Below is a list of helpful English-language web resources about manga and manhwa. I update this page on a regular basis, so suggestions are always welcome!
Articles on Manga
1000 Years of Pretty Boys: J.R. Brown offers a comprehensive history of the bishonen in Japanese art and literature, from the feudal era to the present day.
Akira Maruyama on Early Shojo Manga: Former Shojo Club editor Akira Maruyama discusses girls’ manga of the 1950s and 1960s, challenging popular perception of these works as sentimental and cliched.
Charting the Beginnings: Ryan Holmberg (The Comics Journal) explores the roots of alternative Japanese comics, from the 1950s through the 1970s. The first in an ongoing series at The Comics Journal, “What Was Alternative Manga?” Other articles from this series:
- The Aomushi Showa Manga Library
- The Bottom of a Bottomless Barrel: Introducing Akahon Manga
- Emonogatari in the Age of Comics, 1948-1957
- An Introduction to Gekiga, 6970 A.D.
- Manga Finds Pirate Gold: The Case of New Treasure Island
- Saito Takao and the “Gekiga Factory”
- Tezuka Osamu and American Comics
CLAMP MMF: Introduction and CLAMP Directory: MJ (Manga Bookshelf) offers a brief history of the four-woman team responsible for writing Cardcaptor Sakura, Kobato, and xxxHolic. The essay also includes a brief but detailed synopsis of every CLAMP titles available in English.
The Classics of Manga: Brent Newhall (Otaku, No Video) compiles a list of the most beloved and influential manga published in English. A great resource for readers who are new to manga.
Early Manga Days: A Chronology: A list of manga published in the US between 1977 and 1991, arranged chronologically. Ryan Sands (Same Hat!) compiled the initial list and has continued to update it since posting it in February 2010. Also in this series:
- Mai the Psychic Girl
- The Manga Story #1: Fred Patten (reprint of an essay that appeared in the first issue of Mai the Psychic Girl)
- The Manga Story #2: Frederik Schodt (reprint of an essay that appeared in subsequent issue of Mai the Psychic Girl)
The Early Years of Garo: A history of Garo magazine by Ryan Holmberg, curator of the 2010 exhibit, “Garo Manga: The Early Years, 1964 – 1973” (Center for Book Arts). The essay provides historical and artistic context for the magazine, as well as a corrective to the notion that the term “garo” is synonymous with “heta-uma.”
The Face of the Other: An essay by cultural anthropologist Matt Thorn explaining artistic conventions in manga, and challenging the widely held belief that manga characters look more Caucasian than Asian.
Female Manga Bloggers From A to Z: A list of female manga bloggers (mostly American and Canadian) compiled by MJ (Manga Bookshelf). The list includes links to each woman’s blog and Twitter feed.
Full Circle: The Unofficial History of MixxZine: Adam Arnold (Aoi House, Vampire Cheerleaders) explores the early history of Tokyopop, focusing primarily on Tokyopop’s short-lived MixxZine anthology, home to Ice Blade, Magic Knight Rayearth, Parasyte, and Sailor Moon.
I Want to Get Drunk and Tell You About My Eating Disorder: Shaenon Garrity (ComiXology, The Comics Journal, CLAMP in America) examines the history of confessional omake (author’s notes) in shojo manga. Also of interest:
- The Boys of Shojo Manga
- The Girls of Shonen Manga
- Mainstreaming Comics Culture (otaku culture and Naoki Urasawa’s 20th Century Boys)
- The Patrick Swayze Manga Recommendation Guide
Know Your Publishers: Japan and North America: Sean Gaffney (A Case Suitable for Treatment) provides a helpful overview of big and mid-size Japanese manga publishers, as well as information about which American companies are licensing their work.
Making a Living in Manga: Deb Aoki (About.com) interviews Western artists who are working in the manga publisher field, both in the United States and abroad. Other essays in the series:
- “Real” or “Fake” Manga: The OEL Dilemma
- The Skills to Pay the Bills: The Manga Training Gap
- Publishers, Self-Publishing, and Making it in Japan
Manga in the USA: Anime expert Mike Toole (ANN) discusses the first manga to be translated and published in the United States.
Mangaka Profile: Hideko Mizuno: Marc Bernabe interviews pioneering shojo artist Hideko Mizuno, who made her professional debut in Shojo Club magazine in 1956 with Akkake Pony.
Mangaphobia: Don’t Make Those Eyes at Me!: Author Paul Gravett provides a simple, illustrated rebuttal to the common misperception that manga is a style, not a storytelling medium.
Moe: The Cult of the Child: Author and manga editor Jason Thompson examines the roots of the moe phenomenon, differentiating between “moe” in the general sense (e.g. having a special affection for trains, Peter O’Toole, German shepherd puppies) and “moe” as an underage character type found in manga such as Azumanga Daioh, Blood Alone, Kanna, and Yotsuba&! Also of interest:
Purity and Power in Magic Knight Rayearth: Scholar Kathryn Hemmann (Contemporary Japanese Literature) examines gender and sexuality in CLAMP’s shojo fantasy Magic Knight Rayearth. Also of interest:
Reading Manga: An overview of the manga publishing industry in the US, compiled by Deb Aoki (About.com). Deb has drafted a variety of introductory articles designed to help new readers find titles that appeal to their sensibilities. Also of interest to new manga readers:
The Secret History of Manga: An audio recording of a talk given by author Jason Thompson (Manga: The Complete Guide) at SakuraCon 2010. Thompson’s presentation focuses on the history of manga translation in the US.
