From the worm brush
– Posted May 20, 2022 at 5:35 pm
In April 2021, the first volume of the Solo Leveling series will be released in a hardcover version. A true webtoon phenomenon, its success reveals the arrival of a new genre in our libraries, but above all in our smartphones: the webtoon.
You couldn’t help it. In recent years, South Korea appears to have set out to take over the world. We find it in music with KPOP, in cinema, in series with drama, but also in comics. Indeed, South Korea is on everyone’s lips. Between the gang BTSthe hit series Squid gamethe film Parasite and more recently the many webtoons, the country seems to have a real strategy to make its culture known to the whole world. And the webtoon participates precisely in this international opening.
A true cultural wave, the webtoon is only just starting with us. Contestant of Franco-Belgian manga, comic and comic strips, this new format doesn’t have much trouble finding a place in the sun. Based on an evolution of uses, the webtoon offers an innovative business model that could overshadow the traditional subscription. But on the other hand what is a webtoon concretely?
What is a webtoon?
Originally from South Korea, a webtoon is a comic created for purely digital use. That is to say that initially this new format, taking up some codes of the manga or comics industry, was conceived and designed to be consumed on smartphones. The vertical reading is proof of this. It is much easier to read on a smartphone by swiping from top to bottom than from left to right. The goal was to adapt to changes in consumption and to be able to offer a product that is easy to use in all circumstances..
But it’s not just this aspect that webtoon has revolutionized. Indeed, this new format has arrived with us a new business model. It is thus possible to follow the weekly episodes of some series for free, as well as, through the in-app purchase, it is possible to buy and read them quickly. In the webtoon the subscription does not exist. You buy a virtual currency, called Coin, which allows you to unlock the following episodes. So you have the option to stop whenever you want. We could summarize the webtoon as happy snackwith fewer calories.
This notion of snack content is not new. It is mainly used in the field of video marketing where the goal is to offer short videos, but that go straight to the point to effectively convey the message. In the cultural field, we speak of snack cultureof which streaming platforms are the best example. netflix or Disney + offers you, in exchange for a subscription, access to an important catalog of contents that you can consume wherever you want, whenever you want.
Also, on the author’s side, the webtoon has an interesting side. It can in fact allow young authors to test their creation before eventually launching it in paper format.. It is for this reason that platforms are popular Webtoon Where moltotoon regularly offer new products. And some titles are hugely successful with us, proving that webtoons have their place in physical versions as well.
Solo Leveling: The Webtoon Monster
In France, several titles have launched the webtoon trend. Obviously we are thinking about it Solo levelingavailable on moltotoon and published by Kbook. A true giant in Korea, the first volume in print will be released in 2021. Six volumes have already been published and the series has sold one million copies. So the hit stayed home, so it’s no wonder fans are eagerly awaiting an anime adaptation.
If we refer to the manga codes, we could say so Solo leveling it is close to isekai. In fact, although the main character, Sung Jin Woo, is not stuck in a parallel universe or dimension, something equivalent has an impact on his life. He has become a unique player capable of leveling up and unlocking rewards and abilities that only he can have. The series recently ended with a total of 179 chapters.
Lore Olympus: When Webtoon takes over mythology
This title is much more discreet in French bookstores, but it is clearly one of the larger series of the application Webtoon. Created by Rachel Smythe, Lore Olympus it has no less than 77.3 million views and approximately 442,522 subscribers. In France it is the publishing house Hugo Publishing which deals with the publication, the first volume to be released in December 2021.
Lore Olympus immerses the reader in a modern version of Greek mythology, and more precisely in the myth of Persephone, also called Kore. Daughter of Demeter, Coré wishes to join Olympus to obtain her independence and her emancipation. But in Olympus not everything is rosy and Coré’s life will soon become very complicated.
In her creation, Rachel Smythe addresses particularly current but difficult issues, such as sexual or psychological violence, harassment, etc. The notion of toxic parent, still taboo in our society, it is also very well addressed. After a well-deserved two-month break, the serialization of LoreOlympuswhich already has 191 chapters, recently revived, to the delight of fans.
True Beauty: The Webtoon adapted into a drama
True beauty is another flagship series of the application Webtoon. Serialized on the application since December 2019, it already has 199 episodes and has accumulated 124.8 million views. Among others, 728,108 people signed up for the series. A real success for this Webtoon published in France by Kbookalso responsible for Solo leveling.
The series was so successful that it was adapted into a drama in 2020. True beauty immerses us in Korean society where the physique is particularly important. Im Joo Kyung is a pretty high school girl who is quite successful, except that she can’t stand the idea of being seen in public without makeup.
Even if at the beginning True beauty it may seem superficial, in reality it is a real criticism of our patriarchal society, and especially of Korean society. Indeed, in this Asian country, it is not uncommon for young women to undergo cosmetic surgery when they are 18 years old.
Other titles are also allowing webtoon to gain popularity. Let’s think, for example, of What’s wrong with Secretary Kim or Nobility. And publishing houses increasingly decide to enter the market. Michele Lafon recently announced the release of White blood And Kbook has, for its part, announced the release of The druid of Seoul station. While the manga seems to have a hard time finding new HITs, the webtoon innovates and offers not only a much more effective digital format, but also out-of-the-ordinary stories. Also, while live-action adaptations in the manga world have a bad reputation, the dramatic adaptation of True beauty seems to have had some success, proving that webtoon can be adapted to many media.