I Never Planned on You - Pietro Maximoff x Stark!(f)Reader
Words: 2569 (What the fuck this never happens) Pairing: Pietro Maximoff x Stark!(f)Reader Featuring: Tony Stark, Natasha Romanoff, a few random characters Warnings: swearing, yelling, cheesey Requested by anon “Can you please do one with Pietro to I Never Planned on You from Newsies? Thank you!” Authors Note: You guys have no idea how excited I was to do this and I’ve been working on it for so long i hope it makes up for the lack of imagines from the past week. very much so based off the newsies show. even parts that weren’t in the song. i was excited.
Also, little summary: you are Y/N Stark but use a different last name while working. You own your own magazine company and you and your assistant, Jeremy, are headed to New York for a few different reasons. A speedy silver-haired boy sees you, and who knows what happens from there?
You liked to keep it a secret that you are a Stark. Tony, as the older sibling, would carry on the Stark name to make something of himself and honor your parents. But as the second born and younger sibling, you had more freedom. You did not want to be bound to the Stark name and seen as “Tony Stark’s sister” or “another Stark” because that isn’t who you are. You knew you were one-hundred-percent capable of making it on your own, hence why you used a different last name when working.
It wasn’t important that you were a Stark. It was nice not to get compared to Tony as being merely the younger sibling, and you had more recognition than you would have had if you kept the Stark name. But that didn’t change the love you had for your brother, as you and him at least text every day.
It was funny when they did compare you, though. Your company did not have the size the Stark did, but it was getting there.
“Jeremy,” You called out to your assistant, and he walked quickly inside your office.
“Yes?” He asked as he stood at your door.
“When do we leave for my jet?” You asked. Your name may not be as big as the Stark name, but the Stark name is a really big thing; so you were a decent size. And to many surprises, you are able to have your own plane.
“About two hours, Miss (Y/N),” Jeremy smiled after looking at his schedule.
Finally got my copy of the issue of TIME magazine with an article on
Becky G! I found it a few days ago alongside a back issue of The New Yorker with
Bob Dylan on the cover (after he won the Nobel Prize for Literature) Anthony
Lane’s review of the Park Chan-wook’s The Handmaiden (my favorite film of
“You’ve got all kinds of cultures, and in the character breakdown,
there were no ethnicities,” Gomez says. “That’s the whole point: anyone can be
powerful. It’s not the color of your skin. It’s not the social group that you
belong to in high school. That’s why Rangers is so awesome–because those walls
come tumbling down.”
It was also meaningful to Becky that her character questions her
sexuality. The revelation takes place in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment. But
if the movie becomes a hit, it’s likely to be the kind of detail that becomes
meaningful for a segment of its primarily young audience. “When I was doing
that scene, it was the first time as an actress where I couldn’t control my
emotions,” she recalls. “I felt very connected to her, because this is
something that a lot of people go through.”
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. is a series of survival horror first-person shooters set in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone encompassing the Nuclear Power Plant and town Pripyat, as well as the surrounding areas. Developed by GSC Game World, each entry has different protagonists with varying goals but it all takes place in a very unforgiving patch of Ukraine.
If you find yourself a fan of late cold war aesthetics or enjoy post-apocalyptic settings, as well as a challenge that is unfair at times, the Zone is for you. Experience the journey of a lifetime: emission storms, wildlife, soldiers, cultists, derelict buildings, incredible vistas, and trench coat enthusiasts.
“Are you just gonna fuck him already?” You almost spit out your morning coffee at Tae’s sudden and unexpected bluntness. You set the white mug down, splashing out more of the dark substance inside.
“Jesus Tae what the fuck.” You wiped your mouth while mumbling at the boy. He only shrugged.
“I mean come on. You’re so wet for this guy it’s painful to watch.” You cleaned the marble counter with the few napkins you found nearby. “Why’s it any of your concern anyways?” You grumbled, unamused at your roommate.
You had crushed on the popular, incredibly talented, and insanely hot dancer since your first year of high school. He had just moved to your school that year, immediately making friends. He was friends with all your friends, yet never once spoke to you. Not until graduation day when something strange had happened.
