Finalists for the 5th Morning International Comic Competition
In its 5th installment, Morning's International Comics Competition was truly global. In terms of quality and quantity it exceeded the previous one. Furthermore, within this group of submissions there were many professionals among them. Given its works and readers, Japan is included within the comics' market, but we have now come to consider and realize that this is the case globally, through the affection of so many people.
As members of the manga industry, we are very pleased with this situation and wish to express our appreciation. As those who have shown interest in this contest have known, Japan's comic market extends to men and women, young and old, and is filled with a range of genres. And within that world, we as publishers of Morning and Morning 2 are a seinen manga magazine for men. While the majority of our readers tend to be white-collar males, a unique characteristic we have is a sizable female readership. Within our editorial department there are several editors who have experience from the shonen and shojo manga realms, as well as novels and journalism. So basically, Morning has an editorial staff that can position itself in many ways within comics for adults.
For this competition the idea of seinen comics for marketing purposes was entirely excluded as we decided to seek out and value budding-talent and ability. Meanwhile, we are too accustomed to marketing genres, and it is sometimes very difficult for us to exclude genre when we read comics. Therefore, we want the public to understand that this competition doesn't represent the entire "Japanese manga market.”
In this installment the main impressions I took from it were, first, the wide range of nations that participated, and then, the polarity of genre. Up to this point it was clear that East Asian cultures such as Korea, China and Taiwan had an established manga culture. Meanwhile, North America has a fertile source for superhero comics; in contrast, we can apply the artistic prowess found in bandes dessinees to France and Italy. In this edition, more than previous ones, we are able to see an increasing number of works from rarely seen locales such as Russia, Eastern Europe, South America, and the Middle East and that greatly influenced our initial judging.
While we have had the competition five times, it has now come to be known to many areas in the world. It has been a privilege to receive submissions from many places where Japanese comics are not widely available. The splendid Second Prize winning Over the Rainbow by Manguinha hails from Brazil, and it is a full-color work with an impressive “pop” palette. Set in a not too distant future dystopian world it is packed with science-fiction, it also holds an anime and video game style, with character designs and modeling that exudes a fresh feel.
Then there is the problem of polarity. From the start, this competition has repeatedly pointed out that from a global perspective Japan's “manga” has consistently been viewed in people's minds as an image of shonen (boys) comics. (Incidentally, it is also often said that adults and females also read shonen works in large numbers.) This year was not an exception, as there was yet another increase in submissions that imitated a shonen style. For example, we received titles that were full of martial arts or where super-humans would fight battle after battle.
As many shonen manga admirers might feel they would also like to draw such works, it turns out that such tales lack originality with characters that act like robots and their reactions are predictable. But, (it is almost a chicken and egg question,isn’t it) the true essence of shonen manga is to show subtle elements of human nature, such as pride and ego, self-sacrifice, ethics and so on, through action and battles . To realize such, it is critical to bring life to every individual character. We ask participants to understand that it is more difficult to do so within a world of fantasy, often seen in shonen manga, than in a realistic world that can be seen around ourselves.
In addition, we are able to see many submissions which strikingly contrast with shonen manga style. These are the works where an individual's nightmares and suffering are drawn in an abstract literary style. The artists have flowing and beautiful artistic styles and it seems that some of them are already active as pros. We assume that these artists turned in their works because the Japanese manga market has the diversity in style. But, their submissions are very self-sufficient and don't communicate their messages well while the artists might think they can. As many have said, Japan's comics can be fiendishly popular works that bring pleasure, but they are not art collections for sale. It is a business that has come to exist where tens of thousands of people buy books for $5 to $10.
Among those submissions, the winner of this year's competition Demi-Human Symbiosis which a work fits a Japanese magazine. Demons and human co-exist in this fantastic work. Its creators worked with great effort to surprise readers and pose them such profound questions as what it means to be human. So as written, this work clearly from the start appears to aim to create what many readers may enjoy; a key factor in this winning award.
However, that is not the case. Instead, in this case, we the judges highly valued Ya Shen's ability to maintain composition and line-work, through their adept sense of characterization. Whether works come from the imitation of existing works or the self-serving vanguard, they were not valued as long as the works try to fit into existing genres too much. Instead of from genre, a creator's artistic technique is where we seek originality. It is worth a challenge to fascinate readers with ordinary characters in everyday life.
As mentioned above, we feel there is a limitation for our seinen manga magazine to discover a variety of talents that exist all over the world. Now in its 5th installment, we can deeply feel the international comic culture widen. So even as sponsors of the award, to further broaden our talent pool and grow our network, we have to consider plans to diversify our own policies.
Demi-human Symbiosis will be published in Japanese in the April 24th edition of Morning Two magazine. And both Demi-human Symbiosis and OVER THE RAINBOW will be published online in their original languages, English and Japanese beginning May 22, 2012. Please look forward to them. Finally, I would like to thank the many participants from the bottom of my heart.
