Weekly Shonen Jump Going Live in One Week!!

The manga market begins to grow with same day releases for the US market in one week.

A lot of online publishers have been trying to crack the online market with the opening of various stores from major publishers to smaller independents. One of the more popular being Comixology. It was considered a huge leap when comics were starting to be offered with same day releases, but they were still asking for full print prices for a digital product that they don't actually own. The rationale behind it is still silly when there is no printing cost for them. I know the reason. I just don't see that as a valid excuse.

The US publisher of various manga series VIZ Media has been making inroads in broadening the base of manga readers. The first step was when a few years ago they increased their publishing of major titles such as NARUTO, ONE PIECE, and BLEACH. All these these titles are now only a few months behind the Japanese editions.

A year ago, VIZ started the online edition of Japan's WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP magazine. It was called WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP ALPHA. For a subscription fee, users would get to read some of the latest chapters of some of the biggest series, but with a two week delay. These editions would also eventually expire and no longer be readable.

After a year of testing, this is about to change in one week. Starting on January 21, 2013. The VIZ will be releasing WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP online with full translations with no more delay. It's going to be same day releases with Japan. This is a huge leap in broadening the audience of these manga series. Another improvement in their service is that these magazines will no longer expire. You own it.

I paid a subscription fee of $25.99 USD, and I will get an entire year of this weekly magazine. Every Monday, I will be able to read almost 200 pages of the latest manga chapters on my computer or download to my Kindle Fire (also believable on IOS devices). That is a huge bargain. In Japan, Eiichiro Oda's ONE PIECE sells tens of millions of units ever year (over 23 million in 2012). It's an understatement to say it's breaking sales records. Now, that weekly audience will only be growing.

-Kristoffer Remmell (FoxxFireArt) is a freelance graphic artist, writer, and over all mystery geek.- Follow for news updates: @ FoxxFireArt


My Very Geek Christmas Tree!!

My Christmas Tree Filled with Heroes.

In my home we don't decorate the tree with color coordinating glass balls, but a variety of decorations that have a history. Many had names of family members or the year of birth painted upon then of my mother, uncles, cousin, and brother. Nearly every year my among my Christmas gifts my mother has given me a tree ornament. Far more often these involve cartoon, comic, or movie characters. I always love these, and they give the tree so much personality.

This year I decided to take a picture of many of my favorite tree ornaments. My collection contains a majority of Batman and Spider-man ornaments. Many of these have lights and sound, but those don't show up well on camera. It's not that I wouldn't like some manga characters, but I can never find any of those. Which is just strange.

There was another Batman one not pictures. It was hard to get a good shot of it. It has Batman at the end of a string attached to a ledge. You pull down on the string, release, and he zooms back up to the ledge as if he's using the bat claw.

-Kristoffer Remmell (FoxxFireArt) is a freelance graphic artist, writer, and over all mystery geek.- Follow for news updates: @ FoxxFireArt


ONE PIECE FILM: Z Movie Figures!!

If you are a person you enjoy detailed figures. I think you might like this set based on the next ONE PIECE movie.

ONE PIECE FILM Z is the eleventh film (technically twelfth if you count the 3D STRAW HAT CHASE movie), and was was released to theaters on December 15th. This movie is also the second of the series that had series creator, Eiichiro Oda, taking on the role of executive producer. On top of writing and drawing his best selling manga, Oda had a hand in character designs and plotting for this movie. He even illustrated the promotional image of the characters I use at the top of this article. Believe it or not, but 90% of the background characters are named and have appeared in the regular series.

Along with all the other merchandise being released for the movie, there are two sets of figures being released. The figures are based on the clothes the Straw Hats wear in the movies and are Oda's designs. He really played up the swashbuckler theme in the first set. This is probably the skimpiest outfit Oda has ever made for Nico Robin, but I can't say I'm complaining.

ONE PIECE FILM: Z was a success already in Japan, and it broke the opening day record for the movie franchise. In 300 theaters it earned ¥750 million ($9 million USD) on the first day. Check out the final trailer for the movie.

