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.
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.
Since 2011, Nat has self-published over twelve comic-related books and was Publisher-Editor of
Oi Oi Oi! -- the last series of nationally-distributed comic books of original stories to appear on Australian newsstands. He is a member of the Australian Cartoonists Association and edited the Association's journal Inkspot for 14 issues from late 2015. For numerous years he has been the Lead Judge in the Ledger of Honour Awards for the Comic Arts Awards of Australia (formerly the Ledgers). These days Nat dreams of retiring from his occupation as a Clinical Nurse in the Psychiatric Emergency Centre in Queensland's largest public hospital, so that he can spend more time with his long-suffering wife and their six children and fourteen grandchildren. And perhaps publish some more comic-related books.
Comicoz acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay respects to elders, past, present, and emerging, and extend that respect to all First Nations peoples.
Australian Publications since 1976:
1 x Poster
19 x comics (one a co-production with Cyclone Comics in 1988/9, one a co-production with Cowtown Comics in 2022)
2 x Paperback books
10 x Hardcover books