Asian Heritage Month Blog Event: Mad for Manga!

Asian Heritage Month Blog Event:

Mad for Manga!

By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez

From time to time, I enter giveaway contests on other blogs. Wait, no. Strike that. In the past, I’ve been pretty obsessive when it comes to contests, but since I’ve become busier, my contest entries have slowed down to a moderate pace.

That said, I did receive a winning of a box full of books. And included inside was my very first owned form of manga, Dracula Everlasting.

And silly me, do you know what I thought? I looked at the cover and its binding on the right-hand side and said to myself,

“That’s why he didn’t want this…the publisher got the binding wrong!”

The anal-retentive control freak side of my personality clawed out and thought,

“How the heck am I supposed to showcase this on my bookshelf? It’s freakin’ backwards!”

Like I said, silly, silly, ignorant me.

Later did I realize that the book was not indeed backwards, but that my thinking was. It was manga! And my first experience with it.

The term manga is the Japanese word for “comics/cartoons” and used outside Japan to specifically refer to comics originally published in Japan that conform to a style that dates back to the late 19th century.

In Japan, people of all ages read manga! I can easily agree with this because at a recent visit to my local library, both my seven-year-old son and myself were excitedly perusing the manga section! But, because it was my son, I conceded and let him borrow titles that I had wanted for myself! These are the titles I picked up:

(c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez

Manga’s surprising range of genres include:

  • action-adventure
  • romance
  • sports
  • drama
  • comedy
  • sci-fi
  • fantasy
  • mystery
  • horror

Here are some of the titles from the library I’m now enjoying:

The Saiunkoku Series: Books 1-6

(c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez


Manga is typically printed in black-and-white, although some full-colour manga exist. In Japan, manga is usually serialized in large manga magazines. If the series is successful, collected chapters may be republished in paperback books called tankōbon.

Traditionally, manga stories flow from top to bottom and from right to left. Some publishers of translated manga keep to this original format. Other publishers mirror the pages horizontally before printing the translation, changing the reading direction to a more “Western” left to right, so as not to confuse foreign readers. This practice is known as “flipping.” For the most part, criticism suggests that flipping goes against the original intentions of the creator.

Reading manga.

A manga artist is called a mangaka.

Click on the photo for more details on Hagio Moto, one of the pioneering mangakas.

Hagio Moto, one of the manga artists credited with pioneering the shoujo manga (girl’s manga), josei manga (manga for ladies) and shounen-ai (boy’s love, stories involving romantic relationships between males).


Here’s a clip of Hagio Moto drawing a manga sketch at Fantagraphics booth, Comic-Con 2010:


Other manga-influenced comics also exist in other parts of the world:

  • Taiwan  – manhua
  • South Korea – manhwa
  • Hong Kong, China – manhua
  • France – la nouvelle manga, bande dessinée (drawn strip)
  • United States – Amerimanga, world manga, or original English-language manga (OEL manga)

Here’s a video clip about a manga artist from China publishing his work in Japan:


 Don’t you just love manga? I’m mad about it now! What manga titles or book series do you love to read and/or collect?


2 thoughts on “Asian Heritage Month Blog Event: Mad for Manga!”

  1. The same thing happened in our catalog room when the first manga showed up way back when in our library. Our cataloger was ready to send it back as defective!

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