The old TaPPAn gap
Graphic novels are sweet. A tidy balance of picture book and chapter book. Visuals are quite pleasing. They are quite popular among children/teenagers as a literary genre though not exclusively, speaking as an adult. You've probably heard of 'Watchmen' or '300'. Zac Snyder tends toward movie adaptations of graphic novels like this. They are quite dazzling representations of a story. The Walking dead initially directed by legendary Frank Darabont is another adaptation of a graphic novel/comic series. It is definitely popular at least indirectly to lead to mainstream 'pop culture' blockbusters and thus you've definitely heard of them if you don't them by name.
The Japanese know where it's at. The manga/anime industry is huge in Japan. No one does the genre justice, in my opinion, like the Japanese do. Once you get over the cultural barrier that some people face, you are introduced to a whole new world. It does require a bit of an imagination. If I look at an episode of One Piece with a different mind I could be off-put by the sheer ridiculousness of the episode to episode escapades enthralling our main characters. Of course there are the run of the mill insane fight scenes that you need (as seen on our right) but you get some crazy scenes like having s transvestite with a huge face leading a team of transgender 'candies' and obliterating you with her 'death wink' or 'deathu winku'. Feet coming out of the cliff as steps, aiding you in traversing the mountain. A cannon somehow eating a special fruit making it human. In spite of all of this, rather, because of all of this, it's very entertaining. The anime industry closely ties into the manga industry simply because they are a visual representation. Graphic novels fit into the western equivalent of these manga.
We at Maui studios have a couple of these ourselves. If you haven't seen them, be sure to check out these links for both The Ascension and Sun Tamer. Our illustrators are just like your kids, your nieces and nephews and hopefully you guys still. They're like "oh mean Goku is the man, I'm gonna draw him looking muss as".
We take a turn to something a bit drier and that is the TPPA. It has come into mainstream media quite heavily recently alongside this flag business. It's actually something that they've been deliberating for a wee while. The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) is a proposed regional free trade deal between 12 countries in the Asia-Pacific region. The TPPA is a free trade deal that has a lot of Nzers riled up because of the implications that It will have on their ability to stay competitive in certain markets. The housing market probably the biggest because people like buying houses apparently. Loosely it can affect things like privatisation, copyright laws, and the like.
When I initially heard the korero I didn't really take much time to think about the TPPA and how it affects me, an average New Zealander. My rough estimation of it came down to one sentence, 'I have Chinese mates, I'd want them to be able to buy a house'. Don't jump on my back at the gross under-representation of the topic because admittedly I hadn't done much research. The time the TPPA discussions resurfaced on my radar was when it affected something that hit closer to home, namely the anime/manga genres. I'm a fan of the genre to a great extent. I'm currently watching One Piece and Naruto Shippuden, and highly recommend both. How are these two seemingly different topics related? Well the the TPPA would affect copyright laws in specific ways, laws that have massive implications on manga/anime production.
Interestingly but also understandably a booming industry like the manga/anime industry don't clamp down too tightly on people that copy work and even try to make money off it. The true players in the industry allow fan-made work because they understand the genre. Fan-made art is how new artists gain momentum and get spotted. If someone can make money off your work then they are probably good enough to make money for you as well, off that same work, and that is before adding in the extra wealth of resources at hand. Well that's the whakaaro anyway as big companies allow the bastardisation of their kaupapa, knowing that that's where new artists and in turn potential new employees, can emerge. Currently copyright laws aren't enforced by the copyright owners but the TPPA changes it so that anyone can effectively call out copyright breakers, if you will. This poses a problem because say two rivals that have 'rip-off' versions of Naruto manga are becoming competitive in the market. The original Naruto creators let it slide to see how their products play out in the event that there are decent potential writers and illustrators to hire in the future. However, these two competing 'rip-off' producers can call each other out ruining each others' chances of making it. This turns the 'Dojinshi' (effectively the rip-off of major manga/anime) genre into a battlefield of narking. Everyone loses. The individual fan art creators lose because they are battling and paying copyright fees against the big companies who couldn't care less. The big companies lose because they don't get as much exposure to new up and comers and ultimately the fans lose because of less content in the long-run.
Now that the NZ government pulled a fast one on us (the tap 'n' gap), the TPPA has passed. Let's just hope that it doesn't cause as much strife as people are concerned that it will and trust that Johnnus will do what is in the interest of nga tangata katoa rather than for himself and his rich buddies as people sometimes accuse him. I hope that the whakaaro deliberated, particularly with the Dojinshi genre, is all just speculation and doesn't eventuate, at any rate. things are going to change.
For furthering reading on this topic, check out these guys.