Your best friend had grown close to him in the years. Graduation day she wanted a picture with all of her closest friends, including you and Hoseok.
Everyone wrapped an arm around the one next to them’s shoulders. Hoseok’s right arm slung across the top of your back, fingertips resting on your right shoulder just as your left arm was doing to him.
He leaned over whispering, “You look really nice in that dress.” With a subtle smirk just before the photo was taken. Leaving you with a surprised look forever captured on the film.
“For fucks sake you went to high school with the dude. And now you’re in college. You’d think you would’ve hopped on his dick by now.”
“I don’t just wanna ride him.” You countered while rolling your eyes at the blonde boy. You slid off the bar stool, leaving the counter behind. “You’re so shallow Taehyung.” You shouted behind, heading down the narrow hall towards your bedroom.
You kicked the white wooden door closed behind you before falling onto the purple bed. Small particles of dust flew up as the sheets moved from your force. You watched as the dust swirled around the single beam of light coming from a window.
You sighed wondering if Tae was right. Were you being too cautious? Too scared? Was it really that big of a deal? Couldn’t you just go up and talk to him?
Final year of high school, that questionable graduation day, you thought nothing more of Hoseok’s comment. A pretty, popular, fuck boy trying to get another lay. You weren’t ugly. You knew that. Yet somehow, you never felt enough for Jung Hoseok.
You shook your head, clearing any thoughts your dumb roommate put into your head.
“He doesn’t like you, (Y/N) he’s just a player. Forget him. You can do it.” You repeated to yourself in your mind.
The following day you walked down the campus pathway, cold air hitting your skin. Your hot breath escaped. The smoky patterns formed in front of you and dissipated as you walked through them.
Tae followed beside you. His strides were larger than yours, you struggling to keep with him. “Jesus Tae slow down we’re not late.” He only scoffed at you. “Don’t you wanna have time to say hello to your lover?”
Your hands clenched into fists at your sides. You opted for gripping your bookbag straps instead. “I’m gonna fucking slap you, you piece of shit.” He skipped ahead of you slightly, spinning around to face you.
“A hot piece of shit though.” He teased with a wink. He continued skipping backwards to the main entrance. He mocked you the whole path up.
“Oh Hoseok!” He moaned in a high pitched voice. “Oh god yes please Hoseok! Deeper! Deeper!” He mocked your voice, failing miserably.
You only rolled your eyes harder and harder each time as you walked to the doors. Many times your finger flew to your lips, in attempt to quiet your roommate. Too many people begun staring in the short walk.
“Oh yes ple-” “(Y/N)!” Tae suddenly covered his mouth with his hands as Hoseok yelled your name from a distance. He tried his hardest to hold in his giggles, turning away from you and the approaching boy.
“Uh hey Hobi. What’s up?” You greeted, nervously rubbing your bag straps. Your arched back and forth slightly on your toes. He bounced in front of you while coming to a harsh stop. His orange dyed hair bounced with him.
“Hey (Y/N). Jin-Hyung is having a party this weekend. Wanna come with me?” He asked, referring to the elder. Kim Seokjin, infamous pretty boy, known for his parties. Even though “his” parties were always taken over by his close friend, Kim Namjoon. Infamous genius, with a bad boy persona.
Funny how all these people worked in cliché ways, like a typical high school. But this was college. A musical arts college.
You, the composing major. Your roommate Taehyung, the vocal major. Your crush, Jung Hoseok, the dance performing major.
“It’s a couple’s masquerade thing. Jin-Hyung told me to find someone.” He laughed nervously towards the end of his sentence. His hand stretched up to his neck, rubbing its back nervously while he looked at the floor.
“Uh. Yeah. Yeah sure.” You said, just as nervous as he appeared to be. You looked also. “I-I don’t have a mask though. Or..anything dressy for that matter.”
Hoseok suddenly bounced up, his excited state returning. He grabbed your shoulders tightly. “Oh don’t worry about that! I’m sure I could find something in the costumes for he dance sets.” He assured with a wink.
After Hoseok left, you were greeted by a smug Taehyung.
