The first shopper one day was, Denise, a young woman in her 20’s who came in dressed like she was straight out of a manga volume. She had brown hair in pigtails that were covered in ribbon. She had a backpack with a cat with a moon on it that she told Steve she had “just bought it” in the Japanese section of the local Hot Topic and that they were “having a Sailor Moon sale.” (I should note that Hot Topic is a national chain of clothes and toys). She was filled with smiles and went out of her way to say “Hello” to every customer that came in after she did. She spent a lot of time browsing and reading the manga on the shelf. When she then walked up the register her hands were filled with a large number of Sailor Moon volumes. I must be honest, that as an observer, I had expected her to just browse or to buy something small but she ended up spending over $150.00 in the store and talked to Steve about various Japanese bands and upcoming conventions for anime. Denise also talked about her plans to attend the next Comicon convention in NYC. She left in a small older car.
Shoppers 6 and 7
Enter the high school girls. Heather and Sara are juniors at the local Catholic High School. The first give away was the matching uniforms and the conversations that were whispered as they looked around to see who else was in the store. Whether they were looking to impress someone or trying not to be seen was something I was not able to clarify. They were looking at manga that focused in young women of strength and character, which is called ‘shojo’.
They liked best the stories that had the girls solving problems and getting a boyfriend. They laughed as they said that but as they explained “teen magazines only fo...
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...ld relationships with major bookstores and work with smaller shops to provide more incentive to carry their product. They also need to make it easier for fans to pick up and issue and understand what is going on. Most U.S. comic books heroes are household names so you can pick up an issue of Spider-man for $3.99 and know what you are getting and manga doesn’t have that same sort of recognition yet. It will take promotion, availability, and affordability to build manga from a specialty item to an accepted part of the comic book market. And manga deserves to be there.
This research has shown that manga pushes the boundaries of the comic book world but in doing so it has been able to build readers and followers that are just like all book lovers. We have favorite authors and genres but we can be readers throughout our lives and manga deserves to be included.
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