Maps, Manga, and Motivation: What’ll Happen on Fridays

I love to read. Good stories and interesting characters will linger in my mind long after I’ve read the last page. I love to read series, because I get more time to spend in the world that I’ve grown attached to with the people I’m rooting for. I also love illustrations and their ability to show with a glance what would take a lot of paragraphs to describe. When I was younger, I would spend hour fantasizing over the map of Tolkien’s Middle Earth that came with my copy of Lord of the Rings. I would trace the chapter illustrations out of Jacques’s Redwall series. I would also peruse my grandmother’s giant Dictionary of Imaginary Places which was full of pictures of fantastical places from the minds of some of the world’s most imaginative minds.

On the other hand, I was never into comic books. While I would play X-Men and superheroes with my plethora of male cousins, I never had any interest in reading about them (the cartoons were okay, though). It wasn’t until college that I was introduced to manga, or Japanese comics. I was quickly addicted. Why? They’re a serialized product, which means nearly every volume ends with some sort of cliffhanger (and I’m a sucker for those), the need to translate them into English takes a long time, so the volumes are only released periodically through the year (the average is 3-4 volumes a year), and even the pictures that were originally in color in the Japanese edition are printed in grayscale for the English edition. So why do I like them?

The first reason is the art. The artwork in manga is really impressive; every manga genre has it’s own style, manga artist has their own flair. The second reason is the fact that many manga have truly interesting story lines. What’s more addictive than good art in a good story? The third reason is the fact that most of of the ones that make it to the US are multi-volumed, giving you lots of time with the characters! The genres are diverse, from shonen (action/adventure type, geared more towards boys) to shojo (romance/situational type, geared more towards girls) from young ages to older teens. Plus you get the added bonus of a glimpse of Japanese culture, mythology and (depending on the title) history.

Kristen Lamb makes a great point in her blog, Kristen Lamb’s Blog that a writer should blog about the thing that they are enthusiastic about. So starting next Friday, I will be doing Foreign Friday manga reviews! If you’ve never read manga before, this will be your chance to hear about exciting titles that are worth a peek, and if you have, please let me know your opinions on the title!

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Patrick
    May 14, 2011 @ 23:32:42

    How many Manga have You read?


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