“Oh shut up you piece of shit.” You swatted Tae back with the magazine currently in your hand. He backed off the couch, rolling and falling onto the floor.
He held his sides, giggling as you continued your relentless attack. The magazine swatted at his cheeks, his hair, his arms, his chest. You took the open opportunity to swat his neck when he turned to avoid your chest-smacks.
His neck quickly swelled at the pressure. Tae immediately stood up, face twisted in pain. He gripped his neck while moaning. “Ow fuck (Y/N) what was that for?” He removed his hand from his injured neck, a large red spot appearing before your eyes. You gasped at the mark.
“S-Sorry Tae.” You said with your hand over you mouth. You tried not giggling at his apparent frustration. You feigned sympathy.
You sat trying to contain your giggles, before you realized what was happening.
The pair of much larger hands were suddenly latched onto your hips. The sweet and sexy scent of the blonde man right in your face. The light hairs tickled your cheeks. His lips were suddenly attached to your neck as you tilted sideways, confused at the sudden onslaught.
He sucked harshly. Pulling at your flesh hard, leaving dark purple marks that went deep. He playfully bit them, adding to the pain. Then licked them, as a silent apology. The attack continued up from your collar bone to the underneath of your jaw.
“Oh Tae.” You moaned in a whispering tone. Your voice had completely gone. Your hands flew to his hair, searching purchase in the soft, blonde locks. You rubbed circles in the strands as his mouth continued assaulting your neck. The intensity of the bites never let up.
You bit your bottom lip as he pulled away. You moaned in silent pleasure feeling his breath ghost against your cheek. He rested his forehead onto yours.
“Only fair.” He breathed, breath gone as well. “Now your neck has marks too.” He said mockingly. You scoffed, hinted with laugh. “That was… hot.” You whispered against him. He only smirked.
“Didn’t know you had a thing for me (Y/N).” Slight giggles escaped you both. “I could say the same for you.”
“Can I fuck you?”
“Tae!” You screamed at his unexpected bluntness. The boy never ran out of it.
“Can I or not because you look so hot.” You didn’t even realize how he was referring to your messed hair from the previous fight. And your oversized black shirt that covered your shorts, making you appear as if you weren’t wearing any pants.
You stuttered for moments, at a loss to find the right words. He simply pointed down to his crotch, impatient. The tent in his sweatpants easily visible. “If not I need to take care of this.”
Without even answering, still at a loss for words, you pushed Taehyung back by the shoulders. His back hit the floor, large hands coming up to meet your hips as you straddled him.
With each knee on different sides of Taehyung’s torso, you bent down catching his lips in a kiss.
As how unexpected this was, it felt so good. So normal and so okay.
You relished in the pleasure of his soft lips as he moved them against you. His tongue swiped against your bottom lip, asking for access. You easily granted permission. You opened your mouth slightly as his tongue slid inside. He discovered all the places inside your mouth, tongues battling each other as you fought for some dominance. His tongue, however, easily won.
Instead you opted to your hips, rolling them against his erection. He hissed into your mouth, whilst bucking his hips up into your own.
You continued, grinding at a painfully slow back and forth motion. He gripped your hair, pulling your head backwards. “Fuck, (Y/N).” His teeth bit into your bottom lip.
You retracted, leaving his mouth empty. He held a firm grip on your hips while you pulled the black cotton fabric over your head. Your hands lifted the hem of your large, black shirt. You pulled it over you slowly and dramatically, teasing Taehyung further.
His hands tightened on your hips as the fabric was discarded somewhere in the room. Next, you reached behind your back, searching for the hook of your bra. His expression grew sly as the black-laced fabric fell off your shoulders. It also was discarded somewhere within the room.
Taehyung leaned up. His arms wrapped behind your back, keeping you stable in front of him. He leaned his face down, level with your breasts. You continued to straddle him.
He took one of your nipples into his mouth, the hardened bud sensitive to his hot breath. He gripped it softly between his teeth, moving it around ever so slightly. He tugged it, causing the perfect amount of pain as he bit and pulled. And the sweet moans pouring from your mouth were only fuel to Taehyung.
