US-German scene comparisons

November 4, 2006

The Goethe Institute site has two articles on “deutsche mangaka”– both in English, which is a rare sight, but very appreciated.

The article about Christina Plaka (author of Yonen Buzz, being released by Tokyopop.de and Tokyopop US) touches upon a key point in the production of “original German manga”…

…[it] involves not only adhering closely to the Japanese aesthetic, but also adopting the authentic reading direction for manga.

I’ve yet to see any of the backlash in the German scene that American authors have to deal with if they even mention wanting to work right-to-left.  This is somewhat confusing, considering the publishers- Tokyopop US is very adament about its global manga being left-to-right, but all of the “home-grown” manga Tokyopop.de has put out so far have been done right to left. This is the same with CarlsenComics and EMA- all global works are in the Japanese reading direction, and the only exceptions I know of come from smaller, indie-publishers (Es war Keinmal, from Schwarzer Turm, etc)… which is almost the opposite of the American scene.
A number of publishers have also published global manga that take place in Japan (In the End, from Tokyopop.de, and Y-Square and Jibun Jishin, both from CarlsenComics), a concept that is openly frowned upon in the US-scene.  Yonen Buzz, often called the first German manga, also takes place in Japan- the series also happens to be the first German work to be brought over to America by Tokyopop.

In an interesting twist, the only German global manga artist to have been published in Japan actually started out there.  The Goethe Institute’s article on Jürgen Seebeck provides his publishing history.

However, his most successful work to date is the two-volume short-story manga Bloody Circus, which was initially published by the Japanese publishing giant Kodansha as an online comic and was published in Germany in 2000.

What makes his work interesting, the article goes on to say, is how he “straddles the reality of life in Europe and Asia… and then link them elegantly together.” Seems like an idea the other German mangaka could take to heart.

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One Response to “US-German scene comparisons”

  1. daria Says:

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