Why American Comics Have Gone Down The Drain, While Manga Can’t Print Enough

Recently, I ran into this video:
GLOBAL MANGA SHORTAGE While DC Comics Charges 6 BUCKS for a Batman Comic?! – YouTube

The video does not look too deeply into why this is happening and I wanted to present my thoughts on why this happened. There are a lot of issues here that I think that are not understood and making easy and quick assertions doesn’t give a true picture of what is going on.

What is going on is rather obvious. Comics in the US are in a death spiral. A quick google of the subject will provide anyone with endless articles and videos on the subject in the last year. Also, while the pandemic may have accelerated the process, somewhat, the death spiral was well along before the pandemic and the consequences came along. Even the largest selling comics books sell about 200,000 or so a month.

Contrast that with some Manga sales where even modest selling manga sell more than the top ten comic books combined and the top selling manga sells tens of millions of tankobon copies, a month, in Japan. As opposed to the American comics industry someone in Japan is doing something right. I want to use what I have learned to explore just what I think is going right in Japan and wrong in the US. I don’t pretend to have any insider’s special knowledge and this post will just be what I have observed about the two industries.

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You Don’t Have To be Young To Be A Maker

While I was making breakfast a story was running on the local news. It was about this.




I thought that the story was interesting  for a variety of reasons. One, was that the ladies were dealing with a problem and came up with an innovative solution. Two, they did the prototyping in the Westport CT library, right next door to me, but perhaps more significantly was that the product development was done in the library at all.  Third, the people doing this are dedicated to getting their product made here, in the US.  The very thing that so many say cannot be done.  They managed to do it though. Here is their vendor, I think.[ Corrected the vendor was not Marlborough plastics.]


Instead it was these folks.



This company is typical of the many small manufacturers here in Connecticut.  I like to say that I can throw a stone and get just about anything I want made. Getting stuff made is not impossible, just hidden.  You have to know where to go to find the vendors you need. The best place to start to find vendors in your area is the Thomas Register.


You can also look for local trade shows for manufacturing




You can also check for the local Small Manufacturers Association a try.


The fact is that here in the US there is no reason why you can’t fulfill a kickstarter right here in the states. It can also be a very good thing to do.  American manufacturers are far more likely to maintain quality and much less likely to turn around and manufacture their product for themselves. In my experience, American vendors would rather build a relationship with you than go for the quick buck by stealing your product.  They will also work hard to maintain that relationship because they have to look you in the eye and you will be talking about them, good and bad.

As for the Negg, this is a perfect example of how to do it.  It’s also just how powerful the technologies that are available to just about everybody and how to leverage those technologies to create and innovate.  How this will disrupt how things are done is going to be exciting.



The Top YouTube TV Stars

I think it helps to be a cute kid.  It’s helps more to be entertaining. Here’s Forbes list of the top YouTube channel owners late last year.


If you look at successful YouTubers   you can see that they provide two things, character and value.  The good YouTube Channel, will provide you with an entertaining character in front of the camera, whether it’s somebody you can relate to or just a cute kid, and real entertainment or educational value.  Like the cooking show in the article below, the ingredients can be very simple.   Yet that is enough for an aging Chinese man cooking.

Now 7000 odd subscribers isn’t huge, but the channel means something to 7000 people.


For somebody who grew up in the age of three networks, three independents and PBS, the democratization and variety of entertainment is incredible. Who would think that a guy playing with a hydraulic press would be a hit, but entertainment and humor can attack at any time.


That’s the democratization of YouTube.  Of course the Hydraulic Press channel is hardly the only one where the crazy stuff goes down.


Or where the fine art of screwing around goes on.


Of different kinds.




Then there’s the useful stuff, where real experts share what they know in their areas of  expertise, for instance electronics.











Or industrial design.


The best thing about YouTube is that anybody can be a star.  Look at the first videos of any of these channels and well they are usually pretty crappy.  All you need to do is keep being creative and be real.  The next big YouTube star could be you.



Art Of The Week; Miniatur Wunderland

Is a model railroad art?  I don’t know, but the people at Miniatur Wunderland have been doing some fun and creative stuff for a long time and makin millions of people happy.


Here’s the video.

The Youtube channel is filled with good stuff.


Best of all you can visit virtually.



Truly a wonderful creative thing