He released the pink bud, only to swirl his tongue around it. Meanwhile, his other hand moved to your neglected breast. He began kneading it, also continuing to lick and suck the other.
You shifted your hips ever so slightly for the much needed friction. You could feel Tae growing harder beneath you. “Taehyung-Ah.” You moaned, drawing out your syllables sloppily. The sensations and pleasure proving all too much. Disorienting you.
He released both breasts. Only to grab under the hem of his own black skirt. He lifted the snugly fit, V-neck over his head. His blonde locks spilled out as the shirt was taken off.
A third garment, discarded somewhere unknown.
He smirked, pleased at your reaction. You starred at his chest. His sculpted pecs and abs, flexing as he moved. His body was hotter than you imagined.
In all the time you roomed with Taehyung, you never saw him shirtless once. You assumed men were just naturally made to always have their shirts off. You expected a half naked Tae roaming your dorm normally. However, it was quiet the opposite. He never was around without full clothing. Shirt, pants (always full pants, hardly ever shorts) and socks. Taehyung hated his feet cold.
But you never denied Tae’s looks. Of course he was beautiful, more than you thought of yourself. He was so hot and always so kind. “What a perfect guy.” You thought after the first week of living with him. That is, until you discovered his annoying child-like side. The side that had teased you no more than minutes ago about your “lover”, Hoseok.
As of right now, however, he was no child.
His hooded eyes were dark and full of lust as he looked up at you. You pulled his hair roughly, the blonde violently tugged between your fingers. You slammed your lips onto his. He again easily dominated your mouth, hands now roaming up your bare sides.
Your naked chests pressed together as you passionately kissed. His hands traveled up further, snaking up your sides to your breasts. He softly kneaded them, occasionally pinching your nipples between two fingers.
“Are you gonna take me on the floor?” You asked, a mixed laugh and breathy moan. Taehyung replied by standing quickly, grabbing under your arms to lift you with him.
Your legs wrapped around his waist as he carried you down the hall of your shared dorm. He stopped at the first door, his bedroom, and kicked the door open.
Your back suddenly hit the soft surface of the mattress as he threw you down. He leaned over you, dark eyes staring into yours. His hands rested on the top of your pants rather than your chest. He hooked his finger under the seam, tugging it slowly.
He looked up at you, asking silently for permission. You nodded, unbuttoning the denim your self. The pants released their tight tension against your waist as they were unbuttoned. You laid back, sighing in anticipation as Taehyung began pulling them off.
The pants were thrown onto the floor, adding to the collection. The other clothes, however, lost in the other room.
He positioned himself in between your legs. You spread them slightly, opening your clothed womanhood to him.
Taehyung placed small butterfly kisses up your thighs. He held one leg in his hands, placing the open mouthed kisses from your knee to just near your panties. His lips ghosted over your slit as he moved to the other leg. You gasped at the contact, raising your hips and arching your back.
One of Taehyung’s hands flew up to your hips. He held them down harshly. “Be good and don’t move for me, princess.” He demanded nicely before returning to his task at hand.
He kissed your other thigh. This time painfully slower than the other.
He finally made it back to your clothed heat, blowing his hot breath against it. “Tae please…stop teasing.” You whined, hands reaching for purchase in his blonde hairs. “Whatever you want, princess.”
He quickly removed your matching (before the bra was rudely discarded) black laced panties. He continued to breathe against your heat, the hot of his breath painfully pleasuring. You attempted to close your thighs, naturally and subconsciously wanting the much needed friction.
He started slowly, given kitten licks to your core. The small licks provided little relief to your swollen clit. You moaned loudly, pulling roughly at his hairs. “Tae.” You complained.
He responded by wrapping his lips around your clit. He began sucking harshly, leaving little room for you to gather your composure. His lips sucked roughly as he groaned against you. The vibrations adding to the almost painful stimulation.
“T-Tae. Tae..too much.” You hopelessly gasped for mercy as he continued his onslaught. His tongue slid along your slit as he sucked on the sore muscle. His groans became louder and louder, the vibrations heavier.
“Ah! Tae!” You screamed out. You raised a hand from his hair to cover your mouth just as he threatened. “Don’t cover up your moans or I’ll punish you.”
