Comic Fans: How does Dragon Ball compare to your favorite American comics?

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Comic Fans: How does Dragon Ball compare to your favorite American comics?

Post by DragonBallKing » Sun Dec 03, 2017 12:31 am

I'm not much of a comic fan, but I'm interested to hear how the quality of Dragon Ball's story and characters compares to your favorite American comics.
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Re: Comic Fans: How does Dragon Ball compare to your favorite American comics?

Post by precita » Sun Dec 03, 2017 1:17 am

The problem with most American superhero comics is they don't have an ending, they're written as if they're supposed to go on forever. Then eventually when continuity becomes a mess DC and Marvel do soft-reboots and pretend half the older stories or events never happened.

Japanese manga are all written with endings in mind, most American superhero comics are just written to go on forever. And in the case of the most popular superheroes like Batman, Superman, Spiderman, X-men, etc....they do. Most of these comics have been running for 70 years.

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Re: Comic Fans: How does Dragon Ball compare to your favorite American comics?

Post by Polyphase Avatron » Sun Dec 03, 2017 1:24 am

precita wrote:The problem with most American superhero comics is they don't have an ending, they're written as if they're supposed to go on forever. Then eventually when continuity becomes a mess DC and Marvel do soft-reboots and pretend half the older stories or events never happened.

Japanese manga are all written with endings in mind, most American superhero comics are just written to go on forever. And in the case of the most popular superheroes like Batman, Superman, Spiderman, X-men, etc....they do. Most of these comics have been running for 70 years.
Well it seems that DB is so popular that the same kind of thing is starting to happen with it.
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Re: Comic Fans: How does Dragon Ball compare to your favorite American comics?

Post by JulieYBM » Sun Dec 03, 2017 1:27 am

I've dabbled in US comics before, but every time I do I'm always stricken by how terrible the pacing is and how difficult they are to read. I loved the storyline of the Batman arc Knightfall but holy moly was it a slog to read. There's too much dialogue and too many inner monologue boxes! It makes each page take forever to read and the action scenes don't flow. Dragon Ball is paneled to be very easy for the eyes to natural glide from panel-to-panel. The panels also have more intricate layouts, relying on varying camera angles to depict the characters and their environments. The art in the few DC Comics I can remember reading is always much flatter and eye-level. I can't help but imagine a big, clunky camera bolted onto the ground whenever I take a peak at US comics.
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Re: Comic Fans: How does Dragon Ball compare to your favorite American comics?

Post by Kamiccolo9 » Sun Dec 03, 2017 1:31 am

It depends on the run of the comic (I'm assuming you mean superhero Marvel/DC stuff).

Show me a single arc of DB that measures up to anything done by, I dunno, Frank Miller's Born Again storyline in Daredevil, or Kieron Gillen's Journey into Mystery, and I'll eat my own hat. (I don't own a hat.)

Then again, sometimes you'll have runs like Denny O'neil's Spider-Man. I'd rather watch Fake Namek reruns for 24 hours than read any of that nightmare again.

Anyone who tries to generalize western superhero comics at this point is an idiot. The big names have been going for 2-3 times as long as Dragon Ball, with hundreds, if not thousands of different authors, with multiple endings and beginnings. You can't just say "western comics don't have endings;" I can show you, literally, hundreds.
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Re: Comic Fans: How does Dragon Ball compare to your favorite American comics?

Post by floofychan333 » Sun Dec 03, 2017 2:21 am

I'll always think Dragon Ball is superior to the comics I read because of how much media there is surrounding it, but I've come to enjoy other comics, such as Bryan Lee O'Malley's Scott Pilgrim, Jeff Smith's Bone, Michel Rabagliati's Paul series, and Peter Bagge's Hate. Scott Pilgrim's always going to have a special place in my heart but unfortunately it's falling out of memory due to the lack of new media (other than a card game recently released). I'm happy to see Dragon Ball merch and media continue to be released, sold where I can buy it, and apparently bought by people besides me. Scott Pilgrim and Bone merch are fairly rare and those series have ended, while the other graphic novels I've read generally don't have merch unless they're manga series.
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Re: Comic Fans: How does Dragon Ball compare to your favorite American comics?

