Post Reply Question for American manga artist/writers
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Posted 8/12/14
This is a question aimed towards people who are American mangaka. Why do many people say if you're American you can't write a good manga, and you should just give up on that dream? Has any non-Japanese people made a good manga? Hasn't anime and manga taught us to chase after our dreams instead of giving up on it?

Can a American come out with a successful manga?
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Posted 8/12/14 , edited 8/12/14
It isn't impossible. I'm sure many Americans who have aspired of becoming mangakas have succeeded, though I can't pull a lot names out. The only person whom I can think of succeeding while utilizing manga-styled art is Mark Crilley. He's on YouTube and is fairly prolific. Nothing is impossible, and if you want do it, go for it, but like any real ambition, you have to seriously give it your all and not half ass it.

A successful manga depends on how you measure success. You can also be fairly prolific if you publish it here in the US through independent methods or through well established publishers like Dark Horse Comics. But, if you mean successful as in That-Guy-Who-Made-Naruto (I don't know his name) successful, then that is quite a stretch. First off, the market for manga is significantly better in Japan, meaning you will have to actually move to Japan and publish it there. There, you will have to compete with other Japanese mangakas who are also looking to break the mainstream and make it big, but let's face it, the chances of you out-competing them on their turf with their own creation is nil. So unless you have the artistic talent that rivals that of some of the top manga makers on the planet along with an original idea, and a broad understanding of Japanese and the Japanese culture, you definitely won't survive or even stand out in Japan, because there will be hundreds of thousands of guys with their "original" ideas who will overshadow your work through sheer numbers, regardless of its quality. After all, it's a competition to the top over there.

The only realistic method I can think for an American to be successful as a mangaka is to publish it here in the US, advertise, gather a cult following, expand your fan base, have it translated, then exported to other countries. After that, you can pray that some animation company finds interest in your manga and asks to adapt it, or pitch it yourself.
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Posted 8/12/14 , edited 8/15/14


sounds like your listening to the Weeaboo purists, who think if your not japanese you can't do anything.

How many great shows and movies have been created by western writers and artists.

There is greater diversity among non Japanese artists and writers as compared to Japanese writers and artists.

Your race does not define your skill with a pen and the skill and intellectual creativity of your mind.
One of the greatest epics of our time was created by J.R.R Tolkien, who was most definitely not Japanese.
Comic books were created in the west.

If you have the heart and drive to create something, you can do it. Dont listen to people who tell you that you cant because of who you are. **** THAT. I lived with a step father who told me i would never be able to do anything in my life, and yet i managed to get awards in theater and being a playwright. Theater. Theater started in Greece, does that mean i can't be a good playwright unless im greek? hell to the no. I can do what ever i feel like doing.

Do Japanese magically have superiority over ever race in the world? hell no they don't. No race is better at doing anything. Its the individual that matters. Do you think any average Japanese person can write a manga? nope. Do you think the majority of Japanese people can write a good manga? nope. It depends on the individual, and if you have the drive and creativity, you can create a masterpiece if you so desire.

sorry, i got a bit ranty because of the whole "you cant do it because your not Japanese" thing. that phrase makes me want to smack a bitch
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Posted 8/12/14
Great replies!
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Posted 8/12/14 , edited 8/12/14
Here are a couple of interviews I found on YouTube of American mangakas who are doing well in Japan, just to show that it isn't impossible.

Jamie Lano

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ccRmE43DEI

Felipe Smith

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8a_vptJ-PTI
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Posted 8/14/14 , edited 8/14/14
The American comics industry in particular has always been really hard to break into. Regardless of what style, or skill level it seems to be more a matter of luck than talent. That said, Japan kind of took a "throwaway" mentality to comics by printing them as cheaply as possible. Their dense population on a small landmass also made distribution a lot easier and far more profitable than it was in the states. It's probably because of this that Japan has such a wide diversity when it comes to comic content.

From what I've seen, the english-comic crowd has really been giving up on the oldskool publishers in regards to publishing original stories in a variety of artworks, and they've been turning to Webcomics instead. It gives them a lot more freedom, and with the help of POD services and Kickstarter, it's possible for authors to print and distribute their own books as well. Kindle notwithstanding.

