The South Korean webtoon market, well received at home and abroad, has been the cradle of many popular authors. Nevertheless, many of you may find it reluctant to give a clear yes to the question as to whether webtoon is considered a classical type of literature. Indeed, there is a distinct difference between whether it deserves to be considered a standard or a type and how popular it is.
A collection of books claims that the field of webtoon is supposed to be recognized as a legitimately artistic 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 first released in June 2018. A total of 100 books encompass the history of Korean webtoon.
The first step of this large-scale project was taken back in 2016 when the Animation Society of Korea and the Korea Character Licensing Industry Academy Society initiated a project to publish 100 books based on 400 million won donated by NAVER Cultural Foundation, concluding that they should establish academic theories and share in-depth reviews of webtoon.
This project involves as many as 64 researchers including professors of cartoon and animation, Korean language and literature, creative writing, cultural content, media technology as well as film and literary critics. "We need to take a multifaceted perspective of webtoon, one of the most promising domains of content in the era of intellectual property,” said Professor Han Chang-wan of cartoon and animation at Sejong University, one of the leading planners in the project. “The series may come across easy-to-read even for teenagers who want to become a webtoon author or a producer in related fields.”
"The Collection of Theories of Webtoon” seeks to lay the academic foundation for basic theories. It takes a close look at the merits of webtoon, which is enjoyed mainly on the mobile unlike soft copies of Japanese manga or U.S. comics. Also, it provides an in-depth analysis of social and cultural backgrounds of the rise of PG-rated webtoon mainly enjoyed by women.
"The Reviews of Webtoon Authors” looks into different famous webtoon authors. For example, Lee Mal-nyeon applies an absurd sense of sophomoric humor, which has only been shared across online discussion websites, to his webtoon series. Yoon Tae-ho upgrades the artistic quality of webtoon by adopting a humanist narrative.