Author Topic: column: Page 33, vol I #1  (Read 2215 times)

The Holy Saint, Grand High Poobah, Master of Monkeys, Ehlers

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column: Page 33, vol I #1
« on: August 08, 2005, 02:25:26 PM »
reference: http://www.timewastersguide.com/view.php?id=1128

Yeah, it's my new column. I don't expect this intro to get a lot of commentary.

BTW, there's a baldface lie in this column. Find it and you win a prize.

Chimera

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Re: column: Page 33, vol I #1
« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2005, 11:04:39 PM »
The boldface lie is:
Quote
Also, I hope to avoid getting hate mail from Kurtz or Gabe and Tycho fans, it may already be too late for that though.

You know you want hate mail. Any mail is better than no mail.  ;)
There is just no way you are the pine-scented air. --Billy Collins, "Litany"

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The Holy Saint, Grand High Poobah, Master of Monkeys, Ehlers

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Re: column: Page 33, vol I #1
« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2005, 09:29:30 AM »
that is not the bald face lie. I find kurtz fans and PA fans intolerable. ANy mail from them is bad mail. At best, that's a hairy faced lie.

Spriggan

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Re: column: Page 33, vol I #1
« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2005, 09:38:36 AM »
Quote
a flaw, I try to not show it in my comments, but I apologize if I should.


Red flags all over that sentence.
First off you probably don't think it's a flaw (your bias based off of creators), you love to show it in your comments (at least you do with Kurtz) and you would never apologize over something you don't find any problems with.
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The Holy Saint, Grand High Poobah, Master of Monkeys, Ehlers

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Re: column: Page 33, vol I #1
« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2005, 09:41:54 AM »
lol. No. It's nothing so ethical. I make a distinction between forum comments and article comments. Forum comments are me shooting my mouth off. Article comments are me trying to provide as many people as possible with useful information, thus I try to remove my bias from the comments and look at it for its own merits. That's why I specifically mention the bias in the article, so that people will acknowledge when I fail to get around it.

Peter Ahlstrom

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Re: column: Page 33, vol I #1
« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2005, 02:57:02 PM »
Do you like manga? You didn't mention any in your listed range, unless you count MegaTokyo.

I think your description "So they draw the characters with big eyes and small mouth" is quite an oversimplification. There are lots of reasons many people like manga more than other forms of comics; even Scott McCloud has talked about how generally manga use a different mix of visual storytelling techniques from American comics.

The market has pretty clearly shown that the public sees a need for a term like "manga," so instead of just saying it's not a useful distinction it might be better to try to look for the reasons that the market has found for making the distinction.

It's a debate in the manga world as well; various manga fans say only things made in Japan have a right to be called manga; on the other side, various American companies are taking all kinds of comics and slapping a "manga" label on them.

I think the easy definitions that people use for "manga" are not the real, underlying amorphous definitions people have in their heads. If "manga" just means "Japanese comics," why has it entered our language? We haven't seen the word "kuruma" for "Japanese cars" join the vernacular.
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The Holy Saint, Grand High Poobah, Master of Monkeys, Ehlers

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Re: column: Page 33, vol I #1
« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2005, 03:51:59 PM »
again, I don't find the distinction useful as it is generally used among most readers. Precisely because it is applied to any comic that puts a big tear drop next to a character's head.

However, while I don't think it should mean "comics from Japan" either, I don't see your comparison valid. People who buy Japanese cars aren't typically doing so because of their interest in Japanese culture, or even in Japanese cars (beyond the fact that this particular model has some feature, usually cost or gas efficiency). Thus they have no reason to WANT to use a term for Japanese cars other than "Japanese cars."

Manga readers (however they use the term), on the other hand, are specifically trying to single a subset out, thus they need a term for that. There is generally some attempt to identify with Japanese culture, so it provides a need to call it by a name that is more authentic. For that reason alone I think you have a strong argument for rightfully calling "comics from Japan" by the term "manga" and not using other terms.

Now, when it comes down to it, it may be a slight misnomer to say I don't think it's a useful distinction, and I appreciate you calling that to my attention. There ARE a set of conventions (which DO typically include big eyes and small mouths, I don't think pointing that out is ignorant), but those conventions are often used in other forms as well. As a comparatist, I already find the borders between movements and style groupings much more hazy than your typical reader, and with manga I see that fuzzy area being much larger. The conventions also being used for many other styles. Most importantly, I don't find the grouping of conventions as nearly useful for predicting someone who is looking at the work from a scholarly standpoint will find items of use in a work.  I think the content groupings of typical Japanese comics to be much more useful (magical girl, giant robot, etc), primarily because they compare more favorably with genre distinctions like science fiction or superhero.

In other words, I don't think the stylization alone (especially when most people I talk with define manga as anything with something approachign a specific line art style, executed well or poorly) is a good way to distinguish whether a comic is good or bad with it. [as an aside, I don't think that I've HAD a serious conversation about manga with you, Ookla, and I very much expect that you have something better to say about manga and what distinguishes it than this very limited approach that annoys me].

Perhaps the best answer is that I should simply narrow what I define as manga, but since I don't believe most of my audience makes that distinction, and I want to avoid too much of a technical nature, I decided to break that as a useful term for the purposes of my column. It is definitely not intended to reduce any subset of comics in terms of its contribution. I don't hate or like a poem just because it is a sonnet. So even if we take manga as a distinction, it doesn't determine what value it has.

Short form of what I just said: you're right, the easy definitions that people use for "manga" are not valid ones. And that's more or less what I'm countering with that statement, but since that's the usage I understand most to have, I've chosen not to use it as a term in my column. Is it poorly worded? Was that a poor choice on my part? Maybe to both. We shall see.