After a many months hiatus (sorry!) it's time to finish up what I started with the Making a Living in Manga series.
When we first started looking at the dysfunctional state of affairs for Western comics creators who work in a manga-influenced style in Making a Living in Manga Part 1, we outlined 9 reasons why the manga-making ecosystem in North America is broken. Now, in Part 5, we're ready to talk about trying to take this sad song and make it better. I initially meant for Part 5 to be the final part in this series, but this essay got so long, I had to break down the 10 ideas for fixing a broken economy for manga-makers into two parts, with 5 ideas each. So look for Part 6, the final part in this series, coming very soon.
So! Here we go! In Making a Living in Manga Part 5, we delve into why what works in Japan isn't so easy to do in North America, and dig into the first five ways that publishers, artists, and readers can address the gap between the many artists who want to make manga for a living, and the current market realities.
No sooner that I posted this, that I got a tweet from Evan Liu, former writer for Anime News Network's The Gallery feature (which spotlighted up-and-coming comics creators), who's now the director of PacSet Tours.
In his Tumblr post entitled "The divide between OEL Manga and Artist's Alley", Liu brings up some good points about how and why many up-and-coming, professional and semi-pro artists exhibit and sell their artwork in Artists' Alley.
"People need to stop assuming that everyone in Artist's Alley wants to draw manga professionally. Sure, some people DO, but there are many, many artists in the alley who are content with simply being awesome illustrators."
He also adds:
"A lot of artists in the Alley have started careers they are happy with in other corners of the industry. When I wrote for ANN, I interviewed more than fifty artists who draw in a manga-inspired style. While some of them are working in comics, many of them have found careers they are happy with elsewhere, in industries that are far more lucrative than publishing."
Anyway, give Evan's post a read, and while you're at it, check out this latest installment of Making a Living in Manga, then come back here and add your comments! Do you agree, disagree or have something to add to this discussion? Chime in with your thoughts below, or tweet 'em at me at @debaoki or @aboutmanga - and who knows? You might be quoted in Part 6 of this series.
Image credits: © Svetlana Chmakova, © Deb Aoki