Showcase Your Manga Abilities: Manga as/in Essay

This is a call-out to all of you artists, writers, and scholars who believe in the power of manga to convey ideas, and want to spread this belief to others.

The Modern East Asia Research Centre at Leiden University is sponsoring a new series of competitions for the next five years, with the goal of exploring the creative and expressive power of manga.

The first project up is  “Manga as/in Essay,” wherein contributors will create graphic essays about the theme of “ox herding” as a metaphor for the path towards Enlightenment in Zen Buddhism. It’s a heady and perhaps difficult topic, but that’s part of the fun, and I think it’ll be quite  interesting to see what happens when the imaginations and ideas of thousands(?) of contributors are focused upon a single specific idea such as this.

For the most part, contributors are free to interpret the topic however they choose. One page or 50 pages, verbose or silent, all manners of writing and drawing styles are welcome.

Of course, this is a competition, and there will be prizes for the winners: 1000 Euros for 1st place, and 500 Euros apiece for 2nd and 3rd place. On top of that, the winners will be published in an academic journal. According to the promotional material, the criteria for winning is as follows:

-originality of expression
-power of expression
-style of expression
-quality of imagery
-overall effectiveness

So keep them in mind as you create your projects.

I’m going to link you the project page one more time because there is a lot of stuff to read about it and I don’t want anyone jumping into it only to realize they made some serious error. It also explains what exactly the “ox herding” thing is if you’re completely unfamiliar with it like I am.

The deadline is October 31st, 2010, so get cracking!