I was not expecting much of a response from my last post, but I ended up getting some good feedback thanks to Johanna over at Comics Worth Reading responding to what I wrote. I realized I forgot to mention something important in my last post. That being that Deb Aoki’s Manga Blog is the most helpful site I found in trying to find manga to read. I recommend anyone new to manga to check out her site.
I’m finding out I’m not alone in having trouble making the jump from comics to manga. As I have learned the manga that I enjoy falls into the Seinen genre which is geared towards adults much like US comics are now. I believe most anyone who reads popular US comics can relate to the feeling that most of the translated manga is a drastic jump from what we are used to. The common complaint is the art style. That was my view going in and I was surprised to find how diverse manga is artistically.
I’m going to start keeping a list of manga that I believe is well suited for fans that grew up on American comics. It is not meant to be definitive just what I believe to be the easiest transition from comics to manga. I will add more as I find it. I’m going to limit it to more current manga as classic manga like Akira are already well known. The list is in no particular order.
- 20th Centuary Boys by Naoki Urasawa
- Pluto by Naoki Urasawa
- Monster by Naoki Urasawa
- Vagabond by Takehiko Inoue
I have already mentioned Urasawa’s work before. Vagabond is the manga adapation of the novel Musashi. It is a fictionalized retelling of the legendary swordsman Miyamoto Musashi. Inoue’s art is by far the best I have come across in the manga I have seen and read. It is on par with the top artists in American comics. It makes for a very easy jump from American comics to manga. I should warn though that the storytelling is extremely decompressed. One fight can last an entire volume. The art is so beautiful I find I don’t mind how incredibly slow the story is.
Getting away from manga I picked up Warren Ellis’ latest book from Avatar this week, Supergod. I have been looking forward to this book and it lived up to my expectations. Basically various countries around the world build their own superheros of the Doctor Manhattan variety and things of course go bad having these god like beings around.