While it may be years until this movie comes to the US. I have heard word that the tenth film ONE PIECE FILM: STRONG WORLD (the first movie Oda executive produced) will be released to the US in the Summer or Fall of 2013.

-Kristoffer Remmell (FoxxFireArt) is a freelance graphic artist, writer, and over all mystery geek.- Follow for news updates: @ FoxxFireArt


Challenge of the Demographics! Men and Women!

Strap yourself in. I'm about to blow away all your preconception about comic and manga gender demographics. It's actually more interesting than it sounds.

DC wanted to know who was buying New 52.

The demographics between men and women is often a heated discussion when it comes to comics, but it's just so difficult to find any solid numbers. People often feel or reluctantly accept that it's a boy's club. When I hear people in the US talk about manga, they seem to believe that manga are just as large a boy's club as comics if not larger toward a male audience. Well, I have some information that may surprise you.

Back in February of 2011, DC released a survey conducted by the venerable Nielsen Survey Group on the results from The New 52 reboot - - It's a reboot. Deal with it. A lot of articles published about this survey revealed that DC wasn't particularly happy with what they learned, and released the result with a list of bullet points to parse the results. They made a point of saying that this survey only questioned The New 52 buyers, but at the time The New 52 made up the vast majority of what they were publishing. Below is an image of the gender demographic portion.

Nielsen survey of DC Comics New 52 readership
What changes will come with Marvel NOW?

In stores, DC had a 93% male readership and only 7% women. Online, things were generally better with 77% male and 23% female. I had heard that DC wanted a second Nielsen survey back in June, but I couldn't find the results anywhere. I also couldn't find any research on Marvel's gender gap for readers. Just the gender gap of creators. Most seem to feel it would be either equal to DC or slightly worse. Partly given how many often complain about the lack of female characters leading their own series. Though, some see hope for Marvel NOW to improve things. (see Why Marvel NOW! Is Great For Female Characters)

Weekly Shōnen Jump has a gender-neutral readership

When many comic readers talk about manga, I often hear them bring up some of the negative stereotypes of fan service or harems. Well, harem series are a niche genre and aren't among the top selling series in Japan, and it's not as if fan service - cheesecake - doesn't exist in all of the top selling comics. Glass houses and all.

The term "shōnen" in Japanese literally means "young boy", but it's also used as a classification for a type of manga series. Classically, these are more oriented toward young men, but the same could be said about the most popular comics in North America. The focus is normally on action, fighting, comedy, or sports. One of the most popular shōnen serialized magazines in the world is Shueisha's WEEKLY SHŌNEN JUMP. This is the magazine that has brought us DRAGON BALL, NARUTO, ONE PIECE, BLEACH and countless other series since 1968.

On top of WEEKLY JUMP celebrating it's 45th anniversary this year, it can also boast that it has a 50/50 male to female readership, making it one of the most gender-neutral manga magazines. Nikkei Shimbun, one of the largest media corporations in Japan that specializes in publishing financial and business news, released in November the results of their look at the women who read WEEKLY JUMP. Here are the results of what Nikkei found.

Nikei chart of women readers of WEEKLY JUMP

For the benefit of those who don't read Japanese, I've translated the graph's results in the tables below. Though, big surprise. Pink is for girls, and Blue is for boys.

Popular Women Comics [女子人気の高いコミックス]

Gin Tama63.8%36.2%
Katekyo Hitman Reborn62.4%37.6%
Kuroko no Basuke56.9%43.1%
ONE PIECE51.8%48.2%

Popular Men Comics [男子人気の高いコミックス]

Medaka Box25.1%74.9%
Women really like this soccer series.

Some of these series popular among women aren't about romance or things many often associate with female readers. HAIKYUU!!, which has a 66.8% majority of women, is about a soccer team. NISEKOI, which has an 83.3% majority of men, is a romantic-comedy. ONE PIECE is my favorite among what is known as the Shōnen Trilogy (ONE PIECE, NARUTO, and BLEACH). I always knew that ONE PIECE had a strong female following, but I was quite surprised to see they're actually the majority.