You obliged, nodding in fear as your hand dropped back to his locks. He continued on your core, changing his pace, but not relenting.
He turned to long, slow, flat licks against your clit. Meanwhile, two fingers entered you slowly. He pumped them in and out. The painfully slow pace causing you to burn his scalp. “You’re so wet for me, (Y/N).” He teased. His fingers went deeper, slightly curling upwards. He searched for your spot while, again, humming against your clit.
You moaned the loudest yet as he curled his fingers, hitting your walls. You absently played with his hair as you began seeing stars behind your tightly closed eyes.
His fingers increased their pace. They curled up, searching every space of your walls. They pumped in and out of yourself quicker. They dove deeper. All while you laid, a moaning mess pulling relentlessly at Taehyung’s hair.
You walls suddenly clenched and tightened around Tae’s fingers. He knew you were close, increasing his thrusts. “Don’t come unless I say so.” He warned, dark eyes looking straight up at you. You stared back, afraid of looking away.
His fingers kept their fast pace. He continued curling, still searching for the special spot that drove you crazy. His lips no longer assaulted your clit, as he raised his head to make direct eye contact with you.
Suddenly, the tips of his fingers brushed up ever so lightly against that certain spot. Your back arched high, despite his one hand still holding your hips. The power of sensations from your g-spot overtook his hand’s power.
You moaned out loudly, pulling Tae’s head up with the rest of your body. “Ah-Ahh fuck!” You cursed.
Tae smirked, staring at writhing figure knowing he had found what he was looking for.
He returned to the spot. He relentlessly thrusted into you, brushing roughly against the spot each time. Your breathing increased and your moans grew louder. It became increasingly difficult to hold back the heat pooling in your stomach. You so badly wanted your release.
Your walls tightened even more as your orgasm was right on the edge. “Tae please.” You begged, knowing you wouldn’t last longer.
He said nothing, however. Only continuing his attack on your weakness.
In seconds you were seeing white, your release hitting you unexpectedly. Your eyes twisted shut as your walls closed around his fingers. Your came against them, your juices running down them.
Tae pulled out, a dangerous look in his eyes you didn’t see, your eyes still screwed shut.
He climbed on the bed, crawling over your heavily breathing figure. His unsoiled hand gripped your chin and pulled your face up to meet his. You opened your eyes as he suddenly faced you in close proximity. His eyes were dark and hooded with lust.
“I told you not come.” He reminded in a dark tone. You shrunk back against the bed, your head pushing into the pillows.
He took one of his two soiled fingers into his mouth. He sucked on it, making explicit sounds. His eyes teasing you while he did. He pulled it out of his mouth slowly. A string of saliva connected his mouth to the finger as he did. “Mmm.” He moaned. “You taste so good.” You only watched as he licked his lips before you.
He shoved his finger into your slightly parted mouth before you even registered what he had said. You took his finger into your mouth, surprised.
He moaned watching you suck on his digit, whilst tasting yourself. You licked up and down his long finger as you eyed him sexily. You swirled around the tip of his finger suggestively. He inhaled sharply at the sight.
He quickly removed his finger, the building pressure in his pants finally too much.
Taehyung backed off the bed. He stood at its edge, removing his sweatpants. They were pulled off in one swift move. They pooled around his ankles as he reached to throw them, discarding them with all other clothing items.
You were surprised to find him naked under the pants. “Commando huh?” You asked in a smug tone, your lips curling into a mocking smirk.
He only looked at you innocently. “Whatever works.”
He stood in front of you, completely naked. His toned chest and sculpted abs enough to have you dripping between your legs. His waist slowly descended into a v-line, his hips looking so delicious. You admired his figure as he stood. His now revealed cock, stood tall and proud against his stomach. The pink flesh of his tip gleaming, dripping with pre-cum.
He slowly moved towards your waiting self. He hovered over you, arms placed on either side of your head, resting on his elbows. You looked up at him, anticipating.
“You’re sure this is okay right?” He asked. His sudden nervous and goofy side showing through. You only giggled slightly while nodding. “Please for the love of god Tae, fuck me. I need you.” You pleaded, desperate to feel him inside you. The much needed friction and pain had returned to your core.