Post by Kunzait_83 » Sun Dec 03, 2017 2:34 am

In my (at this point, too long) experience on this community, I've found that most average folks on here don't actually even read most general Marvel/DC comics. I would also venture to say that almost 0% (or fairly close to it) read American comics that are of a non-superhero nature (there's a LOT, and they differ quite substantially). The average Kanzenshuu community member's sum total experience with Western superhero comics comes not from the comics themselves, but the cartoon adaptations. Which... aren't in any way the same thing usually.

I digress. I concur with Kamiccolo above: it ENTIRELY depends on the writer/artist and the run in which book. Some of these comics have been ongoing for damn well nearly a century at this point. You really, REALLY cannot judge them within a sweeping, broad brush of generalizations: the sheer staggering variety of styles and creative takes on the concepts and the material within - to say nothing of the quality - are numerous and legion to the point of absurdity.

There are certain key runs of certain superhero books (Frank Miller's Daredevil, Chris Claremont's X-Men, Alan Moore's Swamp Thing) that are downright transcendent and at times almost sidle their way up into the outskirts of quasi-"literary" territory, others (Roger Stern's Spider-Man, Denny O'Neil's Batman, Peter David's Hulk, Jim Starlin's Cosmic Marvel, John Byrne's Fantastic Four, Ed Brubaker's Captain America, Jack Kirby's Fourth World books, *ahem* and Garth Ennis' Punisher) which are just plain fantastic standout essentials of the entire genre, those which are just merely disposable fun pulp (Howard Mackie's Ghost Rider, Mike Zeck's Punisher, anything to do with Lobo ever), the legions upon legions of generic crap (I mean take your pick here, there are far too many examples, but I'll single out pretty much 99% of anything having to do with The Avengers across virtually any given decade: probably one of the single most consistently ungodly boring and dull of the "major marquee names" in superheroes), the fiery trainwrecks of near mythical proportions (far too many "event" comics ranging from Heroes Reborn to The Crossing to Civil War to Infinite Crisis to Flashpoint to New 52, and on and on and on down the list; also literally anything that has EVER had Geoff Johns' name on it, and of course the entire back half of Rob Liefeld's entire career), the transgressively meta deconstructions (Alan Moore's Watchmen of course, Rick Veitch's Bratpack, Grant Morrison's Animal Man), and of course the stuff so unique and singularly original that whether or not they even qualify under the genre is itself a hazy definition (Neil Gaiman's Sandman, Sam Keith's The Maxx, the entirety of Hellblazer, etc).

The variance in quality, tone, and style that you'll come across in Western superhero comics is utterly dizzying and astonishing in its breadth and scope, and judging the ENTIRE landscape as a collective whole on merely one or two or even a handful of bad (or good) experiences with a couple of issues or runs is, frankly speaking, woefully misguided and limiting.

Comparing ANY of this kind of material with Dragon Ball however is, I have always found, to be a completely pointless and foolhardy endeavor. Dragon Ball and Marvel/DC have almost literally NOTHING in common or to do with one another, apart from being serialized fantasy stories with superpowered characters at the center. Virtually EVERYTHING ELSE is 100% galaxies far removed from one another, from the style, the core themes, the creative influences, the tone and execution, the basic-most genre fundamentals themselves, and so on.

The one and ONLY reason that so many people within modern Western Dragon Ball fandom continue to make the comparison between Marvel/DC supeheroes and Dragon Ball is entirely due to ignorance: ignorance of both Dragon Ball's cultural source materials and influences, ignorance of the entire history of Western superhero comics outside of a what they've gleaned almost exclusively from cartoon and film adaptations, etc.

