Dazzling sword play! Vengeful assassins! Heroic battles; no, I am not describing a Steven Seagal movie(sorry Comic Fans, but you have to forgive me for that one)but more so, MAS is highlighting the elaborate treading that binds together the world we came to know as Manga Entertainment and Story-telling(Manga being the Japanese word for art meaning "whimsical style"). This phenomenon, unbeknownst to some American Comic book fans is not a new thing, but an age old art form which dates as far back as the 13th century, originally scene in Japanese scrolls. Today, few art forms have blended into Americans mainstream visual mediums with such force and permanence as Manga Art. So the question is, why did Manga art succeed where so many before it had failed?
Truly, the art form never left us.The arts evaluation is due to American art influence during World War II. It came out of the GI's bringing their American comic books overseas during war time while stationed in Japan. The Art consequently fused itself with the Japanese art style, only later to find itself being brought back to the states. Still, beyond that little geographic tidbit of info, we still should ask ourself, "Why Manga?" Hell, America has always been a vat of borrowed cultures, customs and ideologies, why this?
Well, lets face it...we are in tougher times! No Archie and Happy Days here. Contemporary views are dead as Conventional ideologies had steadily begun to shatter apart in the growing years like a neatly placed vase in the path of a surging storm! Rap is the new religion! Anti-establishment is the new battle cry! People, at the heart of it, see a nation whose fading morality and white picked fences are("figuratively speaking...of course")being thrown away like items at yesterdays yard sale. A Conservative Nation is yesterday's news!
Upcoming generations want and abashed slice of the truth and they want it medium rare. Manga is that succulent side dish.
But there are other reasons for this constant wave of Artistic expression which, at its core, describes its basic, overall appeal; Story! Story! Story! There is virtually no where Manga creators won't go in order to authenticate their stories. No material is too risky! No subject matter is too taboo! And although the violence of their work does make quire boys of American animation films(I mean this is the home of Disney), along with the nudity and what some might consider advert sexuality, each vise is used for one purpose, to move along and enhance the overall story development, even at the sake of the projects world wide commercial appeal.
It's not about the boardroom exec., puffing on an imported cigar or folding back the cuffs of his white, Brook Brothers suit, but rather, it is about the story and the lessons in them that is to be passed down to future generations, lessons which will steadily shape the Japanese culture and the constructs of their homes and communities, but American artist have caught on...
Such artist as Jason Scott Campbell(Danger Girl,X-Men) and probably the most obvious one, Humberto Ramos(Wolverine, Amazing Spider man) echoes Manga in every line captured in their panels. So, what is the future of Manga?
I would say a bright one, from more advanced motion comics to future 3d and possibly 4d game and film development;virtually whatever advancements are needed to further enhance the story telling process. Either way, let me tell ya, I am pretty sure American creators, both in and out of the comic world are taking notes.