Lezhin Comics, South Korea’s largest online webtoon publisher, announced its plan to hold an international comics contest. Total of 150 million KRW will be awarded to the winners, along with publication opportunity in both South Korean and Japan.
Through this opportunity, Lezhin Comics hopes to discover talented rookie webtoonists from South Korea, Japan, China, and few English-speaking countries. The contest will also be a chance for the Korean public to get acquainted to cartoons from overseas countries. Lezhin also promises to honor its proposed prizes, as some contests in the past have often concluded with no winners, leaving reward-seeking participants much to their dismay.
Sponsors include Korea-based tablet manufacturer Wacom, comic software developer Xelcis, NCsoft who recently funded Lezhin, and entertainment agency Fantagio which has recently signed a joint venture agreement with Lezhin. Contestants can submit unreleased, commercial work of any genre or form, with the minimum of sixteen cartoon pages or eighty cuts of webtoon. Applications will be accepted starting on September 17th through December 17th. Entries can be submitted to the official email at email@example.com. Winners will be announced in January 2015.
The grand prize will be $100,000, 2nd place $20,000, and 3rd place $3,000. However the greatest reward perhaps for the artists is to have their work published simultaneously in South Korea and Japan. Visualization and video game production based on the selected works is also under consideration. Film production of selected works will be reviewed by Fantagio the star actor Ha Jeong-woo’s home entertainment management company.
The contest will be a dream-come-true opportunity for many amateur cartoonists. As Lezhin plans to expand its reach to Japan, it will launch service in the country on the day the results are announced.
“We are planning to enter the Japanese market first since it’s the biggest comic book market in the world. It is bigger than the markets of the United States, France and the UK combined,” said Kwon Jeong-hyuk, the CTO at Lezhin Comics. “We have already translated thirty South Korean webtoons in Japanese,” Kwon said.
Tapas Media (CTP Chang-won Kim), one of Lezhin’s competitors, has already launched its North America service in October 2012. Tapastic now stands shoulder to shoulder with DC Comics and Marvel, recognized as one of the largest comic services in North America. Tapastic features around 2,200 cartoonists with more than 2,400 works, including sixty South Korean translated webtoons. Many have received positive reviews by North American readers.
Providing paid premium webtoon services since June 2013, Lezhin was awarded the grand prize at Global K-Startup Entrepreneurship Incubation Program sponsored by South Korea Ministry of Science and Technology. With $5 million in investment funds from NCsoft and strategic partnerships with CJ E&M and Fantagio, Lezhin has made considerable progress in producing spinoff games and films from its published webtoons.
–Inspired by Platum