This whole tying in of Dragon Ball with Marvel/DC comics stems 1000% from most post-2000s U.S. Dragon Ball fans having experienced DBZ via the FUNimation dub on various kids' cartoon channels and blocks, and having it run alongside cartoon adaptations of various Marvel and DC heroes (the DCAU, the 90s X-Men and Spider-Man animated series, or later cartoons thereof like X-Men: Evolution, Spectacular Spider-Man, and so on) that they also watched.

The average generic U.S. Dragon Ball Z fan who's ever picked up more than a random smattering of actual Marvel or DC comic books (nevermind a non-superhero comic, nevermind any given piece of Asian martial arts media) is exceedingly slim to none. This entire "genre" (for lack of a better word) of a topic, as it most often and visibly exists today - and has persisted since the early/mid 2000s - has almost NOTHING to do with comparing a single Japanese manga to an entire genre of Western comics, and almost everything to do with comparing one childhood favorite "action cartoon" with another set of childhood favorite action cartoons, that were typically watched back to back against one another in a television block (hence strengthening the perceived "connection" in fans' minds): which just happen to have their basis in comic books that VERY few people within this fanbase can have ever been actually bothered to have taken the time to actually dive into (again, watching superhero movies and cartoons is in NO way even remotely the same thing as actually picking up and reading the actual comics themselves).

Which is completely fine of course (no one should feel forced or obligated to look into anything they're genuinely not interested in), but it certainly precludes most of them from acting within these kinds of discussions as if they have so much as the slightest idea of what they're even talking about. But yet time and again, we have these kinds of threads filled with legions upon legions of torturously tedious posts coming from people who's entire perspective is almost completely informed by both a heavily, heavily altered version of DB and a thoroughly limited set of cartoon adaptations of works from a totally different medium (with its own unique history and style) entirely.

All of which makes for, in the end, some bafflingly wrongheaded and spectacularly misguided conclusions about how these two absurdly disparate and unconnected works relate to or inform one another (i.e. they don't really), which also ends up tying itself into - and indeed, further fueling - the whole nonsensical "Power Levels/power scaling/strength debating" phenomenon that has (as myself and others would and have certainly argued) cancerously eroded the fanbase and community from within over the last couple of decades now.
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Journey to the West, chapter 26 wrote:The strong man will meet someone stronger still:
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Zephyr wrote:And that's to say nothing of how pretty much impossible it is to capture what made the original run of the series so great. I'm in the generation of fans that started with Toonami, so I totally empathize with the feeling of having "missed the party", experiencing disappointment, and wanting to experience it myself. But I can't, that's how life is. Time is a bitch. The party is over. Kageyama, Kikuchi, and Maeda are off the sauce now; Yanami almost OD'd; Yamamoto got arrested; Toriyama's not going to light trash cans on fire and hang from the chandelier anymore. We can't get the band back together, and even if we could, everyone's either old, in poor health, or calmed way the fuck down. Best we're going to get, and are getting, is a party that's almost entirely devoid of the magic that made the original one so awesome that we even want more.
Kamiccolo9 wrote:It grinds my gears that people get "outraged" over any of this stuff. It's a fucking cartoon. If you are that determined to be angry about something, get off the internet and make a stand for something that actually matters.
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Re: Comic Fans: How does Dragon Ball compare to your favorite American comics?

Post by Super Sonic » Sun Dec 03, 2017 2:59 am

It depends on what and usually I don't really compare them outside some dialogue that reminds me of some things related to comics in other media at times. And Kunzait, don't know if you're familiar with it, but I would recommend Stan Sakai's Usagi Yojimbo as a read for you as I think you would like it.

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Re: Comic Fans: How does Dragon Ball compare to your favorite American comics?

