by REERA YOO | @reeraboo
South Korea’s top webtoon artists will have their works translated into English and published through the Huffington Post, a major online news outlet in America, as part of their push to go global, reports the Korea Herald.
“We’re currently in talks with the Huffington Post regarding what to publish and how to publish (it),” Lee Seong-wook, a representative of the cartoonists’ guild Toonion, told Yonhap.
Toonion was launched by 15 artists last month with the goal of globalizing their “webtoons,” or serialized webcomics. Many industry officials see the Toonion and Huffington Post collaboration as Korea’s first serious attempt at penetrating the global comic book market.
White Fox, a Korean superhero, will be featured in Marvel’s U.S. comic books.
(Photo courtesy of Geek Nation)
Joining the project are Korea’s most influential cartoonists, including Koh Young-hun of Avengers Electric Rain, Yoon Tae-ho of Misaeng (Incomplete Life) and Yang Woo-seok of Steel Rain. All three artists have achieved mainstream success not only in digital media but also in traditional storytelling mediums.
While Koh’s original superheroine character, White Fox, has recently joined the Marvel Universe, Yoon’s webtoon, Incomplete Life, has been adapted into the very successful Korean drama of the same name back in October. In addition, Yang made his directorial debut last year with the box office hit The Attorney, which became the 8th bestselling Korean film of all time.
Drama adaptation of Misaeng (top) and hard copies of the original graphic novel series.
(Photo courtesy of Korea Herald)
According to Lee, the first batch of translated webtoons should be available in the first half of 2015 at the earliest. Toonion also plans to set up another entity, currently named “Rolling Story,” for the U.S. branch.
Webtoons have quickly become an enormously popular form of entertainment in South Korea, which boasts the fastest Internet speed in the world. These comics are published weekly through major search portals such as Naver and Daum and attract up to 6.2 million readers daily, according to KT Economy Research Institute. As of 2014, Naver has published 530 webtoons since 2004 while its competitor Daum has published 434 since 2003.
“South Korean webtoons have developed with its fast internet and well-equipped mobile devices,” said Lee Do-hyeong, the chief of the comics story industry team at Korea Creative Content Agency. “As other nations are experiencing the same thing these days, I think it will help webtoons to go global.”