Other Japanese cultural imports?

The roughly mid-90's and earlier (generally pre-Toonami, pre-anime boom) era of anime & manga fandom: early cons, clubs, tape trading, Nth Generation VHS fansubs, old magazines & fanzines, fandubs, ancient merchandise, rec.arts.anime, and more!
davemerrill
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Re: Other Japanese cultural imports?

Post by davemerrill »

On the one hand I think it's great that science fiction and fantasy from around the world has become a big part of popular culture and that books, toys, games, and merch from a wide variety of properties and licenses is available in stores around the nation.

On the other hand, I love buying old comic books, but now that the "comic book store" has become the default location for games, toys, toys, and games, the actual old comic books are harder to find. I have better luck in antique malls, to be honest.
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Re: Other Japanese cultural imports?

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DKop wrote:Yea comic shops have become "Geek Central," so whatever is popular is pop culture/fandom it'll be hosted at a comic shop because in order for them to make money they gotta carry what their customers really want and would find in a comic book store these days. The one I go to in Greenville SC has a dedicated section of their store to Gunpla, and at one point was hosting a Gunpla club that I believe has fizzled out (I was part of it at its height 3 or so years back). As long as they're selling they keep getting them in.
Yeah, there was a small local chain of comic book stores (ok, they had like 2 locations) that had a Gunpla group that would meet and build monthly. I always intended to go but always ran into schedule conflicts. Something happened though because the group also kept moving their monthly meeting around (both Sundays on the calendar and between locations), often times very last minute, when I was free on Sunday, there would all of a sudden, not be a meeting or I'd find out the trip would be twice as far 10 mins from the start time.
davemerrill wrote:On the other hand, I love buying old comic books, but now that the "comic book store" has become the default location for games, toys, toys, and games, the actual old comic books are harder to find. I have better luck in antique malls, to be honest.
Yeah, seems like the back-issues stock of most places is from the last 5 or 10 years. I have a hunch that these are books that didn't sell well in the first place, rather than things being circulated by and targeting collectors.

Kinda back on topic of Japanese cultural imports - I wish US comic publishers were more adaptive of Japanese manga publishing practices. By that I mean a serialized periodical with chapters of dozens of titles, cheaply made/printed and sold for a rock-bottom $5 or $6 bucks in everywhere from gas stations, supermarkets, drug stores, etc (well, like everywhere you could buy comics in the 60s and 70s). Then up-sell the collected volumes (tankoubon). Of course, it probably wouldn't fly for any number of reasons, chief among them that they'd have to give titles finite beginning-middle-ends, kill the work for hire model of shuffling staff between books and the Intellectual Property Generator Slash Meat Grinder. Or any other awful reason to not do anything different.

Though, it's not like tankoubon-only sales of manga have hurt them much, since they tend to outsell US comics consistently in every metric that matters.
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Re: Other Japanese cultural imports?

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Drew_Sutton wrote: Fri Jan 22, 2021 9:43 am

Yeah, there was a small local chain of comic book stores (ok, they had like 2 locations) that had a Gunpla group that would meet and build monthly. I always intended to go but always ran into schedule conflicts. Something happened though because the group also kept moving their monthly meeting around (both Sundays on the calendar and between locations), often times very last minute, when I was free on Sunday, there would all of a sudden, not be a meeting or I'd find out the trip would be twice as far 10 mins from the start time.


Kinda back on topic of Japanese cultural imports - I wish US comic publishers were more adaptive of Japanese manga publishing practices. By that I mean a serialized periodical with chapters of dozens of titles, cheaply made/printed and sold for a rock-bottom $5 or $6 bucks in everywhere from gas stations, supermarkets, drug stores, etc (well, like everywhere you could buy comics in the 60s and 70s). Then up-sell the collected volumes (tankoubon). Of course, it probably wouldn't fly for any number of reasons, chief among them that they'd have to give titles finite beginning-middle-ends, kill the work for hire model of shuffling staff between books and the Intellectual Property Generator Slash Meat Grinder. Or any other awful reason to not do anything different.

Though, it's not like tankoubon-only sales of manga have hurt them much, since they tend to outsell US comics consistently in every metric that matters.
I've been to one of their meetings one time, or at least stopped by one. it was a hobby shop in near Alpharetta where they had a room where one of the Gunpla groups in ATL area meet up to build for a few hours on a Sunday. I was with my buddy when he lived in ATL the first time, my brother and me driving around looking for car dealers that one Sunday while visiting. I've haven't kept up with the Gunpla groups but id imagine they're still around ATL. There was that Sci-Fi con at the Dekalb Mall 3 years ago that a few members of the Gunpla group did in an area to show off their builds, and that's when you stopped by that Sunday and we meet up to get pizza, and how I got my avatar picture lol.

