Predictably, the demise of SHOJO BEAT, Viz’s girl-focused magazine of serialized manga, is being discussed far and wide:
The strange thing is though, that manga as a whole, is a comic sold to women (at least in your major book retailers). Shojo Beat is the heart of the girl’s comics movement, a collection of the “normal” girly magazine stuff with comics specifically written to be enjoyed by girls. And, when most of your bookstore market is the young female audience (who doesn’t have Twilight to distract them this summer), it seems like an inopportune time to cancel the anthology. More appropriately, it would seem, now is the time to give the anthology more press, more promotions, and try to tie it into product lines and get it into the hands of its chosen audience.
In contrast, Shonen Jump has received a lot of tie-ins with other products, giving it some cover recognition in stores, with its Yu-Gi-Oh! cards and other promotions. It also has Saturday morning cartoons to back it up, giving it more eye appeal to the younger crowd. Can we say that for Shojo Beat? Did it ever really get its chance to shine? Or was it more of a background player to the antics of Naruto and his other shonen buddies?
More importantly, Shojo Beat was the kind of magazine that I wish had been available to me as a teen, not only for its great stories, but also for its funky, DIY vibe. Shojo Beat was one of the few teen rags that didn’t read like Cosmo, Jr. or Vogue High; its how-to articles were practical, its fashion column featured clothing priced under $75 (a real rarity, as any devotee of Elle, Vogue, or Seventeen will tell you), and its stories focused on the inner lives of girls, not just their shopping and grooming habits. Even their contests demanded more of readers than simply sending a postcard, as girls were asked to compose poems, draw pictures, and write essays, activities that other teen magazines stopped encouraging years ago.
So, it is with great sadness that I bid farewell to Shojo Beat. I never regretted reading any of it’s titles even if not all of them thrilled me. The magazine opened me up to a whole new world of manga that I probably wouldn’t have taken a chance on before. So thanks Shojo Beat for all the girly stuff you brought into my life. You will be sorely missed.
AND readers also sound off in the forum. All of these links shamelessly stolen from Brigid. Actually that last link contains news of other magazine shutdowns in Japan and in general, weakness in the paper subscription-based model.
Indeed, we weren’t going to comment on this story since there is surely a lot of business modeling that we’re not aware of; however, a recurring element from several of the various commentators LEAPED OUT at us like a scary, hungry grizzly bear, like this from Comicsgirl:
• It wasn’t a magazine I read or bought regularly, but I still liked it and I’ll be sorry to see it go.
• This disappoints me for a number of reasons, which I’ll get to in a moment, but I think it’s safe to say that overall this is fairly disheartening, especially for anyone that had subscribed to the magazine. I cannot say that I was one of those people, but it’s akin to when Newtype USA was canceled; something you enjoyed every month is now missing.
•Though I was never a regular subscriber, I’m sad to see Shojo Beat get the axe.
Do you see a pattern here? Like, everyone liked it but nobody paid for it? Slight problem. Or…back to this again. There are doubtless many reasons for SHOJO BEAT’s demise based on difficulties selling certain kids of material, but it shouldn’t be forgotten that it’s just a horrific time for magazine publishing in general out there.