Two nations that love their comic books above any other are America and Japan. It is quite surprising that these two nations have the graphic novel as a common area of interest. The old cultures of the two commercial powerhouses are quite different, but modern Japan has taken many American ideals and customs such as fast food, rock music, fashion, and also the love of the comic book.
In Japan this graphic form of literature is called manga, and in this article we investigate the differences between the likes of D.C Comics and true manga. To narrow our comparison down a little we will be mainly turning our attention to the super-hero versions of manga.
Format & Sales
One of the main differences between American comic than that of the Japanese one is the style of the publication. Most Japanese comics are sold in book format or in some sort of weekly publication, they are almost printed in monochrome and seem like a sort of digest.
Whereas, American comics are a whole magazine of around thirty-two pages devoted to their super-heroes. They are also glossy affairs that are printed in color to grab the reader’s attention.
Mangas also feature a series of books that produce a sort of series. The comic from America does come in a numbered edition, and so are highly desirable to collectors. Both versions are now available on-line and to be honest the Japanese version comes out better on the computer or tablet screen.
One highly interesting fact about manga is that the stories are printed weekly in various magazines, so Japanese readers can read multiple stories in different magazine.
Superheroes and Characters
In Marvel or DC comic books the super-hero is introduced, and their powers and characters never seem to get stronger or develop. Whereas the Japanese super-hero continually evolves and the powers grow and augment.
There was a recent debate over who was stronger, Superman or Goku? The argument raged for years and still was not decided. However, one fact did materialize from the debate and that was there had been many manifestations of Superman over the years, but there had only ever been one Goku.
Perhaps if the two heroes had ever been pitted against each other at the very start, then Superman would have ended up victorious in the super-hero challenge. But modern day versions of these two colorful characters would see Goku come out on top and that is because he has grown in power and strength over the years where Superman’s powers have largely remained the same.
American comic book heroes never seem to die, for instance Captain America was first seen in 1941 and still can be seen today in print and on film. There have been different versions of Captain America and the current manifestation is very different to the original. But the Japanese super-hero will run for as long as the story, then fade and die. Occasionally to reappear in a spin-off version. In part two we continue our comparison of these two popular forms of graphic art.