Webtoons: My New Literary Obsession!
It is 1:00 in the morning. I am staring at my phone, completely transfixed and seemingly dead-eyed, but my mind is racing. I scroll to the the next panel in the online webcomic, Siren’s Lament, and my pulse intensifies. I widen my eyes and grip my phone a little tighter as the story’s plot takes another twisted turn. I scroll faster and faster, desperate to discover what will happen next. Will my fingers be able to keep this up? I am again swept away into a beautiful, suspenseful tale, which I can easily access on my phone. Lately, I have become hopelessly addicted to reading webcomics on “Webtoon,” a South Korean based app/website that compiles various comics from a variety of authors and creators, and allows readers to read comics by scrolling downward from panel to panel. I fear I will never recover. I have an almost endless supply of comics at my fingertips, and the comics I read are too well written, too suspenseful, too funny, and too gorgeous to give up!
New Media Literature and Webtoon:
Ever since I took Dr. Chris Morrow’s New Media class, my mind has been opened to the wonderful world of comics and digital literature. His phenomenal class introduced me to the idea that other forms of text, such as comics, digital literature, hypertexts, and games can be analyzed as legitimate forms of literature. While in his class, we read various new media texts and discussed, analyzed, and wrote about the unique aspects and messages that can be gleaned from theses forms of literature. Additionally, Dr. Morrow encouraged his students to individually research comics, hypertexts, and games that could be easily accessed on the internet. It was during this assignment that I discovered Webtoon because a close friend of mine recommended a comic to me, which she accessed on Webtoon. This comic was called Miss Abbott and the Doctor, and it began my love for this app/website and the stories within it.
How to Read Webtoons:
Once a person downloads the Webtoon app from the app store or goes to the Webtoon website, https://www.webtoons.com/en/, they will immediately have access to a vast array of gorgeous comics that are screaming to be read. To find a webtoon to read, readers can simply browse the website/app. Readers can scroll through the most updated comics, the most popular comics, the newest up and running comics, or specific genres of comics. To read a specific comic, click on a comic title, read the synopsis, and click on the “Go to 1st episode” button to begin reading. To read a webcomic, scroll downwards. This will allow the reader to read each panel, starting from the top of the page and working downwards. Webtoon also allows readers to create their own accounts and subscribe to their favorite comics. This website/app also bookmarks where the reader left off, so readers don’t have to remember which entry/chapter they left off on.
As my new literary obsession has grown, I have had the opportunity to read some phenomenal stories on Webtoon. Some of my favorites are: Miss Abbott and the Doctor, Siren’s Lament and Let’s Play. These stories not only have entertaining storylines, but very stylistic and beautiful art. I’m going to tell you a little bit about them!
Some Amazing Webcomics on Webtoon:
Miss Abbott and the Doctor, written by Maripaz Villar, is a simple but beautifully sketched story of a spontaneous, free spirited woman named Miss. Abbott and her growing mutual affection for the town doctor, Andreas Marino. Miss Cati Abbott, who was previously raised in the Amazon rainforest with her archeologist parents, moves into a more “civilized” society in Victorian era England. There she meets the town Doctor, Andreas, and the two become frenemies. Their relationship soon grows from true friendship to star-crossed love, even though the people of the town think they hate one another! It is a heartwarming tale about the development of their complicated, yet comical relationship. This comic specifically takes a feminist stance and is focused on exploring gender roles in the Victorian era. Miss Abbott is enticing to Andreas not only because she is friendly and beautiful, but because she is an outgoing and independent woman. Andreas falls in love with her because of her independent personality, and he treats her as an equal. Miss Abbott is a character who makes her own decisions and is extremely confident in herself. She is a solid female character who pushes back against stereotypes.
I specifically like the cute romance in this story and the atmosphere that the artist creates with her drawings. Though the drawings are simple, I feel absolutely immersed in Miss Abbott’s world. The characters are also extremely lovable, and I found myself caring immensely for them after reading only a few chapters. The themes that this story explores also make it worthy of reading. I love that Miss Abbott is so independent; it is wonderfully inspiring! Additionally, this comic is filled with silly situations and comedy, which makes it even more enticing to read.
