I Kill Giants, the 2008 miniseries by Joe Kelly and J.M. Ken Niimura, has won the top prize in the fifth International Manga Award competition, established by Japan's Foreign Ministry to honor comics produced abroad. It's the first American comic to win the honor, characterized as "the Nobel Prize of manga."
Originally published by Image Comics, I Kill Giants is a coming-of-age tale that follows a troubled fifth-grader who retreats into a fantasy world where she battles monsters both real and imagined.
According to The Mainichi Daily News, the ministry received 145 entries from 30 countries and territories, including 38 from Thailand, 21 from Malaysia and 16 from China. Silver awards went to Pan Liping from China, Cory from Taiwan and Tanis Werasakwong from Thailand.
The winners will receive their awards Friday during a ceremony in Tokyo, part of a 10-day stay during which they'll meet with Japanese cartoonists and publishers, and visit the Tohoku region, which was hit hard last spring by the earthquake and tsunami.