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Minx, Manga, and Disappointment

September 27, 2008

You know, I was just going to tell you guys that I’d picked up a bunch of manga to do an all-manga post.  Just a hello-how-are-you to a couple of series, and maybe get a bit into why one series will attract me and why another one loses my interest in the first book.

Then I wake up and find out that Minx is being cancelled.  Minx is, and I’ve mentioned this before, the DC line of YA graphic novels/whatever.  I’ve talked about how much I loved The Plain Janes.  I’ve talked about how much I could not stand Clubbing.  I’ve been meaning to tell you about some of the others as well–they were on the list that got lost in the computer crash.  Over the summer, I read Re-Gifters and kimmie66 and Good as Lily and, most recently, Confessions of a Blabbermouth.  I liked them all to varying degrees (kimmie66 at the bottom of that scale, Good as Lily at the top, in case you were wondering).  But now I’m feeling guilty.  I feel like it’s all my fault that Minx is coming to an end.

Oh, you can say all you want that things like this aren’t about one reader (or two, because my daughter’s read everything but Clubbing).  It doesn’t stop geeks from feeling that their purchases often determine whether things stay or go.  Sure, an online petition does basically nothing, and fan-based campaigns fail as often as they succeed.  But that doesn’t stop a Whedon fan from feeling like he or she could’ve seen Serenity in the theaters a couple more times.  Maybe I should’ve sent one of those mock movie tickets for Veronica Mars.  I should’ve BOUGHT the Minx books instead of reading them at the library.  Yes?  No?

So now I’m catching up on the demise of Minx (MY FAULT) on When Fangirls Attack.  I read this and got kind of annoyed:

Do these same readers [adult males who have commented on the end of the Minx line] check out GOSSIP GIRLS and TWILIGHT? OrNANA or SHOJO BEAT or HONEY AND CLOVER? The idea of adult men liking the same things as teenage girls is a vaguely disturbing one.

You know, I can’t help but want to point out that my ex-boyfriend (age 30) has Twilight on his coffee table with his other to-read YA books.  Or hey, you know how I found out about Honey & Clover?  His younger brother, age 23, who also introduced me to Tramps Like Us, my all-time favorite josei manga.

The thing is, the high school experience is fascinating to adults.  We lived it, and we’re far enough removed from it that we’re bemused: we know it happened to us, and yet we’re horrified and proud that we got through it.  We LOVE revisiting it.  And, I don’t know about you, but I find the way that (especially) American culture treats young women like a car accident: I can’t look away.  I cannot imagine what it would be like to be a guy, looking into it from the outside, and yet I think if I were a guy, I would really, really want to know.  I can’t believe that, especially now, the male and female teenage experiences are anything alike.  I would want to see, because I’ve had my male friends say to me, “Holy crap!” when I tell them about high school, or anything about being a girl/woman they never realized before.  To discount adult men from reading a good book is laughable, and yet somehow we do it over and over again by drawing lines in the sand, lines that we give names like “chick lit.”

Okay, but it’s not just me and it’s not just societal lines.  Many links in the WFA post talk about how DC failed: they failed with male writers (hello, Andi Watson, whose name looks female but whose book would’ve put me off Minx forever had I not read The Plain Janes first), they failed with where the books were being stocked (YA or graphic novels?), they failed by not having the kind of multi-media crossover that launched Tokyopop, they failed with their website design.  Oh, and they failed by creating self-contained stories, because the kind of multiple purchase that comes with a series doesn’t exist in the Minx line.  You know, I have been tossing around a couple ideas in my head that would work great as manga, and it never would’ve occurred to me to pitch them to Minx, if they ever got that far.  (Hello, artists?  Artists, are you out there?)  Minx doesn’t do manga; they do graphic novels.  But I can see now that they wanted the manga audience.  Other than kimmie66, they didn’t really show us that, and kimmie66 was nothing that hadn’t been done before (DEAD GIRL IN THE WEBBBB SO SPOOOOKY).  I always saw most of the Minx books I read as being the future audience of Blankets, you know?  Not necessarily Nana. But that’s not where the money is. Make up your mind, DC.

Oh wait, they have.

So I’m disappointed.  In me, for not realizing that DC was going to give up so easily, and not purchasing the books for myself and my daughter much sooner.  In DC, for having one idea but going with another, and giving up on readers like my daughter, who are too young for many of the superhero titles yet.

What a way to start my morning, huh?

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