≪Enredo≫ Na cidade-estado de Öröm que é cercada por um muro, o povo vive dentro do sistema de classes sociais, divida por cores. Os cidadões das cores “Indigo” e “Azul” se esforçam pra subir na classe dominate “Verde”. Eles têm medo dos homens de “Vermelho”que vivem fora do muro, chamado de "mundo selvagem", visto como terroristas. Uma funcionária da fábrica de doces Ötélia sofria por ter nascido da própria mãe, em vez de ser comprada. Um dia ela perde um dos braços tentando salvar seu gato das mãos dos policiais que o maltratavam, por consequencia eles lhe dão um braço postiço. Logo aparece em frente dela um homem de máscara que parece um terrorista de vermelho, perturbando a tropa da poliícia e a cidade com sua manipulação de espada que ninguém tinha visto.
≪Mensagem para leitores≫ É uma grande honra para mim como Ocidental ficar entre os finalistas de um concurso tão importante quando o MICC da Kodansha.
Agradeço a todos amigos que me deram força, a minha família, aos competidores, e a Morning pela oportunidade que dão aos estrangeiros. Espero que se divirtam com essa história que foi feita um pouco ás pressas, pois soube do consurso perto do fim do prazo, porém dei o meu melhor durante o tempo que tive para produzí-la.
Tentei fazer um roteiro com uma mensagem forte e diferente sobre a sociedade, mas que também não pregasse nenhum ideal e pudesse ser divertida ao leitor. Acredito que minha experiência de vida num país tão diferente como é o Brasil, por causa da cultura e dos quadrinhos que leio aqui, possam acrescentar muito na minha originalidade como desenhista e roterista.
≪Crítica≫ É uma história de “distopia”, o povo acredita que é feliz viver dentro de uma cidade controlada. A protagonista um dia fica na dúvida sem saber como, ela começa a lutar contra o governo. Nesta obra não vê o derrotismo nem algo doentio que esse gênero normalmente tem. As cores e os desenhos são pop, assim diretamente alcança leitores com a questão: “O que é felicidade?”. E tem um senso popular na escolha de “gadget” meio Ficção Científica como a técnica da manipulação de espada do homem de máscara e o braço postiço. Se fosse um monstro pavoroso, atraria certos fãs mas ao mesmo tempo limitaria o número de leitores. Essa historia em quadrinhos tem a possibilidade de atrair todas as pessoas sem distinção de idade nem de sexo. Em algums pontos a narrativa está corrida, mas o autor é bem potencial, se caprichar em todos os pontos, pode visar o próximo estágio.
"LITTLE BUT big"
e-ka / Indonesia
≪Judge’s Comment≫ Meskipun saya dapat memberikan nilai yang bagus untuk sentuhan artistik Anda yang mengingatkan saya pada manga cerita bela diri terkenal seperti "Shura no Mon" dan lainnya, saya merasa ceritanya sedikit terlalu biasa saja. Jika Anda mencoba menulis ceritanya menggunakan pendekatan langsung bahwa "Sang karakter kalah dalam pertarungan karena ia belum sarapan. Oleh karenanya, makan sarapan itu penting", maka sebenarnya ada beberapa cara yang dapat Anda gunakan untuk membuatnya menarik. Jika Anda mencoba menggunakan adegan tersebut sebagai semacam lelucon, ya, maaf saja, tapi saya pikir hal itu tidak begitu berhasil. Saya agak kecewa karena saya merasa tidak ada hal yang benar-benar baru dalam karya ini sebagai manga.
≪Judge’s Comment≫ A sad fate awaits this dove main character, and a boy grows from childhood to adolescence. Their remarks which overflowed with affection and their cruel conclusions were expressed in a very lyrical way. We wondered whether or not the world was beautiful from the eyes of the innocent flying in the sky. Next time, I would like to challenge the artist to create a more story-based comic, instead.
≪Judge’s Comment≫ This is a bombastic work presented with a careful and uncompromised touch, where life and emptiness face-off. The main character murmurs hopelessly, “neither Heaven nor Hell want my soul.” And as the story progresses the art gradually breaks down eventually emulating a cubist style before it reconstructs visually. It is quite impressive that the repeated images of destruction and rebirth appeared to express a cycle of life and death. What awaited the lead beyond the gates of Hell was another hopeless world called life. Such gruesome expressions may not be appreciated by the masses, but this an original example of rendering the depths of one's psyche.
Bayu Harditama / Indonesia
≪Judge’s Comment≫ Meskipun mungkin ada beberapa pembaca yang akan berpendapat bahwa beberapa bagian yang ditulis sebagai lelucon di sini lucu, saya sendiri berpikir leluconnya terasa agak biasa. Sepertinya si penulis hanya memasukkan hal-hal yang ia anggap lucu dan tidak benar-benar mempertimbangkan bagaimana pembaca akan bereaksi. Bahkan dalam adegan di mana sang karakter utama bertransformasi, yang memang membuat beberapa orang dalam komite seleksi kami tertawa, adegan itu muncul begitu tiba-tiba tanpa konteks sama sekali. Tidak ada penjelasan tentang mengapa sang karakter utama tiba-tiba harus melawan monster atau tentang apapun yang ada di dunia dalam manga ini, sehingga sepertinya manga ini ditulis tanpa memikirkan pembaca. Manga berperan sebagai manga karena pembacanya.