There are several sites out there right now who are trying to re-define publishing on a digital level and they actually ARE making it possible for english comic authors to become "manga-ka." There's the graphic-novel styled website, Inkblazers, and the webtoon styled site Tapastic. Both have their merits, but Inkblazers is definitely more... traditional? Is that the word? Like, it still feels like reading a comic book and they do Printed copies of their comics and such. Tapastic not so much.

I have a comic up on Inkblazers that's on its second volume~ I'm not quite popular enough to make a living off of it, but what I do earn is a significant chunk of my income.
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Posted 8/14/14

ashikai wrote:

The American comics industry in particular has always been really hard to break into. Regardless of what style, or skill level it seems to be more a matter of luck than talent. That said, Japan kind of took a "throwaway" mentality to comics by printing them as cheaply as possible. Their dense population on a small landmass also made distribution a lot easier and far more profitable than it was in the states. It's probably because of this that Japan has such a wide diversity when it comes to comic content.

From what I've seen, the english-comic crowd has really been giving up on the oldskool publishers in regards to publishing original stories in a variety of artworks, and they've been turning to Webcomics instead. It gives them a lot more freedom, and with the help of POD services and Kickstarter, it's possible for authors to print and distribute their own books as well. Kindle notwithstanding.

There are several sites out there right now who are trying to re-define publishing on a digital level and they actually ARE making it possible for english comic authors to become "manga-ka." There's the graphic-novel styled website, Inkblazers, and the webtoon styled site Tapastic. Both have their merits, but Inkblazers is definitely more... traditional? Is that the word? Like, it still feels like reading a comic book and they do Printed copies of their comics and such. Tapastic not so much.

I have a comic up on Inkblazers that's on its second volume~ I'm not quite popular enough to make a living off of it, but what I do earn is a significant chunk of my income. ;)


Would love to read your comic whats the name of it?
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Posted 8/15/14
Why become a mangaka when you can transcend from that?
If you read a pilot manga, one chapter of it is consisted of at least 50 pages.

There's a country, that I won't state the name, that can express their work within less than 4 pages.
Nope. It's not a manhwa or a web toon where one page is long.
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Posted 8/15/14 , edited 8/16/14

Melviniammelvin wrote:
Would love to read your comic whats the name of it?


My comic is http://shamrock.inkblazers.com (Shamrock). The art's weak in a lot of places and my writing has gotten a lot better, but I'm pretty pleased with it so far. I'd be honored if you wanted to take a look at it. ^^a
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Posted 8/16/14 , edited 8/16/14
My guess would be exposure, maybe.

Everybody knows the antiquated distribution methods we have here in America (and probably elsewhere) of manga and anime. Imagine if there were NO indie gaming industry, only the big titles. That would pigeonhole us into only a few game types, and probably heavy recycling.

Although I'm sure there are exceptions, we just don't have enough of the stuff from across the pond to see everything that's been done in the genre, and not enough of the stuff we DO get to be authoritative about it.

This is all assuming, of course, how important you feel Japanese culture is to manga, or if it's just an art style. If you've ever read a side-by-side comparison of things we think we know about them, and vice versa, the results are hilarious. If your definition of manga includes a mandatory window into Japanese culture, we're mostly screwed from the start I would think.
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Posted 8/16/14
Because people are blind. Why can't a westerner make a manga or anime?

I'm making one. It'll be hopefully ready around the next 2 years or so. Obviously a lot of work goes into it but I'm going to push through!

(I will be making my own independent anime and manga website, kinda like crunchyroll only all of them will be made by non companies)
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Posted 8/23/14
Here's some good advice for Westerners.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LNleCLXGlx0&index=45&list=WL
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Posted 8/25/14 , edited 8/25/14
Just because someone comes from a different culture, a different country, doesn't mean they can't do something good within another culture. I believe that anyone can be what they want to be. A question came up like this on another website, and I showed the person asking the question a video of a Japanese guy who has become a Yodeller somewhere in Switzerland or something. He's very good at it, in fact, his voice doesn't even sound Japanese. The person that I showed this video to didn't seem very happy about it, thinking I was just giving them a hard time. In all honesty, I wasn't. Only a little, but the majority of it I was serious. Anyways, my point is is that we're all people, so it doesn't matter where we come from. I believe anyone can achieve anything, anywhere.
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