There is an interesting fact about these numbers that wasn't covered in Nikkei Shimbun's research that I'd like to show you.

The Oricon Group tracks the sales of all media in Japan. This includes manga volumes, and every November they release a top sales chart. It only includes the sales of all new volumes released that year. It doesn't include any back issue volume sales. This chart I'm going to show you is not exclusive to Shueisha produced series. This includes all manga sold in Japan by all publishers between November 2011-November 2012. Shueisha's are just often the most popular, and I'm highlighting these few for a reason.

2012 RankSeriesVolumes2012 Units Sold2011 RankVolumes2011 Units Sold
#1ONE PIECE65-6823,464,866#161-6437,996,373
#2Kuroko no Basuke15-198,070,446#2410-141,712,983

I wanted to show you this chart of manga sales to make a point. It's not just that the highest selling series have the smaller gender gaps - - though that is worth mentioning. Which makes sense. The more inclusive you are the larger your sales. You're appealing to more people. There is still something else interesting about these numbers.

As you can see, no series is a serious competitor to ONE PIECE, but look at KUROKO NO BASUKE (aka KUROKO'S BASKETBALL). That's the series in the chart above ONE PIECE with the 56.9% female readership. It also had the largest jump from 24th to 2nd. Basically, the top two selling manga series in Japan for 2012 had a majority female readership. When has any comic book ever done that?

You really have to wonder about what it is that these creators and companies do to bring in the balance of readers that they get. What are your thoughts on these facts?

Source: Nikkei Shimbun HERE

-Kristoffer Remmell (FoxxFireArt) is a freelance graphic artist, writer, and over all mystery geek.- Follow for news updates: @ FoxxFireArt


The Cassnadra Cain Power Grab!!

Robbin' from the Women to give to the Men.

I'm a person who has read a lot of detective stories as I was growing up. Not nearly as many as I'd like, but I did pick up a rather interesting talent along the way. I'm pretty good about picking up on small details in the things people say and seeing the larger implication of what it could mean. An example would be if you're questioning a witness, and they use a plural tense. How did they know there was more than one culprit if they didn't see anything?

It's also a handy skill to predict what my mother gets me for Christmas every year based on her trying to gloat by dropping tips that she she thinks "You'll never be able to guess.". She eventually stopped with the hints after a couple years straight of me being right. But I'm getting off topic.

I was listening to the latest edition of the The Invincibly Super Massive Comic Book Podcast of Stuff with special guest Kyle Higgins over the week. There was a lot of talk about Cassandra Cain and Nightwing. During the conversation, I noticed something a bit unnerving that I don't think Cassandra Cain fans would be too happy about. In the conversation Higgins pretty much confirms that Dick Grayson's ability to read body language was based from Cassie. Despite not being a super power, this was one of Cassandra's more unique character traits that stood out among the Bat Family. Watching her juke and swerve though a hail of hot lead made her the envy of the bat boys who depend on body armor.

Move Right

A moment that Cassandra fans often call back to are the scenes of her dodging gun fire due to her uncanny skill to read body language. This level of skill at such a young age also made her stand out among the women of DC Comics as a whole, becasue she was doing something through skill what most guys do in comics by luck. That, or the bad guys have the aim of a Storm Trooper.

Dodge Left

Similar to gem stones, the fewer people with a skill or power the higher the value. With Cassie's absence in the New 52, this alteration comes across as her cool "power" being robbed from her to further build up one of the male cast. Why did Nightwing even need a new ability? Let alone take one from Cassandra. What happens if/when she makes a return to the pages of DC? Even if she has this ability. It's no longer a defining trait that's unique to her, nor would she be the first to hold it. She'll come across as the copy due to the new continuity. Intentional or not. It actually sounds rather offensive.

Looking over the DC line up post-New 52. It seems to be greatly imbalanced. With the exception of Wonder Woman, it feels that more was taken away from the women than was added to the men. Lois Lane seems to have zero pride in journalist integrity, Barbara Gordon is no longer an information broker that even Batman came to for help or the founder of the team she created, and I'm not even going to go into Catwoman again - - see my three other blogs on Selina.