Post by Kunzait_83 » Sun Dec 03, 2017 3:03 am

I've most certainly read Usagi Yojimbo. Like, since the mid/late-80s when I first got into comics during the height of the indie comics boom. Its definitely not a superhero book at all, but its still really cool. Definitely much more comparable to Chanbara manga like Lone Wolf and Cub or Kenshin.
JulieYBM wrote:I've dabbled in US comics before, but every time I do I'm always stricken by how terrible the pacing is and how difficult they are to read. I loved the storyline of the Batman arc Knightfall but holy moly was it a slog to read. There's too much dialogue and too many inner monologue boxes! It makes each page take forever to read and the action scenes don't flow. Dragon Ball is paneled to be very easy for the eyes to natural glide from panel-to-panel. The panels also have more intricate layouts, relying on varying camera angles to depict the characters and their environments. The art in the few DC Comics I can remember reading is always much flatter and eye-level. I can't help but imagine a big, clunky camera bolted onto the ground whenever I take a peak at US comics.
I'd enthusiastically recommend Frank Miller's classic Daredevil run then. More so than virtually almost ANY other comic out there, it most elegantly and seamlessly splits the difference between traditional U.S. Marvel/DC superhero comics and Japanese manga in terms of pacing and page/panel flow. And it contains some of the all time greatest ever superhero stories ever written/drawn/executed in the genre's entire history (with Man Without Fear, The Elektra Saga, Love and War, and Born Again being some of the all time standout arcs), with VERY few others coming even close.
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Journey to the West, chapter 26 wrote:The strong man will meet someone stronger still:
Come to naught at last he surely will!
Zephyr wrote:And that's to say nothing of how pretty much impossible it is to capture what made the original run of the series so great. I'm in the generation of fans that started with Toonami, so I totally empathize with the feeling of having "missed the party", experiencing disappointment, and wanting to experience it myself. But I can't, that's how life is. Time is a bitch. The party is over. Kageyama, Kikuchi, and Maeda are off the sauce now; Yanami almost OD'd; Yamamoto got arrested; Toriyama's not going to light trash cans on fire and hang from the chandelier anymore. We can't get the band back together, and even if we could, everyone's either old, in poor health, or calmed way the fuck down. Best we're going to get, and are getting, is a party that's almost entirely devoid of the magic that made the original one so awesome that we even want more.
Kamiccolo9 wrote:It grinds my gears that people get "outraged" over any of this stuff. It's a fucking cartoon. If you are that determined to be angry about something, get off the internet and make a stand for something that actually matters.
Rocketman wrote:"Shonen" basically means "stupid sentimental shit" anyway, so it's ok to be anti-shonen.

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Re: Comic Fans: How does Dragon Ball compare to your favorite American comics?

Post by precita » Sun Dec 03, 2017 3:33 am

TMNT comics generally have proper runs and new starts (Mirage and IDW TMNT in particular) , so they're a lot easier to follow than regular superhero comics.

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Re: Comic Fans: How does Dragon Ball compare to your favorite American comics?

Post by Bullza » Sun Dec 03, 2017 3:49 am

The only comic I really got into was Ultimate Spider-man because like with manga, it was all written by just one writer (and most drawn by one artist) and it had a real sense of continuation and did actually end.

I don't prefer it to Dragon Ball but it was really good. Though it did lose its way eventually.

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Re: Comic Fans: How does Dragon Ball compare to your favorite American comics?

Post by DragonBallFoodie » Sun Dec 03, 2017 6:06 am

Well, DB is rather looser and more fun than even the normal action manga.

But you read enough comics (American, French, Japanese) you keep an open mind and appreciation for your favourite comics.
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Re: Comic Fans: How does Dragon Ball compare to your favorite American comics?

Post by ABED » Sun Dec 03, 2017 4:41 pm

The problem with most American superhero comics is they don't have an ending, they're written as if they're supposed to go on forever. Then eventually when continuity becomes a mess DC and Marvel do soft-reboots and pretend half the older stories or events never happened.
I don't think that's necessarily a problem. I think some fans are far too concerned with continuity instead of the individual stories.

