I was listening to the Doctor Who podcast Podshock, and the hosts were talking with a con organizer about some informal one night get-togethers he organized to build up interest in the con. They featured a guest of some sort and were held in a pub-like setting, allowing the guest and fans close and informal interactions. And I thought, wouldn’t it be cool if manga publishers did something like this?
I’m not going to suggest doing this with Japanese guest, but for the creators here in the US. Writers and artists of OEL manga as well as the editors, translators, and more out spoken personalities of manga publishing could be potential guests for these events. Right now, most of these people are just names on a book or a press release, and a few show up at cons, accessible only at panels. How cool would it be to be able to just sit down, have a drink (alcoholic or non) and just talk (or listen) to these people? Ask them questions and hear inside stories about the production of our favorite titles, I think that would be totally cool!
By their very nature these gatherings would be small and limited, but that’s the point. More can be said in intimate settings, and people tend to open up more. And I think some of these people that work so hard behind the scenes deserve the recognition. It could also help to engage fans with each other, and by giving them a real life glance into all that goes into making the manga they read, maybe get them appreciate it just a little more.