Original English-language manga or OEL manga is the term commonly used to describe comic books or graphic novels in the "international manga" genre of comics whose language of original publication is English. The term international manga, as used by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, encompasses all foreign comics which draw inspiration from the "form of presentation and expression" found in Japanese manga.
History and nomenclature
As early as 1993, Japan owned Viz issued a line of American manga. Shortened to Amerimanga, it is thought to be the earliest colloquial name for these types of work. Other variations on OEL manga, such as western manga, world manga, global manga, manga-influenced comics, neo-manga, and nissei comi can occasionally be heard as substitute names, but the term OEL Manga is most commonly used today. OEL manga gradually became more widely used because, even usually incorrect, it was a more inclusive, global term that included works produced by all English-speakers encompassing works originating in countries such as Canada, Australia, and United Kingdom as well as in America. Anime News Network columnist Carlo Santos made the first recorded use of the term on April 28, 2005 on his personal blog, and others began using it on forums and spreading the popularity of the phrase. By October 2005, publishing industry journal Publishers Weekly was also making use of the term, but manga publishers have yet to use it in official advertisements or press releases.
However the original parent loan word, manga, is still used by publishers such as Tokyopop, Harper Collins, and various small presses as a blanket term for all of their bound graphic novels--without reference to origin or location of its creator(s). The significance of the word, however, has mutated outside of Japan as a reference of comics originally published in Japan, regardless of style or language. Merriam-Webster's dictionary defines the word manga as meaning "a Japanese comic or graphic novel", reflecting the change of the meaning this word has had once used outside Japan.
The term "OEL Manga" has also received criticism from some quarters. According to some Western anime and manga otaku, this word would be an oxymoron since the word "manga"—being a Japanese loanword in English use— means comics initially published in Japan. Those who prefer not to use the word "manga" to refer to non-Japanese-origin comics have proposed the term manga-influenced comics as a possible neutral term for works created outside of Japan, though this term does not inherently refer to non-Japanese comics, but simply to any comic which is influenced by manga, it would include comics produced in Japan as well, however, it is well understood that these comics would be manga by definition. Megatokyo, which is scheduled to be published by the largest manga producer Kodansha, is still referenced as a "manga-influenced comic".
Anime and manga news site Anime News Network currently uses the term World Manga to describe these works in their column entitled Right-Turn Only. In May 2006, Tokyopop officially changed their the name of their line of non-Japanese manga to Global Manga, considering it a more respectful and accurate term than Amerimanga with its negative connotations of being a sub-par quality of work in comparison to Japanese manga; however, the Tokyopop books themselves, whether they come from Japan, Korea, or some other country, all say manga on them and are shelved in the manga section of the major bookstore chains such as Borders and Barnes & Noble alongside Japanese manga, Korean manhwa, Chinese manhua, French la nouvelle manga, and American graphic novels of similar size and dimensions, it is understood, however, that manga does not act as a loanword when used in the original Japanese language and therefore it only takes its original meaning of, simply, comics.
Briefly before its closing, American manga publisher Studio Ironcat published a magazine series called AmeriManga from 2002–2003. A few of the titles in the compilation have since moved on to be published in other formats by other companies, most notably TOKYOPOP.
Other similar magazines are still in publication today, including EigoManga's Sakura Pakk and RumblePakk titles; Purrsia Press's Mangatron; Mangazine; and Shōjo. International magazines of the same type include Britain's MangaMover and Sweatdrop; the Australian publication Kiseki; and the Canadian magazine Kitsune.
Tokyopop is presently the world's largest publisher of manga inspired comics written in the English language, currently publishing over two dozen titles. Since 2002, the company has actively promoted new writers via its popular Rising Stars of Manga annual competition and collection. Several winners from the competition eventually published their own books under Tokyopop.
In a recent deal with HarperCollins, the company announced the expansion of its distribution and new adaptation projects based on American prose novels. It was indicated that Tokyopop plans to produce over 100 new comics over the next two years.
