Korean filmmakers have recently become interested in the trend of creating dramas based on well-known comic books from their own country. The field of comics is gradually assuming the main role, not only in terms of cultural significance but also in terms of economic value.
If we are used to calling Japanese comics Manga, Korean comics are called Manhwa. Manhwa is collectively referred to as comics and cartoons. We will learn about the unique features of Manhwa.
The Korean Manhwa (aka Korean Webtoon) has the same origin as the Japanese Manga and the Chinese Manhua. While all three share a lot of things in common, they each go their separate ways in terms of themes, images, and narratives, to suit their own cultural and historical contexts. But the main style of Manhwa is similar to Manga. The difference of Manhwa can be seen in the way the plot is edited, the artist’s construction, and the periodical issues of the series. Manhwa has unique features compared to Manga such as:
1) The typeface in Manhwa is for school-age girls, and most of the Manhwa series translates into English, so it has a sharp edge, contrasting with subtlety.
2) How to read Manhwa from the left to right side of the book. It is also an important difference from Japanese Manga.
3) The Korean surname of the author or artist is usually written in a hyphen between the first and last name.
There are now many publishers specializing in Korean comics in English, and more and more. They don’t mind calling it Manhwa anymore. Through the Internet, periodical issues of a series are posted on the personal Web site of young Koreans, showing that young people are very interested in this field.
Korean Webtoons is popular with everyone from the bus stop or on the train. We can see images of people staring at their phone screens to read comics. When asked, one of them said that “comics help them relax and get away from the troubles from work and life.” In Korea, popular and hit dramas are all adapted from famous webtoons. Thanks to modern technology and increasingly popular social platforms, webtoon is more accessible to everyone.
Korean dramas draw inspiration from a variety of sources, and one of the main sources of inspiration for filmmakers is webtoons. This form of instant entertainment started in Korea in the early 2000s and spread to the world, among other forms of Korean culture.
Ernest Woo, product manager of Manytoon Comics, which provides Korean webtoon content in multiple languages, including Spanish, French, and English, said: “Half of the Korean population reads Webtoons or has an interest in it, which is a huge hit for the industry.”
One of Manytoon recent hits is the fantasy series, The Emperor’s Daughter, which tells about the challenges a king takes pride in taking care of his newborn daughter. There’s also Bloody Sweet, a fantasy romance between a wizard and a vampire, or more casual office romances like What’s Wrong With Miss Kim?
There is no way to predict which webtoon genre will take the throne shortly, but the Manhwa-Turn-drama genre is equally diverse such as Misaeng- office drama, The Scholar Who Walks The Night – vampire movies, and Flower Boy Next Door- romantic comedies.
There are a few reasons why webtoons have become such an inexhaustible source of inspiration for authors. The first is the inspirational format creation. Webtoons are the best choice for new authors who have innovative ideas but aren’t sure where to start. Webtoons can tell unique and strange stories because they have no bounds to their imagination. An intriguing narrative might serve as the basis for a TV show or film.
Kelvin – A founding member of Manycomic – who attended the first Global Webtoon Festival in Korea shared some interesting things about the Korean Webtoon. He said the Global Webtoon Festival is an event that aims to start world-class comic festivals. They do not hide their ambition to hold a Webtoon Festival of the same caliber as the Busan Film Festival events or the G-Star Game convention.
At this point, he couldn’t help but be overwhelmed by his country’s “awful” investment in comics. Artists are free to create their webtoon works (comics on the website, including animation and sound). Koreans are ready for the webtoon era. The mayor of Busan emphasized: Webtoon invented by Koreans will be the future of world comics, and Korea will lead this trend.
He was also surprised by a top Korean webtoon artist who can sell stories for millions of dollars a year – a figure far beyond other comic platforms.
Digital comics have become popular in Korea as the country ranks number one worldwide in terms of smartphone ownership and Internet usage. Therefore, the number of people reading the webtoon skyrocketed, bringing good revenue to the producers.
Naver Webtoon – a subsidiary of Naver, specializing in online comics announced plans to achieve global growth with sales of $ 600 million worldwide this year, leapfrogged into a general entertainment business similar to America’s Disney.
On the same day, the firm held a press conference to discuss its previous business success as well as its future strategy in the global entertainment sector.
Currently, Naver Webtoon is ranked first among more than 100 countries in terms of profitability in online comics on Google Play.
The company’s monthly global views reach 60 million, continuing strong growth in the US and Japanese markets.
In the second quarter of this year, thanks to the application of diverse profit models, such as selling paid content, advertising, and trading in intellectual property rights, the transaction value of premium content has increased by 81% from last year. This year, Naver Webtoon is forecast to reach $600 million in revenue globally.
Webtoon has a lot of strengths compared to traditional comics. In addition to rich content from romance, horror, action, …, webtoon is also elaborate in terms of images, meticulously colored, and especially they are formatted suitably for reading on smartphone devices with just swiping across the screen.
The most important reason for the attraction of this comic genre is convenience. Wherever you are, as long as you have an Internet-connected device, you can enjoy Webtoon.
The majority of Webtoons are long-form. It allows readers to access news on tablets or phones more easily. However, the present model of webtoon operation still has several constraints in terms of copyright and compensation for authors.