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Manga is the Japanese version of comic art; its modern form came into prominence in Japan following World War II, when artists like Osama Tezuka created the big-eyed style associated with Japanese comics. Tezuka’s drawing style was influenced by the Disney and Fleischer Studios – and can still be seen in modern manga series.

As a form of popular entertainment, manga has a huge audience in its native country – with stories and series aimed at a wide range of ages and tastes: action, romance, comedy, horror, even hard-core erotica (a.k.a. hentai). This diversity, in part, has been a factor in the comics’ most recent success in Western countries. Where American mainstream comics have primarily aimed their product at an adolescent superhero-focused readership, shojo manga series like Fruits Basket have pulled in a young girl readership.

It should be noted, however, that one of the most popular concerns in the U.S., Shonen Jump, is a monthly magazine featuring serialized stories for an older boy readership. The best-selling series Naruto has been steadily serialized in SJ before getting released in paperback volumes. Magazine serialization followed by paperback collection is the primary delivery system for manga storytelling, with Shonen Jump and its distaff counterpart Shojo Beat being the most successful magazine titles in the U.S.

About Bill Sherman

Bill Sherman is a Books editor for Blogcritics. With his lovely wife Rebecca Fox, he has co-authored a light-hearted fat acceptance romance entitled Measure By Measure.