New Article: Comics vs. Manga

I recently had a new paper appear in the journal Image[&]Narrative about the difference in the structuring of comic panels in American comics and Japanese manga. Here’s the abstract:

A different kind of cultural frame: An analysis of panels in American comics and Japanese manga
Neil Cohn

The growing interest and influence of Japanese manga (“comics”) in America has inspired comparisons between the properties of the two cultures’ graphic systems. Various theories have hinted to the existence of structural variation between these cultures’ books, yet little quantitative data has served to support these claims. This study seeks to provide empirical evidence for these cross-cultural theories by examining 300 panels in each of twelve American and twelve Japanese comic books. It examines 1) how they highlight amounts of information, 2) their depiction of subjective viewpoints, and 3) the angle of view taken by their representations.

Click here to download a pdf.

Additionally, the rest of that issue is devoted to aspects of the visual language of manga, so check out other articles if you’re interested. Enjoy!


  • Don't know if you've seen this or not, but I posted my Mathematical Equivalence of Comics here:

    There's not as much math involved compared to the essay above, but I think it's pretty close. For me, the biggest difference between American comics & Manga is the ease of access. Chances are, while reading an American comic, you'll have sudden scene changes without warning, whereas Manga will stick to one character until their little arc's over with. In American comics, there's a lot of jumping around of viewpoints in order to make it look more exciting, though it can be a bit of a mess trying to figure out what's happening. By comparision, Manga doesn't have as many stumbling blocks.

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