Original English-language manga

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An original English-language manga or OEL manga is a comic book or graphic novel drawn in the style of manga and originally published in English.[1] The term "international manga", as used by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, encompasses all foreign comics which draw inspiration from the "form of presentation and expression" found in Japanese manga.[2] This may also apply to manga-inspired comics made in other languages.

History and nomenclature[edit]

The growth of manga translation and publishing in the United States has been a slow progression over several decades. The earliest manga-derived series to be released in the United States was a redrawn American adaptation of Osamu Tezuka's Astro Boy published by Gold Key Comics starting in 1965.[3]

In 1979, the Gold Key[4] published the comic book Battle of Planets, based on a television series of the same name.[5] Marvel published a series based Shogun Warriors, bringing characters of the mecha anime and manga series: Brave Raideen, Chodenji Robo Combattler V and Wakusei Robo Danguard Ace.[6]

Original English-language manga first began to appear in the U.S. in the mid-1980s. The San Antonio-based publisher Antarctic Press produced the anthology Mangazine in 1985,[7] and the Ohio-based Rion Productions published two issues of Rion 2990, by Doug Brammer and Ryan Brown, in 1986.[8] Between 1986 and 1988, First Comics published a serie about a mecha, Dynamo Joe, created by Doug Rice, it was scripted first by John Ostrander[9] then by Phil Foglio. Ben Dunn sometimes filled in for Rice on the art.

In the late 1980s Antarctic and Eternity Comics published manga-inspired works like Ben Dunn's Ninja High School (debuting in 1987) and Jason Waltrip's Metal Bikini (debuting in 1990),[10] as well as adaptations of anime like Captain Harlock, Robotech and Lensman.[11]

As early as 1993, Japan-owned Viz Media issued a line of American manga.[12] Shortened to "Amerimanga", it is thought to be the earliest colloquial name for these types of works.[13] Other variations on OEL manga, such as western manga, world manga, global manga, manga-influenced comics, neo-manga, and nissei comi can occasionally be heard as substitute names, but the term OEL manga is most commonly used today.[14] OEL manga gradually became more widely used, even if usually incorrectly, because it was a more inclusive, global term that included works produced by all English-speakers encompassing works originating in countries such as Canada, Australia, and United Kingdom as well as in the United States. Anime News Network columnist Carlo Santos made the first recorded use of the term on April 28, 2005, on his personal blog, and others began using it on forums and spreading the popularity of the phrase.[15] By October 2005, publishing industry journal Publishers Weekly was also making use of the term,[16] but manga publishers have yet to use it in official advertisements or press releases.

However the original parent loan word, manga, is still used by publishers such as Tokyopop, HarperCollins, and various small presses as a blanket term for all of their bound graphic novels[17]—without reference to origin or location of its creator(s). The significance of the word, however, has mutated outside Japan as a reference to comics originally published in Japan, regardless of style or language. Merriam-Webster's dictionary defines the word manga as meaning "a Japanese comic or graphic novel", reflecting the change of the meaning this word has had once used outside Japan.[18]

Because the word "manga"—being a Japanese loanword in English use—means comics initially published in Japan, there have been attempts to find more appropriate terms for the growing number of publications of manga created by non-Japanese authors.[16] Beside the term “OEL Manga”, there is also the term “manga-influenced comics” (MIC) in use.[16] For example, Megatokyo, which was scheduled to be published by the largest manga producer Kodansha, is still referenced as a "manga-influenced comic".[19]

Anime and manga news site Anime News Network currently uses the term "world manga", coined by Jason DeAngelis of Seven Seas Entertainment, to describe these works in their column entitled Right-Turn Only.[20] In May 2006, Tokyopop officially changed the name of their line of non-Japanese manga to "global manga",[21] considering it a more respectful and accurate term than Amerimanga with its negative connotations of being a sub-par quality of work in comparison to Japanese manga;[22] however, the Tokyopop books themselves, whether they come from Japan, Korea, or some other country, all say manga on them and are shelved in the manga section of the major bookstore chains such as Barnes & Noble alongside Japanese manga, Korean manhwa, Chinese manhua, French la nouvelle manga, and American graphic novels of similar size and dimensions. It is understood, however, that manga does not act as a loanword when used in the original Japanese language and therefore it only takes its original meaning of, simply, comics.


Notable OEL manga creators include:

Original English-language manga publishers[edit]

Antarctic Press[edit]

Antarctic Press most notedly publishes the extremely long-running Ninja High School (debuted 1987) and Gold Digger (debuted 1992) comic books, with heavy inspiration from manga in terms of art and high-paced imaginative action/humor storytelling style; and also publishes newer works like Neotopia (debuted 2003). These are consistently collected into pocket-sized paperback format. If the original comics appeared in color, Antarctic Press also publishes the collected manga in color as well.


eigoMANGA publishes two Original English-Language manga anthology comic books and several graphic novel series. Sakura Pakk (debuted 2004) is a shōjo-based anthology graphic novel while Rumble Pak (debuted 2004) is their shōnen-based comic book series. eigoMANGA means "English Comics" in Japanese and they market themselves as OEL manga publishers.