Kodansha is one of the largest publishers in Japan. Through International Manga Contests held bi-annually, the company seeks within the talent pool outside Japan. According to Eijiro Shimada, editor-in-chief of Morning Two and deputy editor-in-chief of Morning, some readers in Japan seek interest in manga produced in other parts of the world.
In May 2004, Kodansha formed a partnership with Del Rey Books called Del Rey Manga to publish many of their books in English in the United States. Some of the more popular titles published by Del Rey Manga include Negima! Magister Negi Magi by Ken Akamatsu and Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle by Clamp.
In July 2007, Kodansha has announced that it will publish a Japanese language edition of Megatokyo in 2008. Furthermore, within September 2008, the company announced plans to expand publishing beyond Japan and into the United States via the Kodansha USA holding company.
Seven Seas Entertainment
Seven Seas Entertainment has published many Original English-Language manga and manga-inspired webcomics.
eigoMANGA publishes two Original English-Language manga anthology comic books and several graphic novel series. Sakura Pakk is a shōjo-based anthology graphic novel while Rumble Pak is their shōnen-based comic book series. eigoMANGA means "English Comics" in Japanese and they market themselves as OEL manga publishers.
Antarctic Press most notedly publishes the extremely long-running Gold Digger and Ninja High School comic books, with heavy inspiration from manga in terms of art and high-paced imaginative action/humour storytelling style, but also hosts newer works like Neotopia. These are consistently collected into pocket-sized paperback format. Where the original comics appeared in color, Antarctic Press also publishes the collected manga in color as well.
The original wave of manga influenced comics came during the mid to late 1980s, prior to wide familiarity with manga in North America. Particularly in publications such as Barry Blair's Samurai, Doug Rice's Dynamo Joe, and Alan Oldham's Gambit and Associates. Ben Dunn's long running Ninja High School remains a seminal title of that period as do the comics based on the animated series Robotech.
According to Lillian Diaz-Przybyl, an editor at Tokyopop, their best selling OEL manga sells about half as well as their best selling Japanese-origin manga.
The trade magazine ICv2 Guide to Manga lists the top 25 and top 50 best-selling manga based on sales data obtained from bookstores and comics shops across the United States. The table below shows those OEL manga that reached the top 25 or top 50 sales status in 2007 and 2008 with their sales ranks and ICv2 references. ICv2's editors write that titles not released during the time period shown tend to drop down or off the list, while titles released during the same time period tend to rise.
|Mid-Feb. to mid-May, 2007||ICv2 #45, from page 6||Warcraft: The Sunwell Trilogy||Richard A. Knaak||Tokyopop||12/50|
|My Dead Girlfriend||Eric Wight||Tokyopop||38/50|
|Mid-May to mid-Aug., 2007||ICv2 #47, from page 8||Megatokyo||Fred Gallagher||CMX||25/25|
|June-Aug., 2007||ICv2 #48, from pages 8, 10||Megatokyo||Fred Gallagher||CMX||33/50|
|Warcraft: The Sunwell Trilogy||Richard A. Knaak||Tokyopop||45/50|
|Sept-Oct, 2007||ICv2 #50, from pages 8–9||Return to Labyrinth||Jake T. Forbes||Tokyopop||40/50|
|Bizenghast||M. Alice LeGrow||Tokyopop||44/50|
|Full Year, 2007||ICv2 #51, from pages 8–9||Warcraft: The Sunwell Trilogy||Richard A. Knaak||Tokyopop||14/50|
|Return to Labyrinth||Jake T. Forbes||Tokyopop||36/50|
|Final 2007 (top 25)||ICv2 #52, from page 10||Warcraft: The Sunwell Trilogy||Richard A. Knaak||Tokyopop||14/25|
|Jan. to mid-Mar., 2008||ICv2 #54, from pages 8–9||Dramacon||Svetlana Chmakova||Tokyopop||20/50|
|Dark Hunger||Christine Feehan||Berkeley||49/50|
|Jan. to late-Apr., 2008||ICv2 #55, from page 10||Dramacon||Svetlana Chmakova||Tokyopop||20/25|
|March to Mid-May, 2008||ICv2 #57, from pages 8–9||Dark Wraith of Shannara||Terry Brooks||Del Rey||22/50|
|May to Mid-July, 2008||ICv2 #59, from pages 8–9||In Odd We Trust||Dean Koontz||Del Rey||11/50|
|Batman: Gotham Knight||Louise Simonson||Penguin||25/50|
- Anime-influenced animation
- Global BL
- La nouvelle manga
- Category:Original English-language manga - for individual titles.
