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Submitted on
May 9, 2012
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Please stop calling yourself a mangaka by MaximoVLorenzo Please stop calling yourself a mangaka by MaximoVLorenzo
Please stop calling your work manga, and yourself mangaka.

Before I explain why I’m asking for this favor, I should tell you a bit about myself. Growing up I had a friend who was into comics, stuff like THE PUNISHER, VENOM, SPAWN, really grim dark stuff. When he took me to my first comic book store I was about 12 years old, and I wanted to read about rad cartoony kids like me having adventures, running away from home and searching for treasures armed with firecrackers, yoyos, and baseball bats. All I could find in the 90’s were super muscled old dudes, guns, grimdark, and then there were archie and sonic comics. Sonic comics were action cartoony so I bought those but they didn’t really hold my interest (loved the cartoon though). Anyway I gave up on comics, I drew them but I was always inspired by videogames which had the heros I liked. I was drawn to Megaman, Goonies, Mario Bros which all either had kid heros or bright poppy colors and cool art in the instruction booklets. I stayed influenced by videogames until middleschool. I remember seeing a cartoon (anime) called Unico when I was a about 4-5? on a rental, it blew my mind so bad I was sort of convinced it was just a dream and it didn’t really exist, every other cartoon was nothing like that. But I remember watching Sailormoon and DBZ on TV about middleschool-highschool and it once again blew my mind that type of animation really did exist. From there I started buying over priced anime VHS from suncoast (mostly ranma 1/2), started reading manga, going to conventions, cosplaying and my art even started emulating my favorite anime/mangas from there. Later on I even got published under Tokyopop and THEY called my work manga ( I didn’t agree, but who was I going to argue with when they were paying me to draw comics? ). So by all accounts I understand the “But no manga is different!” feeling and that’s my biggest issue.

-It shouldn’t be different.

People see are the way the industries are run. The most powerful comic publishers in America flood the market with superheros written for males in their 30s-40s. Japan’s powerful comic publishers…well take Shueisha for example, publish comics for all genders all ages, while story lines move at much faster rates. These industries are important because they are the spots where lively hood from making comics is more possible, and because their distribution is more powerful they effect the general public’s perception of comics. In Japan comics are made for everyone so almost everyone reads comics, in America comics are seen as a culture and less of a medium for everyone. This makes the lures people like me with thoughts of going to Japan and being a mangaka, but that would not only be MORE difficult and also that wouldn’t help solves any of the problems we have in America. Instead of attempting to separate yourself from other comics artists, we should be working together to change the industry to our standards. With stuff like the internet, webcomics, kickstarter, apps, now more than ever it’s possible to change the world of comics into the world we want it to be. Personally I have no patience for people who superficially look down on others based on their art style, because they are annoyed by diversity which is the centerpiece of making comics a format that is acceptable to the general public. Everything you like from japan is accomplish-able in any other country and viceversa.

-People put too much importance on art style in a storytelling telling medium.

You can tell any story you like in any art style you like. Just to reiterate myself, manga isn’t a style, it’s not any more of a style than the words “movie” “newspaper” “tv show” “comic” Those perimeters are not specific enough to consider them styles, they are formats. Manga (comics from japan) do use symbolic features as part of the language there, but some do not. Some manga are drawn incredibly realistic (vagabond), some are cartoony and have more of those trademark symbols you recognize like big shiny eyes, or sweatdrops or whatever. If you use those symbols your only using superficial tools, these tools are useful in certain cases but they are hardly the heart of comics/manga which is STORYTELLING. So really the distinction most people see is superficial, what matters is the STORY.

-You don’t need that label of Manga / Mangaka and no one should be labeling you.

If you’re a comic artist and someone tried to tell you you don’t belong because of your art style? They are shallow and you shouldn’t waste your time with people like that. Don’t try to fit into what people want you to fit into, work to change things so what YOU prefer becomes the norm. Using the internet finding people who share your interests and will follow your work has been easier than ever. Yes you’ll go to publishers to show your portfolio, and even if you are skilled enough you will be snubbed based on your style. That is their short sighted mistake, in truth publishers don’t usually know what’s going to be good, they can only look at sales and say “oh if we put tits on the cover it sells more, so we should do that”. Punish them by being successful without them, make comics on your own, make a webcomic,and then if you’ve pulled followers on your own you’ll have more muscle to deal with publishers on your terms. If you are intent on working with a publisher keep searching until you can find a specific person from a publisher who will believe in you and support your work.

-Lastly although I hate to mention it, calling yourself a mangaka / manga artist unless you are from Japan makes people take you less seriously.

It shouldn’t really impact your decision to whether you do call yourself a mangaka / manga artist, but just know people are going to assume you are trying to be a special snowflake, that you’re not in the trenches with the rest of the comic artists, you’re above all that. But the fact is if you’re in America our comics industry and culture effects you, no matter how you try to separate yourself from the issue if you’re in a country and the people, economy, and culture all effect your success.

