Saturday, February 4, 2017
My Thoughts on The NYT Best Seller List Removeing Manga and Comics
The New York Times is getting rid of it's Manga and Comics Best Seller list (see link to OASG to explain it ). My thoughts when I first heard it I was mad in all honesty it felt like The Times was taking away a hard earned sign of Manga's mainstream legitimacy and giving with one hand in the form of reviews and coverage and taking away with another. Instead it's back to the days of relying on Diamond Comic sales which for a time didn't even cover any Seven Seas titles and Book Scan which relies on figures from brick and mortar stores and other data. If anything really gets me mad it's how some have used this news as a political football for their ideology claiming that this is a sign of trying to ghettoize work created by women or minorities or calling the NYT Fascist as an invective. In short this is a purely economic choice on the part of the NYT but it still stings because it feels as if something that got names of titles out or showed the commercial viability is again being taken away and instead it's back to the more granular data sources of Diamond Comic sales and other sources. Some are trying to walk it back as if it didn't matter that much but when The Best Seller list was still going people retweeted when a series they liked did well or took it as a vindication of a demographic they enjoyed selling well. To walk the importance of The Best Seller List back frankly feels like sour grapes. While there is also the bigger question of do we as a fandom community even want mainstream acceptance? Yes sales matter but simply because something is popular doesn't mean that it is automatically good and while the reverse is true. How many of the people that where really into Attack on Titan or currently are into One Punch Man or Tokyo Ghoul are still going to be around in two to three years. I've been a fan off and on for almost over a decade so I've seen trends come and go from the Moe boom of the early 2000's to the rise of so called "mature" works such as Princess Jellyfish and Vineland Saga. Now that something that was a gate way for some fans is gone licensors and publishers are going to have to find ways to get new fans and retain older fans with a major barometer of sales now removed. Again I'll see what happened and while I'll miss that little bit of validation when a series I like sold well enough to place on the best seller's list I won't miss the tribalism and grousing that placement on the list often caused online. This too shall pass but I'll see what happens as I always bought what I liked and first week sales and pre-orders do matter if a series is going to be continued to be published by a company but with most publishers having an solid enough social media presence if someone wants to know about a series availability they can just use resources like ANN or the social media feed of any number of English language publishers. In short it's another thing where while I am not ambivalent it still feels like Manga in the U.S.A. can't win for trying. Along with as I've said before a pretty hegemonic Reviewer community World View wise that while not crossing over into a violation of Journalistic integrity sets up a rather boring base normal of approved and unspoken disapproved opinions along with a simply tiresome intermural war that I don't want to be involved in I just want to read my Light Novels, Manga, and Anime not hear how everything is irreducibly political or about some kind of intersectional identity politic. If that's your thing have at it I'll pass sorry that got off topic but I've seen this trend and it's scary because people don't realize they are doing it simply becomes a variation of the "I don't know anyone who voted for Nixon" story. Or the idea of everyone is the hero in their own story. It's more this kind of unreflective thinking than the thoughts held that frighten me. With all this sad American Manga and Anime fandom will change as any kind of subculture will as people age or move on. As always if you like something support it legally instead of not supporting it and complain on social media or pirating it when your able to support it legally.