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Sasha.Kavesh    ORIGINAL GONGSTER

Superman May Beat Goku, But Goku Still Reigns Supreme - Here's Why

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Dozens of analyses, calculations, and fan debates have pretty much agreed on one thing so far; Superman would beat Goku in a fight. 

(The only reason being, Goku doesn't use magic, Superman's only combative weakness). 

Yay? Superman could use Goku as his personal jockstrap and I'd still find more interest in Goku's story. 

There are a lot of differences between Western comics like Marvel and DC (and the dozens of others that put out quality content and amazing stories) and Eastern Manga and Manhwa. 

These differences range from general art styles, to target audience, and even to distribution methods. 

To me, the biggest difference is the general theme of the stories. 

Now, going generically, Western comics tend to go along a route of: backstory explains the character, problems arise, and protagonist either accomplishes or fails each. 

In manga, I see a different general route of: beginning of story or backstory, problems arise, protagonist struggles to accomplish or fails each task. It's the struggle that draws me in. 

Yes, of course, there are dozens of examples from both Western comics and manga that do not follow this guideline, but let's start with examining the (arguably) most popular.  

Superman, Batman, and X-Men could be considered comparable to Reborn!, One Piece, and Naruto in regards to name recognition and popularity in each region's main audience. 

A major difference is evident just by thinking of each of these. The Western 3 don't have one linear storyline, but instead, they have dozens (hundreds?) of arcs and storylines that sometimes affect each other and sometimes don't. 

The manga aforementioned are different in that each has its arcs, but each arc either teaches the protagonists a valuable skill/lesson or is a small part of an overall plot.  

This difference is where manga gains my devotion over comics. 

It's the growth, the development, and the learning that keeps me pawing at my phone every week for new chapters of my favorite manga. 

Whereas while reading a Superman comic, I know exactly what his capabilities are, and can probably guess how he'll defeat whichever foe is presented. I have no idea how Luffy (One Piece) will win. 

Will he develop a new technique mid battle when all seems lost? Or will a character from a far back chapter wonderfully make his comeback, only to finish off a plot point that was set in motion possibly years ago? 

At the end of a Batman comic or set (like No Man's Land), I can note that the plot was good or interesting, but the story is over. Yet, there are infinite more stories that could arise because none of them NEED to be connected. 

Comics don't ever have to end really, and because of that, not every arc has to suck you in and KEEP you in. 

The manga world is brutal, and if you fall behind, you're done and your manga is cancelled. 

The stories have to be so interesting that you wait eagerly every week for a new chapter, just a sliver of the story. This stands more successful in manga because often the characters in manga are relatable. 

Superman is an all powerful (at some points) alien that empowers the epitome of justice. It's not really relatable because he doesn't have any real struggles. 

On that note, something I've found that devalues Western comics is the absolute strength that some characters have (like Superman, Martian Manhunter, and Wonder Woman). 

The degree to which their power extends is so vast that often times the villain seems to be stronger "just because". 

In Reborn!, Tsuna struggles everyday to just get back to a normal life and pine after the girl he likes. He fights and trains to get back to a normal life and you can track his progress the whole way. 

I can relate to that, and I can relate to the people getting in his way, even if it is filled with demons and magic. Even Yugioh is just about a teenager trying to play his favorite children's card game with his friends. 

Since Western comics also tend to have political inclinations and are sometimes used as statements, the focus can often be less on how you feel about the story and more about its message. 

Manga is more about the story and making it memorable. Both are fantastic, and have given us the chance to read about things we could never have dreamed about ourselves. 

While I love Western comics and seeing the insane feats some superheroes pull off, I'd rather sit back and see Luffy goof around with his friends while following his dreams. Chances are I'm doing the same thing myself.

Sasha.Kavesh
Sasha's given name is actually Aleksander. His main interests are gaming, manga, anime, cooking, and Japanese pop culture. He's a Psychology major and English minor and head of the largest Sci-Fi/Anime club at Queens College. He's been writing semi-regularly since the age of 13 and can't wait to write more.
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© GONG, Inc. All rights reserved