Gothic Sports – Publishers Weekly

April 12, 2007

Looks like the new preview of Gothic Sports caught the attention of some of the big bloggers! You can find mention of it at Publishers Weekly’s The Beat. While it does get some pretty good feedback, the question of format is immediately brought up, to no great surprise. “Global manga” tends to be (severely!) frowned upon in the US when they go so far as being written in the Japanese reading direction.

Interestingly, in interviews we’ve read and taken part in in the past, all signs point to the reading direction being primarily the choice of the artist, not the publisher. Some works, like those which ran in Daisuki alongside Japanese series, and possibly Chibi, may need to be consistent in the reading direction, but Tokyopop Germany lets their artists decide (as is seen in Evergrey and Yaru, which are both left-to-right). All books put out by Tokyopop USA, on the other hand, must be in Western reading direction.


4 Responses to “Gothic Sports – Publishers Weekly”

  1. Hello!

    No frowns! No frowns! Just questions!

    (also British)

    Seriously, though, I suspected that the reading direction would be up to the artist – they have to spend all that time drawing the thing, after all. The question is, why make that particular choice? I mean, in general, as well as in the specific case of Gothic Sports?

    Is it just that artists that grow up reading imported/translated manga are naturally inclined to tell stories in that orientation?

    (I want to say “imitate” that format, but I wouldn’t want people to think I was denigrating their obvious talents)

    Is it an attempt at making the work more palatable to readers in Asia?

    Or is it a conscious separation between “Manga” (R-L) and “Comics” (L-R)? An attempt at, or devotion to “authenticity,” when coupled with the use of other stylistic effects (SD, idiosyncratic emotional indicators, etc.)?

    Are there examples of storytellers making comics that flow in both/either directions? Changing orientation from project to project?

    I mean, it takes effort to read in that direction – at least at first. I would imagine that it would take far more effort to CREATE in that direction, as well.

    I just find the whole thing fascinating. No judgements, no aspersions, just Love Of Comics.


  2. elae Says:

    No worries, it wasn’t directed only at your comment! The “debate” about global manga’s reading direction has raged for a while now, with the general conclusion in the US scene that while drawing in styles influenced by manga is, of course, fine, going so far as to have it read right to left is rather pointless. Hence I wasn’t too surprised that it was brought up.

    It’s definitely not oriented at possible Asian readers, I can assure you of that– these aren’t created to be marketed in Japan. On that note, manhwa (Korean comics) are left-to-right. Quite logically, as that’s the way Korean itself reads.

    The German scene never really had the explosive debate… it’s just sort of accepted that “manga reads right-to-left, so if I want to draw manga, mine should too.” I’m not much of a fan of it personally (you can be influenced by something without forcing yourself to draw backwards), but I don’t see it changing in Germany anytime soon.

  3. I hadn’t realised that about manhwa – I picked up HARD BOILED ANGEL ages ago, but ended up buying something else.

    I do think it can be a step too far, a lot of the time. I mean, it’s up to the creator, obviously, but I think I’d be more inclined to cast the net the widest for the original audience, if that makes sense. The R-L orientation has to put off a LOT of potential readers.

    Anyway. Most informative. Thanks!


  4. Mary Says:

    We signed around the same time Nike did. Joachim Kaps said we had free rein as to the reading direction. We chose left to right well, because it comes natural to us. Taking a professional stand, it would seem foolish to try something new while working towards meeting deadlines…our first commitment is to the publisher and the reader.

    Some day we may try the right to left thing, perhaps on a short story and only for the purpose of challenging the conditioning! David and I are truly inspired by many artists Mary Blair, Gustav Tenggren, Milo Manara, Bill Tytla, Moebius, Cosey, Rumiko Takahashi, Frank Frazetta (friend of dad) Paul Chadwick, Osamu Tezuka (hey, first name first, I am Western)Edvard Munch and I could go on and on…we are not copying or imitating anyone else but in a world with endless amounts of brilliant and inspiring art, how can it not influence our past present and future works?

    You are right about the German scene, they don’t get worked up over things like terminology, OGL, OEL,OFL…or the direction of story telling in a book. It’s quite refreshing to just talk to the creators and readers about story and art!

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