BusinessWeek provides an overview of the flourishing manga market in France and Germany, where sales last year totaled $212.6 million. That makes Europe the largest consumer of manga outside of Japan:
Enthusiasts say manga graphics are more visually striking than traditional comics, and the stories often address issues that teenagers worry about, such as awakening to sexuality and belonging to a group. “I love Asterix—I have all of them at home—but this is a totally different style,” says Jean-Christophe Hamard, 19, browsing manga titles in a Paris bookstore.
In 2005, French illustrator Albert Uderzo penned Asterix and the Falling Sky, in which the diminutive, mustachioed Gaul battles invaders from outer space called Nagma, an anagram of manga. There are now 40 francophone publishers of manga, up one-third in the past year alone, according to the French Association of Comic Critics and Journalists. In 2007, a total of 1,152 mangas from Japan were published in France, 42 more than last year.
Mangamania has hit Britain, too. Tokyopop’s British operation, launched in 2004, has seen sales double over last year, to $8 million. Other British publishers released manga versions of Shakespeare and the Bible this year. Even Monocle, a new business magazine published by journalist and entrepreneur Tyler Brûlé, features manga on the back page of every issue.