The only Tankoubon ive bought from a Japanese convience store was of Bite Me Chameleon for like 500 yen. I got it solely for the fact that I knew what it was on the spot when I was in Japan for that week in 2014 on a school trip.
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Re: Other Japanese cultural imports?

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Drew_Sutton wrote: Fri Jan 22, 2021 9:43 am

Kinda back on topic of Japanese cultural imports - I wish US comic publishers were more adaptive of Japanese manga publishing practices. By that I mean a serialized periodical with chapters of dozens of titles, cheaply made/printed and sold for a rock-bottom $5 or $6 bucks in everywhere from gas stations, supermarkets, drug stores, etc (well, like everywhere you could buy comics in the 60s and 70s). Then up-sell the collected volumes (tankoubon). Of course, it probably wouldn't fly for any number of reasons, chief among them that they'd have to give titles finite beginning-middle-ends, kill the work for hire model of shuffling staff between books and the Intellectual Property Generator Slash Meat Grinder. Or any other awful reason to not do anything different.

Though, it's not like tankoubon-only sales of manga have hurt them much, since they tend to outsell US comics consistently in every metric that matters.
It's really distribution that's the key, and I don't know why Warners or Disney hasn't said, hey, we have the clout to get our product into the spaces where the young readers are, why aren't we cranking out cheap regular product they can bug their Mom to buy them while in the checkout stand at the grocery store? That's pretty much what's kept Archie Comics alive all these years, the digests in the supermarket checkout stands. Of course they have seventy years of short stories to work with; the superhero comics have been so continuity-heavy that trying to drag new readers in requires a college 101-level course.

Japan has the advantage of a robust public transit system and a compact land mass - it's physically easier to distribute printed matter in a nation the size of California with people everywhere. Europe is similar, and not surprisingly, comics are big business in Europe too. America is just too dang big, too spread out, too much wide open spaces (see also: why America doesn't have decent intercity transit except in the DC-NYC-Boston line).

Being a comics drawing guy in the late 1980s, it was obvious to me that what was going to happen was that a bunch of us were going to get together and publish a fat manga-style periodical that would come out regularly and kick-start the Japanese publishing model in the US. Turns out drawing comics is hard work, and distributing and selling the things is even harder!
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Re: Other Japanese cultural imports?

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davemerrill wrote: Mon Jan 25, 2021 4:20 pm It's really distribution that's the key, and I don't know why Warners or Disney hasn't said, hey, we have the clout to get our product into the spaces where the young readers are, why aren't we cranking out cheap regular product they can bug their Mom to buy them while in the checkout stand at the grocery store? That's pretty much what's kept Archie Comics alive all these years, the digests in the supermarket checkout stands. Of course they have seventy years of short stories to work with; the superhero comics have been so continuity-heavy that trying to drag new readers in requires a college 101-level course.

Japan has the advantage of a robust public transit system and a compact land mass - it's physically easier to distribute printed matter in a nation the size of California with people everywhere. Europe is similar, and not surprisingly, comics are big business in Europe too. America is just too dang big, too spread out, too much wide open spaces (see also: why America doesn't have decent intercity transit except in the DC-NYC-Boston line).

Being a comics drawing guy in the late 1980s, it was obvious to me that what was going to happen was that a bunch of us were going to get together and publish a fat manga-style periodical that would come out regularly and kick-start the Japanese publishing model in the US. Turns out drawing comics is hard work, and distributing and selling the things is even harder!
I did read somewhere that the webcomics boom of the early 2000s was a reaction by people wanting to do something more in-line with manga but unable to do so with the current comic book distribution model.

And about Disney, didn't they have those Donald Duck and Goof Troops comic series in Europe? I heard that they are quite popular there. In my country, you used to be able to find comics of Disney properties on specific periodicals--there was a Cars magazine and a Disney Princess magazine, if I remember correctly. But nowadays the magazine market in my country has almost completely collapsed. Only a very few non-professional magazines remained.

Also, I want to ask this: Where do Marvel and DC print their comics? Do they have a specific location to do everything before shipping them out, or do they have several printing factory in different parts of America?
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Re: Other Japanese cultural imports?

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Disney comics, particularly Donald Duck, are HUGE in Europe. Plenty of Americans did lots and lots of comics for Disney that never saw print in America, but were all over Europe.

The first American comic books were printed at Eastern Publishing in Connecticut, beginning in 1933. Western Printing & Litho in Wisconsin printed a huge amount of American comics in the newsstand era - they printed Dell comics, which included licensed Disney books. WorldColor/Quebecor in Montreal printed both Marvel & DC's comics printing starting in the 1980s. I don't know who handles Marvel & DC books now. Charlton Comics were printed at their in-house printing facility in Derby Connecticut.

A lot of the independent comics of the 1990s and 2000s were printed at Brenner Printing in San Antonio, Texas, a company that seemed to really pitch itself to that market; their sales team was on top of things.

Looks like Transcontinental does a big portion of American comics & graphic novel printing these days.

