U.S. comics waging battle of survival against imports

For the Ravalli Republic

“Evocative of a clash between Captain America and the Red Skull, today the U.S. comic book industry is struggling to survive against Japanese manga (comic books) by attracting new fans with free merchandise.

‘It (manga in translation) kind of started out as a fad, but now it’s dominated the trade-paperback market,’ said Amanda Fisher, 26, co-owner of Muse Comics in Missoula. ‘It’s a good portion of the graphic novels we sell here.

…Manga commanded the 2003 Neilsen BookScan bestseller lists for adult fiction and graphic novels in a way comics – always niche – never have. One week last October had manga in 38 of the top 50 adult fiction slots.

“It has been the fastest growing category in U.S. bookstores,” Dallas Middaugh of Del Rey Books revealed to a trade magazine.”

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