While TOKYOPOP has been making waves with it's "100% Authentic Manga" line of graphic novels, it is the company's new initiative that it hopes will turn even more heads in coming weeks. As of last week, August 15th to be specific, and running through December 16th of 2002, TOKYOPOP has launched the Rising Stars of Manga ™ Talent Competition, which will allow U.S. artists the chance to submit their original stories for publication or the chance to win a cash prize. CBR News spoke with TOKYOPOP's Marketing Manager Kristien Brada-Thompson who explained some of the different aspects of the competition.
"The TOKYOPOP Rising Stars of Manga™ Competition was created to give aspiring U.S. manga artists the chance to really do something with their work… and possibly even be published," explained Thompson. "During the past several years, TOKYOPOP has been flooded daily with requests from those hoping to get their manga creations recognized. We have realized that there is an enormous amount of American talent out there just waiting to be tapped, and we hope to be responsible for perhaps finding the next great manga star."
TOKYOPOP will be putting a lot of money and effort into making this a competition that is worth entering as the prizes range from $2,500 and a chance to pitch a full-length manga series to high-level execs at TOKYOPOP (grand prize) to a second place prize of $1000. Furthermore, there will be eight runner-ups earning $500 cash prizes and all ten prizewinners may be published in a TOKYOPOP manga anthology tentatively set for release in 2003. "The official rules and regulations are now posted on the TOKYOPOP website at http://www.tokyopop.com/news/mangatalent/index.php. These pages include nearly everything you could possibly want to know about the contest, along with the Entry Form and some helpful tips."
It is Thompson's belief, and that of TOKYOPOP as well, that this competition is a unique event in the comic industry today. "For one, there has never really been a forum for American manga artists seeking recognition. TOKYOPOP is going to change that with this contest. Secondly, this may be the opportunity of a lifetime for some lucky winners. TOKYOPOP hopes to discover some amazing untapped talent and possibly create the next big star(s) in manga."
It may seem odd to some that a company as large as TOKYOPOP is embarking upon a talent search as arduous as explained above, but Thompson explains that it all comes back to the company's commitment to finding the best talent to create the best product for the fans. "Since manga publishing makes up the core of TOKYOPOP's business, the TOKYOPOP Rising Stars of Manga™ Competition was a natural fit. Not only are we discovering new talent resources, but we are also generating further brand awareness for TOKYOPOP throughout the United States."