Back in the newsstand days, comics were published months ahead - the June issue of Superman would be on the presses in March or April and be on the stands in May so that when June was over, the guy running the newsstand would take the June Superman off the stands and replace it with the July issue and send the June issue back to the distributor for credit. The lead time took into account how long it was going to take to ship that issue from Wisconsin or wherever.
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Re: Other Japanese cultural imports?

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davemerrill wrote: Mon Jan 25, 2021 4:20 pm It's really distribution that's the key, and I don't know why Warners or Disney hasn't said, hey, we have the clout to get our product into the spaces where the young readers are, why aren't we cranking out cheap regular product they can bug their Mom to buy them while in the checkout stand at the grocery store? That's pretty much what's kept Archie Comics alive all these years, the digests in the supermarket checkout stands. Of course they have seventy years of short stories to work with; the superhero comics have been so continuity-heavy that trying to drag new readers in requires a college 101-level course.

Japan has the advantage of a robust public transit system and a compact land mass - it's physically easier to distribute printed matter in a nation the size of California with people everywhere. Europe is similar, and not surprisingly, comics are big business in Europe too. America is just too dang big, too spread out, too much wide open spaces (see also: why America doesn't have decent intercity transit except in the DC-NYC-Boston line).

Being a comics drawing guy in the late 1980s, it was obvious to me that what was going to happen was that a bunch of us were going to get together and publish a fat manga-style periodical that would come out regularly and kick-start the Japanese publishing model in the US. Turns out drawing comics is hard work, and distributing and selling the things is even harder!
Yeah - I figured there was more behind it than sheer executive ignorance or a required change in customer behavior but you know, a boy could dream.
Fireminer wrote: I did read somewhere that the webcomics boom of the early 2000s was a reaction by people wanting to do something more in-line with manga but unable to do so with the current comic book distribution model.
That's interesting, I'd never heard that before. I know a lot of webcomics were often manga inspired, at least stylistically (very broad brush there) but never knew there was a big push to try and publish serials of them on actual paper.
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Re: Other Japanese cultural imports?

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Drew_Sutton wrote: Wed Jan 27, 2021 11:44 am
Fireminer wrote: I did read somewhere that the webcomics boom of the early 2000s was a reaction by people wanting to do something more in-line with manga but unable to do so with the current comic book distribution model.
That's interesting, I'd never heard that before. I know a lot of webcomics were often manga inspired, at least stylistically (very broad brush there) but never knew there was a big push to try and publish serials of them on actual paper.
Tokyopop did put out MegaTokyo in print form in the early 2000's which is how I heard of it before I knew it was a web comic. That seems to be the only title that comes to mind in terms of print form of web comics. I think Penny Arcade, Ctrl Alt Del, and VG Cats might've gotten print runs, but I doubt it was through a major publisher like Tokyopop.
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Re: Other Japanese cultural imports?

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DKop wrote: Thu Jan 28, 2021 4:50 am
Drew_Sutton wrote: Wed Jan 27, 2021 11:44 am
Fireminer wrote: I did read somewhere that the webcomics boom of the early 2000s was a reaction by people wanting to do something more in-line with manga but unable to do so with the current comic book distribution model.
That's interesting, I'd never heard that before. I know a lot of webcomics were often manga inspired, at least stylistically (very broad brush there) but never knew there was a big push to try and publish serials of them on actual paper.
Tokyopop did put out MegaTokyo in print form in the early 2000's which is how I heard of it before I knew it was a web comic. That seems to be the only title that comes to mind in terms of print form of web comics. I think Penny Arcade, Ctrl Alt Del, and VG Cats might've gotten print runs, but I doubt it was through a major publisher like Tokyopop.
The Penny Arcade collections are interesting, because iirc they self published a few, then Dark Horse Comics published a few, then Del Rey published a few, then Oni Press published a few, and now I think they're back to self publishing? :lol: All those pubs have been around longer than Tokyopop. While a lot of webcomic artists self-publish, there's some who are lucky to get enough notoriety to get a major publishing deal. Even Viz ended up publishing a Homestuck collection...
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Re: Other Japanese cultural imports?

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usamimi wrote: Sat Jan 30, 2021 7:10 am

The Penny Arcade collections are interesting, because iirc they self published a few, then Dark Horse Comics published a few, then Del Rey published a few, then Oni Press published a few, and now I think they're back to self publishing? :lol: All those pubs have been around longer than Tokyopop. While a lot of webcomic artists self-publish, there's some who are lucky to get enough notoriety to get a major publishing deal. Even Viz ended up publishing a Homestuck collection...
Oh go- don't...remind me of that webcomic... because of the fandom we had to deal with at cons. That fandom died out REAL QUICK when the webcomic ended. I was surprised the fandom ended as quickly as it did, meaning hotels didn't have to complain about grey body paint clogging up the pools at cons.
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