MDA launches graphic novels under First Time Writers and Illustrators Publishing Initiative

By ANIMATION XPRES... | 3 September, 2009 - 12:32

New Scheme IGNITE to further the creation of Singapore comics

The Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA) recently announced the launch of eight locally-produced graphic novels by first-time creators.

Supported under the First Time Writers and Illustrators Publishing Initiative (FTWIPI) to help local authors get their maiden works published, the graphic novels cover a range of genres from science fiction to fantasy to action adventure.

An initiative by MDA in collaboration with Chuang Yi Publishing to nurture talents in the publishing industry, the FTWIPI (Comic and Graphic Novel) provides support of $8,000 to each successful applicant. The recipients were given the opportunity to embark on a mentorship programme with Chuang Yi Publishing to produce the graphic novels. Along the way, they picked up technical know how such as writing, inking, pencilling, colouring and layout, as well as gained rare insights into the business and operational aspects of the comic publishing industry. The graphic novels can be purchased directly from Chuang Yi Publishing, as well as from major book outlets such as Times, Kinokuniya and Big Bookshop.

The eight graphic novelists join a growing list of local writers and illustrators supported by the FTWIPI since its inception in 2005. Since then, MDA has helped support the publication of 53 new works by first time writers.

Kenneth Tan, Director of Film, Animation and Publishing, commented that MDA wants to encourage the creation of new content from talented local graphic novelists and put Singapore's publishing sector on the world stage.

"There are many publishing talents in Singapore waiting to be uncovered. Through
FTWIPI, we are able to help discover these hidden talents and help develop their ideas into viable intellectual properties exportable to both local and international markets," he said.

Moving ahead, MDA has partnered the Association of Comic Artists (Singapore) (ACAS) this year to introduce the Inaugural Graphic Novel Initiative (IGNITE!) which will develop talents and original works for the Singapore comic scene. IGNITE! is the latest initiative launched under FTWIPI.

Under IGNITE, 10 different teams, each consisting of writers and illustrators, will be provided $5,000 each to create their maiden comic books short stories. The teams will spend the next two months working with mentors from ACAS to create ten 24 page comics to be published into two 144-page anthologies, scheduled to be launched at the Singapore Writers Festival later this year.

"The aim of IGNITE! is to generate a creative dialogue among fans, budding writers, artists, published writers and artists, and publishers/sponsors, in order to support and develop the Singapore comic scene to an internationally comparable level. IGNITE! is also a platform for Singapore talents to create original intellectual property that can travel across multiple media platforms," said Mr Jerry Hinds, President of ACAS.

In recent years, comics and graphic novels have gained tremendous popularity in Singapore and around the world. With the success of Hollywood movies based on comics and the influx of Japanese Manga, comics' sales have boosted and opened the market to an international demographic. Singapore companies which have made headway into this area include Storm Lion, Imaginary Friends Studios and TCZ Studio.