A Spanish publisher has bought the rights to translate Long Than Tuong (Holy Dragon Imperator), a series of fictionalized historical comics by young Vietnamese artists, into Spanish for their publication in Spain.
The news was announced by Nguyen Khanh Duong, the author of Long Than Tuong and co-founder of online Vietnamese comic alliance Comicola.
According to Duong, a representative from the Spanish publisher, Amok Books, had shown interest in the comic series while touring Southeast Asia on the search for rising comic talents.
Prior to arriving in Vietnam, Enrique Larrea had already signed a deal to buy the translation and publishing rights to a comic by Singaporean artist Sonny Liew, whohad won three prestigious Eisner Awards for his work, Duong said.
The Eisner Awards, or Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, are given for creative achievement in American comics, and are often referred to as the Oscars of the comic industry.
“Six months ago, Enrique Larrea visited the Dinh Le book street in Hanoi and asked book sellers for their best-selling Vietnamese comic book,” Duong said.
“After consistently being handed the first volume of Long Than Tuong, he decided to contact us for the English version of the comic to read.”
Impressed by the comic’s artistic style and storylines, and convinced that it would be a hit in Spain, the Amok representative wasted no time initiating negotiations to acquire translation and publication rights to the comic in Spain, Duong recalled.
|The English cover of Long Than Tuong (R) is displayed on the homepage of Spanish publishing house Amok Books in this screen capture.|
“Confident as we are of our work, we were at first anxious about whether such a Vietnamese story would appeal to international readers,” Duong admitted.
“But after getting positive reactions from Larrea as well as from the Japanese and American markets where Long Than Tuong has also been well received, we are truly thrilled.”
Duong said he did not expect the comic to become a best-seller in Spain, but said it was a joy in itself to see a product of Vietnamese culture being introduced to Spanish readers.
Long Than Tuong, translated into English as Holy Dragon Imperator, is a series of fictionalized historical stories about a young 13th-century Vietnamese man, Long, and his adventures in helping to defend Vietnam against the Mongol Empire.
Drawn by young Vietnamese artists Thanh Phong and My Anh with storylines written by Duong, the first volume of the comic was released in November 2014 thanks to financial support from a crowd-funding project on Comicola.
Last February, Long Than Tuong was honored with a silver prize at the 9th International Manga Award in Japan.
According to Duong, his team intends to finish translating the comic into English in 2018 in order to be published and sold to foreign visitors to Vietnam as well as exported to other international markets.