I know as a straight male who doesn't have much issue with fanservice, - - I also draw half naked guys for my female followers on deviantArt - - I seem like a strange advocate for this sort of issue, But I still like Cassie and think women deserve more powerful female role models in comics. There should be more balance, and this shouldn't be a boys club. Women comic fans are awesome. What do you all think about the concept of taking powers away or copying from female characters to give to the males?

(FYI - The "robbing" and "Robin" in the subtitle was an intentional pun.)

-Kristoffer Remmell (FoxxFireArt) is a freelance graphic artist, writer, and over all mystery geek.- Follow for news updates: @ FoxxFireArt


Marvel's Big Time Spider-Island Mistake!!

How can a publisher of Marvel's caliber fail to meet the demands with a proper supply?

Paperback not available till Oct. 2013

As a young teen, I was a huge Spider-man fan, and I used to be blind and naive enough to ever think they could do no wrong with the popular webslinger that is the very icon of the popular comic publisher. That was however before the infamous middle finger to the long time fans that was One More Day and Brand New Day. I was many of the former die hard fans that swore off all SPIDER-MAN titles, but I just refused to buy any as long as Joe Quesada was the EIC at Marvel. This isn't a blog about OMD, and I'm pretty well tired of people telling me about "all the great stories that followed". As if that justifies creating one of the most broken stories in comic history that treats your readership like morons who have the long term memory of a six months old.

Well, with Quesada no longer EIC I became open of buying the series. However, not enough to invest in the high priced monthly series. I follow events online and see if a story is interesting enough. I don't care about spoilers, and events in these series never have any long term hold to effect enjoyment of reading. I do the trade waiting when it comes to SPIDER-MAN. It was mainly because of my love of Humberto Ramos' art that I actually purchased the digital trade of SPIDER-MAN: BIG TIME on Comixology. I really enjoyed it, but I felt it was a bit over hyped. I might have enjoyed it more if people hadn't been repeatedly doing nothing but trying to convince me to come back to SPIDER-MAN becasue "Big Time is so great!"....... There is something to be said for underselling to make for a better reading experience.

I followed the news of SPIDER-ISLAND on Comic Vine, and Ramos' art had me seriously anticipating the trade for this story. Unfortunately, Marvel isn't especially good about announcing trade releases, and it was never appearing on Comixology. It was ultimately released in January 2012, but I didn't learn about that until around September. That's when I was putting together my Amazon wishlist for the holidays. Just out of personal tastes, I prefer the paperback edition of comic trades. Hardcovers can often be heavy and awkward to take anywhere. I'm also not thrilled about the idea of spending more on a story I've never read before.

Bet you didn't see this mistake coming.

So, imagine my surprise when the Amazon store has the hardcover edition available now, but the paperback edition wont be published until October 2013. That's nearly two years after the story arc ended, and 22 months after the hardcover edition has been available. That is inexcusable. I understand wanting some gap between the releases, but this is insane. You'd think they would get the hardcover out for the hard core, but also want the paperback available soon for those who maybe aren't as invested but still want to read it. It's basic supply and demand. It's why they put out DVDs and Blu-rays at the same time for new releases. You strike while the iron is hot and interest in your product is high. This is more a case of striking while the iron is dead cold.

I was looking forward to stuff like this, but not enough to wait two years for it.

Whoever is in charge of distribution at Marvel must be working under the assumption that making the more expensive version the only one available will make them more money. Unfortunately for them, I'm not biting at that bait. Since they can seem to wait to earn any profits from the paperback. I can also wait to buy it. Providing by in that time I don't lose interest or forget about buying it at all together. In which case, they earn nothing.

In an industry that struggles with dropping sales, and trying to undercut online piracy. You'd think a publisher at Marvel's level wouldn't be making such a Big Time face plant. You'd think they'd want the largest possible market share. I'm not going to stoop to reading some online pirated version, but it's far more likely that making me wait this long will only result in me never reading it, period. Which is a shame since I was really interested before this.

