ComiPedia - An Introduction


- By Ed Chavez

Two days ago I was doing my usual bit of obsession with my blog: preparing some audio to share with the handful of people who listen regularly to my manga thoughts. In a strange way, I thought that could have been described as the culmination of my lifelong manga relationship; something that started in the early 80's with Urusei Yatsura, Yuukan Club and the occasional Golgo 13 story. However, at the time I wasn't really thinking about all of that history. Actually, I hadn't thought about all the manga metadata that I had collected over the years. Sure there were years of manga read. Thousands of tankoubon and digest GNs are in my apartment as proof of that. But until I was reminded, by ComiPress' gum, I had forgotten about the reviews, the charts and the lists that were also a part of that. gum doing his own bit of compulsive obsession reminded me of the strange behavior that a few of us share with manga or whatever hobbies we have - the need to create that personal encyclopedia about what we enjoy most.

ComiPedia is exactly that. It is the work of a few people that just had to create lists. Something in our genetic makeup forced us to search the internet in search of data that most people will easily live happily without. For some reason, these contributors will go through the trouble of searching and translating information in other languages in hope of someday completing that potentially impossible task of collecting all data relevant to their passion. When I started working on the Manga Comparison Charts and Manga Magazine Guide at AnimeOnDVD there was no real reason for the information to be collected. Someone randomly asked for a magazine list. The request seemed reasonable enough as it was something that was actually created half-heartedly a year earlier (I believe). The fact that someone even cared so much to ask for such an honestly unreasonable request piqued my interest.
Why unreasonable?

Well, consider the number of manga publishers. Multiply that to the number of magazines that any given publisher could be releasing. Then there are limits to information on the internet. Then how would someone catalog the information. Does one sort by demographic, publisher or release frequency? There was no real method at the time. What we had was a need to collect and share that data. So we had to make it up along the way. And as we did we reworked the list; developed it into something accessible. Eventually charts were created for other things and those were being utilized more so the Magazine Guide faded away quickly. However, much of that information and the need to share that information remain in other forms on other sites to this day. And despite how unreasonable the task and how little respect the work put into it gains, I feel it will always continue to remain and grow.

I think gum asked me to do this foreword because he credits me as one of the people who started this strange project years ago. Whether that is true is not up for me to judge. I got the information by some other person who put that information on the net or a Tohan list. However, I will say that projects like this are not done alone and they are not generally done for the benefit of one person alone either. ComiPedia is the work of hours of searching, collecting and fine-tuning by people who use their resources for very little in return. What we, the obsessed, get back is a feeling of completion. The completion is a feeling of connection with all of you who will come to use this data and hopefully share this data; probably even expand on this data.

ComiPedia might seem like a handful of lists on random information about fun/strange/obscure stuff originally in a language you might not understand. That is all true but that is not the point. The point is that there is more to the manga you are reading. There are magazines these books were published in. There were publishers that took a chance on those series. And editors that worked with creators to come together to create the stories you are reading and enjoying. And there are some people, the people I refer to gum as the obsessed, that need to know that and share that.

ComiPress, and groups like it, are not a part of the process of making manga but they have become a part of the manga metadata where you can get the rest of the history behind what all of us who come to this site enjoy.

Time to go work on my lists again...

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I really should focus more on the Death Note novel. I only have a few pages left but am still not done. I guess I'm not in the mood for something serious.