A recent troll through DD's collection seems to indicate a slight lead in Asian styling over Western styling. Hey, what's up with all this Japanese-centric examination and analysis anyway? Anyone hear of Korean and Chinese style? Anyone realize that the far east Indian style is about to take the world by storm? Wake up and realize that there is more in the Eastern and Asian comic stylings than the items produced by Japan . . . woot!
Heh-heh . . . I'll return to the style-centric and popularity thing again in a moment.
Okay, my personal take on this stuff is that most cartoonists suck dishwater when it comes to their artwork. This is why most of us are not now and never will be professionals. This is also why so much cartooning looks so imitative and just plain bad. Obviously I include myself in the poor artwork category - in my case as a Western stylist.
However, when it comes down to artists with the ability to visually rock, it just plain doesn't matter what style they are working in or with. Good, damn it, is good!
Alas, however, as I said above, most cartoonists just aren't very good and so it's rather pointless to compare rotten apples to rotten oranges.
Oh, and as for the tiny minority of cartoonists that are good enough in style or creativity to turn pro, the vast majority of them also are rather bland and unimaginative as artists. They are just good enough, in general, to get by.
Now to jump to something that at first blush seems utterly unrelated to this analysis; martial arts.
Most people studying, practicing martial arts never get to that style's equivalent of black belt/black sash. These people would equate to the average DDer. Very earnest and in their own way, quite dedicated, but never going to reach the pinical.
Then we have those few people who reach black belt level. Are they good? You bet! Could any one of them transfer to the small or large screen to become an action hero? Nope, because they do not understand that little bit extra of body control and coordination, balance, and the big picture that would translate to physical charisma. So these people would be the equivalent of the average pro cartoonist.
Then you have the tiny minority of one or two top and best of the best black belt that every school can boast of, the guy or gal that exudes utter competence and grace and deadly beauty.
Well if you understand martial arts and are at a mixed styles gathering you are awed by the best of the stylists regardless of their style. Just as it is with the professionals and their stylistic renderings.
Learn something from this? Nah, me neither!
Okay, so I'll drop the other shoe; art style is meaningless when the artist is among the world's very best. Good is good and style is only a true art form when the artist is at the very top of his or her form in comparison to other artists.
Post Script: Ooh-ooh! I forgot to talk about the popularity phenomenon!
I'll return to the world of martial arts here. Once upon a time, during the early 1950s, Japanese judo was the only martial art style known to the average United States citizen. Then a few years later they/we became aware of both Japanese and Okinawan karate styles.
Oh my God was there ever heated debate about the superiority or inferiority of these different styles .
Then guess what happened next? A few years later we discovered Kung-Fu and THAT was considered either totally bogus OR the most devastating and effective martial art in existence! Ahem, at the time no one realized that there were literally hundreds of utterly different styles existing under the umbrella of the Kung-Fu catch term.
Then there eventually followed fusion or combined styles martial arts, then we discovered Escrima and then Ninjutsu, . I can't recall off hand the next half-dozen or so stylistic revelations that followed, but each one without fail was temporarily considered the end all be all of martial arts effectiveness . . . until replaced by the next one to come along.
So while now Japanese styling is all the rage in a few more years either Chinese or Indian styling will probably supplant Japanese styling as the end all be all of the cartooning art world. So let's all keep an open mind about this stuff, eh?