-Kristoffer Remmell (FoxxFireArt) is a freelance graphic artist, writer, and over all mystery geek.- Follow for news updates: @ FoxxFireArt


Weekly Shonen Jump Celebrates 45th Anniversary!!

This Japanese publication celebrates a landmark anniversary for the year 2013!!

Weekly Shōnen Jump Jan. 8 2013 No. 02 JPN (Dec 2012)

Starting this month the Japanese serialized manga magazine Weekly Shonen Jump has begun celebrating it's 45th anniversary in publishing their magazine that has brought us some of the best selling manga series of all time. If you've been a fan of DRAGON BALL, NARUTO, ONE PIECE, or BLEACH. This is the magazine where they all started, and these are probably the only ones you've heard of. For the rest of the year, you can expect to see Shueisha's flagship magazine mark their covers with the 45th Anniversary tag, as you can see on the cover above.

The series began as a semimonthly publication between 1968–1969, but moved to weekly distribution in October of 1969. Since then it's published almost every week in the year with a few breaks for national holidays. It was back in 2008 that Shonen Jump hit the 2,000th issue, and in a few more weeks it will hit 2,200 issues published. The above issue is 2.198. Regardless of your thoughts on manga, that's an accomplishment to be applauded. If you're curious how this magazine manages to stay strong since the late 60s. You can see my article Publishing Tricks: Comics vs. Manga.

I would like to also give a mention that this series publication has begun to spread so far that is was recently they opened up a US branch website that will be publishing official English translated chapters the week they are released in Japan. Basically, they are trying to undercut the popularity of pirated fan translated manga chapters. I'm still personally a bit dubious of this option, given the US company in charge of the translation, VIZ Media, has a practice of censoring manga and making certain scenes childish. One example would be in NARUTO Vol. 36 Ch. 328. VIZ painted out the cigarette and lighter out of the hand and mouth of Shikamaru Nara and ruined a great moment of character drama.

-Kristoffer Remmell (FoxxFireArt) is a freelance graphic artist, writer, and over all mystery geek.- Follow for news updates: @ FoxxFireArt

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I Have an ARKHAM CITY Problem!

As you can see, I really like playing as Catwoman in ARKHAM CITY.

I am not nor have I never have been a leaderboards chaser in video games. Still, I get a lot of fun in playing BATMAN: ARKHAM CITY on my PS3. I really enjoy playing the Combat Challenges with Catwoman. She's so fast and looks cool as you take down a room full of guys in a tight catsuit with a partially functioning zipper.

If anything, I get more fun out of playing these challenges and trying to beat my own personal best. A few weeks ago I was playing the Hell's Gate Extreme challenge. I didn't do perfectly, but I did pretty damn well. I certainly wiped my previous best score. Out of curiosity, I then checked the leaderboards. I was shocked at what I saw and took this picture.

I had somehow ranked 16th on the entire PSN leaderboards for ARKHAM CITY. A lot of people would probbaly feel a great deal of accomplishment for something such as this. I actually felt a little embarrassed. I realized I had been playing this way too much. I put down the controller and stepped away from this game for a couple of weeks. Sure, I'm back playing again, but I'm not going to try and replicate this sort of action.

I actually feel I'm qualified though to write a guide on Giant Bomb for the combat system in this game now.

-Kristoffer Remmell (FoxxFireArt) is a freelance graphic artist, writer, and over all mystery geek.- Follow for news updates: @ FoxxFireArt


EPIC RAP BATTLE - Batman Vs. Sherlock Holmes!!! [video]

These two finally clash in in the fight for best detective....through rap battle!

Sherlock Vs. Batman

Now, I don't want people to mistake this as a battle forum I'm starting between Sherlock Holmes and Batman. That battle has been played out enough in the forums, so don't bring that here. That's why I'm not putting it in the Battle Forums. I want to share with you all a seriously funny video that just involves these two gong at each other.

