Should a Western comic company try a Japanese-style comic magazine?

Unlike Western Comics, which are stand-alone releases like books, Japanese manga are instead typically serialized in various Magazines, which contain a variety of series, plus news, articles, and sponsorships. Sort of like paper television networks. The most popular of which, is Shueisha's Weekly Shonen Jump, which prints action, adventure, and comedy Manga aimed at young boys.

I was wondering, why hasn't any US comic book publisher tried this idea? Create a magazine that compiles a variety of comic book series from different artists, plus interstitial articles, one-shot pilots, and sponsorship ads altogether in one book. In today's digital age, it'd might have to be online only, but still I think this concept is way better than the American comic book system.

I think some already do, at least over here in the Netherlands, but it's only aimed toward children.

Why do that when you can just buy trade paperbacks of comic books you want to read? There is the argument that Western comicbooks have collectibility built into their soul.

What with multiple standard covers, retailer incentives, subscription covers, convention covers, special release covers ...I usually bag and board all my comic books. Bit harder to do that with serialized TPBs.

There is also the idea that if a comic book can't survive its own individual release, why would people necessarily want to read it in between the stuff they actually want more of?

Addendum_Forthcoming:
There is also the idea that if a comic book can't survive its own individual release, why would people necessarily want to read it in between the stuff they actually want more of?

This point is why I think it's a good idea. It can bring awareness to more niche or experimental concepts. Let's say, a Magazine has multiple comics including Spider-Man, Avengers, and some new weird experimental series running in it. Those who get the latest issue for the former, might stick around and see what the later is all about, and if they like it, they'll read more of it and maybe buy the individual releases.

It would be a novel idea for sure. I'm all for experimenting with different things. The problem is a lot of people hate when things are different and " weird ".

There's also a lot of (unfair) negative connotation associated with japan. The West has never been an Open minded bunch.

TheMisterManGuy:
I was wondering, why hasn't any US comic book publisher tried this idea? Create a magazine that compiles a variety of comic book series from different artists, plus interstitial articles, one-shot pilots, and sponsorship ads altogether in one book. In today's digital age, it'd might have to be online only, but still I think this concept is way better than the American comic book system.

Many US comic book publishers have actually done this, including DC, Marvel, Dark Horse, Image and so on. They are called comic anthologies and were generally themed around a genre like horror, western, adventure, then later on superheroes. Often used as testbeds to see if new characters catch on with the publish. Before the rise of superhero comics, they were probably the most common form American comics came in (aside from newspaper strips). The concept gets revived once in a while, but they usually don't last very long.

You might know some: Adventure Comics, Detective Comics and Amazing Fantasy.

That's right. The series that launched Superman, Batman and Spider-Man. Breakout successes like these characters usually led to the anthology aspect of these series eventually getting dropped (as well as getting their own series in addition), but while they got top billing, for a time they shared the pages with other (unrelated) characters.

And the US wasn't alone in having anthologies/magazines.

For example, the UK has 2000AD, best known for Judge Dredd, which is still ongoing. In Belgium and France you had magazines like Spirou (Spirou & Fantasio, Gaston Lagaffe, The Smurfs), Le Petit Vingtieme (Tintin) and Pilote (Asterix, Lucky Luke, Blake & Mortimer). They aren't around anymore though. The Donald Duck Pocket Books are still around though and still quite popular in Italy and Denmark, although they're really more paperbacks that collect a number of Disney comic stories than actual magazines.

I think the Beano and Dandy comics followed that formula.

Warhammer Monthly did that, they had usually 4 comics per issue, which were mostly part of ongoing series.

Cancelled many years ago all of a sudden, just after starting a new Kal Jerico series (though Kal Jerico had gotten rather stale), never finished Daemonifuge.

Majestic Manatee:
I think the Beano and Dandy comics followed that formula.

They absolutely did. And so too do the Archie comics. They can come in publications that might have one Archie story, one Betty & Veronica, one Sabrina the Teenage Witch, one Josie & the Pussycats, etc.

With regard to the typical Marvel/DC, I think in that instance the superhero genre maybe it doesn't work so well. People like what they like and don't necessarily care about the rest. A Superman fan won't buy the Flash, a Batman fan won't buy Green Lantern, etc, etc. I used to read X-Men from nineties-naughties and while I did end up getting into the spin-offs (Gen X, Deadpool, X-Man, Ultimate, etc), I didn't buy Fantastic Four, Spiderman, XForce, XCaliber, Avengers or any others. I had no interest in them. These titles are written by individual teams of artists/writers and typically work in arcs and I think it doesn't lend itself well to the serialised format as described.

It's an interesting idea tho, I'm sure there are some others out there still today, just perhaps not so much in the superhero genre.

Chimpzy:

You might know some: Adventure Comics, Detective Comics and Amazing Fantasy.

I was gonna mention Detective Comics. I just got around to playing Batman: Arkham Asylum and was shocked to learn that Batman got his start among such smash hits as Slam Bradley and Speed Saunders!

