Monday, March 06, 2006

Manga is a "problem"?

ICv2 has posted a report on its Graphic Novel Conference, which was held in New York just prior to New York Comic-Con. And according to Al Kahn, chief executive officer of 4Kids Entertainment, "manga is a problem":
I think manga is a problem because we're in a culture that is not a reading culture. Kid's today don't read, they read less today. In every survey, we find that they're watching more television, they're on the Internet more, and that content, although being king, is very disposable. Because the way content gets put out now, it gets put out free. We're streaming most of our shows. The reason why we're streaming them is we want kids to watch them as much as they can, and get vested in the concept and go out and buy products. The products ain't free. The content is going to be free. And manga in my mind is trying to put a square peg in a round hole in the U.S. It will never be a big deal here, for the kids that are in the computer or the Internet generation, because they're not going to read. They haven't read, and they're not going to start now.


  1. No way are those manga volumes selling in bookstroes -- kids don't read! And those Harry Potter books selling to kids? Nope, doesn't happen. Kids don't read. The Goosebumps phenomenon of a while back, the dozens of young adult fantasy series, the -- DAMMIT KIDS IT SAYS RIGHT HERE THAT YOU DON'T READ SO WOULD YOU PLEASE STOP READING?

  2. Shorter Al Kahn:
    "We'll let the kids watch cartoons until they get hooked, then they'll have to buy all the crap we turn out. Bwahahahaha!"
    What a jerk.
    I listened to the panel discussion on MangaCast, and of all the people who spoke, Kahn was the most upfront about the fact that he was out to make money. Everyone else seemed to be genuinely interested in manga and anime; Kahn saw it as a product to be sold, nothing more. I used to be a book editor myself, and I think most editors really care about the quality of their books. That attitude tends to get attenuated as you move up the corporate ladder, which is probably not entirely bad. I suppose that if businesses were run by starry-eyed idealists, we'd all be in the poorhouse. Still, Kahn's contempt for his customers is palpable and very unattractive. We won't be buying any of his stuff in our house.