There are a group of rappers on You Tube called Epic Lloyd and Nice Peter. They have been posting themed rap battles they call Epic Rap Battles of History. Normally, it's between two characters that have something similar but they are from history, reality, and fiction. The great thing about these videos is that they let the audience not only decide the winners, but choose the next better in the comments on the latest video. The production value and special effects can be impressive.

Check out one of their latest fights between Sherlock Holmes and Batman. Be sure to go to their website to decide the winner and post a comment on who you want to see next. I've been pushing for Superman vs. Goku.

I've really gotten hooked on some of their videos. The lyrics can be a bit on the mature side at times, but never really crude. Some of my favorites are "Ben Franklin vs. Billy Mays", "Frank Sinatra vs. Freddie Mercury". and "Mitt Romney vs. Barack Obama".

I'll share one more with you, but you'll have to go to their You Tube channel to see the rest.

Hope you got a good laugh out of them, and have a good day.

-Kristoffer Remmell (FoxxFireArt) is a freelance graphic artist, writer, and over all mystery geek.- Follow for news updates: @ FoxxFireArt

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Publishing Tricks: Comics vs. Manga

Past all the tricks and gimmicks used by publishers to increase sales. There are things to be learned from Japanese manga.

Does putting Wolverine in every series actually improve sales?

As I look at the state of comic publishing. I always hear people complaining about low sales, and that you need to buy the singles if you ever want to see a trade, but the economics that have been created favor the trade-waiters. Single issues can get costly, especially when they create events that cross numerous titles. With the rise in prices, I don't see publishers helping matters.

Two of the most over exposed characters in comics

How often do we see major publishers such as Marvel and DC just create a title that contains the very same characters in them telling stories that are only marginally different than the other. For DC, the answer is make a bunch of Batman titles, and for Marvel their answer is Wolverine - - or they'll mix things up and make it Deadpool.

I don't see how the answer becomes taking a popular character and putting them in as many books as you can in the hope that fans will then buy all the series to boost sales. On top of that keeping the same higher prices. That practice only seems to appeal to the hardcore. More likely, you are fracturing your reader base by spreading them too thin. Maybe several of these series would have stronger sales numbers if there were less similar titles. Maybe if you didn't have four titles specifically dedicated to Batman and condensed it to one or two that their sales would get stronger, becasue your readership wouldn't be so deluded and stories stronger. Readers would know where to go.

The way publishers then try to get boost sales seems more like a series of gimmicks than an actual publishing strategy. I'm not going to go into the classic issues of reboots, renumbering, or retitling. I'd like to point out the odd fixation DC clings to still about keeping 52 titles out of some weird sense of branding. It made sense when there was the New 52, but a year has passed. The entire publishing plan is to cancel any series that has low sales and replace it with an equivalent number of all new titles. All to make sure there are 52 titles. However, do they even bother addressing the issues that caused the low sales to begin with? That doesn't sound like a strategy. It's a reaction. Has anyone ever really looked into how many old readers you lose versus new readers you gain after reboots?


Then there is the issue of new readers. How are new readers going to know that Marvel of DC have these new reader friendly titles if they aren't advertising it outside of the comic bubble? What are the odds that someone walks into a comic book store for the first time just as they release all these .01 or new #1 titles?

ONE PIECE truly is the king of sales in Japan

I don't really see these sort of issues with manga publishing. I follow their sales numbers quite often. The Oricon group is a company that tracks sales of all media in Japan, including manga. Every November they publish the sales numbers of top 50 manga volumes. This is only for those series published within that year and don't include back issues. Some of the top manga we've heard of in the US are NARUTO, BLEACH, and ONE PIECE. This is the sales records for all the new manga for these three released between November 2010 - November 2011.

RankTitleVolumesUnit Sales
#1ONE PIECEVol. 60-6437,996,373 units
#2NARUTOVol. 53-586,874,840 units
#8BLEACHVol. 48-524,187,258 units

Yeah, you aren't imagining things. Those five volumes of ONE PIECE sold in that year produced nearly 38 million in sales. The series has been running since '97 and the sales are only growing. A single volume of this averages 2 million sales in three days of release, and it appeals to readers across gender and age groups. You have to wonder how they can manage to keep older readers while still getting new ones every year. I may have an explanation for you.

