Anime: A Cultural Phenomenon

We just returned from an awesome weekend at C2E2, and there’s no question—the volume of anime-inspired content rivaled that of anything coming from Marvel and DC. It seems to me that anime is here to stay.

Anime, a term for Japanese animation, began in 1917. It wasn’t until after World War II that it really started taking off, particularly with the series Astro Boy from Osamu Tezuka, who was heavily inspired by Disney films. Tezuka created an astonishing 150,000 manga pages in his lifetime. With over sixty animated films and series, he is now known as the “father of anime.” We have entered an era where anime is a global sensation.

I was first introduced to anime in middle school when it was still considered “niche.” Since then, it’s fused itself into Western culture more and more every day. To some, it’s abrasive; to others, inspiring. With the comics industry going through many ups and downs over the past few years, many have turned to anime and manga for entertainment. Those who experienced “superhero fatigue” found a new type of superhero—the Naruto ninja. Those who grew tired of Bruce Wayne’s origin story found thrills and excitement in Death Note, Demon Slayer, and Bleach. Parents tired of Disney found a huge selection of family-friendly movies like Spirited Away, portraying imaginative concepts unlike anything they had ever seen before.

In this issue, we’ll take you through a beginner’s guide to anime and highlight Hayao Miyazaki, regarded as one of the most accomplished Japanese filmmakers of all time. We’ll also share an interview with DC and Marvel’s top-selling cover artist Stanley Lau (aka “Artgerm”), who has a great perspective on anime’s influence in the West, drawing in that style himself.

Lastly, we want to shamelessly brag for a minute because we gave out 800 free copies of this magazine at C2E2 to new readers, to help grow the magazine and give indie comics a strong voice. It’s because of YOUR support over the last few months that we were able to do that, so thank you SO much! Enjoy this issue, and I hope you find something in here you like.

Mindy Wheeler
Art Director and Managing Editor,
Comics Illustrated

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