What's up with manga? A comics fan's deep dive
"Bakuman" is written by Tsugumi Ohba and drawn by Takeshi Obata.
March 29th, 2012
02:17 PM ET

What's up with manga? A comics fan's deep dive

Editor's note: Christian Sager is the creator of "Think of the Children" and "Border Crossings." He has also written essays about the comics industry, punk subculture and national identity.

Why do readers of American comics often ignore Japanese manga? Vice-versa, what is so different about American comics that turns off manga readers? The stories in both styles are told in the same medium but for some reason their audiences rarely overlap.

As a reader of American comics I can offer one possible answer: If I wanted to try something new like manga, I would have no idea where to begin. The manga shelves at the book store are intimidatingly packed. How can I know I’m starting with the right manga for me?

My CNN Geek Out! colleague Colette Bennett is a manga expert. I asked her to compare and contrast these two different comics styles in order to find the starting points where curious readers could jump into something outside of their comfort zone.

In preparation for this discussion, I dived in headfirst and read more than 1,000 pages of manga to get a better sense for its stylistic differences. Then, Bennett and I discussed production, pacing, storytelling diversity, themes, regulation of sex and violence, and the economic struggles of both industries. FULL POST

Posted by
Filed under: Comic Longbox • Otaku
The geek heroes of 2011
December 30th, 2011
05:51 PM ET

The geek heroes of 2011

This year, there were many geeks who made good, and some who did extraordinary things, big and small, for nerd-kind.

So we present, in no particular order, our geek heroes for 2011. FULL POST

Comic books' 'unprecedented creativity' in 2011
Infinite Kung Fu, one of Sager's favorite comic books this year.
December 29th, 2011
04:56 PM ET

Comic books' 'unprecedented creativity' in 2011

Editor's note: Christian Sager is the creator of "Think of the Children" and "Border Crossings." He has also written essays about the comics industry, punk subculture and national identity.

It’s easy to buy a bad comic book. I don't know a fan of the medium who hasn't at least once brought home a dud and been disappointed. But the comics industry is not lacking when it comes to talent. Comics are in an era of unprecedented creativity, and 2011 saw some fantastic work.

These are what I think are the best comics of the year, coming from publishers big and small. Top Shelf Productions  really earned its name this year, in my eyes, with four outstanding books. Acknowledgment should also go to Portland’s Periscope Studio, whose members produced several of the books on this list. Where possible, I've linked individual creators’ names to their Twitter profiles or individual blogs so you can follow their work into 2012. FULL POST

Our geekiest gifts this holiday season
December 27th, 2011
04:30 PM ET

Our geekiest gifts this holiday season

'Tis the season for geeky gifts, and there are certainly plenty of them out there. It's been a happy holiday for your friendly neighborhood CNN Geek Out staff, and we'd like to share with you some of our favorite things received this year.

Nikki Rau-Baker:

This Christmas was another good one for me as I received some fairly geeky gifts.

A must for anyone gearing up for the upcoming big-screen version of The Hobbit: "The History of The Hobbit" by John D. Rateliff, covers the beginnings of The Hobbit with such tidbits of information as the original names of the dwarves and the shocking revelation that the leader was initially called Gandalf.

The Chillbots ice cube tray makes me happy as I listen to the tinkling of the robots in my glass.They’re a party hit!

As I prepare my glass of blue milk to go with dinner nothing says “I might kill you over dessert” like lighting candles in my lightsaber candlestick holders. The weight of these really could knock someone out if you decide to get into a dual after your meal, but I won’t endorse that sort of vicious behavior.
FULL POST

Digital comics: All your apps are belong to us
November 22nd, 2011
02:50 PM ET

Digital comics: All your apps are belong to us

Editor's note: Christian Sager is the creator of "Think of the Children" and "Border Crossings." He has also written essays about the comics industry, punk subculture and national identity.

I don’t buy products from my local comic shop anymore.

The retail prices were already too high for my budget, but in-store markups turned me off even more. I realized if I mail-ordered my comics ahead of time they came with a significant discount. I just filled out my November order and I’m saving an average 32% on what those comics would cost me off the rack. More comics for fewer monies.

The downside to mail ordering is that I have to wait to read them - between two and four weeks after the books are released in stores.

Unless I want the stories spoiled, I can’t participate in conversations about the newest issues. And if I don’t order something that unexpectedly gets rave reviews, I’m stuck waiting several months for it to be collected. It’s that or visit my local shop again, where the critically acclaimed books are either sold out or marked up.

With the advent of digital comics, I’m starting to get the best of both worlds. Many comics are available on the cheap and if I absolutely feel the need to read something the day it came out, it takes less than a minute to download it legally.

Digital comics seem to be growing two audiences: one that is looking specifically for less-expensive comics than what's available in stores, and one that aren't as concerned with price as they are immediate acquisition.

Digital comics have a variety of prices, from as low as 99 cents per issue to as much as $3.99 for an issue released digitally the same day that it’s distributed in print (a.k.a. “day-and-date”).

“Clearly both high-quality storytelling and same-day-as-print releases have value,” said David Steinberger, CEO of ComiXology, the current top digital comics vendor.

If you’ve never bought digital comics before, you’re probably wondering where to get them and what makes the vendors different from one another. To learn more about how other readers consume digital comics and what’s involved in their production and distribution I turned to three different digital comic vendors (Graphicly, ComiXology and iVerse) and one manga publisher who is distributing their digital content alone (VIZ Media). FULL POST

« older posts