February 24, 2007
Met with a top executive at HBO yesterday at 11:30. She took us to lunch at a French restaurant off 42nd Street. They have a series on Wounded Knee coming out in May and they'd like True West coverage. We also heard about other projects, including the wrap-up on the Sopranos and the special movie being made to end Deadwood.
At two, Paul and I took a cab to the Jacob Javits Center and walked the Comic Con. As I mentioned yesterday, the grapic novel portion of the biz generates $330,000,000 a year in sales, but 46% of that market is Manga (pronounced man-guy, and it supposedly means "irresponsible drawings" in Japanese. Manga is that big-eyed drawing style that dominated the Pokemon phenom several years back. In fact, there is a theory that is what introduced or at least made it mainstream to an American audience. And, just like Toyota in the car biz, the Japanese are dominating in the comic biz as well.
The oddest and freakiest aspect of all this is a new phenom called Yaoi (pronounced Yow-ee) and when I heard of the format of this new genre that is exploding right now, I couldn't believe it. We learned about it on Thursday at the graphic novel seminars and everyone there talked about it like we all knew what the hell they were talking about. So I had to see it for myself. Paul and I found a booth that specialized in Yaoi and I talked with the publisher, an anglo woman about thirty. Here's how that conversation went:
Me: "You've got to explain this Yaoi thing to an old man. Did we hear right that the theme of all these comics is boy on boy sex and it's aimed at 13 to 15 year old girls?"
Pub: "Yes. It started about seven years ago among teenage girls who were dissatisfied with mainstream Manga and they started writing their own stories."
Me: "So these 13-year-olds want to see men on men action? I don't get that."
Pub: "Nobody on the planet is more perverted than a 13-year-old girl."
Me: "No one ever told us that when I was growing up in Kingman. Are there stories where it's boy and girl?"
Pub: "No, we tried that and they don't like it."
So I bought a Spanish Yaoi Western called Stallion and it is quite amazing. The key thing here is that the "boys" are drawn very feminine, so I can't wait to get home to talk to a certain therapist about what is going on here. But one thing is certain:
"You can't teach an old dog, new tricks."
—Old Vaquero Saying
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