When most people in the US think about manga we see the paperback novel sized versions we find in bookstores. Those are actually a collected volume called a tankōbon that contain 10-12 chapters of your average shonen-action series. You could compare it to a trade paperback for comics. Most manga are actually serialized in books either weekly or monthly in publications the size of regular comic books or a magazine. Here is the genius in how serialized manga series work that can capture new readers to different series.

Weekly Shonen Jump

Let's say for the sake of this article that there is a fan who enjoys ONE PIECE, but this person has only been buying the volumes. The problem is that volumes are often months behind where the WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP is up to, That's where the latest ONE PIECE chapters are published weekly. If they want to be up to date. They'll have to start buying the magazine.

Now, if you're buying SHONEN JUMP. You aren't just getting the ONE PIECE series. Several over manga are in this rather large magazine. One chapter per series, and they average at about 16-19 pages per chapter. There are currently twenty-one separate series running. They include:

  • Gintama
  • Kochira Katsushikaku Kameari Kouen Mae Hashutsujo
  • Toriko
  • Kuroko's Basketball
  • Beelzebub
  • Medaka Box
  • Kurogane
  • Nisekoi
  • Haikyuu!
  • Saiki Kusuo no Sainan
  • Ansatsu Kyōshitsu
  • Retsu!!! Date Senpai
  • Cross・Manage
  • Shinmai Fukei Kiruko-san
  • Shokugeki no Sōma

Odds are pretty solid that if you are buying the series for ONE PIECE. You are also going to be reading all the other series that are also published in the same magazine you just paid for. You bought it for the latest of one series, but it's like a sampler of all the other series you aren't reading. You could wind up becoming a fan of say NARUTO or any of the various other stories, and it's very convenient to find back issue volumes.

It's a bit hard to really explain just how large WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP or any other serialized magazine can be. It's much thicker than your average trade paperback or a manga volume that can be over 200 pages. Luckily, I found a YouTube video of a woman flipping through the pages of a 2009 issue of SHONEN JUMP. (Well, she's either a girl or a guy who takes really good care of his nails. I also got quite the laugh at the DRAGONBALL EVOLUTION ad in the early pages.).

Weekly Shōnen Jump Jan 21/22 2011 No. 5-6

When you consider that your average comic published is $3.99 USD for about 25-30 pages, including ads. You'd have to imagine that these huge serialized manga magazines must cost a fortune. Things aren't cheap in Japan. A Japanese anime DVD that has 3 episodes on it can cost about ¥7.000 ($85). In 2012, SHONEN JUMP, costs ¥250 ($3.04). Back in 2000, it cost ¥220 ($2.68). The latest ONE PIECE tankōbon volume costs ¥420 ($5.11). I have no idea what magic they use keep the prices so low for all this content. The sales must be working out for them. It's been published weekly since 1969 and nearly 2200 issues. They don't appear to be having the same problem as US publishers are having. (You may want to see my article Comic Numbering is a Broken System! Here's a Possible Solution!)

This also affords them a large base audience when a new series starts. As the series BLEACH is nearing it's grand finale, the reader is also seeing the new series HUNGRY JOKER and SHINMAI FUKEI KIRUKO-SAN that started this month.

Often times when I write about manga publishing on Comic Vine the responses can range from curious to dismissive or straight out hostile (see the comments in my article Could Comic Vine Use a Staff Manga Reviewer?). I draw these comparisons becasue there could be something comic publishers and the audience could learn. Covering your eyes to the larger world around you doesn't solve anything. Can you really look at these manga series large sales and think there is nothing to take away from it? Take a moment, and think about it.

-Kristoffer Remmell (FoxxFireArt) is a freelance graphic artist, writer, and over all mystery geek.- Follow for news updates: @ FoxxFireArt