This thread of conversation is making for an interesting run on the blog, so I'm going to copy pieces of a couple of the comments from the previous post and add to them. Here goes.
From my illustrious former student Andrew Sides, this was said:
I don't buy the argument for a lack of backgrounds though, and especially using Manga or any other non-American comic art as influence. As sad as it might be, the level of expectation is probably a lot lower than we expect. Manga art has lack of backgrounds? Some of it might, but a lot of has as much detailed effort put into it as anywhere else.
Andrew's comment about the lower level of expectation is one of the things that has been on my mind the entire time that I've been teaching. I think that the low level of pop culture influence has had a "lowest common denominator" influence on the current generation to where they settle for less and get enjoyment from that lesser material that I just cannot find.
I love certain Manga material, by the way. GON is extremely fun and fun to look at. There are others, but that is my current fave.
I am constantly striving to raise the bar of expectations from students, partly so that the material will become consistently better and then maybe we can all make what we're worth.
I have some comments on Derek Diaz's post from my last one, but I've got to finish grading, so more on that later.
In the meantime, here's another layout page.