If you clicked on this article, you?re likely into comics. You might have even come across the term ?Webtoon? or ?Webcomic? online.
So what?s the difference?
Webcomics are digitalized versions of physical comic books for online reading. The thing is, it wasn?t optimized for smartphones. It stuck with swiping left and right. Worst of all, it?s mostly in black and white (while some might disagree on the colour scheme)
So you might be thinking about, ?Just what exactly is webtoon??
In layman terms, it?s colorized manhwa (Korean comics) made simply for smartphones where you scroll vertically instead of the standard page flipping.
The First Generation
Originating in Korea, the word ?Webtoon? is relatively new in the comics industry. It?s a variety of ?internet? and ?cartoon.?
It started with Chollian, a now-defunct Online sites engine, that established Chollian Webtoon to supply webtoons to readers in August of 2000.
What made it not the same as other online comics was its introduction of the vertical-layout. Most online comics at the time followed the traditional horizontal layout created for PCs (landscape style).
Marine Blues (left); Pape and Popo Series (right). Credit: Kim?s Licensing
Following emergence of webtoons, an influx of indie webtoons jumped in to the scene.
Early webtoons were recognized as standalone (called an omnibus in Korea) slice-of-life stories. Some popular comics include Snow Cat, Marine Blues, and Pape and Popo Series. Unusual at the time, each was self-published online by its authors instead of through magazines or editorials.
A couple days after, webtoons quickly became widespread as the internet took off and became more accessible.
Leaning on the fast-growing popularity of webtoons in the early 2000s, Korean internet portals like Daum and Naver took advantage of webtoons to increase their website traffic.
As their pivotal internet growth strategy, Daum and Naver pumped vast sums of money into webtoons. Also it paid. They achieved massive commercial success far beyond their predictions.
Webtoons are incredibly popular now. To give you a concept, Naver has over 46 million monthly active users (July 2018). How?d this happen? Two explanations why.
To begin with, from 2003, Daum recruited cartoonists like Kang Full to create webtoons on the internet portals called ?World in Manhwa.? It featured works like Kang Full?s Love Story (a record-breaking hit). 무료웹툰 Other successful comics include Kang Do Ha?s THE FANTASTIC Catsby and Yang Young Soon?s 1001.
The second reason has to do with accessibility to smartphones. You’re probably envious of people playing Angry Bird on the brand new iPhone while you miserably held your flip phone back 2010. Smartphones were just very costly.
But in the 2010s, increasing numbers of people bought smartphones capable of doing offers far more technically demanding than Angry Birds like Pokemon Go and PUBG (PlayerUnknown?s Battlegrounds).
To no surprise, South Korea quickly rose to 67% smartphone ownership in 2013. Also to boast the numbers further, a 2019 report indicates that it?s now at an astounding 95%, holding the record today as highest on the planet.