I remember before I got into blogging that Morning, which is a Japanese Seinen magazine from Kodansha, had a competition called Morning International Comic Competition, which would find talent from all over the world that could draw Morning type manga.
From one of the translators of the contest who answered the question of what happened to it:
As someone who was involved with that to an extent (as one of their translators), the contest is no longer being held.
And as you might have figured out, the one who answered that question is Ed Chavez, who’s a pretty important guy in the industry I reckon. I remember the contest being such a big deal before and to an extent when I did get into blogging. Then around 2012 I didn’t even think about it. That makes sense, since Morning never announced it.
But ok, enough about that. Why isn’t the competition happening again:
Knowing many of the judges and many of the people from MORNING personally, it was a tough decision for them but the results that came from the project while improving were not ideal for collecting talents that would be successful in Japan AND work for a unique seinen magazine like MORNING.
In other words, after running it for 5 years and seeing all the submissions, there was a general trend for stuff in the shounen/shoujo vein, and not nearly enough running in the Morning vein. Well, maybe, though the point is there’s a target audience for Morning and very few could fit that target audience. (For knowledge, the magazine ran stuff like Drops of God, Peepo Choo, Giant Killing, Saint Young Men). My guess is there may be more than just this particular reason, but I’m not here to go over that. Maybe someone else can do that, or maybe explain why these types of competitions aren’t so good or…something.
I’m here to talk about the winners of the competition. Because this contest had been running for 5 years. There were 5 winners. What has happened to those 5 winners since they’ve won? Well here you go:
1st M.I.M.C Winner (2008)
Kage no Matsuri: Rem (Artist), Bikkuri (Story)
The winner of the first competition was Rem (Priscilla Hamby) and Bikkuri (Clint Bickham), a tag team that worked on Kage no Matsuri (Festival of Shadows), which was notable for having no dialogue (among just being a good work). This happened in 2007. Since then? Rem had been working on an OEL with Ellen Schreiber called Vampire Kisses for Tokyopop. She then started working for Yen Press on Soulless, based off of the novel by Gail Carriger. So all in all, it seems Rem has done quite well for herself.
Bikkuri, since then, worked on Domo, and has been working in the anime industry as a script writer (worked on anime like Air Gear, Level E, One Piece: Strong World) and a voice actor (Haru from Tsuritama, Yuya Mochizuki from Another). If he’s not doing any of those things, he’s contributing in some manner or form on anime projects (like on Girls und Panzer and NakaImo).
2nd M.I.M.C Winner (2009)
Fairy Tale: Meng-Lin Yu
Second competition was won by Taiwanese artist Meng-Lin Yu on Fairy Tale, a story involving people that lost something and embark on a journey. Unfortunately, I did not have much success finding any information on what has happened to this particular artist. Google, Bing, nor Yahoo really helped me out here. So don’t know if Meng’s working as an illustrator somewhere or what. Maybe it’d be easier to find if I searched on her Taiwanese name, but that would mean trying to understand something that I don’t. That’s not too good.
So unless someone tells me what Meng’s up to, we’ll say that the competition may not have led to greater success since.
3rd M.I.M.C Winner (2010)
Poor Knight: Huang Chun-Chang
This might have been the competition that may have started the downfall of it all, since aside from the top two, apparently the quality gap was very large, and not in a positive way (and that’s when they changed it to comic instead of manga). But that’s just speculation. Anyways, the winner was again Taiwanese, and you can pretty much repeat what I wrote about Meng and apply it here, as I couldn’t find anything on Huang. Well, I knew searching for these wouldn’t be easy, but I’d like to think they’d be a bit more known at this point, no? Well whatever the case, unless someone has info that I don’t have, will assume not much success since winning.
4th M.I.C.C Winner (2011)
The Unreberating Echo: Kim DaeJin
This one’s VERY unconfirmed, as in, I can’t actually confirm if this is the case or not. I don’t know if they are 100% the same artists or not. Just getting that out of the way, since I did find a profile with an artist of the same name. As the profile states, he’s actually worked a good amount of comics, and worked on Remington, which was published in Europe.
Aside from that flimsy narrative? He’s a part of the Buncheon Manga (though I guess it should be Manhwa?) Production Studio, which I thought I’d find fairly easily by searching, but instead I get a bunch of nothing, whether it’s on Google, Yahoo, or Bing. That kind of sucks. The closest thing I guess I could find was this story about a Comic Convention BICOF, where tons of people went to. The mention of the studio was closer to the end. Aside from that? Not much else that’s completely reliable.
5th M.I.C.C Winner (2012)
Demi-Human Symbiosis: Ya Shen
So this is all I could find about Ya Shen. No, really, that’s it. Ok, I could have taken the same type of story from ANN or About.com, etc, but whatever the case, that’s all I could find really. Aside from that, not much else. So you can essentially apply all of the thoughts I said about Meng and Huang and apply it here.
Again, they may just be doing something in this field, just not working for the industry, but if I’m not mistaken:
not ideal for collecting talents that would be successful in Japan AND work for a unique seinen magazine like MORNING.
Something tells me they’re not just able to work in Japan, for one reason or another. But how come from this point, we haven’t exactly heard from most of these artists since? Well, that above reason may have been the case. Maybe the artists just found other things that take their time. Of course breaking into the comic industry, in any shape or fashion, is not easy. But it’s unfortunate that the competition doesn’t seem to have helped everyone, and it hasn’t helped Kodansha’s Morning magazine. And now they’re just done.
Now, I framed the narrative that in the end, the artists (aside from Rem and Bikkuri) haven’t gained much traction since they won the competition. Well, who knows…the artists that didn’t win may have managed to advance their careers since then. But maybe someone else will be courageous enough to find that out. I’ll just end that it does suck the competition is over.
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