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Why is Manga Outselling Comic Books?

Why is Manga Outselling Comic Books?
Credit: Madhouse

This article was first published on May 17th, 2021.

As the vast world of anime starts to make its way into mainstream pop culture, so does its source material. The majority of anime titles that we watch are an adaptation of manga, and some manga are now outselling comic books, but why?

In case you aren't aware of what manga is, it is the Japanese equivalent of comics and graphic novels. However, there are notable differences between them—one of them being that manga is read from right to left. Another one is it's usually printed in black and white.

With anime being released on a seasonal basis, some of us just can't wait a year (or even more) to find out what happens next. So for the impatient and excited fans, they turn to manga—where the story is already far ahead compared to the current season being aired.

That's only one side of the otakus of today. Some choose to read the manga of a newly announced anime adaptation, as preparation. Others have simply been reading manga for a long time.

According to Publishers Weekly, NPD BookScan reports that "sales of print manga titles in the US increased by 3.6 million units in the first quarter of 2021 compared to the same period in 2020".

Last year, people definitely had more time to read. They dabbled in reading manga online and offline, eventually getting immersed and perhaps even starting a collection. (I would know, I am unfortunately one of those people who is now broke after buying tons of volumes.)

Related: The Best Manga that Don’t Have An Anime (Yet)

Manga Vs Comic Books: Which are More Popular?

Manga Vs Comic Books: Which are More Popular?
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Credit: TMS/8PAN

Manga sales have shot up while superhero comic sales have declined, according to an article from ICv2 in 2019.

There is a great difference between the genres that manga and comic books cover. While general knowledge of comics involves superheroes, it would be hard to define the same thing for manga.

Manga is updated weekly or monthly in a magazine alongside different other titles, while comics are usually on their own. Comics can be tied to multiple creators while manga is associated with a single one.

In terms of art style, it's more diverse in manga. While comics do have certain eye-catching elements of their own, some are plastered alongside long blocks of text making it difficult to keep track of as a whole.

Manga is more visual in its storytelling; with the flow of the drawings more dynamic and not overflowing with text.

For others, it's merely a matter of personal preference but it's undeniable that the popularity of anime today is related to the increase in purchases of various manga titles.

Not only do we have multiple streaming platforms available but you can also easily find places to read manga both online and offline. So whether you want to be an avid manga collector or a lowkey reader, you have a diverse list of options to choose from.

Which one do you prefer?

For more articles like this, take a look at our Anime and Manga page.