Tag Archives: Manga

Typesetting Manga

15 Jun

How is typesetting manga different from typesetting American comics?

US comics tend to use speech balloons with a horizontal format, whereas Japanese comics use speech balloons with a vertical format (because of vertical writing). Manga balloons, in Japanese form, and in well-lettered English translations – use a LOT more white space within the speech balloon. A ‘typical’ US comic will use horizontal white space equal to one or 2 characters. A ‘typical’ manga will use horizontal white space equal to the longest line of text. Shoujo manga will sometimes have a little more white space, and Shonen manga will sometimes have a little less, but they will generally have more than US comics.

US comics tend to rely on the order of panels to guide the reader through the page and through the story. Manga is much more likely to use the word balloons to guide you through the page and the story, which means the speech balloons are more likely to cross the panel borders.


Comics I bought at C2E2 2011

28 Mar

Here are pictures of everything I bought at C2E2 -minus the 2 pages of original comics art, and the 1 commissioned sketch that I purchased.

a pile of comics

a pile of comics and graphic novels

So far, I’ve read vol 14 of Blade of the Immortal, the Donald Duck comic, some of the Archie Comics, City of Glass, Haunted, and North World: Other Tales.  So, 6 out of 18 items.  Hopefully, I’ll have reviews of these comics on the site in a few days, If I don’t get too busy (or too lazy…) .

Comics Links for February

22 Feb

the inside of comix experience

So today, I thought I’d share some interesting links of things I’ve found around the comics blogosphere.

Over At Savage Critics, Comics retailer has a series of excellent posts from the ComicsPro retailer summit.  Here’s a quote I thought was especially good.

“A store needs to carry what their customers want, not what the internet intelligentsia says they “should”. This store, it seemed to me, was really really good at serving their Marvel and DC and gaming customers. The staff CLEARLY cared about what they were doing, and the store was a great example of how you do gaming and mainstream comics and MAKE CUSTOMERS HAPPY. Who cares what “artsnob967″ says on the internet? Who cares that <<booming voice>> BRIAN HIBBS wouldn’t find a lot of interest — you’re there to service the customers that come in, not the ones that don’t.”

That really served as a corrective to a lot of my thinking.  A lot of time, I judge a comics store by the selection of indie books they have, and by the logic and thinking that are revealed (or assumed by me) by the store’s layout and organization.  But it’s true: a store is there to serve the customers that come in, not the ones that don’t.  And its more important to serve the customers that are there, not the ones who might…  A business has to stay in business.  But maybe that’s why Borders really fueled the manga explosion back when Mixx Zine turned into Tokyopop, and it wasn’t the Direct Market that did it.   (Though to be fair, the Direct Market was there to support and service a much smaller version of anime and manga fandom in the years that preceded the “100% Authentic” $9.99 tankubon innovation)


At Comics Worth Reading, Johanna Draper-Carlson has a really interesting book of Bakuman, the story of 2 young friends trying to break into the manga industry.  (Bakuman is by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata, the creators of Death Note.) She makes a point about this story being strikingly different than American comics about aspiring comics artists.  The main characters are focused on analyzing manga to see what sells, and do figure out what fans want to read about.  She contrasts this versus American comics about artist-characters drawing comics for the sheer love of it, and because the comic artist is dying to tell their story.  I think this is true, for the most point, though it is interesting to compare the subject matter of Bakuman (which I haven’t read, but would like to) to A Drifting Life by Yoshihiro Tatsumi, which focuses mainly on manga-ka that do consider themselves “Artists with a capital A” and do have a very personal stake not only in their careers but in the stories they tell.  Of course, A Drifting Life is a less fictionalized memoir from a very different time in the world of manga.  (As a side-note, what are the key stories in the American aspiring-comic-creator genre?  Copybook Tales by J. Torres?  Hicksville by Dylan Horrocks? It’s a Good Life if You Don’t Weaken by Seth?  Dan Pussey by Dan Clowes?  umm… Chasing Amy?)


Finally, I though this interview with the talent behind the webcomic “Bucko” was very entertaining.  I remember reading a lot of interviews like this during the early days of my exposure to online comics fandom.


(The picture at the top is the Inside of Comix Experience, the store that Brian Hibbs runs, not the one he visits during the ComicsPro retreat.)

Books I’m Reading/ Books on the To-Read Pile

10 Nov

Currently Reading:

Vineland by Thomas Pynchon
This one is taking me a while. The back cover of my copy promises that it’s a mash-up of a literary novel, a ninja thriller, and a soap opera. Which it is.


Sandman: The Wake
by Neil Gaiman, Michael Zulli, John J Muth, Dave McKean, et al.

This is the last book of the Sandman series (I don’t count the Endless Dreams book, which I see as the Reunion/Farewell-Tour-type-of-book). After I finish this, I’m pretty sure that I’ll have read all of them. This one is okay, but it’s a lot closer to just being a mediocre fantasy series, which is what a lot of people, unfortunately, perceive Sandman to be. My favorite Sandman stories have a dose of reality to combine with the fantasy, but so far, this one doesn’t. It’s still really good, but for one thing, it’s weird to see the characters from all the previous books come and hang out at the same time in The Dreaming. Of course, If I sat down and read this after reading the other 9 books in a row, this would probably have a lot more emotional resonance.

On the To-Read Pile


Alive – The Manga -published by Del Rey Manga

Abandon The Old In Tokyo by Yoshihiro Tatsumi

Ordinary Victories by Manu Larcenet


Tonoharu by Lars Martinson


Firebreak: A Parker Novel
(This one isn’t a graphic novel, it’s a big-boy book.)