Has Manga Become The New ‘Heavy Metal’?

by Tito W. James

Some long-time comics readers feel that the current offerings aren’t as subversive as they used to be. Magazines such as Heavy Metal or 2000 AD exposed an older generation of readers to more provocative takes on the Scifi, fantasy, and horror genres. Heavy Metal magazine provided illicit escapism, soft-core smut, hardcore gore, and housed some of comics’ greatest artists.

Have comics really gotten sanitized? Well, that depends where you look. If you think about it, Scifi, fantasy, and horror with violent or sexual elements is boilerplate for many anime and manga series. The likes of Berserk, Hellsing, Ghost in the Shell, Akira, Dorohedoro, and Chainsaw Man, wouldn’t look out of place in Heavy Metal Magazine. In my view, the current Manga boom is a just a reflection of a new generation seeking subversive entertainment that’s more reflective of their current experiences as young people. Ultimately, comics haven’t gotten safer– the competition has just gotten fiercer.

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