Sunday, March 06, 2005

Cine-Manga...Well, It's AN Idea

The latest "You Decide" may just be the oddest one I have done, namely Tokyopop's Cinemanga "That's So Raven - School Daze."

If you are unfamiliar with the concept of Cine-Manga, what it is is a digest-sized book that takes episodes of TV shows and breaks them down, frame by frame, and adds word ballooons, and turns TV shows into comic books. Think about the Fantastic Four cartoon series from the 60s, where they basically animated the comics. Here, it is the reverse.

Tokyopop has struck deals to do these Cine-Mangas for most of Disney's properties (Kim Possible, Lizzie Maguire, Little Nemo, and, of course, That's So Raven). This past week, they sent out a couple free tester copies to retailers to give them an idea of what the product is like, so I was able to snare one to read and tell you folks about.

And now that the time has come, I really do not know what to tell you. I mean, I could critique the writing, but that would just be talking about the TV show, "That's So Raven," and that's no fun. With that being said, I'll at least tell you what the show is about. This girl, Raven, has psychic visions of the future, but she does not know in what context these flashes occur in, or really, how to avoid them.

I guess a better point is just how well the Cine-Manga adapts the story. In this case, I think these books do a pretty good job. For $8, you get two full stories. The dialogue jibes pretty well, and they even handle special effects well, like Raven's visions. The one real goofy part of the book is this one character who, on the show, spits when he talks (not the deepest of comic relief characters, but he's a bit of an improvement over the character who has BO, which is the topic of the first story). In the book, they draw little spit drops coming from his mouth...and it looks just as good as the covers of those early 90s books like "Rush Limbaugh Must Die," where they would draw stuff on photos of celebrities. In other words, it looks terrible.

All in all, I have to give Tokyopop credit. This Cine-Manga is a new idea to get younger readers at least interested in the comic book format, and that is a good thing, no?

8 Comments:

Blogger MarkAndrew said...

I haven't read this comic. Obviously.

But...

I always thought that comics and photography would be an interesting combination, artistic-growth-of-the-medium-wise. Improve on the ol' Kirby collage with better coloring and paper stock and such.

And I'm *so* pissed that Disney or whoever stole my idea and made it suck.

3/06/2005 08:32:00 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

"I always thought that comics and photography would be an interesting combination, artistic-growth-of-the-medium-wise."

Haven't they been doing this for years in Europe.

And it's nice to see someone try the idea, but it would've been nicer if they'd picked a show that didn't suck on toast.

3/07/2005 12:00:00 AM  
Blogger Mike said...

It strikes me as a very lazy, cheap way to make a buck on a successful TV show. Which isn't to say it's bad per se... but whatever happened to comics, based on TV shows, with new art and stories?

The artists they normally get to do those comics are generally pretty shitty, but really... cheaply produced overseas inbetweens aren't great drawings either sometimes, and by taking stills, they're not gonna always get good art in the cinemangas either.

3/07/2005 06:24:00 AM  
Blogger Jason said...

What annoys me about this has nothing to do with Tokyopop but with the other companies’ inability to stay ahead of the curve. It seems like Tokyopop is always doing something a little different, taking some risks and then a few months later other companies take the wrong message from it. Whether it’s the extensive use of graphic novels (especially digest sized), and now the TV show idea what it translates to for companies like Marvel is people really like the animation style. A couple of months from now we’ll have the movie adaptation of some marvel movie in digest form consisting entirely of photographs.

And that’s why Tokyopop is gaining market share, because they’re breaking new ground and reach new customers and the other companies are interpreting their advances the wrong way.

3/07/2005 01:02:00 PM  
Blogger Alex Scott said...

"Haven't they been doing this for years in Europe."

And here, as well. I used to have a "photo novel" of the first episode of Mork and Mindy that I enjoyed reading.

And, of course, they had the idea in Japan as well. When TP was starting its GN lines, it had cinemanga of Cardcaptors, and I think Sailor Moon, and Viz has been putting out "film comics" of Miyazaki's films, as well as Inuyasha, for a few years now. And in Japan, you can find them for just about everything, including Tenchi Muyo and Love Hina.

3/07/2005 03:23:00 PM  
Blogger Ed Cunard said...

I PMed this to Mark already when work wouldn't let me post here, but I'll do it again anyway.

Mark wrote:

"I always thought that comics and photography would be an interesting combination, artistic-growth-of-the-medium-wise. Improve on the ol' Kirby collage with better coloring and paper stock and such."

Check out: Lex's Gypsy Lounge for an interesting visual take on photocomics. I can't say that I think the story holds up well, but visually, it's stunning.

3/07/2005 06:58:00 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

I saw this on the shelf, the It's So Raven cine-manga, and promptly put it back. That's all I have to say on that.

3/09/2005 02:53:00 AM  
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