Now, as an avid reader of both comics , I have garnered quite a lot of experience with regard to this media form. For the purpose of this post, we shall ignore the likes of webcomics, cartoons and other more esoteric comics, and just compare American mainstream comics with Japanese mainstream ones.
Despite my weeaboo tendencies, my earliest experiences came in the form of American comics, namely the Ninja Turtles, Transformers and others like Archie and ugh Richie Rich. However, over the years, I have read far, far more manga and lost touch with American comics for a long time. It was not until my discovery of more serious graphic novels, such as the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Watchmen, The Authority (ok not that serious after all) that brought me back to this world. So having read Civil War, the pros and cons of American comics, especially Marvel ones, became very obvious, and I shall briefly list them below.
The colours are nice. Unlike manga, which is generally black and white, the wide range of colours, not to mention modern colouring techniques, allow for the creation of high quality cinematic-styled images that make manga art look like the doodles of a yellow monkey.
One issue is quite cheap. But thin and slow to release. Not to mention brutal cancelations.
The biggest problem with American comics is the system of staffing. I bet people who have grown up on this style would probably not mind, but I am angry when characters look too different to recognise thanks to different artists working on them. Look at the millions of ways Peter Parker has been drawn! This staff rotation leads to stupid ideas and explanations for events, which are sometimes retconned. Some of you guys probably do not know the concept of retcon, because it is rarely done in manga. Basically, it involves saying "Oh shit we made a mistake, readers, please forget we ever published this". For example, if issue 24 of Wolverine shows him growing wings and becoming imba, then some new writers may realise the imbaness and then cancel the story and state that the wings were not in the real story.
Another problem is the resultant lack of continuity. The Civil War thing sucked because they spread the story out over many issues of different comic series, all done by different writers. There were tonnes of places which didn’t match up, and scenes which were drawn differently and written differently despite supposedly being the same! It’s also very messy to read and a stupid ploy by Marvel to sell more comics.
The same old characters! It’s just stupid to have the same old characters over and over again, not to mention the same universe for all of them! It’s like some kiddy daydream. The likes of Wolverine, Cyclops, Spiderman, Captain America etc have been appearing over and over again and they dont seem to age, always due to some lame explanation regarding mutations or super serums. Add to that a huge number of heroes and villains introduced over the years, you have a super bloated cast which sticks around as Marvel does not change the universe! To understand how absurd this is, we have this analogy:
Son Goku is very popular with the readers. Shounen Jump decides to keep him in all the manga series released, and add the subsequent popular protagonists to every single new series. So we have Son Goku fighting to save the world, the same world ravaged by Ninja wars of Naruto, and there’s the Soul Society which watches over them, while pirates rule the waters and Sakuragi goes for the Interhigh but loses as he does not have enough Chakra!!!! Can you imagine a world where Naruto, Ichigo and Luffy do not age and join forces to defeat their enemies?? And to follow their adventures, you have to buy all of the above series’ volumes, as the action jumps from book to book with randomness.
It is no coincidence that the most interesting characters are ALWAYS the newer ones, where the writer has freedom to write and characterise. In the whole Civil War saga, the only interesting character is Speedball aka Penance, who is made the scapegoat of the Superhuman Registration Act as he indirectly causes the death of 614 people via his recklessness. Another good character is Deadpool, who is relatively new as well compared to the ancient Ironman and Cap. Deadpool is probably the only character who has dialogue that is actually funny, and I can understand why Ryan Reynolds was/is so desparate to make a movie about him.
There’s just not enough violence and death. It’s obvious they want to appease the fanbase but the heroes don’t even get hurt! It’s either instant-regen or a little blood from the mouth. I lost count of the number of characters with healing factors, not to mention even normal guys like the Punisher heal bone fractures in days! Speaking of Punisher, he’s one of my favourite oldie characters. I actually even liked the Punisher Warzone movie. Violence is awesome. A side effect of nobody dying except the lousy token side characters is that casts become bloated, there are a zillion "super teams" around and no one gives a shit.
The stupid plot devices and deus ex machina seroiusly piss me off. Everytime there’s trouble, new technology is instantly developed to save the day, or some friendly heros show up. The bigging up of each other is also terrible, like how Tony Stark is always praised as super prodigy by super genius Reed Richards, who is also respected by super genius Hank Pym, who is also respected by super genius Bruce Banner, who is also respected by super genius Charles Xavier, who is also respected by super genius Dr Strange etc etc. ALL ARE GENIUS. WTF.
The never-ending urge to reference past events to sell more comic books is also a huge pain and makes for bad dialogue. I know Marvel seeks to always expand its fanbase, but the blatant promoting of past issues is annoying. I already mentioned the needlessly numerous crossovers. How many times do people need to bring up Goliath’s death in Civil War??? A trillion? Because that’s what it felt like.
I know Marvel comics are considered rubbish by most high-brow American comics readers, but seriously, the majority of Marvel is so bad even the likes of Bleach and Naruto are better by a mile. That’s a shame, because there are plenty of great Western comics out there, some even feature real super heroes who are not retarded. I remember reading the Authority a few years back and the Warren Ellis run was amazing. It went to shit near the end due to writer changes, which further proves my point above.
So in conclusion, I can only say that the X-men are actually Naruto’s retarded brothers in disguise.