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MangaMagazine.net Feature: with Victor Chu!

Journal Entry: Mon Dec 10, 2012, 8:53 AM
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Featuring Mangamagazine.net


:star: Featuring MangaMagazine.net :star:

Interview with Victor Chu

In this new and exciting digital age, all sorts of interesting comic sites are springing up. Most of you are familiar with the gamut of hosting services, such as Smackjeeves, Comic Fury, and Drunk Duck. Today, we're going to highlight an extra exciting community that focuses exclusively on comic creators as well as motivating young creators to get out and draw!


:bulletblue: LOOM: Today, I have Victor Chu, the founder and CEO of MangaMagazine.net here with me. Thank you for agreeing to this interview, Victor. We know you're a busy man! Let's get on with the questions!



What is Mangamagazine.net?


:bulletblue: LOOM: So, what exactly is MangaMagazine.net?

:bulletorange: VICTOR:  MangaMagazine is an open ecosystem of artists and readers who are passionate about comics and manga. We act as a platform to support our artists and authors and connect them to readers.

MangaMagazine takes input from readers to create a curated experience – highlighting high quality series.  Our goal is to become a self-sustaining ecosystem where authors, artists, and readers can work together to find, develop, and launch promising new series on a global scale.


:bulletblue:  LOOM:  What gave you the idea for MangaMagazine.net?

:bulletorange: VICTOR: All the founders of the site are huge manga and comic fans!  We were really frustrated at the current state of web comics and manga where artists are expected to spend countless hours advertising, setting up websites, and doing lots of work that could be easily automated through a platform with the author and reader in mind.  It made it really difficult to find great content and also limited the potential of great authors.  That’s how MangaMagazine was born!  


:bulletblue:  LOOM: That's really encouraging to hear that you are huge manga and comic fans! I know in some circles, sometimes it can be "all business" without appreciation for the art form itself.

:bulletorange: VICTOR: We both grew up reading comics and manga and proudly competed with our friends for who had the biggest collection and which characters were our favorite!



About the Founders


:bulletblue:  LOOM: So how did you founders meet each other?

:bulletorange: VICTOR: Bancha and I have been close friends since high school.  We both developed an interest in technology and thought MangaMagazine would be a natural fit to use our skills to help build an amazing community that could really use it!


:bulletblue: LOOM: That's an awesome use of technology. I know while I was growing up the whole digital age just exploded! Now, I see little kids walking around with smart phones! Times have really changed!

:bulletorange: VICTOR: Definitely and mobile is an area we are working really hard on.  These days it isn’t too difficult to get a template website up, but we want our platform to publish to multiple places and media; iPad, iPhone, Android, Print books, eBooks, etc.


:bulletblue: LOOM: What are your backgrounds? You said earlier that the founders, you and Bancha, are manga enthusiasts. Can you tell us some of your favorite titles?

:bulletorange: VICTOR: We are both manga enthusiasts!    (Neither of us could draw something if our life depended on it….)  We grew up using all our allowance on comic and manga and proudly comparing with our friends to see who had the biggest collection (come on… you know you’ve done it before!)  


:bulletblue: LOOM: I certainly have done it before! I had two sisters, and sometimes we'd pool together our lunch money for those times we'd go into town! I was the youngest, so my participation in saving up for comics made me "cooler" and more accepted by my older sisters.

:bulletorange: VICTOR: Haha! My little brother would do the same thing!  My favorite titles are: Major, Shota no Sushi, and Doraemon! Bancha’s favorite titles are:  Saint Seiya, Rose of Versailles, and Slam Dunk!


:bulletblue: LOOM: Ohh! Bancha and I have similar tastes. I adore those titles, especially Rose of Versailles! Major looks interesting to me, though, being a fastpitch pitcher and lover of baseball. I'll have to check that out!



About the MangaMagazine Project


:bulletblue: LOOM: On to the next question.  What do you want viewers to know the most about MangaMagazine.net?

:bulletorange: VICTOR: We are here to help and grow this community in any way possible and we love to get feedback!  Everything we do is to make it easier for readers to discover the amazing content on MangaMagazine and to make life easier for our authors so they can spend more time on their art and less time fixing website issues or dealing with vendors.  


:bulletblue: LOOM: Time for some fortune telling. What do you envision for the future of manga, and what role do you plan to take in it?

