Other Stories

Korean Webcomics to the World Updated: 2011-10-04 00:00:00 KST

The thriller "Moss,"

"Late Blossom,"

"Hello Schoolgirl," and

"BABO" [바보]

all have something in common. They are based on webtoons, or Korean webcomics.

Kang Full, Cartoonist

Webtoon stories have shown so much potential that a work in progress by Kang Full [강풀], Korea's most renowned webtoon cartoonist, was immediately snapped up for a feature film.

[Interview : Park Seok-hwan, Critic] "Online comics became popular as more homes got Internet connections and people started uploading their own comics. These comics are called "webtoons" as it is a combination of the words "website" and "cartoon.""

Ever since Korea's major portal sites have begun to offer webtoons for free, their popularity has been skyrocketing.

[Interview : Kwon Yi-hyeon, Seoul resident ] "I like the "Lee Mal-nyeon Series," by Lee Mal-nyeon."

[Interview : Kim Seong-jun, Resident of Seoul] "I read Son Jae-ho's "Noblesse" and Ha Il-kwon's "God of Baths.""

Currently, webtoons based on everyday life are the most popular in Korea.

There are webtoons based on something we all have tried at one point in our lives,

and there are webtoons that explain technical subjects in an easy-to-understand manner.

Webtoons based on a simple joke are quite popular among younger readers.

And there is one webtoon that gained fame overnight. It is "The Ghost of Oksu Station," which takes place in the subway station of the same name in Seoul.

[Interview : Lee Seul-gi, Seoul resident] "It was so scary. I was constantly jumping."

The scene that caught people off-guard the most was that of a hand suddenly popping out!

People from around the world shared reaction video clips from reading "The Ghost of Oksu Station".

[Interview : Park Seok-hwan, Critic] "Foreigners who first read webtoons to learn Korean language become interested in the webtoons themselves and find them on Korean portal sites. That's how recent series like "The Ghost of Bongcheon-dong" became such a hit."

The next day after a webtoon episode is uploaded, American comic sites upload English translations, showing the growing global interest in Korean webtoons.

K-toon becomes popular in England, France and the United States

Moreover, a movie based on a webtoon by Ha Il-kwon [하일권] is being planned overseas.

Ha has signed a contract with a British movie production team to turn his webcomic "Three-Part Transformation, Kim Chang-nam" [김창남] into a movie.

[Interview : Ha Il-kwon, Webtoon artist] "My work "Three-Part Transformation, Kim Chang-nam" is filled with universal emotions. I believe that everyone around the world can relate to that."

Ha made his debut in 2006 with the webtoon "Sambong Barber Shop" to great success. What do webtoons mean to him[Interview : Ha Il-kwon, Webtoon artist] "It isn't easy for a reader to give any feedback to the artist. However, both the readers and artists can have a close relationship since anyone can leave comments on the webpage."

Korean webtoons can now be seen all over the world!

The Korea Manhwa [만화] Contents Agency is one of many institutions that work to spread webtoons around the world. Its biggest success was propelling an animated series based on a webtoon.

[Interview : Choi Won-hyeok, Assistant subsection chief
Korea Manhwa Contents Agency] "We are supporting the spread of Korean webtoons around the world, and we are also helping artists and others get better results from their work."

Two webtoons were chosen to be adapted as an animated film by popular vote and expert judging.

"Miho's Story" is a popular webtoon that featured an ink-and-wash painting style.

The animated series kept the original story of a battle between the mythical nine-tailed fox and a goblin, and gained many young viewers with its appealing artistic style.

[Interview : Choi Won-hyeok, Assistant subsection chief
Korea Manhwa Contents Agency] "Transforming webtoons into animated features can result in a series, which eventually can be transformed into movies or TV dramas."

The agency fosters upcoming artists and provides them with financial support. The combination of the artists' creativity and the solid backing from the government results in a win-win situation for everyone.

[Interview : Kim Min-gyeom, Cartoonist] "Webtoons can be the new Hallyu."

[Interview : Lee Yeong-seok, Cartoonist] "I feel that webtoons can spread into other media forms like movies or games."

The agency is also working to maintain comic book publications afloat despite the growing popularity of webtoons.

At the same time, webtoon artists are also working on their own to further develop their work. This company in Seoul is a management agency that was founded to promote webtoons.

[Interview : Hong Jong-min, CEO
Nulook Media] "We are making sure that anything made by the cartoonists can be further used as movies or dramas."

They, along with webtoon artists, are working to make webtoons even more appealing. It is thanks to this common goal that Korean webtoons have a bright future.

[Interview : Hong Jong-min, CEO
Nulook Media] "Korean webtoons cover a variety of themes, from day-to-day lives to mystery stories. Therefore, webtoons can be exported without modifications, and any reader will be able to understand them."

Korean webtoons will never stop developing as they adapt to changing times and to global audiences.


Daniel showed me the Ghost of Oksu Station but since it was after I heard all these screams and yelps from other people as they were watching it before me it didn't have too much of a shock.
Oooh I can't bring myself to look at it.
These webtoons are so vivid with the power of the computer.
It's great that it's so easily accessible.
Maybe. Sounds scary for me.
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