Nguyen Quang Huy has been waiting for 10 years for the return of his favourite comic, entitled Long Than Tuong (The Dragon General).
Holding the book in his hands, Huy said he hasn’t been so eager to read a comic, especially a Vietnamese comic, for a long time, as he had got used to reading Japanese and Korean comics.
The first of five volumes of Long Than Tuong was released in Ha Noi and HCM City last weekend. It must have come up to readers’ expectations as they are sponsoring the book’s production and distribution.
The crowd-funded book is a historical story, with some fictional details, about a young man named Long (Dragon) who lived during the reign of the Tran Dynasty (1225-1400), when the country was facing the second Mongolian invasion. This period saw one of the most heroic chapters scripted in the nation’s history.
Long’s mission is to help the court fight the invaders. He is granted some magical powers and trained to complete the mission. The authors wanted to give readers a peek into the history of resistance in the country, and the glorious victories won against invaders.
Part of the comic was printed 10 years ago and was welcomed by readers, but unfortunately, the book’s continuation was interrupted.
The authors of the book, including painters Nguyen Thanh Phong and Nguyen My Anh, and playwright Nguyen Khanh Duong, then asked the readers to make financial contributions to help the book’s publication.
Along with the comic book, the readers will receive a poster, a handwritten letter of thanks from the authors and other souvenirs, depending on how much money they donate.
The authors started the crowd-funding project in April, hoping to raise VND300 million (US$ 14,280). In two months, they received VND330 million.
This is the first crowd-funded comic to be published in Viet Nam.
Painter Nguyen Thanh Phong, the initiator of the project, said that they hope the readers will help them to bring out a high-quality product, not only by contributing money, but also ideas that can be incorporated.
Researcher Tran Quang Duc helped the authors to decide the attire and pictures of the book’s characters. Duc, 29, is the youngest scholar on Vietnamese costumes, and published the book, Ngan Nam Ao Mu (A Study of Costumes in 1,000 Years) last year.
The fact is that Vietnamese readers don’t have many historical stories to read. And the comic market is dominated by Japanese and South Korean authors. So the project to make a comic series featuring Vietnamese history has received favourable response and encouragement from the public, said Duong.
They have so far sold 2,000 copies of the book.