So, how does DB compare? Difficult to say. Better than some, worse than others.
I'm always stricken by how terrible the pacing is and how difficult they are to read. I loved the storyline of the Batman arc Knightfall but holy moly was it a slog to read. There's too much dialogue and too many inner monologue boxes! It makes each page take forever to read and the action scenes don't flow.
I agree that Knightfall is a slog to get through, but not because there's too much dialog. It's just not a great storyline. The audioplay adaptation is fine, but the comics were clearly meant to exist primarily because DC wanted to have a Death of Superman type event for Batman. I happen to like inner monologue boxes. While you feel it takes forever to get through, sometimes I feel like the DB manga goes WAY too quick. Admittedly some of that might have to do with my familiarity with the anime and its pacing and sequences.
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Re: Comic Fans: How does Dragon Ball compare to your favorite American comics?

Post by Super Sonic » Sun Dec 03, 2017 11:13 pm

ABED wrote:
I'm always stricken by how terrible the pacing is and how difficult they are to read. I loved the storyline of the Batman arc Knightfall but holy moly was it a slog to read. There's too much dialogue and too many inner monologue boxes! It makes each page take forever to read and the action scenes don't flow.
I agree that Knightfall is a slog to get through, but not because there's too much dialog. It's just not a great storyline. The audioplay adaptation is fine, but the comics were clearly meant to exist primarily because DC wanted to have a Death of Superman type event for Batman.
That's why the DCAU guys rarely used Bane or Doomsday. They saw them as just gimmicks to take their big guys out.

Will say that with Krillin's daughter and her name coming from the filler character, DB had done like how sometimes other media has what tvtropes calls, "Canon Immigrant" of other media influencing the main story. Firestar and Harley Quinn also started off being made for tv before becoming characters in the comics. Especially the latter with how big she has become, and not bad for someone who started off as a one-shot henchwench.

Also as a cosplayer who has cosplayed Marvel and DB, enjoy seeing comic characters as well as DB characters being cosplayed.

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Re: Comic Fans: How does Dragon Ball compare to your favorite American comics?

Post by Kamiccolo9 » Sun Dec 03, 2017 11:36 pm

Kunzait_83 wrote:snipsnipsnip
"Kunzait, you left out the biggest cross-section of DB/Marvel/DC "fans": the versus "debaters," whose entire history with any given character comes from out-of-context scans on ComicVine. Where do you think that this popular image of Superman basically being a bland, milquetoast protagonist who can lift infinity and sneeze solar systems out of existence comes from? It's definitely not the people who actually read the comics.

It's kinda hard to get an actual picture of the stories if all you get is individual panels with plenty of hyperbolic strength comments but little actual development, amirite? At least on the internet, I think these people are more common than the BTAS X Funimation DB crowd.
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Re: Comic Fans: How does Dragon Ball compare to your favorite American comics?

Post by Hellspawn28 » Sun Dec 03, 2017 11:56 pm

I like Spawn,Watchman, Preacher, Hellboy, Transmetropolitan, Maus, Alan Moore's Swamp Thing comics, Hellblazer, Faust, The Crow, Sin City, Persepolis, Sandman and many others over Dragon Ball. Dragon Ball is good, but it's not my favorite thing ever. I would not put Dragon Ball in my top 25 favorite manga or top 25 favorite anime. There are better stuff out there that is not Dragon Ball.
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Re: Comic Fans: How does Dragon Ball compare to your favorite American comics?

Post by sintzu » Mon Dec 04, 2017 12:31 am

I like DB and manga in general more because you just have one book with a clear beginning, clear middle and clear ending all handled by one person. I also prefer how manga has a sense of progression where things are always changing unlike comics where it's the same characters going and getting out of jail at the same locations.
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Re: Comic Fans: How does Dragon Ball compare to your favorite American comics?

Post by Kunzait_83 » Mon Dec 04, 2017 12:40 am

Kamiccolo9 wrote:"Kunzait, you left out the biggest cross-section of DB/Marvel/DC "fans": the versus "debaters," whose entire history with any given character comes from out-of-context scans on ComicVine. Where do you think that this popular image of Superman basically being a bland, milquetoast protagonist who can lift infinity and sneeze solar systems out of existence comes from? It's definitely not the people who actually read the comics.

