Caucasian male anime artists? Where are they?

Now, I am in NO way asking this to be culturally insensitive or racially biased, but I am frankly curious and looking to broaden my horizons. A friend put me up to this and it made me think. Please forgive me if any of these terms are un-PC or usually frowned upon.

Obviously, anime is primarily a product of Japan and Japanese artists. Or, to generalize, Asian or “Far Eastern”. So, most of the artists who develop this art, to conclude, are of Asian ethnic heritage.

Now, over here, and in large part thanks to the Internet – there is a lot of fan art made, and original drawings and other works made in America in the traditions of anime and manga. But… I have noticed, upon surfing webring after webring and Googling up a WHOLE lot of stuff, that the vast majority of these artists, if not Asian, are caucasian, female, and quite youthful (teenagers-young adults).

So, where are all the talented caucasian (“white”) anime/manga artists? Are they a really dimunitive minority? And by the way, I was requested by my friend to add the following definition: anime/manga in the TRUE Japanese tradition (whatever that is, I suppose it’s an otaku thing) opposed to a “bastardized” and Americanized style (a name that often comes up is Christopher Hart; must be a technical thing involving line widths and ink strokes). I found a few, very few pictures by certain caucasian male artists who claimed to draw art in this style and my friend was like “meh… too crude… doesn’t live up to the real deal”. On the other hand, there is no shortage of proficiency… I have just seen some AMAZING drawings by 11-year old white girls. Wowza.

So is this just something that white males aren’t interested in? Is it something perhaps tied genetically (I dunno, maybe something to do with the fact it’s okay for girls to draw cute things but guys doing the same will unfairly be stereotyped as “fruits”?) Is it racial, cultural, etc.?

Anyone please clue me in with insight?? I ask because I’m fascinated and curious, and obviously, want to find out :D!

Thank you!

There are a few mainstream (DC & Marvel) comic books that use a style that’s at least heavily influenced by Anime/Manga.

Thanks! Yah … my friend mentioned that to me, well a title specifically called Marvel Mangaverse or something (I know I have that title off) and championed by a fellow by the name of Ben Dunn. But it still isn’t close enough to the “original” stylistics, he says.

Anyone ;)? :slight_smile:

You’re in for a treat: Michael Poe wrote a web comic called Exploitation Now, which is heavily anime influenced. For my tastes he’s a caucasian manga artist, and he’s currently writing a fantasy storyline: Errant Story

There is a link there to his older works.

For what it’s worth, Ben Dunn has been doing “Ameri-Manga” long before his work appeared in Marvel Mangaverse. Most of Ben’s work has been for an independent comic-book publisher called Antarctic Press, based in Texas. Their most reknown titles are Gold Digger (adventures of a female archaeologist who transforms into a leopard) and Ninja High School (parody of anime stories).

(I’m not real familiar with Antarctic’s stuff, but I’ve got a friend who works there…)

Thanks OtakuLoki and rjung for enlightening me!

I’ll have to show this Michael Poe’s work to my friend. I can’t tell the subtle differences in art style

rjung: My friend doesn’t consider Ben Dunn’s work to be “real manga” (he says the stylistics are off, such as the noses are too fat in some cases and other things?? Eye proportions? I don’t know) but yes it is heavily influenced but Americanized for sure.

The other day I found out there was someone at named Ben Krefa … I think he’s caucasian (by way of England?). Last name is of Polish ancestry maybe? My friend says some of his looks really authentic but his male characters aren’t on par with the female ones.

Ask your friend if Akira Toriyama, Rumiko Takahashi, Leiji Matsumoto, Ippongi Bang, Studio CLAMP, Gainax, Jiro Tanaguchi, Katsuhiro Otomo, and Osamu Tezuka are all manga/anime artists.

Because by this definition, most of them aren’t. I don’t know who WOULD be (I suspect CLAMP and Gainax only), but I’ve covered a fairly good range of styles (and not even all the common styles in anime and manga) and they bear as little resemblance to eachother as any of them do to Ben Dunn or Adam Warren.

I like the work of Fred Gallagher, aka Piro, in the MegaTokyo webcomic. It might not be true anime, but I’ve enjoyed it for a good while now.

And until now I’ve never mentioned it, or seen it mentioned, on the SDMB. Odd.

Ben Dunn of Antarctic Press lives here in San Antonio and he is in fact Asian-American. Some of his colleagues who work on Ninja High School, Gold Digger, et al are Caucasian. And to support the teenage girl manga artist argument, my daughter is quite good. Antarctic Press has taken an interest in her work.

Tengu, sounds like you know your stuff! Are you “otaku” :slight_smile:

I will ask my friend, and for a full statement too because I want to learn but am still unclear about what qualifies in this category. It’s generally agreed upon that things like big eyes help define it, but then again… I’ve seen some manga characters with small eyes (like elderly gentlemen and the like) so that’s puzzling!

Thanks Derleth, I will be sure to check that out. It looks “true” enough to me from first cursory glance but I’m by no means an expert so I would not know.

jimpatro, that’s cool… congrats on your daughter’s accomplishments – does she have a website or art up on the Net :)? I’d like to see!