Also I was actually just surprised he got his start in something called Detective Comics. Never really thought of Batman as a detective.

TheMisterManGuy:

This point is why I think it's a good idea. It can bring awareness to more niche or experimental concepts. Let's say, a Magazine has multiple comics including Spider-Man, Avengers, and some new weird experimental series running in it. Those who get the latest issue for the former, might stick around and see what the later is all about, and if they like it, they'll read more of it and maybe buy the individual releases.

Kind of makes it hard, however. Like I fucking love Andy Price and Sara Richard's stuff with the MLP comics. But imagine if you had big ticket artists of indie/small team projects butting up against mediocre or no name artists? How would you negotiate payment? With a lot of the Japanese stuff you hardly ever get full colour features, or they tend to have blank backgrounds in panels, or non-descript phase panels of crudely drawn large image stills of what are usually 6+ individual panels to emphasize action.

So you would get a diminishing of quality given you'd simply not get the same pay cheque as releasing your own comic. So for these mega-serial collective issues, you're looking at individual or small team publications of materials that either couldn't make a monthly large contributive piece to its consumer base, all while jostling with other auteur producers of content for a place in the publication while not getting paid all that much for said contributions.

Moreover, if you do work for a larger production house of content, your employers may start criticizing you working elsewhere perhaps having a detrimental effect on their publications if you were trying to break out of such auteur projects to work on bigger print run materials.

The Western comics book market is all in all looking pretty healthy all things considered... so there is a real argument whether the market even needs that format to begin with. After all, it's a competitive, but otherwise growing market out there. If you manage to get an art and narrative team of three or more together, you might make a bigger splash by releasing your own comicbook and reaching out to local retailers about advertising yourself and your presence.

While a 'big book' comic serial might be good for that, you're likely not going to make as big a splash, it puts direct limitations on your growth potential, and if you produce a hit contribution.... more of your profits and prestige of that lost to the publisher and the artists you share the same publication with.

Frankly its been done and done well.

Both the origional Comic for Big Hero Six and the Disney Animated film (which was toned down content wise) had a anime touch to it. Doug Walker on one of his Disnycenmbers mentioend the last clip in Fantasia 2000 had an anime look to the nature goddess.

And the obious: Teen Titans, Avitar: The Last Last Airbender, Aeon Flux, Disney's Gargoyles, at least one version of G.I.JOE, EXO Squad, Samurai Jack, about three of the Ben 10 shows, and Wakfu to name a few have had hints f it. EXO Squade was meant to be an American Anime, and the artists in Japan were told to make the first season of Gargoyals "An Anime!!!!!!!!."

Also, why were there Ninja in G.I. JOE if not to catch up on this?

Like with most things it has to be done well. And frankly sturgeons law is going to playout more times than not, but that doesn't mean you should stop trying.

Drathnoxis:
Never really thought of Batman as a detective.

Eh, for a long while, they'd occasionally call him "The World's Greatest Detective", and Ra's al Ghul calls him "the detective" sometimes. On and off, not sure if they still do.

Thaluikhain:

Drathnoxis:
Never really thought of Batman as a detective.

Eh, for a long while, they'd occasionally call him "The World's Greatest Detective", and Ra's al Ghul calls him "the detective" sometimes. On and off, not sure if they still do.

At this point he's far from a detective these days.

If anything his original comic book paints him far more as a vigilante then a detective.

I love reading manga but I never cared for the weekly jump magazines or even the monthly ones like comics high and so on. I like buying the tankoubon/volume releases and I like reading tons of chapters back to back and not just reading one per week, it's really unsatisfying and not enough for me.

What these magazines are really good for is exposing you to new series, since they have so many different ones all in one book, but I don't see them being the primary form of manga reading for enough people who aren't into that weekly chapter routine habit already.

Well, what if you buy Weekly Shounen Jump and realize you don't want to read half of the stuff in there?

Say you want to read Attack on Titan to the latest chapter, and now you have to pay for To Love Ru and the rest. It's a waste of money.

I don't like my name anymore:
Well, what if you buy Weekly Shounen Jump and realize you don't want to read half of the stuff in there?

Say you want to read Attack on Titan to the latest chapter, and now you have to pay for To Love Ru and the rest. It's a waste of money.

Another issue with this is good storylines could be cut out, or runs of books be cut short, or ones that should have been cut short will go on till we end of time if the magazine publishers think its profetble.

Barage was a victem of being cut too short. Others like say Bleach or Naruto, or anything else that has dragged on for too long because they were making hand over fist of money.

So I don't see this as changing much in that as it will either have the same old problems, just with a different color palet, or makeing new ones in the process.

I don't like my name anymore:
Well, what if you buy Weekly Shounen Jump and realize you don't want to read half of the stuff in there?

Say you want to read Attack on Titan to the latest chapter, and now you have to pay for To Love Ru and the rest. It's a waste of money.

To love ru hasn't been in shonen jump for a good 16 volumes worth of chapters actually haha (something like 7ish years) also it ended about a year ago.

 

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