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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Red Haired Motoko?

There’s been a rather large flap over the casting of Scarlett Johansen as the Motoko character in the live action Ghost In The Shell.  This may be misplaced.  Now I’m not certain that Spielberg and DreamWorks are going for the look of “Ghost In The Shell 2 man-machine interface” or not, but if that’s the case, red hair and Anglo is exactly the right casting.


Which means that Scarlett Johansen fits the suit very well.

Scarlett Johansson Suits Up as Black Widow for ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ Poster

The other casting choices seem to fit as well.


The thing is that by the point of Ghost In The Shell   Man-machine Interface, Motoko has blended with a powerful AI and has the ability to change prosthetic bodies, or for that matter almost any body, at will. She’s also trying to more or less hide herself from her old companions at Section 9 to a greater or lesser degree.



So rather than complaining that DreamWorks is not being true to the source material you should read the source material and look at what Dreamworks is actually doing.  Doing Man-machine Interface is going to be a challenge.  There is stuff going on all over the place and the story sometimes has several things multitasking at the same time.  The reader has to read through several times to make sure that they catch the whole puzzle.  At least I did.


All of those ladies would make fine Motoko Kusanagis, if that’s the movie DreamWorks is making.  On the other hand, Ghost In The Shell 1 and it’s characters have had an animated movie, three TV series, A follow up movie and a possible Japanese Live action coming. On the other hand, Manamachine Interface is not as well known and is essentially a new story with new intrigues and new characters as well.

From  the beginning I’ve suspected that Spielberg has been thinking about Man-machine Interface and NOT the Ghost In the shell that most people are familiar with.


I think that that’s the comic he most likely saw in the airport and as the first one he looked at, that’s what’s been where he’s been thinking. Now has Shirow been in any way involved?  I would be surprised if he wasn’t and if that’s the case, then there’s no room for complaint. In any case Shirow has never been so racially biased that he’s avoided not using Japanese characters. In fact if you read Appleseed, the main character is blond and from Europe.  If Shirow  doesn’t care about race very much why should anybody else?


People should actually read the source material and see what Masume Shirow has come up with.  Even if the movie isn’t released, people should read the manga and everything else that Shirow has done.  The man is a great artist and comes up with the most mind blowing stuff. All of his stuff is highly recommended