It's kinda hard to get an actual picture of the stories if all you get is individual panels with plenty of hyperbolic strength comments but little actual development, amirite? At least on the internet, I think these people are more common than the BTAS X Funimation DB crowd.
I think that we're more or less talking about the same groups of people here - broadly speaking, or at least with significant overlap between one another - you're just highlighting a particular specific aspect of (some of) them that I didn't think to bring up.
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Kunzait's Wuxia Thread
Journey to the West, chapter 26 wrote:The strong man will meet someone stronger still:
Come to naught at last he surely will!
Zephyr wrote:And that's to say nothing of how pretty much impossible it is to capture what made the original run of the series so great. I'm in the generation of fans that started with Toonami, so I totally empathize with the feeling of having "missed the party", experiencing disappointment, and wanting to experience it myself. But I can't, that's how life is. Time is a bitch. The party is over. Kageyama, Kikuchi, and Maeda are off the sauce now; Yanami almost OD'd; Yamamoto got arrested; Toriyama's not going to light trash cans on fire and hang from the chandelier anymore. We can't get the band back together, and even if we could, everyone's either old, in poor health, or calmed way the fuck down. Best we're going to get, and are getting, is a party that's almost entirely devoid of the magic that made the original one so awesome that we even want more.
Kamiccolo9 wrote:It grinds my gears that people get "outraged" over any of this stuff. It's a fucking cartoon. If you are that determined to be angry about something, get off the internet and make a stand for something that actually matters.
Rocketman wrote:"Shonen" basically means "stupid sentimental shit" anyway, so it's ok to be anti-shonen.

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Re: Comic Fans: How does Dragon Ball compare to your favorite American comics?

Post by Hellspawn28 » Mon Dec 04, 2017 1:19 am

precita wrote:The problem with most American superhero comics is they don't have an ending, they're written as if they're supposed to go on forever. Then eventually when continuity becomes a mess DC and Marvel do soft-reboots and pretend half the older stories or events never happened.

Japanese manga are all written with endings in mind, most American superhero comics are just written to go on forever. And in the case of the most popular superheroes like Batman, Superman, Spiderman, X-men, etc....they do. Most of these comics have been running for 70 years.
There's comics outside of Japan that do end and are written by one person. I see anime and manga fans get the idea that non Japanese comics are just Marvel and DC superheroes. Read titles like Watchmen, Faust, Y: The Last Man, 100 Bullets,The Maxx, History of Violence, Battle Pope, The Astounding Wolf-Man, V for Vendetta, Preacher and Scud which have a story with a beginning and ending. There is more to comics than Spider-Man, Captain America, Batman, Hulk, Superman, etc.
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Re: Comic Fans: How does Dragon Ball compare to your favorite American comics?

Post by Cipher » Mon Dec 04, 2017 3:54 am

Than pure genre superhero comics I've read? It's better. Almost without challenge. (And I've read a lot; challenge my nerd cred at your peril.)

Than art comics I've read? I wouldn't hold it up on the same level, but those are two different worlds. It's a finer crafted comic than a lot out there. Most of Toriyama's catalogue is.

And of course there are superhero comics, even from the big two, that are also art comics, or at least transcend genre, and look, I'm not going to make the comparison between those and something like Dragon Ball except to say once again that Dragon Ball's a very well-crafted book of its type.
Kunzait_83 wrote: I would also venture to say that almost 0% (or fairly close to it) read American comics that are of a non-superhero nature (there's a LOT, and they differ quite substantially).
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Also, manga are comics too.

I guess I don't know how to further respond to this thread because you're asking us to draw comparisons just for shared medium. I could just as soon ask how Star Wars compares to the field of Western (hemisphere) movies. What's someone supposed to say?

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