You guided his cock to your entrance while his arms remained at the sides of your head, stabilizing himself. His tip brushed against your entrance ever so slightly. You closed your eyes, moaning lightly. Taehyung grunted at the sight beneath him.
You pushed him in slightly yourself, allowing him to find where he was going. Once adjusted, he thrust inside quickly. Your hands moved to Tae’s back, gripping him roughly. You moaned as he filled you up, stretching you out perfectly.
“Move.” You demanded desperately. Taehyung responded, pulling his hips back. He pulled out of you almost completely (and so slowly), before slamming back into you at full force. His hips hit yours, the sound of skin slapping echoing in the room.
“Fuck Tae!” You screamed out at the sudden force.
He continued this pace, pulling out so painfully slow before thrusting back inside hard, and what seemed like deeper than the previous thrust.
“Ah Tae please. Faster.” You begged, your moans small and weak as your voice failed you. “And I told you not to come earlier.” You sighed, head falling back against the pillows. You knew he wasn’t going to relent on his painful pace.
He latched his lips to your neck as your head turned to the side. Your eyes closed shut, reveling in the pleasure. His lips sucked as harsh as they had earlier, returning your mind to the start of this all.
He left deep, dark marks as his hips thirsted in and out of you. His slow pace started to pick up, himself getting frustrated.
You began thrusting your hips down on him, looking for any extra force. You moaned louder and louder as his thrusts became quicker and quicker, sloppier and sloppier. He chased his own release.
The familiar feeling returned to your stomach as his pace had now reached acceptable standards. You moaned out, fingers digging into Taehyung’s back.
Red marks that slowly welled up began forming on his broad back. The marks stung as your fingers left them, the cool air hitting his back.
You tightened once again around Taehyung, you orgasm rapidly approaching. “Ah-ah fuck T-Taehyung.. I’m close.” You warned, your body beginning to shake.
He thrusted harder into you trying to bring you closer. One hand removed from the side of your head down to your hips. He rubbed small circles with his thumb against your clit. The double sensation almost sending you over the edge right then. “It’s okay.” He grunted. “Come for me baby.”
His thrusts became sloppier as his high neared as well.
He pushed down harder, the force on your clit increasing. Second later you were seeing stars again as your high hit you. You tightened around Taehyung, your walls clenching in pleasure. You gasped out, ripping into the smooth flesh of his back. “Ah ah f-fuck.” You drew out the words. You barely could produce any sounds other than moans, gasps, strings of curse words, and Taehyung’s name.
Which sounded delicious to him rolling off your lips in such a sweet tone.
Your high came to an end as Tae helped you ride it out.
He continued pounding into you as he still looked for his own release. The overstimulation began kicking in. You writhed under him in a painful and pleasurable mix. “Agh Tae, fuck!” You gasped as he brushed against your overly sensitive g-spot.
With a few more sloppy and quick thrusts, Taehyung reached his high, coming undone inside of you.
He sat still, shaking slightly as the pleasure washed over his body. The white, hot ribbons spilling inside you. You shuddered at the feeling.
Your hands slowly slid down his toned arms. He, also slowly, pulled out of you before falling next to you. You both panted, exhausted. The sweat on both bodies gleamed against the sunlight pouring into the room.
“Yea.” You smirked.
“I have an idea.” You stated. The television blinked in front of you, the rest of the shared living room dark. Taehyung turned his attention from the screen to you.
“What?” He simply asked, unaware of your dirty intentions.
summary: you’re bts’ makeup artist, and a certain golden maknae has a crush on you. he expresses this in the only way he knows how: with the help of his hyungs. for this request
relationship: jungkook x reader
“Hyung, I need your help.”
Jin raises his head from the magazine he’s currently enthralled in, leg crossed over the other as they sit backstage. It’s half an hour before they perform, and Jungkook, hair a mess and just half of his outfit on, has come kneeling before Jin with a look of desperation. At any other time, Jin might’ve laughed and asked Jungkook which of the boys he had pissed off now, but there was something different in the way Jungkook looked today. There was almost… a twinkle in his eye. “Yes, maknae?”
