Comics that are different from the norm you say... hmmm
Or the wizard of Oz
?(Okay, that last one's an adaption, but the art just makes me psysically happy).
This thread is a good read, and while there's been a lot of good arguements, I find there's a couple missing.
From what I've understood, back when the manga boom was going on, American comics were on a serious decline, I believe Marvel was saved from backruptcy by the super hero movies. Understanding Comics mentions that most of this problem came from how the American comics publishers handled their audience.
Waaaay back in the first half of the 20th century Comics were quite varied, this variation was lost to both the hays code(something that Japan lacked) and to sheer greed(super hero comics sell, so why invest into non-super hero comics?). Added to that was that the comics had a lot of crossovers and that, as earlier mentioned, you would need to read twenty different series just to keep up with your favorite character. And, on top of that, was something really nasty: Collector's editions. As in, it was genuinely hard to get ones hands on a specific issue, just for reading it, and the publishers were pandering to this collectors base as well.
So, these companies were selling to a very small target audience, which wouldn't grow bigger because the entry-level was too high(you not only need to like super hero comics, but also understand the insane multiverses around these superheroes). (The DC universe , for those not in the know, still consist of 52 alternate dimensions each with their own version of each hero. Imagine 52 versions of your favorite comic-story... Yeah)
Now put that next to the mangaboom.
Japanese comics and anime, which had different genre's and target audiences and more importantly had far more coherent plot(coherent not necessarily meaning good, but very important), came to the states where they got a warm welcome from people who wanted to read comics but couldn't before. Added to that, they were pretty cheap to license and publishers could experiment a bit more with what they would localise.
If I look at places like scans_daily I think that the licensed movies and the mangaboom are what eventually saved american comics as people were reintroduced to the medium and the franchises. But I think that from both sides(manga readers and american comic readers) there's a very high sense of generalisation going on.
Like, there's people saying that all manga is just pornograpic imagery even though you can make the same accusation of american comics(and french, oh lordy, do those European comic artists like their curvy wimmins). And then there's people saying that all american comics are the same thing over and over.
Oh and then there's the always wonderful 'Sequintial art from this and this place is always top-quality' which is never true, period. Even the talk about the colour earlier on is more a case of the artists being incompetent and not stopping to develop a style then being fault of the dimension of colour itself. Death Note could have ended up worse in black and white if the artist hadn't sat down to develop a style for it, similarly, Death Note could have looked incredible in colour because I think that the artist is competent enough to develop a good style.
In the end, the popularity of Manga-style might be an after wave of the mangaboom. But, perhaps it's also because of said generilisation. I think anyone would immidiatly buy a comic if it were recommended to them, but I think it's much more rare for people to jump into the deep end and as a Manga-geek pickup a random DC title.(And the other way around) As styles are globalising now, I think in the future we'll just be wondering why the hell all these teens are drawing overbound muscle man and curvy wimmins and rehashing clichéd plotlines.(And, ofcourse, copying that one cult-hit artist over and over)
Sorry for the many 'I believe' and 'I think's in there, it's been a while since I read up on comics history and the rest is just plain subjective.
And seriously, consider if you are making generilisations. For one, I keep noticing that when people write western comics, they mean American ones. European comic-market != American comic-market != Japanese comic-market.
And now I'm wondering what African comics are like