The Secret World of Comiket – Look! It Moves! by Adi Tantimedh

Adi Tantmedh writes,

Here's a half-hour documentary on Comiket, or Comics Market, the twice-yearly Japanese comics convention that's the biggest in the world. It was commissioned by NHK, Japan's equivalent of the BBC.

This is the most comprehensive and serious look at a comic convention ever made, with the social contexts that fuel it without any whiff of snobbery and condescension. It depicts comics culture as normal and embedded in everyday life as sports or any other pop culture. It's worth watching to note the similarities and differences Comiket has with US cons. Note that the emphasis at Comiket is on the creative community and doujin, or amateur, creators and groups who self-publish their comics, artbooks and even indie video games, rather than corporate-owned comics franchises, though they have a presence there as well. Many doujin circles started as amateur hobby groups but ended up achieving mainstream success like Type-Moon, the creators of the Fate/Stay Night and Tsukhime visual novel games, who are now a major production company whose titles have spun off into anime, movie, manga, video games and magazines. Many artists began as doujinshi before going pro with mainstream manga publishers, and they still continue to create and self-publish original doujin manga as a way to keep their creative juices fresh. Parody, fan fiction and even porn parodies of well-known series are only a tiny fraction of doujin manga being created, with the publishers mostly turning a blind eye because they're considered parodies, not to mention a training ground for future professionals.

From a sociological point of view, it's particularly interesting to me that the level of normalisation of comics culture seen in Japan is only starting to occur in the US now, though that's partly corporate-driven, with Hollywood studios realising that there's a huge market in comics-related movies and TV shows, and spending money to push for the normalisation of comics in the mainstream in the West, The big difference is that in Japan, creators are encouraged by the fan culture to create their own works, own it and pursue success that way, while in the US, creators are mostly still motivated to rehash corporate-owned superhero franchises, despite many indie creators seeing success with their own works.

What's heartening is the continued creativity and mutual support the community offers to its members to create and share their art. The documentary is a great overview for anyone interested in the comics scene and fan communities in both the West and Japan.

(Thanks to Deb Aoki for the referral to the documentary)

Always a doujinshi at

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Look! It Moves! © Adisakdi Tantimedh

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Rich JohnstonAbout Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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