If you clicked on this article, you?re likely into comics. You may have even come across the term ?Webtoon? or ?Webcomic? on the web.
Just what exactly?s the difference?
Webcomics are digitalized versions of physical comic books for online reading. The truth is, it wasn?t optimized for smartphones. It stuck with swiping left and right. Worst of all, it?s mostly in monochrome (though some might disagree on the colour scheme)
So you might be asking yourself, ?Precisely what exactly is webtoon??
In layman terms, it?s colorized manhwa (Korean comics) made just for smartphones where you scroll vertically rather than the standard page flipping.
The First Generation
Originating in Korea, the term ?Webtoon? is relatively new in the comics industry. It?s a variety of ?world wide web? and ?cartoon.?
It started with Chollian, a now-defunct Internet service 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 that time followed the traditional horizontal layout designed for PCs (landscape style).
Marine Blues (left); Pape and Popo Series (right). Credit: Kim?s Licensing
Following the emergence of webtoons, an influx of indie webtoons jumped into the scene.
Early webtoons were recognized as standalone (known as an omnibus in Korea) slice-of-life stories. Some popular comics include Snow Cat, Marine Blues, and Pape and Popo Series. Unusual at that time, each was self-published online by its authors rather than through magazines or editorials.
A couple days after, webtoons quickly became widespread as the internet became popular 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 off. 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 reasons why.
To begin with, from 2003, Daum recruited cartoonists like Kang Full to create webtoons on their internet portals called ?World in Manhwa.? It featured works like Kang Full?s Love Story (a record-breaking hit). Other successful comics include Kang Do Ha?s THE FANTASTIC Catsby and Yang Young Soon?s 1001.
카피툰 The second reason has to do with accessibility to smartphones. You’re probably envious of people playing Angry Bird on the brand new iPhone when you miserably held your flip phone back in 2010. Smartphones were just too expensive.
But in the 2010s, more and more 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 a fantastic 95%, holding the record today as highest in the world.