Sporadic Sequential
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Extra! Extra! Manga Bites Domestic Comics!

It's quickly becoming evident that there are many wonderful extras I overlooked in my essay at Blog@Newsarama and my follow-up list. The recipes and fashion notes from Aya? The "bonus tracks" and colorful back covers from Love Roma? The engrossing and scope-expanding text pieces from Watchmen? How could I have missed those? And I'm sure there are many, many more bonus features that I'll feel like an idiot for forgetting when someone points them out.

But there's one particular omission from my list of Extra Extras that I'd like to spotlight: Shonen Jump. Each issue has a bunch of extra content in addition to the multiple serialized manga. I think the main reasons I overlooked SJ were (1) I don't read SJ anymore, and (2) even when I did, I tended to skip over the bonus features. Still, I think it's worth pointing out that SJ does offer a wealth of bonus material each issue, from "rare" trading cards and posters to articles covering related anime, video games, and card games.

I don't know if I ever consciously made this connection before, but in many ways Shonen Jump reminds me of the DC Giants that I loved when I was a kid. Like Shonen Jump, the DC Giants reprinted a number of different stories and included various bonus features. And like Shonen Jump, the DC Giants were bigger than anything else on the stands at the time. And if today's kids are anything like me when I was a young whippersnapper, they're going to be shocked and awed into submission by the sheer size of SJ. I was always drawn to the bigger, thicker comics when it was time to spend my allowance money, and I'm betting a similar factor contributes to SJ's continued popularity.

Which means that, yes, it's time for a special Fifth Anniversary return appearance from the Manga Stack of Intimidation!!!

That's an image from a post made on my old blog, Grotesque Anatomy, back on October 30, 2003, showing the difference in relative thickness between "12 issues of Viz's manga anthology Shonen Jump (with a $4.95 cover price) on the left and 24 issues of various American comics at $2.50 a pop on the right." Of course, now that the average Marvel or DC comic is $2.99 (soon to be $3.50?), $60 would only get you 20 floppies, so the pile on the right would be even smaller. So once again I ask: Gee, I wonder why young kids are flocking to manga?

(And before you complain, yes, I already did a comparison with Marvel Essentials.)

Somewhat Related Fifth Anniversary Tangent: It's kind of fun going back in the Internet Time Machine and reading my old posts about Shonen Jump. For one thing, you can see how much more I blogged before I had kids. And the comment threads seemed much livelier back then. (Note to self: Need to invite Matt Maxwell to kick off conversations in my comment threads again.) But it is fascinating to see how half-decade old arguments and speculation turned out. (Answer: I was right!!)

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