Pretty, Fizzy Paradise

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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Star Trek Manga??

Apparently there's a Star Trek manga, now. I did not know this. Wil Wheaton is writing it. I did not know this either.

I'm considering whether to give it a shot. I'm not sure though. I have to admit, I get kind of skeptical about the manga-fication trend. I have nothing against OEL, since I think the style of character, art, and story-telling is different enough from traditional American superhero comics to warrant a separate label and "manga" is as good as any for something clearly derived from that medium. (I hesitate to call it a genre, since it's so varied.)

But Star Trek as a manga seems very strange to me. I'm not sure how well I think the series and characters would lend itself to that particular style. But it could still be good. And heck, the art looks pretty neat.

The one thing that makes me leery is the Japanese subtitles complete with kanji. I mean, well, Star Trek's hardly a Japanese property. I don't know how popular it is over there, but the manga doesn't seem to be marketed for Japan. It looks like it's in English and meant to be released here. None of the authors involved seem to be Japanese either, though I could be wrong.

It'd be one thing, perhaps, if the story were specifically about Sulu since he, presumably, has Japanese heritage. But this doesn't seem to be.

I hate to knock something I haven't read, since it could well be very good, but I'm a bit put off by that. It seems to me to cross the line from "using the style of manga because it best suits what you want to do with the project" to "blatantly exploiting the manga craze".

I don't know, I mean, I know people just want to sell product, and this probably will draw in some more of the manga crowd (though maybe not, since I'd guess that the sort of Japanophile that would be drawn in specifically because of the use of Japanese would still recognize the name "Star Trek" as a very American property. I don't think big eyes and kanji is going to fool anyone into thinking the product's ACTUALLY Japanese.) One could still hope for a little subtlety in advertizing.

It certainly doesn't make me think they're confident in the quality of their own product...


  • At January 09, 2008 7:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    What did you think of the MARVEL MANGAVERSE when it came out?

  • At January 09, 2008 8:17 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Well, to be honest, I hadn't yet been a fan of superhero comics myself back then. (I only really became a heavy comics reader at the end of 2004/beginning of 2005.) I had however been a big manga fan. I remember being skeptical, flipping through it out of curiosity, and being unimpressed.

  • At January 09, 2008 9:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    MANGAVERSE seemed to illustrate the trend;take a well-known american property and revise it with some well-known manga archetypes.

  • At January 09, 2008 11:35 AM, Blogger Will "Filby" Staples said…

    The less said about the Mangaverse the better IMO, though I did get a laugh out of Adam Warren's Fantastic Four/Neon Genesis Evangelion parody.

  • At January 09, 2008 11:45 AM, Blogger Ferrous Buller said…

    Random trivia: Antarctic Press published a Star Trek doujinshi (fan-made manga) about 15 years ago called Star Trekker. It was set roughly in the timeframe of the movies; but rather than following the original crew, the creator came up with her own cast of characters, with a Japanese female captain as the main protagonist. I remember the series as being pretty funny, though I haven't reread it in ages. Sadly (though unsurprisingly), Paramount shut it down after a few issues. Pity: I thought it was more fun than ST:NG back then, frankly. :-)

    Sidebar: I miss the old days when "manga" just meant "comics from Japan" - not out of any Japanophilic ethnocentrism, but just because geographic origin is a lot less ambiguous than trying to group a bunch of stylistic conventions under a single banner. It just perpetuates the stereotype that "all manga is the same: big eyes and speed lines" - though, yeah, there are a lot of big eyes and speed lines in most manga. :-)

  • At January 09, 2008 1:06 PM, Blogger Siskoid said…

    I wouldn't even call it a distinct medium. It's a style, or collection of styles, or perhaps it has more to do with the format of these books.

    Can Star Trek be done in manga style? Sure why not? Why would anyone need to? Marketing? The local chain bookstore here has a relatively large section of manga, and apparently they sell better than the comics (trades, graphic novels) section. If people are used to consuming a certain "collection" of books, maybe it's easier to put in their hands in that format. I don't know.

  • At January 09, 2008 9:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I did not realise Vol 2 had already been released.

    The first volume had five stories in and one text short story from one of the anthologies. They were entertaining enough and only one of the stories contained anything stereotypically mangaish.

  • At January 10, 2008 3:42 PM, Blogger David said…

    There aren't any Japanese subtitles in the manga itself, just the cover.

    The comic adventures are pretty much Star Trek-esque, with maybe... hm, offhand, I can only think of one sterotypical manga-esque story (the Giant Robots story). I'll admit, there was one shojo-esque story that just didn't -look- right.

    Nothing that couldn't have been told with American art, I think.

  • At January 10, 2008 9:21 PM, Blogger Ami Angelwings said…

    I like the Star Trek Mangas :D I got one of the vols for my sister b/c I knew she'd like it :)

    It's pretty close to the spirit of the original show and they even have some Uhura focussed episodes where she gets to be the hero (which NEVER happened in TOS) :D

    To me it's like reading a Season 4 of TOS and I rly like it, they have a lot of the characterization of the universe spot on, the art is usually quite good (tho there are a lot of catgirl aliens >_> ) and the writing is from ppl who seem to get TOS :)

  • At January 12, 2008 3:21 AM, Blogger Your Obedient Serpent said…

    I picked up one of the Trek Manga volumes, and it really did feel like CLassic Star Trek.

    I particularly liked the tale which explored Uhura's re-education after getting mindwiped by NOMAD. Thh blithe handwave that event got in the episode itself always rankled with me.


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