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Merxamers



Joined: 09 Dec 2013
Posts: 682
PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2015 11:43 am Reply with quote
and suddenly i have like 5 comics i need to read :/ CURSE YOU JASON!!! (jkjk)

PS: Feels like Megatokyo could have been included in the discussion here; do you have any thoughts on it?
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MajorZero



Joined: 29 Jul 2010
Posts: 358
PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2015 11:50 am Reply with quote
Great article. I always wondered why fandom hates OEL manga and especially visual novels not created in Japan. Granted, most of them aren't that good, but same applies to japanese parts of medium as well. If anything we should celebrate diversity because it leads to creative prosperity.

That being said, if I'd drunk one glass of vodka every time someone on this site makes a cheap shots at superhero comic books (and american comic book industry in general) I'd already died from cirrhosis.
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st_owly
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Joined: 20 May 2008
Posts: 5186
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland
PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2015 11:58 am Reply with quote
Does the subscription allow you to access older content as well? I'm interested in subscribing, but I don't really see the point if I'm going to be jumping into stories partway through with no way to get the previous parts.
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Mr Adventure



Joined: 14 Jul 2008
Posts: 1598
PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2015 12:10 pm Reply with quote
My problem with OEL 'manga' has always stemmed, not necessarily from a perception that its 'not Japanese enough' but more because the focus of such works seems to be entirely on the art style. 'Anime/Manga is not an art style' is a common saying when discussing manga/anime with those outside the fandom, but these OEL products never seemed to break out of that stereotype.

To me, what makes manga manga, is the format above all else. The Japanese comic culture is all about serial anthologies, on weekly, fortnightly, and monthly schedules. Where in North America comics are standalone monthlies issues, or graphic novels.

To me there are very very few western comic creators who ever capture the format of manga. Adam Warren being one, Brandon Graham being another. Joe Wight, Ben Dunn, and even Fred Perry too.
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liannesentar



Joined: 21 Mar 2006
Posts: 29
PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2015 12:16 pm Reply with quote
st_owly wrote:
Does the subscription allow you to access older content as well? I'm interested in subscribing, but I don't really see the point if I'm going to be jumping into stories partway through with no way to get the previous parts.


All archived chapters of all the series are free right now, actually. A paying membership gets you:

1.) The newest chapters about a month early (and in a download)

2.) Member Exclusives (a grab-bag of bonus stories, articles, etc. that come out every month): https://sparklermonthly.com/exclusives/

3.) A variety of other bonus downloads, especially for VIPs: https://sparklermonthly.com/shop/free-chapter-download/

4.) A place in the Year 2 Membership Drive with its goals and prizes, since right now we're trying to keep the magazine running for another year: https://sparklermonthly.com/shop/free-chapter-download/

What an incredible article, Jason. Thank you. Anime cry

Signed,
Grateful member of the Sparkler Staff
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st_owly
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Joined: 20 May 2008
Posts: 5186
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland
PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2015 12:29 pm Reply with quote
Thanks for clarifying that Smile I've just signed up for the trial as I'm poor right now, but I'll probably upgrade it once I get my student loan in April.
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leafy sea dragon



Joined: 27 Oct 2009
Posts: 7163
Location: Another Kingdom
PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2015 1:16 pm Reply with quote
MajorZero wrote:
Great article. I always wondered why fandom hates OEL manga and especially visual novels not created in Japan. Granted, most of them aren't that good, but same applies to japanese parts of medium as well. If anything we should celebrate diversity because it leads to creative prosperity.


Part of the reason "OEL manga" annoys me is that its definition is so vague. It stems from Tokyopop calling every kind of comics manga for some reason. They even published a Family Guy manga, whose panels were simply screenshots from the TV show.

Though the other major factor is how some OEL manga authors have a lot of disdain for the American comics scene. While it's died down almost completely by now, there was that rivalry between American comics and manga that I felt didn't need to exist. They're simply two different schools of thought--it's perfectly normal to prefer one over the other, but they're not enemies.

