Interview: Robert McGuire and the State of GEN Manga
We follow-up on how the doujinshi outlet is doing
By Danica Davidson
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GEN Manga has turned one year old! Robert McGuire began publishing monthly doujinshi collections last year and we spoke with him when he was just getting GEN up and running. Now that he’s reached the milestone of year two, we wanted to check back in and see what was happening. Hey, where else are we going to find a doujinshi publication like this? McGuire told us about his new stories, how we can get GEN to read and if manga creators can submit their work.
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How has the reception been to GEN’s offerings since you last spoke to Otaku USA?
It has been better than we could hope for. Over the past year we have steadily trended upward. Not only in terms of sales and fans, but also in the industry. I have received personal emails and even a handshake or two from other large publishers in both Japan and the US!
What can you tell us about your new stories?
We have four new stories out this month! Big doujin star Kosuke Kabaya's “Android Angels” is about androids living and getting intimate with us; a boys' love title; and some bizarre yokai and fantasy stuff! We also have a big tankobon coming out next month too: “Wolf”!
Before, you told us, “GEN stories are seinen and cover a variety of different sub-genres,” but now it looks as if you’re including stories that aren’t seinen. Why did you decide to make this change? Are there other genres you’d like to have in GEN in the future?
Well, we are still keeping the magazine geared towards adults rather than kids. So in that sense, we still are Seinen all the way. However, the subgenres of manga get a bit murky sometimes. For example, you could say that Boys' Love is not technically Seinen, but BL is still an adult-oriented genre. So in that sense we haven't changed. The core of GEN remains unchanged, and that is to offer three things: independent manga (doujinshi), contemporary adult-oriented manga, and a variety of different manga. Hopefully, we are doing that, and doing that well. We’re bringing more and better stuff out all the time!
There are now more ways to get GEN than before. What are they?
Digital editions are now available on Apple iTunes, on the Comics+ app, on Kindle for our tankobon, and like before, of course, direct PDFs from us. Which are the best because they are DRM free and readable on all devices!
Print editions are available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and for our tankobon, lots of comic stores carry them throughout the country by way of Diamond Comics.
How often can we anticipate new stories from new talents?
Every couple months or so. That's been what we've been doing so far! We have four new stories out this month and some newer ones are coming out soon!
Do you get many submissions for GEN? Would you have any interest in publishing manga-inspired comics from Americans, or do you want to stick with work from Japanese talents?
I get a lot of inquiries. And we are open to anyone who makes a good manga. Right now I am talking to a Korean artist who has worked for several publishers in Japan as well as an American artist too.
How did you first get into doujinshi?
I have been into manga for a long time and American comics before that. Doujinshi for me encapsulated the spirit of manga and graphic work. It is the reason this wonderful genre exists. So it was a natural progression from popular manga to the wellspring of its creation.
You can check out all Gen has to offer at the official website.