I’m an absolute piker compared to some people I know.

Sanrio (Hello Kitty, Kerroppi, Poccaco) tends not to use ‘big eyes’, either. Little dots for Sanrio characters. I can’t believe I failed to use them in my previous list.

The problem with trying to define ‘anime’ as a STYLE is that a LOT of influential anime/manga artists get left out of it. (Tezuka, particularly.) Any good artist - whether American or Japanese (or Canadian, or Korean, or French, or…) should develop his or her own style, rather than slavishly copying what’s come before. Even if you can see obvious signs of the artists who inspired them (finding Tezuka’s influence in most modern anime and manga isn’t hard (note I say ‘most’…there’s a few with really, REALLY unique styles. The manga Black & White comes to mind)), they should be recognizable as their own.

Ben Dunn, Adam Warren (Most famous for his version of The Dirty Pair), Piro, hard (Artist of Sexy Losers, a webcomic I’d probably be violating the CoC to post a link to), and a bunch of others I’d be remiss to ignore but crazy to try to list, all have as much claim to being ‘manga’ artists as any westerner.

I forgot about Hello Kitty! AHHH… LOL.

You are right, being a slave to style is just… well, ick.

I suppose all of that is fair. Are you familiar with the work of Christopher Hart? He seems to be disliked by some “hardcore” people who say he has things all wrong and tries to fuse Japanese aesthetics too much with poses of western action heroes in his manga tutorial drawing books, and my friend says he’s bothered that it will teach people to draw Manga (whatever it is) wrong. He’s also bothered when on the covers of some of this “American manga” how they have the characters in these kind of poses and says that’s “stylistically impure” ?!?

What do you think? It’s hard to explain in words for sure. But does that mean there is no “real deal” and no “fake” or “bastardized anime/manga”, just differences of artistic opinion? I can’t come up with a direct analogy but, say, something like… electronic music… there are so many styles/subgenres/categories of that, but in the end, it’s all electronic (either generated or processed). Hmmm.

Thanks again :slight_smile:

Check this out:
This might qualify. I don’t know if these guys are caucasian or not, but their first names are Ron and Mike.

This guy’s Hispanic:

This one’s black: Story clearly based on Japanes console games.

And this is done by caucasian (I believe) females: Their names are in small print at the bottom of the page.

What’s the story behind this? Is your friend claiming that only Japanese people can do Manga? And does his definition of “Real Manga” seem to depend on who’s doing it? I think their’s possibly some question-begging going on here, maybe just subconsciously.

Hey eulalia , thanks a lot for the links! I’m going to check them out.

I assure you my friend does not harbor malicious intent in the least; but this is definitely a culturally sensitive issue which he wanted to find out more about. And which I am curious about as well. Thank you! :slight_smile:

just to clarify to eulalia and others who have been wondering: my friend hypothesizes there are certain cultural, physical, and other issues. Not saying that only real Japanese can draw real manga/anime but I am saying, that to use a similar parallel… hip-hop culture, dominated by African-Americans as performers (sure there are a lot of “wiggers” who listen to it and I enjoy a lot as well, but I mean those who actively create the art in this case).

One reason might possibly be because of the physiology of girls, because they might have a tendency to draw more “fragile” and “fine” lines. This is NOT to be sexist but a casual observation, a generalization and certainly does NOT apply to 100% of everyone.

Another reason might be because sheer cuteness is frowned upon amongst male youth – I mean, put a guy in a hello kitty shirt and he might be getting catcalls of “queer” and “fruit” that day. Not to mention the fact it seems to be alright in America to be frustrated, depressed and angsty in the music but happy popular music (ahem, bubblegum pop) really is not in with guys… like if a guy likes N’ Sync… uhh… you know the stereotypes.

But they are just that, stereotypes. However they are off-putting. Of course it is okay for a girl to be cutesy and draw beautiful cute animal critters. A guy who appreciates the same and wants to do the same may be setting up for unfair scorn, mockery, and derision.

The point is not that they should not be appreciated because they are a minority: quite the OPPOSITE, actually. It’s a sensitive issue for sure and one I haven’t seen raised a lot, which is why I asked it here because lots of educated and informed people post here to share their knowledge.

My friend is primarily concerned that the definition of “what is manga/anime?” will soon become so broad that it loses all meaning altogether. For example, Archie comics and Disney will be classified as such. A good example might be the drink of wine… we all know famous wines hail from such heritages as, well, the French. And there are those who produce low-quality (as judged by professional wine tasters and the consumers at large, a democratic opinion) wines that claim to follow in the french tradition but in fact do not. It’s cheap, like a knockoff. Like saying you’re doing kung-fu when you’re just punching like a boxer. (there’s another delicate matter.)

Does style even matter in a world where so many things are already so mixed?

Bingowah, no web site but e me and I’ll send a pic.

There are a couple of standards (DC & Marvel) comic books that utilization a style that is in any event Mangazuki. This is the latest.