Life Style

Webtoons, these Korean comics that invade teenage phones


As soon as she has five minutes, on the bus or between classes, 14-year-old Elsa devours an episode of Dorahee or Cook next door, his favorite webtoons series. “We call it the ‘snack culture'”, decrypts Elisa Amblard, marketing director at Izneo, an online platform that has been broadcasting webtoons for two years. A contraction of “Web” and “cartoon”, these Korean comics are specially designed for the screen: we read them by “scrolling”, from bottom to top, as on social networks.

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Everything is done to meet the expectations of digital native : the drawings look like manga (the color in addition), the episodes are very short and each chapter ends with a twist that makes you want to read more. The prices are attractive: beyond the first three chapters generally free, the subscription or purchase formulas remain inexpensive compared to classic comics (1).

Among the many genres offered, “Romance works very well, undoubtedly because the offer is not very developed in paper version, as well as” boy’s love “, love stories between boys but read by girls”, notes Elisa Amblard. “The webtoon is both light and ultra-contemporary”, summarizes Pascal Lafine, creator of Verytoon, launched by the Delcourt group at the end of January and which has more than 35,000 subscribers.

Webtoons accompany the “Hallyu” phenomenon, this craze for the new South Korean culture, massively supported by the country’s government and which has seen the emergence of K-pop (music) and K-beauty (cosmetics) in recent years. Sectors that play the collaboration card: it is not uncommon for webtoons to stage K-pop groups or promote beauty products.

In our opinion

As quickly read as they are forgotten (even if some publishers like Delcourt have embarked on paper versions intended for collectors), most webtoons do not offer much literary interest: rosewater stories full of clichés, characters caricatures… On the other hand, they renew the codes of the comic strip by exploding the rigid frame of the page. Graphic freedom is essential. We are eager to discover the advantage that Franco-Belgian authors will derive from it, more and more attracted by this new format.

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