Jungkook, releasing a deep sigh, scoots that much closer to Jin with his hands clasped together as if he’s about to pray. Jin’s interest is piqued, the older boy leaning forward to hear Jungkook’s next words, “Hyung… how do you make a girl fall in love with you?”
Economy of the Manga Industry; or, Why I don’t care that Togashi does whatever he wants
I’ve casually mentioned before that I think people who go around saying “Manga writers work under horrible conditions! Oda Eiichiro doesn’t ever sleep!” are twisting reality and kind of maybe sort of need to take a step back. This is not because I believe manga artists have it great, and they’re just whiners who need to cry more into their piles of money. Quite the opposite. I say this because if your knowledge of “how the manga industry works” boils down to “Oda Eiichiro only sleeps 4 hours a day and rarely gets a day off”, your knowledge of the cruelties of the manga industry is fairly shallow and it’s probably better you didn’t bother. I know that sounds rude, but there it is!
Here are some realities about the manga industry: (The usual disclaimer: I am not a manga industry insider, just an accountant who reads a lot of junk. There are many sides to every issue and it’s impossible for me to cover them all in a short tumblr post. Please post your own opinions about this topic, the fandom needs more opinions. Etc.)
!!! Because the demand for detail in manga art has increased exponentially since the Tezuka days, the majority of manga artists need to employ assistants in order to meet the demand of manga magazines.1 These assistants need to be paid, and this money needs to come out of the manga artist’s pocket. Other expenses that need to come out of the manga artist’s pocket: food for the assistants, stationary and other materials, travel expenses, rent for the production office, reference books, and other such necessities. Reality for the majority of manga artists is this: the money they get for turning in their manuscript will not cover these expenses, and they are running a manga production office at a loss.
!!! Publishers expect the manga artists to cover this loss by selling a lot of tankobon. However, manga publishers do not guarantee that a manga featured in their magazines will get a tankobon release. The only thing a manga publisher guarantees its artists is the initial payment for the production of the manuscript they ordered.2 If they judge that a tankobon release will not turn a profit, they are under no obligation to publish it,3 and they are in fact often very hesitant to publish tankobon.
!!! The money a manga artist gets for turning in a manuscript is calculated by the page. The majority of manga artists (and other people working for Japanese publishers) are not informed of the price of their manuscripts before they get paid. This is a long-standing tradition in the industry, and I would wager a guess that it stems from a traditional Japanese ideal of being stoic about money, especially when you’re an artist, and that it hasn’t gone out of style because it’s convenient for the corporations. What this results in is a new manga artist being asked to finish a manuscript for publication, paying for all expenses out of pocket, and then realizing after the fact that they worked at a loss, or that they might as well have flipped burgers.
!!! What this results in for most up-and-coming manga artist is this: They’re offered to serialize a manga. You might think this means they’ve made it big, and the manga artist probably thinks so too. They accept, and hire assistants and buy all the necessities. Every week, they produce a manuscript at a loss. This loss accumulates. Their series is canceled, and no tankobon is released – or it is released, but doesn’t sell enough to cover their loss. All they are left with after a serialization is debt.
!!! There are no formal procedures for negotiating the price of manuscripts. Sometimes, the price just rises – and the artist is informed by noticing more money in their bank. If an artist negotiates to have their price raised, they will often be told that higher manuscript prices will mean less offers, so they should retract their demands.
!!! I need to be fair and also illustrate things from the publisher’s point of view. The reason publishers are so hesitant to release manga tankobon is this: Japanese bookstores do not buy the books on their shelves. They “borrow” them, and are free to return them to the wholesaler, who are free to return them to the publisher (but usually do not; the publisher pays the wholesaler for their warehouse). Any tankobon (or magazine4) not sold is a direct loss for the publisher.
