Article written by freelance writer Jane Evans
You can’t be a comic and graphic novel fan without coming across the incredible genre of Manga. The word is derived from two origins - man, which means “impromptu and whimsical,” and ga, which translates as “moving pictures.” The earliest examples of Manga actually date as far back as the 12th Century, but it wasn’t until the 1900s that this style hit the mainstream, popularised by the comic strips in newspapers. The style really took off in the 1980s, and Manga became a popular for both children and adults. It can be humorous, fantastical, serious and creative - there are no limitations; it is defined only by the stylised drawing. In Australia, there are some great ways to get into Manga and read comics that can set your imagination on fire.
Head To A Comicon
One of the biggest comic events in Australia is of course Oz Comicon. Whether you are an artist or a reader, there is something for all the family, and there is an incredibly inclusive atmosphere. Comicon is also a great place to get a few stylish garments for your wardrobe that really speak to your style aesthetic. Check the labels on your purchases so you know what fabric they're made from before you wash them, and remember to iron them on the reverse so the prints don't crack - it can be difficult to get replacement for Manga T shirts you buy at a convention. There are three locations for the Comicon - Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, each of which have a Manga library where you can explore Shoju and Shonen. The volunteers that work there are also a great source of information - make sure you ask for their recommendations.
Join A Meetup
Participating in a regular meetup group is a great way to not only learn about Manga, but also to meet some new friends. There are 13 groups that get together regularly to discuss Manga and Anime. Cool Japan Culture in Sydney hosts weekly events, and they even have a Manga drawing class planned for 2020. Melbourne Anime Club is the largest Manga and Anime community in the area. They meet up monthly and welcome anyone with an interest in the genre. Perth Comickers is another inclusive group with a passion for Manga, particularly when it comes to being creative.
Check Out The Online Stores
There is a big market for Manga in Australia, so there are some great online stores that are dedicated to the genre. Madman Entertainment have a vast collection of back editions, as well as all the latest releases for you to choose from. If you are a Manga newbie, then you can’t go wrong with simply picking something that interests you and starting with Volume 1. Kinokuniya Australia is another good webshop for all things Manga. The prices are reasonable, and they have a members club if you are buying comics and graphic novels regularly.
Manga is a wonderful medium for storytelling, and the emotive style means that the characters are full of life. There are some great ways of getting into the genre in Australia, and you can even become part of a new, friendly and inclusive community.
Just an update from me (Nat). (It's my webpage, after all!) I have read some new information recently, that I should add to this post....
Based on an increasing interest in the anime market outside Japan, the Kadokawa Corporation, a Japanese entertainment company, has decided to establish an online store where people living outside Japan can buy premium products that are difficult to purchase overseas, like comics, light novels, "special limited-edition" woodblock prints, games and more. When EJ ANiME Store (Entertainment Japan) opens, it will target 17 countries, including Australia, the UK, the US, France, Spain, Taiwan and Hong Kong. Here's a early link to the store.
...acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to elders past, present, and emerging, and extend that respect to all First Australian peoples.
Over the past decade (2011 - 2020) Nat has self-published ten comic-related books and was Publisher-Editor of Oi Oi Oi! - the last nationally-distributed comic book of original comics stories to appear on Australian newsstands. He edited Inkspot, the journal of the Australian Cartoonists Association for 14 issues from late 2015 to 2019 and is a current member of the ACA's Committee. In his spare time, he is a husband, a father (to six) and grandfather (to fourteen), and works in the Psychiatric Emergency Centre in Queensland's largest public hospital.
Comicoz is Nat Karmichael's publishing imprint. Nat is committed to preserving a permanent collection of Australian comic and comic strips. He feels that there is a need to recognise comics' contribution to and depiction of Australian culture.