Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

March 9, 2005

Chris Butcher on Tenjho Tenge Fiasco

imageDespite all the crowing for having predicted the problem, Christopher Butcher's piece on the Tenjho Tenge controversy is probably the most cogent and complete piece of writing out there on this issue thus far. Butcher's mini-essay is strongest when he points out mainstream American comic book company attitudes regarding the material with which they work and how that might play with manga fans.

In a nutshell for the link-weary among you, DC Comics' manga imprint CMX altered a popular acquisition so that it would be much less furiously sexualized. This enraged American manga fans who demand authenticity from translated works, and feel they were promised that by DC. This led to heat on various message boards, complaints to DC, and threats of boycott. There is even a rally-point web site. Most commentators such as Butcher have pointed out that if CMX were to put out the manga unaltered, they run the risk of problems with retailers and backing some really, really strong material. This just looks like an unfortunate acquisition, handled especially poorly as Del Rey faced the same controversy early last year with one of their books. As Butcher and others point out, even Publishers Weekly felt compelled to note the strong fan reaction here, like a genteel neighbor in slippers wandering into the keg party next door to count holes in drywall.

My guess is that the most interesting angle to pay attention to here will be how this could potentially shape DC's attitude towards investing in manga, and how it could generally ratchet up the supposed high-stress unpleasantness rumored to exist at the company.
posted 11:49 am PST | Permalink

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