a stylistic choice manga artists make… they do it because that’s how the language works. So why copy it?

  7. Most artists don’t even think about the direction. They just draw like they are accustomed to.
    In German competitions the right-to-left direction is part of the rules for example. So, if you take part in competitions you have to draw right-to-left, if you want to be published in magazines you have to draw right-to-left….
    Believe me, the reason for this reading direction hasn’t anything to do with the aim of being “authentic”! (;
    As you said, they are all Comics in the end…
    I must confess that I don’t care about directions. It doesn’t have an influence on the content!
    Why changing the habit?

    PS: Sorry for my bad english! >_

  8. I agree. What would be the difference between writing left to right and right to left? The answer is none. Just because of the lay out of it is different to that of other comics doesn’t mean therefore that the comic is better or worse… If the same comic was written out left to right and vice versa would you really be able to tell and say one is better than the other due to apparent “authenticity” I think not.

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