Manga, in Japanese, means "flowing words" or "Undisciplined words". It is an ancient art that has been used for centuries as a form of entertainment. It's basicallt Japanese comic books, which can be easily translated to English. However, just saying manga are comics from Japan is wrong.
First of all, in the US and in Europe, most comics are addressed to young children between the ages of 9 and 13. That is not the case of manga. There are 6-7 major types of manga, each having its own audience. Kodomo manga is for children. Shonen manga is for boys ages 12-18 , Shoujo manga is for gilrs age 12-18. Josei manga is for adult ladies above the age of 20, mainly working women. Seinen manga is for young men between the ages of 18 and 30, and Hentai manga is pornographic, adult manga.
As you can see, saying "comics from Japan" is wrong. Another difference between manga and Western comics is that each comics volume has its own plot, while manga volumes all follow the same plot. The artwork is VERY different. Manga has its own particular artwork, especially when it comes to human faces, particularly the eyes, chin, nose, mouth, forehead... Manga is also read from RIGHT to LEFT. (Yes, even the English ones).
In Japan, 40% of all book & magazine sales are manga. That's a huge number, considering the Japanese read A LOT. In 1998, about 3 billion manga volumes were printed in Japan, I'm sure that number is higher now.
Many manga have been translated to English and are sold everywhere.
Manga is different from American comic books in many ways, which is why it is sometimes translated as graphic novels. Comic books in America tend to be colored, sold in thin booklets, and written for a teenage male audience. Manga is almost always black and white, serialized in manga collections before being sold in bound books, and has many different genres appealing to many different audiences. There are romantic manga for adult women, mob dramas for older men, cute fantasy comedies for young girls, and much, much more. Just about everyone in Japan reads manga, and there is something to suit every taste.
Manga series are often animated into television shows and movies. See anime.
You read manga,<br>
You watch Anime<p>
In the west Comics are still mostly aimed at young kids and early teenagers even thou that is slowly changing, but in Japan, manga is for all age groups and isnt labeled with the loser stigma that adult aged comic readers still suffer
In Japan, various Manga stories are printed in anthology magazines (like the Shonen Jump) on cheap paper with no color. Eventually, the individual stories will be reissued in their own digest style collections and resold directly to the consumer.
On the other hand English language comic books are usually given their own individual pamplet that includes color and are reprinted in trade paperback forms.
In Japan, comic books are very popular (the most popular mangas, like One Piece and Dragonball, often sell into the millions) and are more respected as an art because of the various genres that are on the market. While English comic books have a very limited readership and are still looked down upon by many as a worthless art-form and mos of the comics found in comic shops derive from the superhero market. One week sales of a manga in japan outsells the entire yearly American comics market.
The vast majority of Manga's success can be traced to Osama Tezuka, the man often considered to be the father of Japanese comics. In his lifetime he created Astro Boy, the Buddha series, and the Phoenix collections (which is often considered by critics as his defining work).
Manga is a legitimate artistic medium.
Naruto, Dragon Ball, .//Hack, Fairy Tail, and Akira.