To this day though, I sometimes find webcomics that I can't make sense of--only to find out they read right to left, with no indication of it and everything else being thoroughly not-Japanese. It boggles the mind.

It sounds like Sparkler consists of homages to Japanese manga not just in how they look, but their narrative too, which I also find interesting, as a lot of those OEL manga I've looked at in the 90's and 00's had writing done in a western style (though it's sometimes difficult to pinpoint why) while pretending to be Japanese in its art style and format.
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MajorZero



Joined: 29 Jul 2010
Posts: 358
PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2015 1:54 pm Reply with quote
leafy sea dragon wrote:
Though the other major factor is how some OEL manga authors have a lot of disdain for the American comics scene. While it's died down almost completely by now, there was that rivalry between American comics and manga that I felt didn't need to exist. They're simply two different schools of thought--it's perfectly normal to prefer one over the other, but they're not enemies.

That's funny since logically speaking these authors themselves belong to american scene and it doesn't matter wherever their preferences lie. In that case hate from the people who should've become a pillar for their works probably had sobering impact.
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whiskeyii



Joined: 29 May 2013
Posts: 1716
PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2015 2:03 pm Reply with quote
leafy sea dragon wrote:

Though the other major factor is how some OEL manga authors have a lot of disdain for the American comics scene. While it's died down almost completely by now, there was that rivalry between American comics and manga that I felt didn't need to exist. They're simply two different schools of thought--it's perfectly normal to prefer one over the other, but they're not enemies.


Ugh, I remember those days. And then I picked up my first "comic" and found it wasn't nearly as bad as the manga-only fans had implied, just usually not as dynamic because of a preference for square panels.

Fast forward to today, and you have series like the newest Batgirl, which has a whole issue poking fun (and indulging in) the anime subculture, or even Gotham Academy, which has a a much more free-flowing, almost manga-like page flow. Funny how that all turned out. Anime hyper

I'm happy to see that some OEL survived, though. I always felt that OEL just needed more time to let people get accustomed to the idea, but then the bust happened and it all fell by the wayside. I had a few series that I liked that just flat out stopped when that happened too; such a shame *cough* My Cat Loki *cough*.
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corinthian



Joined: 20 Feb 2009
Posts: 257
PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2015 2:08 pm Reply with quote
I've been a Sparkler VIP subscriber since July or so, and I've never felt like I didn't get my money's worth. Sparkler has awesome comics, stories, and audio in all kinds of genres, with characters that are diverse and compelling. It's the kind of stuff I want to see in comics and writing. (The prose didn't get much mention since it's a comics column, but Dusk in Kalevia and Skyglass are fantastic.)

In addition, I know my money is going towards independent creators and people I know I can support. It's a passion project for them, and you can tell by the work involved and that the staff is basically doing it for free. Some recent changes have made it very friendly to new users, with the archives free and the new comic pages posted daily in a webcomic like format. I really recommend checking it out, and subscribing if you can (and then stop by the forum and gush about it all Wink)
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leafy sea dragon



Joined: 27 Oct 2009
Posts: 7163
Location: Another Kingdom
PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2015 2:14 pm Reply with quote
Just like with manga, you have good American comics and bad American comics, with more bad ones than good. Thanks to the Comics Code Authority though, American comics tended to play out like Saturday morning cartoons (though guys like Mark Waid and Marv Wolfman could tell compelling stories even under the CCA's rules), and it took until recently for them to readjust. They've gotten a lot better since.

It was MBQ when I found a case of OEL manga that was having fun with the concepts of manga rather than trying to ape it, and that was when I started getting more respect for OEL manga. MBQ knew it was western and didn't try to pretend otherwise.

