I cannot begin to properly estimate the amount of times I have tried to explain the beauty of certain manga to other individuals, only for them to stare at me blankly and reply with a statement such as, "Oh, so you like comic books." -- surely, while I suppose the most generalized comparison of manga for some people are "comic books", I've never thought of manga in this way. In fact, more personally, I've always thought of manga more as an art form.
Some individuals will become very offended if you refer to manga as an art form around them. Since so many manga series eventually become anime, people tend to think of them just as "cartoons" and then generalize them again into some sort of childish element that doesn't merit respect. However, I feel that this truly isn't the case. When I think about the amount of manga series available out there that have the most stunning and gorgeous artwork on almost every page, it's shocking to me how anyone cannot see the art that is incorporated into each release.
Often times, the artwork that is seen in manga is what really drives me to become interested in a new series. The two main factors that I am always searching for are a great storyline and unforgettable artwork. For example, Kaori Yuki has a very recognizable style and so many of her drawings within manga can truly be considered art in my opinion. There are so many others that I would also consider to be artists because of the artwork that they contribute to manga. It remains beyond my understanding how anyone can look at the drawings and creations of these individuals and not realize that manga is a form of art.