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For internet based comic, see Webcomic.
Hangul 웹툰
Revised Romanization weptun
McCune–Reischauer weptun

A webtoon (Korean: 웹툰) is a manhwa style webcomic that is typically published in chapters and published online.[1] The term originally came into use in South Korea around 2003, to describe what were previously known simply as Internet comics.[2] Daum created a webtoon portal in 2003, followed by Naver in 2004.[3] As of July 2014, Naver had published 520 webtoons, while Daum had published 434.[4]

Popular webtoons include Noblesse, Tower of God, God Of High School, Cheese in the trap, and Girls of the Wild's.

Starting from 2014, some webtoons have started to receive official English translations.


Generation zero[edit]

An example of a generation zero webtoon. Buttons allow turning the page.

Pre-first generation webtoons were scanned original comics uploaded to the Internet. They were formatted in a horizontal layout.[5]

First generation[edit]

The first generation inserted flash effects to enhance existing generation zero comics. Flash animation effects were used to build up a sense of tension. Other comics used zoom-in and Zoom-out functions, often to represent the passage of time.[5]

Second generation[edit]

The second generation adopted a vertical layout. This enhanced cinematic representation, as scrolling allowed the passage of time to be shown naturally. Effects like fading became more common. Due to the development of those techniques, and enhanced preloading, reading became faster and more fluid. This allowed better expression of the author's intent, and lead to the creation of the epic webtoon series of the 2000s.[5]

This is an example of a second generation webtoon.

Third generation[edit]

Third generation webtoons are predicted to take into account the advent of the smartphone, the tablet, wireless networking, and the e-book format. They will likely combine movement, sound, and special effects.[5]


The publishing industry is currently the primary means of comic retail. With the advent of digital comics, offering content online at the same time as comic publication has recently received increasing attention.[6]

Another method of comic content distribution has to be utilized in practice for theater, TV animation, advertising, videos, etc.[6]

One-Source Multi-Use (OSMU; see also media mix) is a marketing method that has been defined as enabling the "free sharing and distribution of single content via the smart device that they have".[7][8] Webtoons are used as a medium for OSMU.[9]

Example of OSMU:

Cultural industries example
Movie Soon Jung Manhwa / 순정만화 (Kang Pool / 강풀), Apart/아파트 (Kang pool/강풀),

I Love You / 그대를 사랑합니다 (Kang pool/강풀), Babo / 바보 (Kang pool / 강풀), Trace / 트레이스(Ko young hoon / 고영훈), Ikki / 이끼 (Yoon tae ho / 윤태호), Shin gwa hamkke / 신과함께(Joo ho min / 주호민), Secretly Greatly / 은밀하게 위대하게(HUN / 훈), The Neighbors 이웃사람 (Kang pool/ 강풀), Fashion king / 패션왕(Kian84 / 기안84), Killer boonsik / 킬러분식 (Han / 한)

Drama Marry is staying out / 매리는 외박중 (Won su yeon / 원수연), Ari-dong last cowboy / 아리동 라스트 카우보이(Jepigaru / 제피가루),

Ssapnida chunrima mart / 쌉니다 천리마 마트 (Kim gyu sam / 김규삼), Cheese in the trap / 치즈인더트랩 (Soon kki / 순끼) , Misaeng / 미생 (Yoon tae ho / 윤태호)

Game Lagnaroc / 라그나로크(Gravity / 그래비티), Bercanics 베르카닉스 (Cho-i rock games / 초이락 게임즈)
Animation Wara! pyeoun-i jumb / 와라! 편의점 (Ji kang-min / 지강민), Miho story / 미호이야기 (Hyejin yang / 혜진양),

Ssapnida chunrima mart / 쌉니다 천리마 마트 (Kim kue sam / 김규삼), Notgi ma jungshin jool / 놓지마 정신줄 (Shin tae hoon/Na seoung hoon / 신태훈 / 나승훈)

Musical,Play The Great Gatsby / 위대한 개츠비 (Kang do ha / 강도하), Babo / 바보 (Kang pool), Soon jung manhwa / 순정만화 (Kang pool / 강풀)
Character product Marrine blues / 마린블루스 (Jeoung chul yeon / 정철연), Wara! pyeoun-i jumb / 와라! 편의점 (Ji kang min / 지강민)

Prior to 2014, most webtoons were only available in English through unofficial fan translations. In July 2014, Naver-subsidiary Line began publication of translations of popular webtoons to the English market via the Line Webtoon service.[2][3][4]


Panel composition[edit]

As the area of the display is limited, the comic does not fit on the screen. Webtoons are not paginated, but instead present their content in a scrollable vertical layout, similar to typical web sites. The precise configuration of the panels is varied, and reflects the personality of the writer.[10]

Framing and repetition[edit]

In contrast to comics with a dense panel composition, scrolling is required to bring new panels into view. This makes webtoons suitable for gradual and continuous representation.[10]

Discussion and feedback[edit]

Most webtoon portals provide the facility for readers to leave comments. This allows writers to receive feedback from their readers. Forms of digital narrative with an exchange of comments can be described as the transition to multi-directional communication.[10]

Service providing site[edit]

The following table lists webtoon portals in Korea:

service name URL Operating entity
Naver webtoon http://comic.naver.com/index.nhn NAVER Corp.
Daum webtoon (World in comics) http://webtoon.daum.net/ Daum communication.Inc
Nate webtoon http://comics.nate.com/main/ SKcommunications
Tstore webtoon http://com.tstore.com/main/ SKcommunications
T tale http://www.ttale.com/ Culture shock.Inc
Lezhin comics http://www.lezhin.com/ Lezhin entertainment.Inc
Olleh market http://webtoon.olleh.com/ KT.Inc

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Kwon, Ohsu. "Korean Webtoons go global with LINE". Medium. Retrieved 16 August 2014. 
  2. ^ a b "Korea's webtoon market experiences exponential growth over past 10 years". Arirang News. Retrieved 16 August 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "Popular Mobile Webcomic Service, LINE Webtoon, Debuts in the United States and Worldwide". PRNewswire. Retrieved 16 August 2014. 
  4. ^ a b Tae-jun Kang. "South Korea’s webtoons: going global". Retrieved 16 August 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c d Han, Chang-wan (2012-06-30). 애니메이션 연구6(Animation studies6). 한국 애니메이션 학회(Korean cartoon and animation studies). pp. 124–139. 
  6. ^ a b Choi, yun cheol. "2009해외콘텐츠 시장조사(2009 abroad contents market research)". www.kocca.kr. 한국콘텐츠진흥원(Korea creative contents agency). 
  7. ^ http://www.sungshin.ac.kr/website3/english/mirror/175/coverstoryif.html
  8. ^ http://www.sersc.org/journals/IJSH/vol7_no1_2013/1.pdf
  9. ^ http://www.koreanfilm.or.kr/jsp/news/reports.jsp?blbdComCd=601008&seq=53&mode=VIEW
  10. ^ a b c 이예리(Lee ye-ri), 이유정(Lee you jung), 이영석(Lee young suk), 《만화의 미학과 문화연구(Cartoon aesthetic and cultural studies) – A study on the definition and impact of the cartoon》, p.21

External links[edit]