COMICS: John Jakala's "Manga Stack of Intimidation" has become one of the big reasons people are using when they want to try to explain why manga are kicking western comics' asses in sales. I always thought that comparison was a bit off and now someone else has done the work I'm too lazy to do. The Keromaru weblog has posted a new series of Intimidation Stacks that are a bit more fair (not fair as in "Don't pick on my comics you mean manga fan!" Fair as in comparing apples to apples). The problem with comparing Shonen Jump to monthly western comics is that Shonen Jump is reprinted material, as far as I know, as is most manga we see in the US. The cost to create a brand-new monthly comic is much higher than the cost to have someone re-dialogue an already produced book that has already made its production costs back many times over. Manga is sold in Japan to a culture that devours the books by the millions and the manga companies reap the benefits of that cultural acceptance. If X-Men sold millions of copies I would imagine it would be easier to lower the price on the trade paperbacks to be more in line with manga. Economies of scale create wonderful benefits for companies in every industry, comics included.

There's a lot to be said for manga versus the western comics industry, which unfortunately is really the superhero comics industry (one of the things that favors manga, not incidentally) but just comparing the sizes of the books doesn't really address the issues any more than comparing the sizes of apple to oranges. The sizes of the two fruits are not where the difference lies.