Earlier this week, Comic-Con International announced the full list of nominees for this year’s Eisner Awards, the major form of recognition of the year’s best comics (widely defined), comics artists and creators, and publications related to comics – including periodicals, general interest books, and academic/scholarly works. Five Japanese comics received nominations in the Best U.S. Edition of International Material – Asia category (the 1939-1944 and 1944-1953 volumes of Shigeru Mizuki’s Showa: A History of Japan both received a nomination, so the total number in the category can be six), and Massive: Gay Erotic Manga and the Men Who Make It is a nominee in the Anthology category.
Unlike last year, none of the five books nominated for the Best Scholarly/Academic Work award deal with manga. But, Comics Through Time: A History of Icons, Idols and Ideas is nominated as a Best Comics-Related Work. A comprehensive encyclopedia on a wide range of topics dealing with comics, it focuses primarily on American comic books, but acknowledges that “comics” as a term encompasses a wide variety of approaches and forms. A work of this kind, one that strives to be comprehensive, simply cannot ignore Japanese comics – and so, among the entries in it are several on manga, individual manga titles, and on Osamu Tezuka. Continue reading
To most people, “encyclopedia” means one of two things. It can mean a national encyclopedia like the Encyclopedia Britannica – obsolete, a prop, a historical artifact. Or it can mean Wikipedia – criticized and controversial (and the subject of extensive research – a lot of it is summarized in Mesrage, M., et al., “The sum of all human knowledge”: A systematic review of scholarly research on the content of Wikipedia, Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, forthcoming) – but also undeniably useful, and most importantly, heavily used by students at all levels. However, in the academic context, “encyclopedia” can also refer to a particular type of information resource – the “subject encyclopedia”, an edited collection of short articles on topics related to a particular field, discipline, area or theme.
The purpose of this type of resource is not to present original research, but rather, to “provide both undergraduate students and researchers with a starting point to clarify terminology and discover further reading” – East, John W. (2010) “The Rolls Royce of the library reference collection”: The subject encyclopedia in the Age of Wikipedia, Reference & User Services Quarterly, 50(2), 162-169.
So, do subject encyclopedias cover anime/manga? What kinds of subject encyclopedia cover anime/manga? And more importantly, how useful are these subject encyclopedias for a researcher at any level who is interested in anime and manga? In my work compiling a comprehensive bibliography of anime and manga studies, I have identified at least 15 individual academic encyclopedias with entries/articles on anime, manga and related topics. These range from 1999’s The Encyclopedia of Fantasy (with a one-page entry on ‘anime’) to Boy Culture: An Encyclopedia (2010, entry on ‘Manga and anime’) and the Encyclopedia of Religion and Film (2011, entry on ‘Hayao Miyazaki’).
The full list: Continue reading