I’m a bit of a BookTube addict, I listen to other people talk about books while I work my day job. Recently, I subscribed to Janie of Bookworms Buddy (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVFUYM6cleSJzV4HpbwrecQ) and learned about Tuesday Talks, which she started and has a GoodReads group for. This is my first attempt at discussing a Tuesday Talks topic. Here goes…
I like books for all ages, and have found that I have a great appreciation for picture books (I have some absolute favorites from when I taught elementary grades). Especially when those picture books have illustrations that add depth and context to a story (case in point, Mem Fox’s Tough Boris, read the story and then look through the illustrations for the secondary story of the stowaway). That said, it should make sense that I do consider Manga as actual books to read, with the requirement that they have a good story with all of the essential story elements. Is there a plot and does it move forward? Are there antagonists, protagonists, obstacles, a climax, resolution? If in a serial, such as a comic book, is there progression and continuity?
I also tend to consider whether a story, if it had been written and not illustrated, would be one that I felt worth reading. If the answer is yes, then absolutely it is an actual book. Illustrated books, rather than illustrations with captions, is what I consider Manga and comic books to be. Though I prefer the comics in a bind-up, as I generally have no patience for the length of serialization they undergo. A storyline such as in Mark Millar’s Starlight might not engage me enough to continue reading, once I saw certain portions of the artwork, but as a bind-up (which I read as a Read Now book through NetGalley) it works well and I could overlook those less desirable elements. Whereas Greg Rucka’s Lazarus I would be more likely to start a pull list for (not that I ever see myself starting a pull list), and thinking of the individual series vs. the bind-up as I think of novellas vs. full novels – fun, quick interstitial reading that feeds my need for continuation of a series.
And that brings up another point. Is reading a Manga or a bind-up of a comic series on par with reading a novel? Is reading a comic equal to reading a novella? No, not at all. But it is still reading, and it can be a gateway to the “harder stuff.” And if a comic book or Manga would help a student become a better reader, you bet your sweet bippy I would have used them when I was an Elementary school teacher. And when my niece, after having told me she wished she was more of a reader, says that she loves graphic novels (not the topic, but similar to Manga as far as I’m concerned) I immediately start looking for a graphic novel for her birthday to encourage that growing love of reading. You can read a review of the graphic novel I chose here: http://wp.me/p5Tcfi-d
Back from that little tangent, let’s look at some of the very few (okay, possibly the only) Manga I have read: Soulless, Volumes 1-3 by Gail Carriger and REM are adaptations of the first three novels in Gail Carriger’s The Parasol Protectorate series. Having read the novels first, I would say that the manga are good adaptations, though they do not include all of the story points from the novels. So, while limited in that regard (and regretfully the majority of pages are in black & white), I would say that they could be read in place of the novels without losing too much of the author’s intent. They are a quick, fun read. Would I prefer them over the novels? No, but I do consider them as readable books and appreciate them as an alternative, secondary way to enjoy the novels.
So, what do you think? Do you consider Manga and/or comic books as actual books to read? And for comics, do you prefer, like me, to read bind-ups?