- Title: ALGERIA: Algiers hosts the International Festival of Comics of Algeria
- Date: 14th October 2013
- Summary: CLOSE OF COMIC BOOK FRONT COVER VARIOUS OF ILLUSTRATIONS IN COMIC BOOKS
- Embargoed: 29th October 2013 12:00
- Location: Algeria
- Country: Algeria
- Topics: Entertainment
- Reuters ID: LVACTJA6O6CIR9CQCN9AKIUCMC02
- Story Text: Where manga may once have felt distinctly Japanese or different, it is striding into the mainstream, taking over Europe and now building a strong fan base in the Arab world.
Algeria is just one of those countries that has embraced the style of the Japanese comic books known as manga, with the country launching the 6th International Festival of Comics of Algeria (FIBDA) on October 8.
The event held at the esplanade of Ryad El Feth in the capital, Algiers celebrates the works of Algerian illustrators producing original works that integrate Algerian culture and lifestyles in the narratives.
Manga comic artist, 26-year-old Said Sabaou, who pores over his illustrations in his living room, says he did not study art and began drawing as a hobby after becoming a fan of Japanese manga books like Dragon Ball Z as a young child. Sabaou says he was inspired to create his own series after encouragement from Algerian publisher Lazhari Labter.
"I have always wanted to create my own manga, since I was very young, and finally I got the opportunity to do it in 2010 when I met Lazhari Labter, an Algerian publisher who encouraged me to realise my own manga, so I launched my first manga named Mondiale."
Sabaou added that the comic books realised by Algerian artists must work as a cultural bridge to attract a wider fan-base.
"The Algerian manga should be a cultural bridge to Algerian culture, people will be interested specifically in unique Algerian things and elements and that's one of the most important things that would push us to improve the manga and go forward to compete with international comics."
Ali Bey, who sells books at a library in downtown Algiers, says comic books have a very niche fan-base that is mostly comprised of teenagers.
"These are the special shelves for manga and comic strips, both of national production, edited by Algerian editors and published by Algerian publishers, as well as foreign comic strips. As I said earlier they do not sell very, very well, but they are sold, it has its special audience; people who are interested in comic strips, especially young ones," said Ali Bey.
The international festival drew a young crowd on Wednesday (October 9), with comic fans lining up to meet their favourite illustrators.
The founder of Z-Link, the first manga publisher in Algeria, Salim Brahimi said there is a growing demand for locally made works, and the group is looking to expand its work.
"The Algerian manga is a new concept that we launched in 2007 with Z-link editions, its properties are inspired of the style that comes from this country of sun and wind, and we added an Algerian touch with the scripts of Algerian daily life and Algerian expressions, in French, in Arabic both in terms of dialect and academically and maybe soon in Tamazight (Berber language)," said Brahimi.
Brahimi added that Japan's Kyoto International Manga Museum took on several Algerian manga works for exhibitions and further studies for 2013.
One fan who approached Sabaou to sign her comic said she adored the characters he created.
"I read the first part of (Houma fighter) and I liked it, I even adored it and now I am buying the second part, and I wish a good continuation to this Algerian manga, and to all the Algerian manga," said 16-year-old comic fan Rahma.
A series of activities were set up as part of the four-day festival, including exhibitions, workshops and signings by illustrators of both Algerian and foreign books.
The annual festival which works to promote the comic book industry in Algeriaon Saturday (October 12).
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