Mid-week must-reads

I’ve pretty much given up on manga industry analysis as a pastime. I found it had started to taint the hobby for me. But I always enjoy sinking my teeth into a great piece of writing from this category. Today’s comes from Brigid (MangaBlog) Alverson over at Robot 6, in which she reacts to the recent round of layoffs at Tokyopop:

It’s just sad to see people who took their work seriously being treated so badly by a company that seems to put more value on a direct-to-Hulu reality series than on their core product, a solid line of manga that really did change the graphic novel market and the reading habits of millions of readers—myself included.

I would only add that, in my admittedly limited experience talking to industry figures, I can think of few professionals who were better equipped and more willing to be passionate advocates for good manga than Lillian Diaz-Pryzybl and Asako Suzuki. Any publisher possessing any sense at all would hire them at their absolute earliest convenience.

(Okay, I would also add that, in addition to being a passionate advocate for manga, Brigid is also one of its must astute, clear-eyed observers.)

Moving to a much more benign subject, another astute advocate, Erica (Okazu) Friedman, succumbs to my pestering and writes about what describes as “the fifth genre” of manga magazines in her latest column for The Hooded Utilitarian:

The pressure to conform to the four basic categories is industry-wide. The Japanese Magazine Publishers Association puts out circulation data for top selling manga magazines every year. These ratings are listed by; For girls, For boys, For men and For women. And yet, there is some leaking around the edges, as more alternative magazines seek out both male and female artists,  and male and female readers. These magazines focus less on who is buying and more on telling stories to people who want to read them.

A synonym for “fifth genre” might be “magazines with which David is unhealthily obsessed.”