For instance, Shonen is not a genre in itself but rather a target demographic. You can't say that Death Note has anything in similar with HunterxHunter.

However, Superman, Batman and Spiderman are all superheroes stories. Even if they have science fiction or fantasy elements within those stories the main angle is not on the science fiction or fantasy elements.

Again this is not meant to bash Western Comics but rather to pose a self-critical question. If we have self-criticism then the comic industry would reflourish and maybe start moving away from the Superhero genre into more exciting territory.

  • 3
    Death Note is not mainstream. Even Hunter x Hunter doesn't match the popularity of the Superman, Batman and Spiderman. The top three shonen manga series are One Piece, Dragon Ball and Naruto, and they're just as similar those three superhero comics. In any case, if you want western comics that aren't about superheroes then there's a huge selection to choose from, even if they aren't all mainstream.
    – Ross Ridge
    Jul 23, 2019 at 4:55
  • 4
    Scott McCloud made book called Understanding Comics in which he makes a very convincing point on why manga feels different than comics, including the varying genres within the medium. Superhero comics are certainly a well-known and popular facet of American comics, but they are what they are but the culture and legacy from the country they originate from. Comics these days are a reflection of society, in influence of manga and comic on one another can be seen from as far back as the 1980s.
    – кяαzєя
    Jul 23, 2019 at 15:52

1 Answer 1


You're comparing apples with Ferraris here.

Western comics as we consume them place more of an emphasis on the characters themselves as their selling point and charm, which is the chief reason that all three of the series you've mentioned have been told and retold time and again, and all exist in their own universes, with little to no bleed over.

Manga as we consume it places more of an emphasis on the story as a whole rather than the characters in the story. Two characters may have the same or similar names, but that doesn't imply that they're the same character. There are some exceptions to this, since some mangaka have created universes for their stories, but this is fairly uncommon these days.

Demographics - which is where you get into shonen manga for instance - only determine who the story is marketed towards. There are equivalences by some authors to what one would consider shonen Spider Man, and there is at least one or two stories out there - one of which I'm thinking of right now would be The Killing Joke - which could be considered seinen.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .