CLAMP is the name of the group of 5 female manga artist/producers who crank out many shojo (girls' comics) series a year, including Tokyo Babylon and Rayearth, an anime that will soon be broadcast here. They may be producing the most popular, best selling manga in Japan right now (X), but somehow I can't consider them "real" manga artists. I'm not saying they're bad - the preview for the animated X looked awesome - but that's just it: their work is totally made for anime, and is not suitable for manga. The angles and the succession of panels indicating movement are just SCREAMING "this is something you guys have to animate." That's not a TERRIBLE thing, but I consider their work in the same category as the class of manga that gets drawn after a hit OVA or TV series, like Tenchi, just to boost profit. I call it "groupie manga." It's all too unabashedly gratuitous! The girls are drawn with super-long hair that seem to float every time there's a close-up, the action is showy, and those 10-foot-long swords are overkill. The composition of the panels is only made to LOOK good.
Let me take X for an example, since I know that the best. Sure, the huge panels that take up the whole page and sentences that are printed one word per bubble spanning several pages are a joy to translate, but what does that do for story? It drags on for 7 volumes with not much "story" happening. The pace of the panels is one that is just right for anime - a tempo that is just dramatic enough when the panels are moving at 24 frames a second and each episode is 30 min. long (that's probably worth 3 volumes of X). The characters simply MEANDER through gratuitous situations that hardly go anywhere.
CLAMP do not convey their ideas well. Osamu Tezuka, the god of manga, may not have been visually impressive, but the scale of his stories were dynamic and monumental. They were true classics - rich and thought-provoking plots, unlike some passing fads. CLAMP should skip the manga part altogether and work on producing anime.