Can Manga Compete With Marvel?
Could manga become as big worldwide as it is in Japan?
When it comes to comics and TV and movie adaptations it has been a battle between DC and Marvel for quite a while now – and it is Marvel that has almost taken over in recent years. The Disney connection has just about blown the competition out of the water.
DC can still rely on Batman to put up a good fight at the box office. But it is Marvel that rules the roost. If you could get the best sportsbook bonus online and put the money towards betting on who would continue to be dominant, you would go with Marvel every time. But could manga challenge Marvel’s supremacy?
Back in the 90s, anime and manga were enjoying a real popularity boom in the west. Obviously, the artforms had always been big sellers in Japan and the rest of Asia, but a number of titles broke out of what had been a relatively enclosed world and made it big on the global stage.
Suddenly manga was everywhere – and became so popular that the New York Times even started a graphic novel best selling list. Although a hardcore support has never gone away, Marvel has used its TV and movie adaptations to push manga to the sideline a little.
That is looking at the comic book industry on only one level, however. The diversity of genres within manga has continued to be very successful – and it is still a multi-billion dollar business in Japan. But could manga and anime become just as big outside their home country once again?
How Manga Could Improve on a Global Scale
Marvel and DC obviously still sell a lot of actual comics. But it is the movie and TV adaptations that have made them so popular in recent years. The whole MCU has made it possible to put out more and more films – to the point of exhaustion, it could be argued – and make Marvel more than just a comic company.
Manga doesn’t seem to be able to break through to western audiences in the same way when it comes to these screen adaptations. It may be because Marvel has tended to concentrate on superhero stories for its success, compared to the greater range of storylines in manga – and that is why it remains out in front.
That doesn’t mean that manga needs to focus on one narrow area of storytelling. But there must be an opportunity to take some of the genres from manga and turn them into TV series or films. Staying away from what Marvel does so well would be a good idea. But, as we have already mentioned, it is not as if manga does not have other avenues to develop to do that.
Iron Man became much more popular when the films began getting made
Manga continues to be successful financially, so there is an argument that there is nothing that needs to be changed. But there are some incredible characters and titles that deserve to be just as popular around the world as the likes of Iron Man, the Avengers and Batman.
The main problem would seem to be what western movie companies regard as their audience – and what they want. Manga has tended to be more of a niche genre in the past – even with some of the biggest crossover success stories – so it would take some impressive marketing to convince the western audiences that manga titles can live with the dominance of Marvel characters and films.
That is not to say that there are no titles that could break through. Marvel has shown recently that there is an audience for non-white characters. Manga could develop its own kind of multiverse to ensure that there is a believable world in which the films are set.
Ultimately, it can be argued that manga can quite happily continue without trying to emulate Marvel. But it would be interesting to see what would happen if it tried.