If you clicked with this article, you?re likely into comics. You could have even come across the word ?Webtoon? or ?Webcomic? 카피툰 online.
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 most, it?s mostly in black and white (while some might disagree on the color scheme)
So you might be thinking about, ?Precisely what exactly is webtoon??
In layman terms, it?s colorized manhwa (Korean comics) made just for smartphones where you scroll vertically instead of the standard page flipping.
The First Generation
Originating in Korea, the term ?Webtoon? is relatively new in the comics industry. It?s a combination of ?internet? and ?cartoon.?
It started with Chollian, a now-defunct Internet service engine, that established Chollian Webtoon to provide webtoons to readers in August of 2000.
What made it different from other online comics was its introduction of the vertical-layout. Most online comics at the time followed the original horizontal layout designed 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 named 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 because the internet took off and became more accessible.
Leaning on the fast-growing popularity of webtoons in the first 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. And it paid off. They achieved massive commercial success far beyond their predictions.
Webtoons are incredibly popular now. To give you an idea, Naver has over 46 million monthly active users (July 2018). How?d this happen? Two reasons why.
Firstly, 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). Other successful comics include Kang Do Ha?s The Great Catsby and Yang Young Soon?s 1001.
The second reason has to do with accessibility to smartphones. You were 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, more and more people bought smartphones capable of playing games far more technically demanding than Angry Birds like Pokemon Go and PUBG (PlayerUnknown?s Battlegrounds).
To no real 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.