From Girl Power Fuels Manga Boom in U.S., in today's New York Times:
Look out, boys. There's a new kid in town.
Sales of Japanese comics - more familiarly known as manga (pronounced MAHN-gah) - are exploding in the United States, and much of the boom is due to efforts by comic book publishers to extend their reach beyond young male readers. Beyond all males, in fact.
For years, elementary school reading teachers have lamented that the pool of good books for young males is shallow, if not dry, partly because of a lack of male authors. Males have spent most of their reading time in Marvel and D.C. comics. Now,
Even the home of Batman and Superman, DC Comics, created a separate imprint for its manga line, CMX, which began in October.
John Nee, the vice president for business development at DC, said that "the biggest challenge we see is carefully growing the imprint." To that end, CMX has staggered its releases. Three titles began in October, two last month and the next wave will not begin until February. Unlike Tokyopop, CMX plans to dig deep into the past. "Manga has been published so long in Japan and only a successful category in the U.S. for five years," Mr. Nee said. "We haven't even touched the tip of the iceberg in terms of the material available."
Could this lead to a feminization of the comic world, where reading manga earns young males a "girly" stigma? Undoubtedly, Manga will bring more females to comics than Supergirl and Wonder Woman. I don't have a crystal ball, but I think the next 5 years will tell.