Ten Defining Manga: Shaenon Garrity (The Comics Journal, ComiXology, CLAMP in America) lists ten influential manga in a variety of genres and styles which, when taken as a whole, provide a good introduction to the medium.
Tones 101: A Primer for Readers and Reviewers: Artist Dee Dupuy, who’s worked with Svetlana Chmakova on Dramacon and Night School, explains the whys and hows of toning. Essential reading for reviewers.
Top Ten Scariest Manga You Haven’t Read: Reviewer Thomas Zoth (Mania.com) examines ten of the most influential — and least read — horror manga released between 1990 and the present.
Visual Languages of Manga and Comics: Writer and comic artist Stephanie Folse compares the visual flow of shonen and shojo manga with American superhero comics.
What Shoujo Manga Are and Are Not: A brief introduction to shojo manga by cultural anthropologist Matt Thorn, with a representative list of shojo titles that have been published in English. Also of interest at Thorn’s site:
- Interview with Keiko Nishi
- Interview with Moto Hagio
- The Multi-Faceted Universe of Shoujo Manga
- Pre-World War II Shoujo Manga and Illustrations
- What Japanese Girls Do With Manga, and Why
What’s the Big Deal About Sailor Moon?: ALC founder Erica Friedman discusses the Sailor Moon phenomenon, both in Japan and the United States.
Year 24 Group Wikipedia entry: An introduction to the work and careers of pioneering shojo artists Ryoko Ikeda, Moto Hagio, Keiko Takemiya, and Mineko Yamada. Also of interest:
- A Conversation with Moto Hagio (Carlo Santos, Anime News Network)
- Interview with Moto Hagio (Shaenon Garrity, The Comics Journal)
- Interview with Keiko Takemiya (Deb Aoki, About.com)
- Moto Hagio: What Is the Year 24 Group? (Marc Bernabe, Masters of Manga)
- Takemiya the Teacher (Star of Malaysia)
Articles on Manhwa
100 Years of Manhwa: An overview of the manhwa industry, beginning with the very first Korean comics (ca. 1909) and covering the major stages of the medium’s development. The article includes a helpful timeline correlating major events in twentieth-century Korean history with industry trends.
Great General Mighty Wing: Artist Cho Pyong Kwon’s introduction to the agit-prop comic from North Korea (c. 1994). The article provides an overview of the manhwa industry from the 1960s to the present, with special attention to the role of the manhwabang, or rental shop, in popularizing the medium.
An Introduction to Korean Webtoons: Hana Lee provides an overview of the digital comics scene in Korea, highlighting several popular series and discussing webtoons’ growing importance in the Korean market.
Make Mine Manhwa: Exporting Korean Comics: Author Paul Gravett explores the challenges of marketing Korean comics in the United States and Europe. The essay includes a profile of San-Ho Kim, a manhwa artist who emigrated to the US in the 1960s; Kim wrote a number of series for the now-defunct American publisher Charlton Comics.
A Short History of Manhwa: Blogger Kim Nahko translates a series of brief essays on manhwa’s past and present; the essays originally appeared in La dynamique de la bande desinnee coreene, a catalog accompanying an exhibition at the 2003 Angouleme International Comics Festival. Other articles from this anthology include:
The Alternative Manga Club: A fan community hosted by MyAnimeList. The group’s areas of interest include gekiga, underground manga, early (pre-Tezuka) manga, heta-uma, horror manga, and nouvelle manga.
Year 24 Group: A fan community hosted by MyAnimeList, dedicated to exploring the work of the Magnificent 49ers (e.g. Yasuko Aoike, Moto Hagio, Ryoko Ikeda, Keiko Takemiya).
Anime Research: A comprehensive guide to English-language scholarship on anime, manga, and Japanese popular culture. Includes several extensive bibliographies of articles, books, and dissertations about anime and manga.
BonnKansan’s Translation Blog: An unofficial list of editors, letterers, and translators for JManga. The list is organized alphabetically by series title, and is updated on an ongoing basis.
Contemporary Japanese Literature: A website exploring manga, fiction, and movies, as well as scholarship about Japanese culture.
Good Comics for Kids: A blog at the School Library Journal that focuses on comics, graphic novels, and manga for readers under the age of 18.
Masters of Manga: Translator, author, and manga authority Marc Bernabe (Japanese in MangaLand, Kanji in MangaLand) interviews prominent Japanese artists about their work. Recent interviews include Ken Akamatsu (Love Hina, Negima!) and Hiroshi Hirata (Satsuma Gishiden). Interviews are conducted in Japanese with English and Spanish subtitles.
No Flying, No Tights: A website devoted to manga and comics for younger readers, founded by librarian and former Eisner judge Robin Brenner. Each review includes age guidelines and information about potentially offensive/suggestive content.
The Rumic World: A comprehensive overview of Rumiko Takahashi’s work, from her first published work to her most recent series. The site is updated on a regular basis with chapter and episode summaries of Rin-ne and InuYasha: The Final Act, and features character profiles, publication histories, and other information of interest to Takahashi fans.
Tezuka in English: A comprehensive guide to Osamu Tezuka’s work, maintained by manga scholar Ada Palmer. The site includes extensive summaries of Tezuka’s major work, as well as information about untranslated material. N.B. At the moment, many of the links to the official Tezuka World Web Page are broken.
TezukaOsamu.net: The official English-language website of Tezuka Productions. The site includes summaries of Tezuka’s best-known anime and manga, a biography of Tezuka, an encyclopedia of “representative” characters, and brief samples of manga such as I.L., Jungle Emperor Leo, Princess Knight, and The Three-Eyed One. N.B. Samples are in Japanese.