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5.0 2
by Barry Lyga, Colleen Doran (Illustrator)

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East meets West in this innovative and very smart graphic novel by Barry Lyga, illustrated by Colleen Doran.

Sci-fi adventure meets love story—and East meets West—in Mangaman, an original
graphic novel for teens.
Ryoko, a manga character from a manga world, falls through the Rip into the “real” world—the western


East meets West in this innovative and very smart graphic novel by Barry Lyga, illustrated by Colleen Doran.

Sci-fi adventure meets love story—and East meets West—in Mangaman, an original
graphic novel for teens.
Ryoko, a manga character from a manga world, falls through the Rip into the “real” world—the western world—and tries to survive as the ultimate outsider at a typical American high school.
When Ryoko falls in love with Marissa Montaigne, the most beautiful girl in the school, his eyes turn to hearts and comic tension tightens as his way of being drawn and expressing himself clashes with this different Western world in which he is stuck in. “Panel-holed” for being different, Ryoko has to figure out how to get back to his manga world, back through the Rip . . . all while he has hearts for eyes for a girl from the wrong kind of comic book.
Barry Lyga writes a metafictive masterpiece as manga meets traditional Western comic book style, while Colleen Doran combines manga techniques and conventions with Western comic book

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A clever idea—tossing a mangastyle boy into American graphic novel art, where the "proper" characters see his differences—is more successful artistically than textually. The obvious points are hit, beautifully illustrated by Doran: Marissa's a very popular girl who, bored, ditches her sports star boyfriend and starts dressing in costumes. (The ex is just this side of a date-rapist-in-training.) Ryoko is a refugee from a world where all the manga conventions are true. They fall in love, leading to images of him with literal hearts in his eyes, visible sweat drops (indicating passion), the janitor having to sweep up his speed lines, and so on. This is all expected, given the premise. The pacing, though, runs in fits and starts, and the book can't seem to decide whether it wants to be about in-jokes for genre fans, saving the world from generic monsters, or exploring high school culture clash. Once Lyga starts truly playing with postmodernism (a sequence where Doran excels, evoking Mucha), it feels as though he's run out of space for his goals, as well as descending into unexpectedly sexual and violent scenes. A longer book from an adult imprint might have been more successful. Ages 12–up. (Nov.)
From the Publisher

"An inventive offering, sure to please fans of both American and Japanese comics."—Kirkus, starred review

"Fantastic—in every sense of the word! Lyga and Doran have created an eye-popping fun-ride through the comics traditions of East and West. Fans of both comics and manga will love Mangaman. Colleen Doran’s encyclopedic, rapid-fire grasp of manga conventions blows my mind!" —Jeff Smith, author of Bone 

"This is a wonderful, funny, touching story about the ultimate outsider seeking adventure and love within the borders that surround us all.  There's some seriously innovative storytelling going on here, and the artwork is sensational.  If you're looking for a fun read, a romp, a rollicking good time...then seriously: buy this book."  —J. Michael Straczynski, New York Times Bestselling author of Superman: Earth One "This title will appeal to readers who are fans of both manga and Western comics or crossover titles such as Wolverine: Prodigal Son (2009) and X-men: Misfits (2009)."—Booklist "Esteemed artist Doran juggles manga and Western illustration styles effortlessly, capturing their defining characteristics with pitch-perfect accuracy." —School Library Journal, starred review