Eternity Comics/Malibu Comics[edit]

Eternity Comics/Malibu Comics was one of the earliest American publishers to adapt popular anime into comics form, and put out original English-language manga. Operated from 1986 to 1994.


Kodansha is one of the largest publishers in Japan.[23] Through bi-annual international manga contests the company seeks talent outside Japan. According to Eijiro Shimada, editor-in-chief of Morning Two and deputy editor-in-chief of Morning, some readers in Japan are interested in manga produced in other parts of the world.[citation needed]

In May 2004, Kodansha formed a partnership with Del Rey Books called Del Rey Manga to publish many of their books in English in the United States. Some of the more popular titles published by Del Rey Manga include Negima! Magister Negi Magi by Ken Akamatsu and Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle by Clamp.

In July 2007, Kodansha announced that it would publish a Japanese language edition of Megatokyo in 2008.[24] Furthermore, in September 2008, the company announced plans to expand publishing beyond Japan and into the United States via the Kodansha USA holding company.[25]

Seven Seas Entertainment[edit]

Seven Seas Entertainment has published many Original English-Language manga and manga-inspired webcomics, such as Amazing Agent Luna (debuted 2005), Aoi House (debuted 2005), Hollow Fields (debuted 2007), and an adaptation of Larry Niven's Ringworld.[a]

Studio Ironcat[edit]

Briefly before its closing in 2006, American manga publisher Studio Ironcat published a magazine series called AmeriManga from 2002 to 2003.[26] A few of the titles in the compilation have since moved on to be published in other formats by other companies, most notably TOKYOPOP.

Other similar magazines are still in publication today, including EigoManga's Sakura Pakk and RumblePakk titles; Purrsia Press's Mangatron; Mangazine; and Shōjo. International magazines of the same type include Britain's MangaMover and Sweatdrop; the Australian publication Kiseki; and the Canadian magazine Kitsune.


Tokyopop was formerly the world's largest publisher of manga-inspired comics written in the English language,[27] and used to publish over two dozen titles. From 2002 to 2011, the company actively promoted new writers via its popular Rising Stars of Manga annual competition and collection. Several winners from the competition eventually published their own books under the Tokyopop imprint.

In a 2006 deal with HarperCollins,[28] the company announced the expansion of its distribution and new adaptation projects based on American prose novels. It was indicated that Tokyopop planned to produce over 100 new comics over the next two years.


According to Lillian Diaz-Przybyl, an editor at Tokyopop, their best selling OEL manga sells about half as well as their best selling Japanese-origin manga.[29]

The trade magazine ICv2 Guide to Manga lists the top 25 and top 50 best-selling manga based on sales data obtained from bookstores and comics shops across the United States.[30] The table below shows those OEL manga that reached the top 25 or top 50 sales status in 2007 and 2008 with their sales ranks and ICv2 references. ICv2's editors write that titles not released during the time period shown tend to drop down or off the list, while titles released during the same time period tend to rise.[31]

OEL Manga in the Top 50 Manga for 2007 and 2008 in the U.S.
Title Author Publisher Rank Date Source
Warcraft: The Sunwell Trilogy Richard A. Knaak Tokyopop 12/50 Mid-Feb. to mid-May, 2007 ICv2 #45, p. 6
My Dead Girlfriend Eric Wight Tokyopop 38/50
Megatokyo Fred Gallagher CMX 25/25 Mid-May to mid-Aug., 2007 ICv2 #47, p. 8
Megatokyo Fred Gallagher CMX 33/50 June-Aug., 2007 ICv2 #48, pp. 8, 10
Warcraft: The Sunwell Trilogy Richard A. Knaak Tokyopop 45/50
Return to Labyrinth Jake T. Forbes Tokyopop 40/50 Sept-Oct, 2007 ICv2 #50, pp. 8–9
Bizenghast M. Alice LeGrow Tokyopop 44/50
Warcraft: The Sunwell Trilogy Richard A. Knaak Tokyopop 14/50 Full Year, 2007 ICv2 #51, pp. 8–9
Megatokyo Fred Gallagher CMX 26/50
Return to Labyrinth Jake T. Forbes Tokyopop 36/50
Dramacon Svetlana Chmakova Tokyopop 41/50
Warcraft: The Sunwell Trilogy Richard A. Knaak Tokyopop 14/25 Final 2007 (top 25) ICv2 #52, p. 10
Dramacon Svetlana Chmakova Tokyopop 20/50 Jan. to mid-Mar., 2008 ICv2 #54, pp. 8–9
Dark Hunger Christine Feehan Berkeley 49/50
Dramacon Svetlana Chmakova Tokyopop 20/25 Jan. to late-Apr., 2008 ICv2 #55, p. 10
Dark Wraith of Shannara Terry Brooks Del Rey 22/50 March to Mid-May, 2008 ICv2 #57, pp. 8–9
In Odd We Trust Dean Koontz Del Rey 11/50 May to Mid-July, 2008 ICv2 #59, pp. 8–9
Batman: Gotham Knight Louise Simonson Penguin 25/50

