If you clicked with this article, you?re likely into comics. You may have even come across the term ?Webtoon? or ?Webcomic? on the web.
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 most, it?s mostly in monochrome (while some might disagree on the color 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 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 ?world wide web? and ?cartoon.?
It started with Chollian, a now-defunct Online sites engine, that established Chollian Webtoon to provide 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). 무료웹툰 Credit: Kim?s Licensing
Following 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 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 became popular 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. Also it paid. 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 explanations 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 FANTASTIC Catsby and Yang Young Soon?s 1001.
The second reason has to do with accessibility to smartphones. You’re probably envious of individuals playing Angry Bird on the brand new iPhone while 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. And 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 globe.