The other big thing is that OEL manga authors are now older on average, and they've had time to mature and step back to really think about the rivalry's pointlessness. I'm sure that rivalry back then was because OEL manga was drawn mostly by young people and read by even younger people.
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katscradle



Joined: 05 Jan 2013
Posts: 469
PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2015 2:28 pm Reply with quote
I love comics. I read all kinds of them. (Yay for a nouvelle manga mention too.) So I have some of the work from artists that have been influenced by Japanese comics too.

I browse Sparkler periodically. However, they haven’t appealed to me much yet. I don’t understand how they frame the work. In fact if feels like they’re reaching backwards sometimes. A larger part of the problem for me is the about page where they write it's for people interested in Female Gaze (whatever that means). Seriously I’m a woman and I don’t understand even though I’ve heard about “gaze” going back to the 90s. Almost every time someone writes or talks about gaze, codifying or gendering aspects in comics I brace myself too. In my experience what the person is really talking about is something they dislike, with a lot of strange things working their way around below the surface. Woe to anyone who might disagree because a nasty mess is going to come your way. If someone isn’t immediately hostile then they regurgitate non-thinking, non-starter phrases from textbooks or somewhere that are clear tautologies. Any question or polite request for explanation of what the person means just results in repetition and is impossible for them to put in their own words. Or there is the use of old, disgusting arguments that have been around for decades and should really be discarded rotted carcasses by now but, instead are somehow given new life and re-animated.

“Manga” can open up the same rabbit hole. I do hope attitudes have softened as time has gone on though. When I was in school there was a clear prejudice against drawing anything with an influence from Japanese pop culture. One guy I knew was the victim of a very public, very harsh lecture from the instructor for submitting a project that was too evocative of anime/manga. He was incredibly lucky he didn’t fail for it. The instructor made it clear she wanted to do that to him but, the parameters of the project hadn’t specifically forbid it. So the people who keep it up have to really love what they do. There is way too much unnecessary grief otherwise.


whiskeyii wrote:
I had a few series that I liked that just flat out stopped when that happened too; such a shame *cough* My Cat Loki *cough*.


One of my favourites! Anime cry
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MajorZero



Joined: 29 Jul 2010
Posts: 358
PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2015 2:55 pm Reply with quote
katscradle wrote:
When I was in school there was a clear prejudice against drawing anything with an influence from Japanese pop culture. One guy I knew was the victim of a very public, very harsh lecture from the instructor for submitting a project that was too evocative of anime/manga. He was incredibly lucky he didn’t fail for it. The instructor made it clear she wanted to do that to him but, the parameters of the project hadn’t specifically forbid it. So the people who keep it up have to really love what they do. There is way too much unnecessary grief otherwise.

I worked at college of design for two years and it was pretty much the same there. Professors despised manga style (if there's such a thing) because they thought it lacks details, uniqueness, depth, human anatomy and overall just very basic and generic. I thought that was overreaction to be honest, but then I saw that half of their students only capable of drawing in that style, so, I guess it's a little bit more understandable for me now.
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laceblade



Joined: 22 Jul 2010
Posts: 51
Location: Wisconsin
PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2015 3:45 pm Reply with quote
I just started a subscription to Sparkler about a month ago, and I've really been loving it. Every time I read a new title from start to its current status I first feel sad because whatever I choose next couldn't possibly be as good - BUT IT ALWAYS IS.

There's some great content on the site in its own sake, and I think another strength is the diversity of the characters. Some of the titles feel like they were made specifically for me - I was a little excited when I signed up, but I hadn't expected enjoying it half as much as I do.
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Ashen Phoenix



Joined: 21 Jun 2006
Posts: 2589
PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2015 3:55 pm Reply with quote
Merxamers wrote:
and suddenly i have like 5 comics i need to read :/ CURSE YOU JASON!!! (jkjk)

PS: Feels like Megatokyo could have been included in the discussion here; do you have any thoughts on it?

Same here. Some of these comics I've been aware of, especially Off*Beat.
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