Manga are Japanese comics. The main difference between them and American comics is that manga make up a large percentage of the Japanese publishing market, so that there are comics available for all ages, genders and interests. Golf manga, football manga (both American and European), fishing, food, wine, superheroes, aliens, true crime, action….whatever a person might like, there is probably a manga about it.

If you’d like to get a quick snapshot of the kinds of things that are available in manga, check out these titles, just to give you some idea of the kinds of variety there are:

One Piece – this is a fighting fantasy story about a rubber pirate. It is the world’s best-selling manga. (Volume 64 of the series in Japanese had a 4-million copy first printing.) Viz Publishing

Sailor Moon – This series just celebrated its 20th anniversary last week. The new English language version has been on the NY Times Graphic Books Bestseller list since it came out. This series is pretty much what people think of when they think of “manga” – girls with big eyes and small mouths and short skirts fighting monsters. 20 years old – and it’s not only still around, it’s doing really well…a new Japanese print edition and a new anime were announced last week. Kodansha USA

Drops of God – This series is about…wine. It’s sort of a fighting manga, but the fights are wine tastings. A young man and his rival compete to find the twelve finest wines of the world, and gain access to their father’s fortune. Sound goofy? It is, but this goofy manga has been affecting wine market pricing for years. When one wine was mentioned in this manga, the vintner took it off the market so people would not speculate in it. Before it ever was translated into English, Drops of God was profiled by the Wall St. Journal, the New York Times and Wine Spectator. Vertical Publishing

Sakuran – This story is about a girl brought up in a brothel and how she is trained to become the top rank in the house. Coming this year from Vertical Publishing.

Jormungand – A very cheerful, at times funny, story about arms dealers. This is a pretty typical “action for adult men” series, like a SpikeTV kind of thing. Viz Publishing

None of these manga are like one another. Except in that they are all manga. You might hate them all, but they will give you a super quick glimpse of a few completely different types of manga.


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