So worry less about your label and help change things so what you like doesn’t need to be distinguished from the rest of comics. Perhaps tell Deviant art to stop influencing youth to think otherwise through distinguishing galleries by “manga style” and “everything else”. Have them distinguish styles by Realistic, Cartoons, Isometric which are much better indicators of style. CHECK THE PYRAMID => [link]
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Nekoekko Featured By Owner May 13, 2014  Hobbyist Artist
This is actually a good argument. But to be honest you don't
have to be Japanese to be a manga artist. I'm Cambodian and I actually do draw in the manga style. I'm sorry if I sound mean I'm not trying to be. Llama Emoji-08 (Crying) [V1] But this reminds  me of a guy in class who said that I couldn't be a manga artist just because I'm not Japanese and he told me to go jump off a bridge and kill myself. The thing is I have family in japan that are half Cambodian and Japanese and they  told me I didn't have to be Japanese to be a manga artist. To be honest I would like to work in the cartoon and comic business. But after that I actually lost some of confidence. Do you have any ideas what I should do. And I'm sorry if comment makes you angry or anything. 
MaximoVLorenzo Featured By Owner May 18, 2014  Professional General Artist
You can be anything you want to be, what im saying is a manga artist is a comic artist, why not just say comic artist? That guy in your class is an idiot, and you should feel like you can do anything.

Anyway my point isnt you cant be a "manga artist" so much as you make it harder for yourself to do be a comic artist when you support seperating manga from comics.
XAlieraxWinters Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2014  Student General Artist
This totally changed my mind set. I was feeling bit depressed at first, but then I really took in what you wrote. You're right. Thanks for changing my view 
warahi Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2014
just gonna say, Dragon Ball whip's Z's ass into the ground
FourteenthAngel Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
FINALLY, someone who is on the same wavelength as me! I loved what you have to say here and that is enough for someone like me, who was previously unfamiliar with you work, to respect you.

My art teachers would scoff at anyone who drew in anything that was even vaguely resemble "manga style." In reality, there is no one "manga style." A manga or anime could literally look like anything the artist wants to. Defining them all into one style is honestly quite silly. I always tried to reason why my teachers but they wouldn't to what I had to say even if I ranted until I was blue in the face.

When I was younger, I was big into anime and manga and still am but I take my influence from many places so these days I just call myself an artist. I do believe the comic industry is starving and we as artist should do something about it if we are so willing. 

Art style is important of course but those are just the bell and whistles when it comes to telling a story with actual characters. Way to many people "...judge a book by its cover" so to speak. 

Again thank you for this!
bizzeebee Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2013
Well,I'm studying Japanese,and someday,I'm gonna make comics in Japan,so call it what you want!I'm not gonna argue with you.
Crimsonoid Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2013  Student Digital Artist
I totally agree, but something else made me want to comment here

hellfiredemonchild Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2013  Student Artist
how did you get your work seen by the publishers in japan?
MQ-Killer Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2013  Student Digital Artist
I usually call them wapanese(you know, people who think themselves Japanese because looks cool).
I understand your words. I have seen loots of them here in south California... they even flow in the
family... what a waste of their time. Great argument bro!
Dreamslayer1 Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2013

also. DBZ, one of the most popular in the world has terrible story about a villians named freezer. cell and a guy from a disney movie's childrens song called bidibi bodibi buu

another is named after underwear, trunks,bra, bulma. another after a vegetable named vegeta.

the story is about 7 dragonballs and they fight with powerlevels. shitty story but very very good fighting in it. one of my favorites and others for just that. its hardly the heart of manga which is FIGHTING. hence why its so much better. than normal comics.

or anything else written(yes even preacher with garth ennis, he is a shock writer with gore any sexual necrofilic cannibalistic sex in it but he is one of the best if not the best writer when writing friendship in characters)
and simular are graphic novels.
obviously a neogolistic term created by the spirit creator.
nevertheless, his work. a contract with god is boring but at least tries. in my own opinion its not a graphic novel since its too terrible. the creator of the term couldnt of course make his own creation a graphic novel when he created the term. sad but true.

sandman and watchmen are, they are primary to storytelling. the rest like cape hero comics are something to pass the time. but its not interesting fight scenes, speedlines, pre-panels that manga has. nor the pages for it.

i mean hell, baki, son of ogre has 400 fucking pages dedicated to one fight.

ONE FIGHT VIA characters one on one.

if you are a good mangaka, you can call your manga for manga and yourself mangaka.
How you define yourself is not by popularity since Twillight and the belief the world was round means its not a constant. but you yourself should judge it and compare it to mangas you yourself have researched and defined as quality and explained reasons if only too yourself.
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