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The Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs has announced the winners of its seventh International Manga Award, a competition established in 2007 to encourage non-Japanese artists working in the manga style. In case you think the manga bubble has burst, consider that there were 256 entries from 53 countries this year, up from 245 entries for the 2013 contest.
The top winner was Bokbig, by Thai artist Prema Jatukanyaprateep, but the name that caught my eye is George Alexopoulos, who won the Silver Award for Paris. He’s been making comics and publishing them online since 2005, and his Go With Grace was one of the original Tokyopop OEL manga. You can read the first 28 pages of Paris on Alexopoulos’ website, and the whole book is available in print-on-demand format. It would be nice to be able to buy the whole book digitally, either via direct download or comiXology Submit. (Here’s an interview and some samples of his work, if you want to see more.)
Anyway, the list of winners is a good reminder that the manga market remains strong in Asia and Europe; the three top countries submitting entries were Thailand, Taiwan and Indonesia, and there were winners from Belgium and Spain as well.
Legal | The final chapter of The Oatmeal vs. Charles Carreon has been completed (we hope), and it’s not a shining moment for Carreon: A judge has ordered him to pay $46,000 in attorney’s fees to the creator of a Satirical Charles Carreon website, whom he threatened with legal action. Carreon eventually dropped his suit, but the whole dispute escalated anyway, and the judge cited his “malicious conduct” in awarding the fees. [Ars Technica]
Digital comics | Amazon has quietly launched Kindle Comic Creator, which allows creators to upload various types of files and make them into e-books to be sold in the Kindle store; the software has its own system for creating panel-by-panel view, and the finished product can be read on a wide variety of Kindles and Kindle apps. [Good E-Reader]
I Kill Giants, the 2008 miniseries by Joe Kelly and J.M. Ken Niimura, has won the top prize in the fifth International Manga Award competition, established by Japan’s Foreign Ministry to honor comics produced abroad. It’s the first American comic to win the honor, characterized as “the Nobel Prize of manga.”
Originally published by Image Comics, I Kill Giants is a coming-of-age tale that follows a troubled fifth-grader who retreats into a fantasy world where she battles monsters both real and imagined.
According to The Mainichi Daily News, the ministry received 145 entries from 30 countries and territories, including 38 from Thailand, 21 from Malaysia and 16 from China. Silver awards went to Pan Liping from China, Cory from Taiwan and Tanis Werasakwong from Thailand.
The winners will receive their awards Friday during a ceremony in Tokyo, part of a 10-day stay during which they’ll meet with Japanese cartoonists and publishers, and visit the Tohoku region, which was hit hard last spring by the earthquake and tsunami.