The K-webtoon Industry Confidently Joins the World of Literature: The DONG-A ILBO

South Korea’s webtoon market, well received at home and abroad, has been the birthplace of many popular authors. Still, many of you may be reluctant to give a clear yes to the question of whether webtoon is considered a type of classic literature. Indeed, there is a clear difference between whether it deserves to be considered a standard or a type and its popularity.

A collection of books claims that the webtoon field is meant to be recognized as a legitimate art genre. This month, “The Collection of Theories of Webtoon” and “The Reviews of Webtoon Authors” completed the publication of a total of 50 books, each, after their first release in June 2018. A total of 100 books encompass the history of Korean webtoon.

The first milestone of this large-scale project was reached in 2016 when the Animation Society of Korea and the Korea Character Licensing Industry Academy Society launched a 100-book publishing project based on 400 million won donated by NAVER. Cultural Foundation, concluding that they should establish academic theories and share in-depth webtoon reviews.

This project involves no less than 64 researchers, including professors of cartoon and animation, Korean language and literature, creative writing, cultural content, media technology as well as film and literature critics. “We need to take a multifaceted perspective of webtoon, one of the most promising content areas in the age of IP,” said Professor Han Chang-wan of Cartooning and Animation at the University. Sejong, one of the main planners of the project. “The series may seem easy to read even for teenagers who want to become a webtoon writer or producer in related fields.”

“The Collection of Theories of Webtoon” aims to lay the academic groundwork for basic theories. It takes a close look at the merits of webtoon, which is primarily enjoyed on mobile unlike electronic copies of Japanese manga or American comics. Additionally, it provides an in-depth analysis of the social and cultural origins of the rise of PG-rated webtoons primarily enjoyed by women.

“The Reviews of Webtoon Authors” takes a look at different famous webtoon authors. For example, Lee Mal-nyeon applies an absurd sense of sophomoric humor, which has only been shared on chat rooms, to his webtoon series. Yoon Tae-ho updates the artistic quality of webtoon by adopting a humanistic storytelling.

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