Miss Abbott and the Doctor has 75 entries and is updated every Saturday.
Siren’s Lament, by Instantmiso, is comprised of absolutely stunning, digitally created and fully colored panels. The plot of this story is just as stunning. This comic is centered on Lyra, a young woman who runs her own flower shop, and her complicated and fantastical relationship with her two friends (and employees), Ian and Shon. After suffering heartbreak, Lyra escapes to the beach and is serenaded by a siren, Ian, who is desperate to break his curse and be human again. After falling into the ocean, Lyra is kissed by Ian. Unfortunately, due to suspicious and peculiar circumstances, Ian’s curse is split between he and Lyra; both are stuck between being half human and half siren. While juggling her complicated relationship with her caring lover, Shon, and the narcissistic, half-human siren spitfire Ian, Lyra must attempt to discover how she can return to being fully human again before she slowly transforms into a memory-less and cursed siren of the sea. This story explores the definition of “humanity,” the highs and lows of many different types of relationships, and the destructive qualities of misunderstanding. Furthermore, the character Lyra also pushes gender stereotypes, which allows this comic to be analyzed through a feminist lens as well.
My favorite aspect of this comic is the breath-taking art and the suspenseful, yet dramatic plot. The romance of this story, mixed with the mystery of the siren’s curse, makes it an absolutely irresistible and fast-paced read. Additionally, this story is accompanied with music, which sets the mood and immerses the reader deeper. Furthermore, the characters are extremely well developed and relatable. I felt like I knew them. The combination of the gorgeous art and the well developed plot make this story a fantastic read.
For those interested, this comic has 101 entries and is updated every Saturday.
Let’s Play, by Mongie, is a romantic comedy about a game developer named Sam. After creating her very first independent game, Sam is excited to put it online so other gamers can play it. Unfortunately, a famous Youtuber named Marshall Law critiques her game on his channel, and negative comments from his followers result in her game receiving a horribly scathing rating on the website. Sam begins to despise Marshall, and to make matters worse, she discovers that he will become her newest neighbor! Will Sam and Marshall be able to make amends and live in peace? This comic explores gender in the gaming world (Sam is the only female employee at the software company she works at), as well as the complex relationships between various internet communities and the people belonging to those communities.
I absolutely loved the comedy aspect of this comic. Out of all three, this was the comic that made me laugh the most. The characters in this story are shamelessly exaggerated and likable, and the situations that they encounter are absolutely hilarious. I thoroughly enjoy reading the dialogue between the characters as well. This comic was extremely enjoyable to read!
This comic has 24 entries and is updated every Tuesday.
The Benefits of Webtoons:
These webcomics have been my literary obsession for a while now. After experiencing this fun form of new media, I have discovered that there are so many reasons to read webtoons! I believe the combination of originality, art, lovable characters, access, and intriguing yet comical plots make this form of literature so irresistible. These stories are easy to access, easy to read, and easy to love. Additionally, each story that I have had the opportunity to read has been extremely enjoyable, yet all hold deeper messages and illuminate certain aspects of human nature. Though webtoons are categorized as “comics,” they are legitimate forms of literature that have a lot to offer to their audiences. In fact, webtoons are great because not only do they attract avid readers, but they attract younger audiences and “non-readers” as well. For example, my youngest sister is 12, and I recommended she read Let’s Play. She dislikes reading and it is very difficult to get her to pick up a book. However, I showed her how to read comics on Webtoons and she immediately began reading Let’s Play. She spent her entire Saturday reading the comic, finished it, and started reading several other comics, which she then recommended to me! She fell in love with the stories and the art, and this form of literature ignited in her a passion for reading. I look forward to reading more Webtoons and electronic literature. I am also excited to see how my younger sister will develop as a reader now that she has found a form of literature that she enjoys. I highly recommend comics to anyone and everyone! Check out Webtoons and experience the benefits for yourself!