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Published by Tor Books in 2014


  1. ^ Holly Ellingwood, "Advance Review of The Reformed" at activeanime.com. "First let me say that since the rise of original English language manga (commonly referred to as OEL), I have been waiting for one that does a solid job of looking, feeling and reading like a manga."
  2. ^ "Speech by Minister for Foreign Affairs Taro Aso at Digital Hollywood University". Archived from the original on October 15, 2007. Retrieved September 12, 2007.
  3. ^ Schodt, Frederik, The Astro Boy Essays: Osamu Tezuka, Mighty Atom, and the Manga/Anime Revolution Pages 88, 89 & 91, Stone Bridge Press, 2007 ISBN 978-1-933330-54-9
  4. ^ "Gold Key Comics". Gold Key Comics. 2022-09-19. Retrieved 2023-06-12.
  5. ^ Hofius, Jason; Khoury, George (December 2002). G-Force Animated. TwoMorrows Publishing, 2002. ISBN 9781893905184.
  6. ^ Smith, Andy (May 2014). "Shogun Warriors The Sky-High Rise and Abrupt Fall of Three Giant Robots in Comics". Back Issue!. TwoMorrows Publishing (72): 56–57. Even maintaining the same spelling of the robots' names between the toys and the comics didn't seem to be a top priority. Fans will find multiple versions of the word 'Combatra', sometimes as 'Combattra' and 'Raydeen', at times as 'Raideen', adorning the boxes of some of the figures.
  7. ^ "Mangazine (Antarctic Press, 1985 Series)," Grand Comics Database. Accessed Jan. 4, 2020.
  8. ^ "Rion 2990 (Rion Productions, 1986 Series)," Grand Comics Database. Accessed Jan. 4, 2020.
  9. ^ Ancient History #1: Dynamo Joe
  10. ^ "Age of Fake Manga". www.misterkitty.org. Archived from the original on 2010-11-26. Retrieved 2019-10-20.
  11. ^ Thompson, Maggie (2010-09-27). Comics Shop. Penguin Books. ISBN 9781440216503.
  12. ^ Schodt, Frederick L. (1996). Dreamland Japan: Writings on Modern Manga. ISBN 1-880656-23-X.
  13. ^ "I.C. promotes AmeriManga". ANN. 2002-11-27. Retrieved 2007-09-10.
  14. ^ "Manga in English: Born in the USA". ANN. 2005-10-14. Retrieved 2014-09-01.
  15. ^ Santos, Carlo. (September 17, 2005) No Blood for OEL Irresponsible Pictures blog. Accessed on 2006-08-02.
  16. ^ a b c Cha, Kai-Ming & Reid, Calvin (2005-10-17). "Manga in English: Born in the USA". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 2006-08-02.
  17. ^ "More from Tokyopop's Jeremy Ross on OEL Manga and Contracts". Publishers Weekly. 2005-10-18. Archived from the original on 2009-11-15. Retrieved 2007-10-06.
  18. ^ "MW Dictionary:M nga". Merriam-Webster. Retrieved 2007-09-11.
  19. ^ "Kodansha to Publish Megatokyo in Japan". ANN. 2007-07-10. Retrieved 2007-09-10.
  20. ^ Correction: World Manga
  21. ^ "Tokyopop To Move Away from OEL and World Manga Labels". Anime News Network. 2006-05-05. Retrieved 2006-07-30.
  22. ^ Zac Bertschy (2005-10-25). "A Midnight Opera – Review". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2007-10-24.
  23. ^ "Kodansha Launches Second Manga Contest". Publishers Weekly. 2007-08-07. Retrieved 2007-10-06.
  24. ^ Reid, Calvin (2007-07-10). "Kodansha to Publish Megatokyo in Japan". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 2007-07-11.
  25. ^ "Kodansha to Publish, Sell Manga in U.S. in September". Anime News Network. 2008-07-01. Retrieved 2008-08-02.
  26. ^ "I.C. promotes AmeriManga". ANN. Anime News Network. 2002-11-27. Retrieved 2007-10-10.
  27. ^ Pearce, Sheldon (2015-12-27). "The Resurrection of TOKYOPOP, America's Most Influential Manga Company". Vice. Retrieved 2019-02-23.
  28. ^ Reid, Calvin (2006-03-28). "HarperCollins, Tokyopop Ink Manga Deal". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 2006-07-30.
  29. ^ "Manga outside Japan". Elizabeth Tai. The Star Online. 2007-09-23. Archived from the original on 2007-10-12. Retrieved 2007-10-16.
  30. ^ "Shōjo series shine; ICv2 top 50 manga properties." ICv2 Guide, #57, September/October, 2008. page 6, 8-9.
  31. ^ "New Series Make the Grade." ICv2 Guide, #59, November/December 2008. page 6.