!!! Paradoxically, this is also the reason Japanese publishers need to keep publishing books and magazines even when they know most of them will not turn a profit. This is a bit complicated, but in simple terms, the relationship between the wholesaler and the publisher works like this: The wholesaler pays the publisher for the items the wholesaler circulates to bookstores. This usually results in a debt for the publisher, because there is no actual sale until the items have reached the end user (the bookstore customer) – until then, there is the potential that the publisher must buy back every single item (this potential = debt). In order to cover this debt, they must pass on more new items to the wholesaler. Because if they do not, then they need to pay their debt and take back their stock, and that means the publisher will likely go bankrupt.
!!! Another reality about manga publishers: the Japanese publishing industry has been in a recession for a long time, and to be quite honest, magazines do not sell. I’m not sure if Japanese publishers are still possessed by the ghost of times past when weeklies sold like hot bread and there was an increased circulation and an increased revenue with every issue, but whatever the reason, Japanese publishers are currently publishing manga magazines at a constant, accumulating loss, and do not seem to have any intention to stop. Weekly Shonen Jump (with its 2 million issues per week) is an exception, not the rule. Just like its artists, manga publishers expect to cover this loss with tankobon sales. And because the profit is bigger if you sell a million copies of one item, compared to a million copies combined of 10 items5, publishers are constantly on the lookout for the next One Piece and refuse to let go of any property that’s covering their losses.
!!! Which leads me to Togashi Yoshihiro. I often hear people speak of how Togashi needs to “do his job”. However, this is a misnomer. Togashi is not an employee of Weekly Shonen Jump, or Shueisha. Togashi (just like the vast majority of manga artists) is an independent subcontractor. The only guarantee Jump offers him is to pay for any manuscript he produces which they choose to print in their magazines. Jump is under no obligation to 1) cover his expenses, 2) guarantee that he has a job next week or even tomorrow, or 3) publish his manga as tankobon. Jump chooses to do all these things. Why? Because Togashi’s manga sell enough to cover some of their accumulating losses.
In the vast majority of cases, the facts I described above mean that Jump can fuck over any subcontractor they want to. But fact is, Togash is in the rare position to have Jump by its balls rather than the other way around. He doesn’t have to play by the publishers’ rules to make a living as a manga artist.
Now, you might disagree with what I’m saying. You might be of the opinion that these are just free market forces at play, and if a manga artist can’t survive under the system as it is now, then that’s just social Darwinism at play and they need to find another job6. You are free to think so! I disagree, and I don’t know of any other industry where independent subcontractors are hired without a signed contract or a budget that both parties agreed to, but you’re free to your opinions about how the market economy should function7. But you need to stop telling manga artists to “do their job” without any knowledge of what doing this “job” actually entails.
1. Sometimes, especially monthly shojo series can be drawn by one or two people depending on how fast the manga artist is. Ikeno Koi, for example, rarely utilized assistants. If you want to make a normal living as a manga artist, this is probably the ideal.
2. An exception is magazines paying artists an “exclusivity fee”, which a lot of Shueisha magazines do, including Jump. This is a fee they pay their artists and potential artists in exchange for the artist never drawing manga for any other magazine, and the reason you will see a lot of Jump manga advertised as “Jump is the only place you can read manga by Kishimoto-sensei!”
3. To be fair, the reverse is also true. If a manga artist wants to take their manuscript to another publisher to get a tankobon released, this is the artist’s right.
4. The “circulation” number of magazines that Japanese publishers use in their advertising is the number printed and circulated to bookstores, not sold. Since bookstores can return everything that didn’t sell, the actual sales might be as low as half the circulation.
5, Because of initial publishing costs.
6. Which most of them do.
7. Though it’s worth noting that the relationship of Japanese publishers, wholesalers, and bookstores does not follow the usual rules of a free market economy at all. For example, this relationship is why you never see bookstores mark down the prices on books the way you often do with English paperbacks (and also the reason some tankobon don’t sell as well as they might have – but that’s another complicated topic).
Sources: Manga Binbo by the artist of Black Jack ni yoroshiku is a great central resource for this type of information, but this is all things that have been discussed in a lot of different places. Another book I read recently which also mentioned details about manuscript prices is Satonaka Machiko’s Manga Nyumon. A book which goes into details about the costs of publishing and the structure of the Japanese publishing industry is Fukkan.com funsenki by Sadano Wataru.