Creative Manga/Comic Writing Contest

Creative “Visual Arts” Writing Contest

DemiCon 32 is trying something different with the writing contest this year. In keeping with our theme of celebrating the visual arts- entries this year will include visual elements to convey your story as well.

This is not an art contest

Not to worry if you don’t have any drawing talent. Entries are not going to be judged based on artistic ability. Rather entries will be judged on how well the visual elements are integrated and used to convey your concept. You can tell your story with pictures only or you may also include text or any combination as long as there is a strong visual component. 

You can submit visual elements made digitally or traditionally. Submissions may be created using any drawing tools or software. If you create your submission using traditional tools, please submit a digital scan of the artwork. (Paper submissions will not be accepted). 

Here are sample templates we are making available. You are not required to use the templates and may create your own layouts as long as you meet the minimum panel requirements for your submission category. 

Entries will not be made public until the results of the judging are announced.

The winning entries may be used in promotional materials for DemiCon and The Des Moines Science Fiction & Fantasy Society, Inc. 

Submission Guidelines

  • Submission deadline is April 15, 2021. 
  • A single applicant may submit multiple entries.
  • Collaborative works may be submitted. Any prize awarded to collaborative entries will be shared among the winners. Prize will be sent to the representative that submitted the entry.
  • Works are not eligible for submission or judging in the following cases:
    • If the work is not suitable for all ages.
    • Content that infringes on copyright or intellectual property.
    • Offensive or objectionable content.
    • Other: entries may be deemed inadmissible by ConCom. In such cases, the reasons for exclusion will be given.
  • Submissions should be emailed to 
    • Subject line: Writing Contest Submission
    • Body of email should include completed entry form
    • Entry should be as attachment as .PDF, .DOCX, .JPEG

Submission Form

You can copy, paste and complete the below information into your submission email.

Name (include all collaborator names):

Entry Classification: (Short Form or Long Form)

Entry Genre Category: (See categories below)

Entry Title:

Entry Classification & Category

There are two entry classifications:  Short Form and Long Form.  Also select an overall category of genre theme for your submission. If you select “Other” you will need to specify the genre in your submission as conveyance of the category theme is part of the Judging criteria.

Short Form

1 – 3 pages (3 – 18 panels)

Categories – Your choice of category will be used as part of the judging criteria as described below.

  • Fable
  • Funny
  • Haiku
  • Irony 
  • Super Hero Bio
  • Other (specify): ___________________

Long Form

8 -10 pages (24 or more panels)

Categories – Your choice of category will be used as part of the judging criteria as described below.

  • Action/Adventure
  • Comedy
  • Drama
  • Mystery 
  • Romance
  • Other (specify): ___________________________________

Judging Criteria

Your entry will be judged on the following points

Visual Elements – Integration of visual component to convey story/concept

Layout – including 

  • Page and layout flow. 
  • Scene transitions
  • Shape, size, and placement of panels to enhance story

Creativity – Including

  • Design style
  • Character elements
  • Background setting

Expressiveness – Including

  • Story articulation though visual element
  • Visual conveyance of submission category

Story Concept – Integration story telling elements to convey story concept in balance with visual elements

Originality –  Including

  • Innovative interpretation of concept
  • Unique story elements
  • Overall impression

Clarity and Plot – Including 

  • Plot development
  • Pacing
  • Authenticity 

Grammar & Dialogue (optional)

  • Appropriate use of grammar, punctuation and spelling
  • Style use including font styles, bold/italic/underline, sound effects, etc.
  • Suitable use of dialogue
  • Balance between text and visual elements that serves the story

Masquerade and Cosplay Competition

While we can’t completely shake our bias that “masquerades are a dish best served live”, that doesn’t mean that virtual masquerades can’t be a great showcase for costumers and their work. To that end, we’re expanding our call for costume entries beyond the usual “show off your stuff” (which we still totally want you to do, BTW), and added in some options for sharing parts of your work that audiences rarely or never get to see. To that end, we’re asking our attendees to submit their masterpieces in one or more of four ways:

1)    Classic Mainstage-Style Showcase. Have a costume that’s complete and ready to show off in its full glory? Send us photos or a short video of your work — on yourself, on a friend, on a sewing mannequin, or however you can! For photos, please submit shots from multiple angles, and even close ups of the details work if you like. Videos can be as simple as a few twirls for the camera, or as complex as a short (< 2 minutes) skit with narration and music. (NOTE: Because the videos will be posted on YouTube, please use copyright- or royalty-free music; if you do not have access to non-licensed music sources, let us know the vibe you’re going for, and we’ll add what you need from our library of infringement-free tunes.)

2)    Works in progress. Working on a project that isn’t finished yet… but still super-excited to start showing it off? Get some photos, or even a video, of the project as it stands now – or even a timeline of the costume as it progresses – and send it over with the details you want to share about what you’re doing, and how you’re doing it. It’ll be like the first 45 minutes of Project: Runway, with none of the unnecessary drama but all of the creative excitement!

3)    Concept Sketches. If you’re familiar with the famous Future Fashion Folio event at CostumeCon, then you’ll know exactly what we’re shooting for here. Send us your drawings of the costume you’d like to make (whether you can make them, or ever will, is irrelevant), and allow our viewers to be inspired by your fantastic imagination.