"Wonderfully quirky and subversive humor."--Bulletin

VOYA - Sean Rapacki
Many librarians serving young adults have been witness to the phenomenon of mangamania, in which teens become obsessed with manga, anime, cosplay, and all things Japanese. Readers do not have to be afflicted with mangamania to enjoy Lyga's romantic graphic novel, but it helps if you want to fully appreciate the author's sly references to manga culture. Lyga is aided ably by Colleen Doran's illustrations. Doran has an impressive resume as a comic book artist, and she does a great job of making the East-meets-West comic book art a reality. This is the tale of Ryoko, a manga character from a manga reality, who falls through a rip in reality into our world, and then, while attending an American high school, falls in love with Marissa, the most beautiful girl in school. With a deft blend of humor, science fiction and romance, Lyga manages to take an absurd premise and give it the sort of wide appeal of one of John Hughes' classic 1980's teen films. There are some interesting metafictional aspects to Ryoko and Marissa's adventure, especially once Ryoko realizes he is part of a paneled-in reality and starts exploring past the edges of the comic panels with his true love, but this high brow stuff is handled in a playful manner. Chances are that more than a few of your mangamaniacs will swoon over Ryoko and hope he makes a visit their school. Reviewer: Sean Rapacki
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Graphic-novel tropes are turned on their heads in this fish-out-of-water story. Beautiful yet misunderstood Marissa Montaigne finds herself attracted to the new boy in town—who, in this case, happens to be from another dimension where life resembles a Japanese comic book. Ryoko is straight out of a 1970s shoujo manga, complete with wavy hair and enormous shimmering eyes rimmed with luxurious lashes, and inexplicably has a name commonly used for girls. Visual gags such as speed lines and Dragonball hair may go over the heads of readers not into graphic novels, but dedicated fans of the format will revel in Lyga's self-referential humor. A subtle exploration of racism adds depth to the action-packed plot, as Western-style characters react with fear and distrust to Ryoko's foreignness. Esteemed artist Doran juggles manga and Western illustration styles effortlessly, capturing their defining characteristics with pitch-perfect accuracy. Even the page layouts are marked by appropriate stylistic differences; the Western-style pages follow a boxy, linear progression, while the manga-style layouts flow freely. A brief sexual situation—quickly turned humorous by poking fun at Japanese censorship—may make this title most appropriate for high school audiences. Although manga fans might need convincing to pick up a graphic novel that is drawn mostly in a gritty Western style, they will be rewarded with a story full of clever humor and human emotions.—Allison Tran, Mission Viejo Library, CA
Kirkus Reviews
A daring piece of graphic-novel meta-fiction explores the tropes of manga versus Western comics. Marissa is a stereotypical popular high-school girl: pretty, well-liked and girlfriend of Chaz, the hottest guy in school. But when she first lays eyes on Ryoko, a manga character who travels through "the Rip" into her world, she abandons the formulaic constraints that defined her. Ryoko helps Marissa see that her world, though very different than his, is still boxed in by panels, and that, like him, she is a character in another universe. Even as he plays with literary inventiveness, Lyga keeps the story accessible with the doomed and forbidden love between Marissa and Ryoko. Those familiar with both Western and Japanese comics will delight at the little nods to the respective conceits in those formats. For example, when Ryoko slams a volleyball in gym class, a fellow classmate exclaims, "Watch your speed lines!" In complement to Lyga's clever meta tone is Doran's highly stylized black-and-white art, seamlessly melding both the Western and Japanese comics aesthetics. While the innovation runs high in this tale, the story itself and the nuances of the character's relationships is less agile, though the energetic creativity behind it easily keeps the lesser aspects afloat. An inventive offering, sure to please fans of both American and Japanese comics. (Graphic fiction. 13 & up)

Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.90(w) x 10.30(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range:
12 Years

Meet the Author

Barry Lyga is a recovering comic book geek and the author of many books, including, The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl, Goth Girl Rising, Boy Toy, and Hero-Type for HMH and Wolverine: Worst Day Ever for Marvel Books and Archvillian for Scholastic. He has also written comic books about everything from sword-wielding nuns to alien revolutionaries. He worked as Marketing Manager at Diamond Comic Distributers for 10 years. He lives in Brooklyn, NY.
Visit Barry online at www.barrylyga.com.


Colleen Doran, in a career spanning more than twenty years, has worked on some of the greatest characters in comics, including Superman, Spider-Man, and Wonder Woman, partnered with such writers as Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman. Her books include A Distant Soil and Girl to Grrrl Manga. She has traveled and lectured extensively in Singapore, Japan, Germany, and England, and served as Artist in Residence at the Smithsonian Institute in 2006.

She won a grant from the Delphi Institute to study American popular culture, and was chosen to represent the United States at the Japan/America manga/comics seminar in Tokyo.

Visit her website at www.colleendoran.com.

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Mangaman 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
SavyLeArtist More than 1 year ago
This book was so much fun. It points out and teases (in a good way) all the tropes in both American comics/graphic novels and manga. If you were like me and grew up with a brother reading comics and you liked manga--or you read both, you will at least appreciate this book, if not totally fall in love with the characters and the romance. Ryoko is sweet, funny, and sometimes overly sappy but endears himself to you the moment you meet him. The art style is beautiful, even if the manga visual tropes are a little over done (extremely long legs, impossibly thin waist...) Over all a five star book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I would say its great, its a nice cute story, 148 pages though, but yes 5 stars