SDCC ’09 | Can cooking manga find a place at the table in the U.S.?

by  in Comic News Comment
SDCC ’09 | Can cooking manga find a place at the table in the U.S.?

The San Diego Union-Tribune broadens its coverage of Comic-Con with this nice overview of cooking manga, and the reasons behind the genre’s popularity in Japan:

In the United States, where most comic books are aimed at children, manga are a revelation. In Japan, paperbacks and magazines full of cartoons are a cradle-to-grave phenomenon, with subjects and styles to suit all ages and interests.

And food is a major concern in Japan. Even in the cities, many people still buy bread in bakeries, fruits and vegetables from produce stands, and coffee beans from local cafes. Seasonal delights are so avidly tracked, this sign was spotted one spring day outside a Tokyo bistro: “We now have eel pizza!”

Food and manga, then, are a perfect pairing — at least in Japan.

But how does it fare in the U.S., where Viz Media began releasing the top-selling — in Japan, at least — Oishinbo in January? Okay, it turns out, but not great.

Oishinbo is the most successful cooking manga in Japan,” blogger Deb Aoki tells the newspaper. “If the epitome of this type of manga can’t make a beachhead in America, that is worrisome.”