WHAT THE HELL IS WEBTOON
I am old!
There I said it!
I have seen media change throughout my life. However, it's not only the media that has changed, it is the way that we consume it. I mean I remember when videos came out. Not only that I saw music change from records and cassette tapes to CD and then it changed to MP3 and the current form of streaming.
Similarly, I watched as other things have moved to electronic forms, such as books and comics.
Now, when it comes to technology, I have always tried to embrace it and this has piqued my interest in web comics and books.
Recently, I have been intrigued by manga. Now I know Manga has been around for ages, however it is relatively new to me. I know of it, of course I do. I mean I have teenagers in the house, however I was aware of it prior to this, and have read of titles but in the scheme of things I haven't really read any.
I have always loved comics, and regularly read them electronically, but my comic reading tends to revolve around the western view of comics (even though it doesn't just centre around the regular superhero comics), and trying to find other things I stumbled across Webtoons.
Now, I suspect that most of you will know what Webtoons is, but me? Not a clue! So, I have been trying it out and finding out more about it.
For those that don't know, Webtoons is Manhwa, the Korean version of Manga. It's a little different to Manga in a number of ways. For one, it is predominantly electronic and instead of being read right to left like manga, you scroll down it making it perfect for smart phones. In fact, quite a lot of Webtoons are read on the trusty smart phone making them easy to read everywhere. The main way of reading Webtoons is through the Webtoons app (there are others out there, but this is the one that I am starting with)
The other thing that differentiates Manhwa from Manga is that unlike manga where the art style is monochrome, Manhwa also uses colour.
Now I did find some of the terminology a little hard to understand, especially when looking at information about Webtoons and Manhwa. It seems that the terms are interchangeable and goes back to Korea's financial history in which it's comic industry plummeted in the 2000's. In addition to this, the lifting of the ban on Japanese media in 1990's also affected the Korean Manhwa industry. As a result, the media was transferred to online media in the early 2000's where it gained more popularity, and with the advent of the smartphone, it has become the main way to consume Manhwa. In addition to this, the way that Manhwa functionally presents itself makes it perfect for the smartphone and it is easily consumable.
So, when I started reading Webtoons I noticed that there is a proliferation of romantic, slice of life type tales, which is not really my cup of tea. However, it didn't take me long to find out there were other genres like horror, sci Fi, and other things.
It's taken me a while to work shit out, but I think I have got my head round it a bit. The comics themselves are split into short 'episodes' which can be read in about five minutes. Some of the titles you can read all the episodes. However, others have the first ten episodes readily available, but then the rest are hidden by something called a 'daily pass'. What happens here is that you get 1 daily pass on every comic that you read. If you use it, you get another daily pass at 0300am on a daily basis so you can read the next episode.
The other thing about Webtoons is that it has non - Korean creators on there as well which I found interesting.
So what are the popular titles: (in no particular order)
First serialised in 2018, the 2022 & 2023 Eisner Winner for best web comic, Lore Olympus is a modern retelling of Hades and Persephone by New Zealand's Rachel Smythe. It is different from a number of the other Webtoons with its startling technicolour artwork.
Tower of God
Tower of God centers around a boy named Twenty-Fifth Bam.
When his friend Rachel enters a mysterious tower and Twenty - fifth Bam follows her into the Tower of God. "The Tower" is a mysterious structure that is completely enclosed and hosts many unique environments. The series has been running since 2010 and has also been turned into an anime show.
Running since 2018, True Beauty tells the story of a bullied girl Ju-kyung Lim, who learns the art of make up and this transfoms herself.
This is only a tiny, miniscule fraction of what is on there. I mean it's huge
You get the picture! There's loads of stuff. Some good! Some bad! Some just bleh!
That might be a bit harsh, just coz it's not my taste, do I I care? Nope!
The main bit I have found myself gravitating towards is the horror section. I haven't got to the fantasy/sci - fi bits yet to see what that's like, but I have found some titles in the horror bit that I quite like. The first one being one called
Which tells the story of an unnamed young man who wakes up on a beach. With no idea who or where he is, he comes across a mysterious bed and breakfast in the island that houses the creepiest family ever. Trying to piece together the mystery of who he is, where he is and why he is there, the story goes to some maddeningly crazy places.
Another one that I am enjoying is Nocturne
This is an anthology series of eerie monochromatic tales of what lurks in the dark.
And I have just started
Which so far is pretty good. It tells the tale of some teens who after searching for a place to hang out find themselves as the main dish of some horrific flesh eating monsters.
So far, it's quite good.
I was also surprised to find Aphrodite IX
Which is by Matt Hawkins, a veteran of the original Image comics launch and Stjepan Šejić, known for what I think is the best Harley Quinn comic, Harleen (amongst others).
So, that's it! I hope you enjoyed this little foray into what I know a lot people will know about already. But if you didn't know about it, I hope you found some use for it.