- Holly Ellingwood, "Advance Review of The Reformed" at activeanime.com. "First let me say that since the rise of original English language manga (commonly referred to as OEL), I have been waiting for one that does a solid job of looking, feeling and reading like a manga."
- "Speech by Minister for Foreign Affairs Taro Aso at Digital Hollywood University". Retrieved September 12, 2007.
- Schodt, Frederick L. Dreamland Japan: Writings on Modern Manga. ISBN 1-880656-23-X.
- "I.C. promotes AmeriManga". ANN. 2002-11-27. Retrieved 2007-09-10.
- "World Manga at Anime News Network Encyclopedia Lexicon". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2006-07-30.
- Santos, Carlo. (September 17, 2005) No Blood for OEL Irresponsible Pictures blog. Accessed on 2006-08-02.
- Cha, Kai-Ming and Reid, Calvin (2005-10-17). "Manga in English: Born in the USA". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 2006-08-02.
- "More from Tokyopop's Jeremy Ross on OEL Manga and Contracts". Publisher's Weekly. 2005-10-18. Retrieved 2007-10-06.
- "MW Dictionary:M nga". Merriam-Webster. Retrieved 2007-09-11. line feed character in
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- "Dictionary: Manga". Online Etymology Dictionary, Random House, Inc. Dictionary.com. 2001, 2006. Retrieved 2007-10-24. Check date values in:
- "Kodansha to Publish Megatokyo in Japan". ANN. 2007-07-10. Retrieved 2007-09-10.
- "Tokyopop To Move Away from OEL and World Manga Labels". Anime News Network. 2006-05-05. Retrieved 2006-07-30.
- Zac Bertschy (2005-10-25). "A Midnight Opera - Review". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2007-10-24.
- "I.C. promotes AmeriManga". ANN. Anime News Network. 2002-11-27. Retrieved 2007-10-10.
- Reid, Calvin (2006-03-28). ""HarperCollins, Tokyopop Ink Manga Deal"". PublishersWeekly.com. Retrieved 2006-07-30.
- "Kodansha Launches Second Manga Contest". Publisher's Weekly. 2007-08-07. Retrieved 2007-10-06.
- Calvin Reid (2007-07-10). "Kodansha to Publish Megatokyo in Japan". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 2007-07-11.
- "Kodansha to Publish, Sell Manga in U.S. in September". Anime News Network. 2008-07-01. Retrieved 2008-08-02.
- "Manga outside Japan". Elizabeth Tai. The Star Online. 2007-09-23. Retrieved 2007-10-16.
- "Shojo series shine; ICv2 top 50 manga properties." ICv2 Guide, #57, September/October, 2008. page 6, 8-9.
- "New Series Make the Grade." ICv2 Guide, #59, November/December 2008. page 6.
- Antarctic Press
- Dark Horse Publishing
- Purrsia Press
- Seven Seas Entertainment
- Sweatdrop Studios
- SLG Publishing
- Oni Press
- Yaoi Press
- Viz Media
- EigoManga - publisher of the Sakura Pakk and Rumble Pak anthologies
- Kitsune - Canadian anthology publisher
- Perfect World - publisher of the Unimaga anthology
- Kiseki - Australian anthology publisher