:bulletorange: VICTOR: We are big believers that digital publishing is changing people’s preferences from push-based to pull-based publishing; manga especially!  

Instead of large publishing houses pushing down what they think people should read, instead, readers are now voicing their opinion by visiting and buying the content they truly like!  We want to serve as the single destination that all readers go to find fresh and exciting manga to suit their tastes.


:bulletblue: LOOM:  What is the most challenging thing about the project so far? Is it tough being human? I'm sure you'd like to pull a little magic or flaunt some superpowers if you could!

:bulletorange: VICTOR: Only the weak let their human characteristics slow them down.  We eat baby seals for
breakfast to power us through the day!  

:bulletblue:LOOM: That should be a bumper sticker!

:bulletorange: VICTOR:  In all seriousness, the most challenging thing for us is making it as easy as possible for our readers to quickly and effectively discover the manga they want to read.  We are spending a lot of time working on our site design to make the experience as easy and seamless as possible.


:bulletblue: LOOM: That's really tough with such a huge amount of exciting content, isn't it?

:bulletorange: VICTOR: Definitely, we don’t pretend this is easy and much larger companies try to do this as well.  There will be a lot of experimenting along the way but we hope every experiment improves the experience.


What opportunities exist on your site?


:bulletblue: LOOM: So, now it's time to show your passion! Invite the readers in! What kinds of opportunities exist for regular readers and aspiring artists at MangaMagazine.net? (Would you say there are excellent stories to read or excellent opportunities to post your story?)

:bulletorange: VICTOR: For readers, we have an amazing selection of unique and top quality content on our site.  There is something for everybody and it is curated to suit all different types of users!  

Too lazy to dig around, just check out our premium tier!  

Feel like being a little adventurous, check out our featured, or if you really want to live on the wild side, search for undiscovered gold amongst our members!  We stand behind our selection of each and every premium and featured author.  We think they represent great quality series that could suit your interests.

For authors, sign up for an account and see for yourself!  We believe MangaMagazine gives an unparalleled opportunity for up and coming authors to post your story, build a fan base, and monetize your content!  Every single author on our site started by posting!  We set up our tier system so that authors can have different ways to engage and build their fan base on our site.  You have nothing to lose!


:bulletblue: LOOM: That sounds very positive. We hope that it's contagious to everyone who visits MangaMagazine.net. Time for the final question: what advice would you give to aspiring creators?

:bulletorange: VICTOR: Be honest and focus on creating a great story.  Great things will come to those who spend the most time refining their story into what resonates with readers.  We see too many people who get caught up in spending tons of time to generate buzz for their series but never spend enough time improving their skills and content.

:bulletblue: LOOM: So, content first and advertising later, huh? Wise words to live by. Thanks so much for this interview, Victor. I hope that people feel inspired by your vision and make their way over to MangaMagazine.net for a look around!



Outgoing Links
 


:bulletorange: Visit MangaMagazine.net!

:bulletorange: Free subscription opportunities: Promotions

:bulletorange: Victor's profile

:bulletorange: Bancha's profile





Add a Comment:
 
:iconrocket-child:
rocket-child Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2012  Student Filmographer
thanks for this, it was really interesting reading it.
Reply
:iconkikubi:
Kikubi Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2012  Professional General Artist
I love MangaMagazine! Thanks for all the hard work you've put into it! :)

There's one point Victor made in this interview that kind of made me go, "Huh?" though, and I'm curious what other people think about it: it's the matter of webcomics and push-based vs pull-based publishing.

Anyone can post a webcomic. Anyone. And so everyone does. Thus, the majority of webcomics are substandard works done by people who aren't good enough, don't have enough time, or aren't motivated enough to get published by a major publisher. Which is fine. It's great that people like that can finally have their work appreciated by more than their close friends and neighbors. Thing is, that means that people who like webcomics are willing to put up with substandard writing. In other words, they'll chose to read (and buy if they can) much lower quality manga than people who mostly stick to the big publishers like VIZ. Once again, not necessarily a bad thing.

However, this does mean that you really can't judge the quality of a webcomic based on how many people read it. Therefore, it seems silly to me that we want the publishing industry to publish all those popular webcomics that we all know we only like because they do those gratuitous things that magazines like JUMP won't let their artists do. Of course, I do think the publishers should revise their criteria for getting published since they often pass over series that would probably be really good and everyone would like, but I don't think that aggressively promoting and supporting webcomics in general is the answer.

