Do Comics Need Age Ratings?

I’ve already ranted and raved about the Kentucky library workers and their attempts at censorship.  But the comments on this article at The Beat goes into an interesting debate over a universal age rating for comics. While it’s brought up that no one is calling for age ratings for prose books (which I wouldn’t mind as a parent), comics and manga are a visual medium like movies, TV and video games.  Those all have rating systems, so why not comics?  I certainly wouldn’t mind one.  Even among manga, where there are age ratings, it’s far from universal, and could certainly do to be refined.  And as a parent, it would help to at least have an idea what the suggested age for books should be.  There have been times when I’ve looked at a title, and just couldn’t be sure if it was at appropriate for ages under 13 or not.  It wouldn’t hurt publishers to help out parents, since it’s their kids that will be their future audience.

Variations on Girls Read Comic Theme

This has been a hot topic lately, and perpetual one it seems, despite attempts to assure people of otherwise.  The variation on this topic in question this week?  How to get your girlfriend/wife to read comics.  The first shot came from Kate Dacey at her blog, Manga Critic as part of her Shipping News post.  Johanna Draper Carlson picked up on it, and then The Beat at Publishers Weekly.  The focus became about guys trying to get the women in their life to like the same comics they do, even though that isn’t what the original article was about.  While I think the article was kind of silly, that was because it just seemed plain common sense to me.  Sure, you want the people important in your life to like the same things you do, and don’t want them harassing you for it, but you can’t evangelize about it them.  That’s the surest way to turn they away from it.  The article that started this was about using what a person already likes and finding books to that would appeal.  Well, duh.  If I want my husband to try manga, I don’t hand him a romance.  When we got back into comics early in this decade, my husband didn’t try to get me to read Iron Man or Daredevil, books he enjoyed.  He pointed out more fantasy titles to me, cause that’s what I like.    And I don’t see anything wrong with that.  What is sad is that it even had to be pointed out in an article.

New Resource for Manga Readers and Reviewers

Manga Views is a new site everyone MUST check out.  It was put together by Lissa of Kuri-osity and Anna of Tangognat.  After hearing some of us manga bloggers complain on twitter about having some central place to go for manga reviews, these two enterprising women went ahead and did just that!  Anna worked on the guts of the site while Lissa did the design, and what they came up with is a fantastic resource!  The site has an aggregate of several manga blogs where you can find the latest headlines from them.  It is also building up a database of reviews of manga.  You can register for the site, or just use the submission form to post links to your reviews of volumes and rate them on a 1-5 star system.  The more reviews and rating they get, the better a resource this site will become.  So go read and post!

International Pocky Day

November 11 was International Pocky Day.  11/11 looks like a handful of pocky.  Did you remember to eat a box or two?  Cause you can’t just eat one.  Pocky’s worse than Ruffles!  Tokyopop held a contest in honor of IPD; write a haiku about pocky.  The winners can be found here.

Manga on Your (Windows Powered) Cellphone

Japanese publisher Shueisha has teamed up with Microsoft to make manga available on cellphones using the Windows Mobile system, in both the US and Japan.  Shueisha has obviously done this because they seem to believe that Microsoft can protect their books from being stolen.  However, in the cellphone market, where the iphone and android phones are getting all the attention, and apps, this seems highly questionable.  It severely limits the audience that can access it to an operating system that Microsoft isn’t even committed to supporting.  As much as I love the idea of digital comics, this is one idea I can’t get behind.

But For How Long?

Weekly Shonen Jump has announced that Hunter x Hunter will be back in serialization in January 2010.  Yeah, for how long this time?  This title has been on and off hiatus constantly it seems.  It really makes you wonder if Yoshihiro Togashi even really cares to continue it or not.  There have been hiatus’ as long as 3 years for this title, and after the last one, it restated in October of 2008, only to last 3 months.  Honestly.  If you don’t care that much, just end the thing.

NYT Best Selling Manga

It couldn’t last long, it seems.  Even though Naruto hasn’t retaken the #1 spot, Viz has.  Vampire Knight vol 8 debuts at #1.  Like that’s a surprise.  Naruto vol 46 is still chugging along at #2.  Last week’s #1, Negima! Magister Negi Magi vol 24 falls to #3.  Two other Viz shojos, Ouran High School Host Club vol 13 and Black Bird vol 2 debut at #4 and #5 respectively.  Maximum Ride vol 2 falls one to #6, pushing the other Yen Press title, Soul Eater vol 1 out and off to #8.  Rosario Vampire vol 9 surprisingly moves back up to #7, while D-Gray Man vol 15 starts the list at #9.  Tsubasa vol 24 ends off the list falling two to #10 from #8.  So, Viz has shown that it’s shojo line still rules even without their magazine, with three titles debuting in their first week out.  And Viz hold the list again at 6/10, with Yen Press and Del Rey holding out at 2/10 each.

Manga For Your Ears

Mangacast

This Week at Manga Village

Good Comics For Kids Manga

What I’ve Been Reading

  • 20th Century Boys vol 5
  • Secret Saturdays 1: The Kur Stone
  • 07-Ghost vol 2
  • Shonen Jump December 2009
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4 Comments for this entry

  • Jules says:

    Regarding the age ratings for comics, there used to be one for American comics. It was called the Comics Code Authority and comics had to go through the codes rulings to get a stamp of approval. But that has gone and died out when publishers stopped using it.

    • No, the comic code is different than a rating system. The comic code was meant to keep comics “clean”. An age rating system just tells you want audience a book is for. Manga already does that, and no imposes anything on them. I don’t think it should be a problem for comics. Is it so much to ask for pubs to say when a book of a popular character like Spiderman that younger kids might want to read if it’s appropriate? It isn’t always clear by art or title. Trust me, I look at comics every week, and it’s really hard to tell sometimes, and I end up missing some because there wasn’t a way for me to tell.

  • Jules says:

    So you mean the publishers should age rate themselves than go through a screening committee?

  • Yes. There’s no need for a screening process. The pubs know what audience they want for a book before they publish it. It shouldn’t be that hard to say “For 13+”, or “Ages 9-12″. That’s all I want. Give me an idea and don’t make me sure all over the web for information they already have and just have to give out.

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