Wishlist 2005: More Manga for Adults

Categorized in:

or my most uses of “but? ever

Don’t get me wrong: I’m thrilled about the explosion of manga across the North American comics scene in the past few years. I mean, other than the most-dyed-in-the-moldy-wool superhero partisan, who isn’t?

Manga has brought a diversity of genres, an influx of readers, a variety of styles, and a market clout that comics haven’t had in this country in decades (it strikes me that maybe the pre-code 1940s and 1950s were similar, but it’s hard for me to say). And that’s great. More genres is great. More kids reading comics – finally! – is great. Romance comics, sports comics, action, spy, fantasy, horror, sci fi comics. It’s terrific.


And you must have seen that coming. But! Where are the comics for adults?

There will be over 1,000 manga titles published in English in 2005. That’s super. But most of those titles are going to be targeted at teenagers and pre-teens. Also, great., but as an adult, I’d like something deeper, meatier, more, well, adult.

The romance and sci fi and fantasy series that burn up the Bookscan charts month-to-month are terrific and good for kids. But I’m starting to worry that the manga boom is leaving us adults out. Since the teen market has responded so overwhelmingly to manga, it only makes sense that publishers would continue to target it. But adults read comics, too. And we have more money to spend.

Certainly there are some mature (in the sense of grown-up, not in the “code word for boobies and swearing? sense) manga out there – the work of Suehiro Maruo, Kaiji?Kawaguchi’s presidential procedural thriller Eagle, Junji Ito’s Uzumaki, among others.

Still, these are the isolated works, the titles released one for every dozen teenage titans.

And even as a 27-year-old man who is deeply secure in his abiding fondness for Gilmore Girls, I want more adult works.

I know they’re out there in Japan, in Korea, in Indonesia. The manga industry (and its various local offshoots) is a juggernaut, bringing in millions of readers for huge, phone book-sized weekly magazines. Some of these publications are bound to target adults.

So, while I am thrilled by the manga boom, I’d like to be served a little bit better by it. I want more serious works about adults and adult life. I want comics that don’t have to limit their palettes to things that can be shown or said or done in the average PG-13 movie.

Be it horror, literary fiction, science fiction, crime, drama, romance, whatever, for 2005, I want more manga for adults.

Comments are closed here.