4)    Documentation Packets. Documentation packets can take as much work as the costumes themselves, and yet are rarely seen by anyone other than workmanship judges. An art form in-and-of themselves, we’re offering you the opportunity to share your documentation with a wider audience. Send in copies of a past or current costume project’s documentation (.pdf recommended; other standard formats acceptable), and we’ll include them on equal footing with other submissions.

Multiple submissions under the same heading by the same participant(s) are acceptable, and an entry can be presented in more than one of the above categories – for example, a work-in-progress, a completed costume showcase video, and a documentation packet for the same costume are allowed. Awards, if any, will be given based on the types and amount of submissions received.

The deadline for submissions is 16 April 2021, although a limited number of extensions may be granted; request an extension by writing to Please provide the details of your submission by filling out an entry form; forms are available by clicking here. A separate entry form is required for each submission; multiple costumes being presented together are considered a single submission – e.g., if you’ve created costumes for Wanda’s entire family from WandaVision that are included in a single video as an ensemble piece, that’s one submission under the “Mainstage” heading, and requires only one entry form. If you’re also providing the documentation packet for that ensemble, however, that’s a second entry form under the “Documentation” heading.

Please note that the DemiCon masquerade staff, at its sole discretion, reserves the right to refuse inclusion of any submitted materials deemed non-family friendly or otherwise objectionable.

Questions? Comments? Just want to chat about costumes? Write to, or visit our FaceBook page at

Sweded Movie Trailer Contest

These are your rules:

  1. Entries are to be in the style of movie trailers (not entire short movies), 1 minute to 3 minutes in length.
  2. Entries are to parody/mimic a trailer for a science fiction, fantasy, superhero, or horror movie. This is to be done without the use of professional costuming or special effects. The more low-budget, the better!!
  3. Sticking with the DC32 theme, your movie trailer has to have an element of this year’s convention theme (manga, graphic novel, comics, animation).
  4. All entries must be original work by the person(s) submitting the entry.
  5. Entries must meet the criteria for previews approved for General Audiences.
  6. Credits are not to be on the video entered. (This is a blind judging). When submitting entries, provide all credit information in an e-mail..
  7. If an entry wins a prize, the prize will go to all individuals identified as Entrants, so be sure to specify Entrants in addition to any credit information in the submission e-mail.
  8. A panel of local experts will judge the entries before DemiCon 32. Judging will be based on entertainment value, successful parody/homage to the movie’s genre, being low- (or no-) budget, and creativity. (E.g., does the trailer make a good “advertisement” for the movie?) Judges’ Choice and Fans’ Choice are to be awarded. (Fans’ Choice will be voted on during the showing at DemiCon 32.)
  9. A maximum of three entries per person/group is permitted. All entries must be made separately.
  10. Entries must be in MP4 format. Files are to be no larger than 500 MB.
  11. Entries will be shown at DemiCon 32, possibly on the DemiCon Channel.
  12. Deadline for entries is April 18, 2021 at 11:59 pm. A confirmation will be sent when the entry is received.
  13. Submit finished entries and any questions to Robert Uy at You may send a link to the file on Google Drive or Dropbox.

This video contest is about having fun, trying something new in an encouraging environment, and exploring creativity. In other words, no experience necessary! So get your cell phones charged up and start filming.

If you are not sure what a Sweded Movie Trailer is, “Be Kind Rewind” is a great movie to see for ideas. YouTube is also a good source for Sweded trailers. Good luck filmmakers!

Lip Sync Competition

In this fun and zany competition, you will supply all the voices for a short animated cartoon.  The actual voices have been mostly removed and replaced with blank audio and a subtitle.  Read the subtitle back in the rhythm and in a specific vocal style for each character.  The cartoon is a shorted form of the classic cartoon “Cheese Burglar” and you will be supplying the voices of the three main characters: Herman- the mouse (a savvy 40’s style street mouse), along with a House Cat and a House Dog.  The Cat and the Dog are friends and are trying to keep the mouse away from the cheese in the icebox.  Be forewarned,  this clip is PG13 and includes the social norms of the United States in the 40’s so there is some violence, drinking along with a bit of dark humor so Parental Guidance is suggested.

To enter the competition, download the cartoon from the Lip Sync folder on the DMSFFS Discord Server.    Play the cartoon back starting from the beginning of the clip on your computer and record yourself supplying the cartoon voices possibly with your phone.    Make sure and create three voices that are distinct from each other and also see if you can match the lip movement of the character to what you are saying.   It is actually a little tricky- especially with the vocalizations.  The subtitles will appear about 1/2 to 1/4 second before the start of the character’s next dialogue.   Be as whimsical with the character voices as you want as it is a cartoon after all.    You may want to practice a little before recording.   

Once you are through recording, upload your entry to the DMSFFS Discord Server in the Lip Sync folder with your name as the title of the file.    One entry per person.   Winners will be judged for characterization, cartoon style and ability to sync with the lips of the cartoon characters and will be announced near the end of DemiCon 32.  There may even be prizes or at least certificates or ribbons that you might be able to pick up at the next DemiCon.

Thanks for entering the Lip Sync Competition and have fun trying out your zany cartoon voices.