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World Wide Webtoon
[137ȣ] 2008 08 01 () Kim Myeong-hwa (ST Reporter) pythi@ssu.ac.kr


World Wide Webtoon


 Do you like reading the cartoon? Have you ever seen the webtoon on the internet? ST is going to talk about webtoon which is being used for various marketing ways...........Ed.

  Webtoon has been trend since 2007. Webtoon is widely spreading its area beyond the internet. It’s growing actively according to spreading of UCC. Let’s look around this growing trend on the internet.

1. The Definition of a ‘webtoon’

  A ‘webtoon’ is referred to as a cartoon to be posted on the internet. ‘webtoon’ falls into the subcategory of ‘digitoon’. ‘Digitoon’ is a shortened form of ‘digital cartoon & comics’. Webtoons, webcomics, and webanimations are web-based media that off-line media such as cartoons, comics, and animations are digitalized by computers and they can be subscribed to online.

Web Animation

  Web animation means animated cartoons which are implemented by Gif Image or Flash. As ‘Mashimaro’ had been winning great popularity in 2000, many Flash Animations such as ‘Pucca’, ‘Zolaman’, and ‘Woobiboy’ were produced in quick succession. Web animations were popular for a while within the character industry. However, it couldn’t be developed into a big cultural industry due to a lack of diverse materials, poor scenarios and was short of quantities to lead publications and animations to be produced. Web animation has become less and less popular and has fallen into a decline for two years.


  Webtoons have been developed gradually since 2002 while Flash Animation fell into a decline. A lot of works such as ‘Papepop memorise’, ‘Marin bluse’, ‘100’ and ‘The Great Catsby’ have been produced and gained popularity. Unlike common internet cartoons, webtoons have a feature to scroll the screen and read them without partitioning. These are widely recognized as a new breakthrough.

2. The merits of webtoons

  Webtoons require a short period of production compared with other digital media. For example, webcomics need a heavy manual workload and much human effort. It requires high graphic skills and knowledge. However, webtoons can be drawn easily and quickly only if equipped with a well-designed plan and a new idea.



Low expenses of production

  Webtoons can be produced by simple graphic work without using special tools. As it doesn’t require much cost of production, they are posted for free on the personal homepage. Authors can upload their works without additional cost.

Sharing opinions with readers

  Webtoonists and readers can share sympathy through active communications with each other. As soon as authors upload their works, readers can post their impressions or opinions quickly in the form of ‘reply’. Then authors can apply readers’ comments and the materials provided from their readers to their works. This is one of the key successful factors of webtoons.


One Source Multi Use

  One Source Multi Use(OSMU) or Window Effect means creating cultural added-value and synergy with low costs of production mentioned above personally. By using computer graphics, the products can be developed and changed into other types of works easily and rapidly. Webtoons are drawing attention because they can spread out the market without much extra added expenses.

3. Examples of using webtoons for Character Industry


Webtoon is being used in various fields uch as book, character goods, drama, and movie


Daum, one of the biggest portals in Korea, lately edited its categories moving the position of the webtoon from a subordinate place a to ‘higher spot at’ the same level as the news category. This realignment suggests that the mega portal sites in Korea-Nate.com, Naver and Daum- think highly of cartoons to lift their market share. Particularly, unlike clips available on every portal, the webtoons are exclusively released on a licensed site. Therefore, the webtoons are used as a charm to pull customers in fierce competition among portals. As a result, a total size of the webtoon markets is getting bigger.

  Among the cartoonists, Gang Do-ha, Heo Young-man, Yang Young-soon had been working offline well before their works appeared online. Rising cartoonists such as Caramel, Jeong Gu-mi, Poonggyeong, Gang Ho-jin, Jo Seok, Park Jong-won became famous through webtoons. Most of them produced series of cartoons after releasing cartoons on websites. Now these new artists are the mainstream of webtoon market. In other words, the webtoon is independent from offline cartoons; the web creates its own domain. As netizens got their chances to publish their cartoons and review the contents on the web, more obscure cartoonists started to appear online through the process.

  Two of the characteristics of the webtoon are popularity and diversity of material. Offline cartoons are always restricted by the media they’re made in. First, the magazines are divided by sex: magazines for boys/girls. Secondly, subject matters and items are carefully chosen. The biggest difference between the webtoon and offline publications is supply-demand. For the girls’ magazines, cartoonists cater to girls’ needs, consumers defining cartoons: cartoons by girls, for girls.

  On the other hand, a webtoon is published in a totally different situation. The portals are not for specific netizens. Netizens never give any pressure on cartoonists to draw cartoons for specific readers; they just read what interests them. Therefore, a webtoon leads to creating a variety of cartoons. ‘The varieties of cartoons for the general public’ is a proper phrase to describe it.

  Less restrictions resulted in successes for cartoons such as Horang-Chonggak, a

cartoon flooded with unknown and unheard kitschy and paradies and Blood Ocean, a cartoon with philosophic and unfamiliar theme for 14 months. Webtoons are on the rise these days; however, it is unfamiliar for many people still. Even though webtoons have existed for a long time, the ways to express them have been changing and are different from the diary types on the personal websites to Flash produced with their commercial purposes and comic strips in portals similar to offline cartoons.

  The purposes of the openness of the diary types or Flash cartoons is not the fee

from the readers but it is true for the two types to contribute to the development of the character industry. However, the online comic strips which have exchanged their positions from magazines to portals don’t have such a stable business system that a separate volume can be published by the publishing firms on being printed in the magazines. That is, the online comic strips can be published or commercialized by accidental interest by those companies or by the author’s will. Therefore, we have to develop the commercial strategies actively lest the highly qualified cartoons

should disappear without producing a separate book or their character products under the recession of the Korean cartoon market.

Kim Myeong-hwa (ST Reporter)


Park Ji-yeon (ST Reporter)


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