American newspapers are planning to carry manga-style comics early next year. Without getting into a big fight over what constitutes manga, this is more evidence of the popularity of manga in the U.S. now and the need for newspapers to avoid extinction as their average reader age has reached 53 an continues to rise.
The real question is not whether or not the Japanese manga influenced American creations are manga or not. The real question is whether the very vocal conservative body of Americans will allow the kind of different, often deep or dark stories that characterize a lot of manga, to live in U.S. newspapers. One of the things I love about manga is wide breadth of subject matter and styles. Anything can be in manga, from big eyed, super cute, magical girls, to hardcore, kick-ass, gonna be the greatest high school teacher ever, thugs! Can Middle America handle this? And don’t get me started on shonen ai!
I can’t wait to see how this all turns out. If they carry good stories that fans of manga will appreciate, then they will see daily paper sales go up. If they water things down then they could actually crater sales by not only losing the manga fans, but also losing readers outraged than they are carrying manga style comics in the first place. So it’s actually a big risk, but given that the alternative is eventual extinction, it may be worth it. Heck, I may pick up some papers myself.