The winners for the 3rd annual Morning International Manga Competition were announced recently and the top two slots were awarded to artists from Taiwan. The grand prize was awarded to Huang Chun-Chang, for his convenience store comedy, Poor Knight (pictured below), while second place was claimed by Lin for Shinigami (death god), a "heartwarming" story, "depicting the interaction between a girl and a Shinigami (grim reaper) who wishes to become an angel."
The Morning editors' choice of the winners wasn't controversial so much as what they had to say about the quality (or lack thereof) of the entries they received from all over the world. Their assessment of the situation was blunt, and boiled down to this: International manga artists, don't send us more of what you think manga is. To the editors and judges of M.I.M.C., manga means "comics." They were fairly dismissive of the entries that "focused on bishojo, giant robots, ninja and the like," that left a "very narrow impression of 'manga' style."
In an attempt to counter the perceived notion that M.I.M.C. is only looking for "manga" type work and attract a broader array of comics talent and stories, the organizers of this competition have decided to change the name to the Morning International Comic Competition. According to the M.I.C.C. contest page, they're now welcoming all kinds of comics, from amateurs and professionals alike: "Besides manga, we accept all types of comics, including superhero comics, cartoons, and bandes dessinees and so on."
The newly christened M.I.C.C. is now accepting entries. You can find out more about the requirements on their recently updated contest page. The grand prize is $5,000 and includes publication in either Morning or Morning 2 magazine in Japan. Deadline for entries is December 31, 2009.
But before you take on this challenge, take note of the critiques served up by the judges of M.I.M.C. 3 and steel yourself for some of their take-no-prisoners comments, such as:
- "This story should be familiar to most readers, as it lacks originality."
- "We also felt that overall mood stemmed from vague and stiff facial expressions on the characters."
- "The first chapter may currently be too confusing to keep readers' interest."
So comics artists of the world, you are now officially put on notice: Step up your game, broaden your ideas of what you think "manga" is, and put your pens to paper to enter M.I.C.C. 4. We'll see if this name change will improve the level of competition... and who knows? Maybe a superhero comic will take next year's top prize.
Image credit: © Huang Chun-Chang