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Manga: Sixty Years of Japanese Comics Paperback – August 3, 2004

4.6 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Paperback, August 3, 2004
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Editorial Reviews


“Eye-opening…this is the book for anyone who wants to understand the manga phenomenon.” (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

About the Author

Paul Gravett is a freelance journalist, curator, lecturer, and broadcaster who has worked in comics publishing and promotion for over twenty years. He has curated several exhibitions of comic art, from the history of British comics for France's National Comics Centre in Angoulême to the annual Comica Festival at London's Institute of Contemporary Arts. He has written about comics for various periodicals, including The Guardian, The Comics Journal, Comics International and Blueprint.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: HarperDes (August 3, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1856693910
  • ISBN-13: 978-1856693912
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 9.4 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #805,196 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Timothy Perper on August 27, 2004
"Manga" is a first-rate introduction and analysis of one of the world's most significant new forms of art - Japanese comics. The book not only has beautiful artwork, much of it in full color, but also glossy pages in an oversize format. Gravett covers the visual history of manga from Osamu Tezuka to modern European comics that have been influenced by manga. There are chapters devoted to boys' (shonen) and girls' (shojo) manga, gekiga ("drama pictures" - a kind of gritty realism), sexually explicit manga for adult men and women, and a fascinating discussion of less mainstream manga done by idiosyncratic artists and editors. The illustrations are clear, well-printed, and very well selected - Gravett has a first-rate eye for some of the most gorgeous manga artwork, ranging from Riyoko Ikeda's "Rose of Versailles" through Masamune Shirow's "Ghost in the Shell, part 2" and the horror manga of Hideshi Hino. Mechas, swordfights, pretty girls, stalwart heroes, nymphomaniac Tinkerbells, beautiful men, Princess Sapphire, Akira, Dragonball - a wide and representative range of manga styles and genres are all included. The hardest part of doing the book was probably choosing what not to include in a finite number of pages! Together with the artwork - which is worth the price of the book - Gravett has written thoughtful, historically and culturally accurate discussions of the social, aesthetic, and political background of manga. These essays are also worth the price of the book. Until now, the only two substantive books about manga as a medium were Frederik L. Schodt's 1983 "Manga! Manga!" and his 1996 "Dreamland Japan." Gravett's book is a worthy successor to Schodt's, and is essential for any fan of manga, anime or cartooning - or anyone interested in popular culture in a globalizing, transnational world. And for anyone else - well, the art is just so beautiful and the writing so well done that you too should get it.
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In terms of English language academic works on the subject of Japanese manga, this book is easily in the top five titles in quality, exceeded only by Frederick Schodt's Manga! Manga! Few comprehensive references on manga have ever been produced, and this is something of an update to Schodt's work, which dates from the early 1980s. It is an excellent academic and artistic source--however, this academic nature is what has given the book some of its controversy.

In the United States, the prevalent judgement by parents and many people outside of comic and manga fandom communities is that comics of all kinds are predominantly targeted to young children. In Japan, however, manga is targeted for a diverse audience, from young children, to adults, with genres driven towards female readers of diverse age ranges, which is relatively rare in the US. There are categories of manga directed towards sophisticated adult readers, as well as categories delivering explicitly pornographic or challenging sexual content, or stories written for gay and lesbian interests. Though Japan is somewhat more socially liberal on allowing some access by younger kids to sexual content, these categories are distinctly targeted to different age groups, genders and interests.

Of course, to ignore any single aspect of manga is to sacrifice the broad scope that the art form has manifested itself. Gravett casts a wide observation over as many different categories and examples of manga as he could deliver in a reasonably sized format. Examining the book shows that it is clearly targeted for at least a late-teenage readership if not higher, as Gravett presents historical and business information as a backdrop to the artistic content of the Japanese manga industry.
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It's been six long years since Frederik L Schodt updated his seminal 1983 study, Manga! Manga! World of Japanese Comics. Since then manga's unstoppable rampage across the West has become inescapable. So it's appropriate that someone took stock of this comic 'sub-genre' and updated and re-examined what has become the world's most prevalent comic art form. Paul Gravett manages not only to cover the history of manga, but in doing so explores the social and cultural evolution of Japan from its post-war reinvention to its modem-day literary imperialism. Gravett's book excels not only in discussing such, but also by displaying hundreds of examples of artwork in glorious detail. Everything is here from the crassly commercial Dragon Ball Z and Yu-Gi-Oh! to the grotesque Grand Guignol artwork of Hideshi Hino. It even made this jaded cynic get excited about Nipponese comics once more. No mean feat. Authoritatively written and exquisitely designed, this book demands space on your shelf.
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In this spectacular book, Paul Gravett captures a brief but thorough historical look at Manga. He reviews the various genres within the Manga art form and gives a well layed out history for the events which have led to Manga's global fame.

Gravett focusses on key events, and covers all of the major authors of Manga who have had a hand in pushing this Japanese art form to new limits. He discusses everyone from Tezuka Osamu -creator of Astro Boy and considered the founding father of Manga; to contemporary artists like Ogure Ito -artist of the super popular teen manga series Tenjou Tenge.

In between his in depth historical analysis of Manga he writes about how all of these creators, key historical moments, and various Manga which have led to become such a popular artform today. With over 500 pictures, this book is an amazing compilation of the historical progress of Manga to the present both in written and pictorial form. Gravett's insite into Manga is not only an educated one, but also an enjoyable read. Anyone interested in learning the real history of the art form must pick up this book!
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