So, I'm just curious if I'm the only one who thinks that we writers/artists should have to be genuinely good in order to get published properly, and not just good at attracting a crowd. :/
Reply
:iconashikai:
Ashikai Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Ahh, the longtime argument of Popularity VS Quality. From a business perspective, Popular series make money, and Quality series don't do so AS RELIABLY. Unfortunately, the industry as a whole is run by bean counters who just want to increase margins, so they try to sell only popular items. Quality works are great, but if they don't bring in money, there's no way or reason for a business to support it. I guess that's the bottom line. The more popular the series is, the more money MM can make on it.

The definition of webcomic is also getting very blurred these days. I personally feel that MM would do best to steer away from the world of webcomics and try to focus on just promoting graphic novels of all styles. You can feasibly make money on Quality works with a more focused niche market that way (IMO), especially since the life cycle of a webcomic is so volatile (and frequently short).

Good thoughts, dude.
Reply
:iconkikubi:
Kikubi Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2012  Professional General Artist
Mm, yes. I hadn't thought to put that part about MM's place in the matter into words yet, but you're absolutely right. I think, I'm not sure but I think, that MM might be trying to get people to shift from the more common web comic mindset to more of an "I'm writing a manga, it's just being published online and not in a magazine," mindset. But if they are, then I think they need to be more obvious and maybe even aggressive about it.

As for the Popularity VS Quality thing, popular series ARE quality series. They're just quality for their genre. Why web comics as a whole is its own genre is anyone's guess, but for some reason they tend to end up that way in most people's minds. So, instead of people judging them as good for a shonen battle manga or a psychological thriller or whatever, they just say, "That's pretty good for a web comic," and keep reading it even if it's actually seriously flawed and they have no clue what's even going on. I mean, it's like if everyone started eating snowballs because they were good for Hostess products. They're still pretty nasty in terms of coconut sweets in general!

So, I guess actually what I was going for was that I think we should start judging material we publish on the web by the same criteria we would if we were planning to submit it to a publishing house, and a huge part of that is, "Who is my audience, and does this really suit them?" Which is related to genre.

Gaaaah! It's so hard to explain myself sometimes! Lol

Basically, Hostess's cheap, nasty treats worked for a while, but now they're going bankrupt because people started making way better ones for about the same price. And seriously, who wants a twinkie when even something like a donut is tastier and has more natural ingredients? This is the sort of thing we who make up the future of the manga industry should be thinking about.
Reply
:iconashikai:
Ashikai Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I agree with you 100%. And yeah, you will find that webcomics are really considered their own genre and it *is* totally strange! I mean, a comic is a comic whether you call it a manga, a graphic novel, or a webcomic. It does seem to be logical that we should judge them all on the same level. I think that, by and large, the webcomic business model is just so fundamentally different from any other publishing model, that this becomes impossible, ya know?

I also think that not all popular series are quality series. Some of them get popular based on gimmicks, or by hoping on trends. I really don't like that kind of thing, but ce la vie. It is what it is, I guess... >_>;

On a totally separate note, MM's premium title lineup has gotten a big change-over in the last few months, a lot of it for the better. I can now say with confidence that most of those titles are quality titles and that makes me really happy. :)
Reply
:iconkikubi:
Kikubi Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2012  Professional General Artist
Oh, have they really? I'll have to check that out, cuz last time I was looking at them I was kinda like "Really?" And most of the good ones were only, like, a chapter or two long.
Reply
:iconashikai:
Ashikai Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Yeah. Shillin's in Premium with Carciphona, H0lyhandgrenade with Rumpistiltskin, Zelda with MYth:My Seasons, as well as DED's Hell's Kitchen. :)
Reply
:iconkikubi:
Kikubi Featured By Owner Dec 14, 2012  Professional General Artist
That sounds like about the same Premium list I remember, actually. Hell's Kitchen is actually how I found MangaMagazine, cuz I watch DED here on devArt. Rumpelstiltskin wasn't so bad, but she hasn't finished even the first chapter yet.

I tried reading Carciphona but got bored by, like, page 10. Does it get better? It seemed like it had an interesting story, but the characters just didn't grab me.
Reply
:iconashikai:
Ashikai Featured By Owner Dec 14, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Carciphona is a good, solid story with AMAZING artwork, but unless it's the kind of story you like, chances are you might get bored. I admit I have trouble with it sometimes. ^^;
Reply
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