If you love reading comics or manga, you may have heard of something called Webtoon. Originating from South Korea, Webtoon is an app that hosts a wide range of comics online (and only online). As more and more people are reading comics on their devices, Webtoons have gained a lot of popularity for their digital-friendly format.
What Are Webtoons? Manga? Comics? 🤔
With Webtoons available in every genre imaginable like Drama, Fantasy, Comedy, Action, and Romance, there’s a Webtoon out there for everyone to enjoy. Whether you’re reading on the bus, under your desk at school, or late at night at bed, Webtoons are designed to provide the most seamless reading experience to date. I understand your skepticism if you’re a hardcore manga or physical comics lover. But this article is going to convince you to give Webtoons a try; here are 5 ways in which Webtoons are changing graphic novels forever. Don’t believe me? Keep scrolling, and you might.
1. It’s Basically Free
Yes, you heard that right. It’s completely free to read as many comics as you want on the Webtoon app. There’s no upper limit on the amount you can read as long as the episodes are fully released. However, if there’s a webtoon you simply can’t get enough of, you can purchase a Webtoon currency called coins to unlock more episodes before they get released.
But sadly, for international fans, coins can only be purchased in dollars. 10 coins can be purchased for $0.99, 50 coins for $4.99, 100 coins for $9.99, 300 coins for $29.99, and 500 coins for $49.99. The average episode will cost 5 coins to gain early access. Compared to other premium plans for mostly free services, this isn’t so bad. Webtoon also regularly gives you a chance to earn free coins through reading challenges.
If buying mangas and comics is burning a hole in your pocket, it may be time to try Webtoons. Because they’re designed to be read on your phone, it’s a lot more fun to read a Webtoon than an illegally downloaded copy. It’s a huge platform offering a lot of genres, meaning you’ll never run out of things to read. Believe me, I’ve tried.
2. Vertical Layout
Unlike traditional comics that use horizontal panels across the page, Webtoons use vertical panels. This works better in the digital space, making it easier to scroll on your phone or your laptop. Since phones are mostly used in portrait mode, Webtoons are equipped with an infinite scroll function. Just like Instagram, you can keep scrolling your Webtoon with just your thumb. The infinite scroll and the vertical layout also give cartoonists a lot of new tools to work with. Extra-long panels are used to introduce a new setting or convey a moment of great intensity. Check out this panel from Siren’s Lament, for example:
Does this look like an ordinary panel to you? Think again. When you’re reading on the Webtoon app, you get to take in this gorgeous panel bit by bit as you scroll. This helps the reader soak in the moment and pay attention to the details. At times, the vertical layout is also used as a narrative tool, like revealing the fate of a character who fell from a tall height.
No zooming in or zooming out of a page anymore – Webtoon’s vertical layout makes for a seamless reading experience. If you’re reading a digital version of your favorite manga, you would still have a hard time navigating the format. On the other hand, the infinite scroll was designed to suit digital readers. Done with your episode? Keep scrolling to get the next one! If you’re looking to lose yourself in a great cartoon, Webtoons are the way to do it.
Unlike traditional comics, which usually take a month to come out with the next installment, Webtoons are updated every week. This means that you can find out what happened after that massive cliffhanger a lot faster! Webtoons are updated in ‘episodes’, with the length varying from one Webtoon to another.
This serialization gives Webtoon creators a chance to build their stories bit by bit like a TV show. They no longer have to try and fit a cohesive storyline within one installment while still keeping the overarching plotline in mind. This gives cartoonists a lot of creative freedom with regard to how they want their story to progress.
4. Background Music
Have you ever read a comic and thought, wow, I could almost hear the background music in my head? Well, if you’re reading a webtoon, the music is playing outside your head too. Being a digital format, Webtoons make use of other elements like background music in their stories. The Webtoon’s creator chooses a track to accompany any episode of their choice to set the mood.
The music is usually instrumental, not to interrupt your reading process. If you prefer to read in silence, or you just don’t like this particular song, do not worry. You can turn off the music if you’d like. But where’s the fun in that?
5. A Great Opportunity for Creators
Webtoon is not only a great place for comic lovers; It’s also an amazing platform for cartoonists to showcase their art. There are many up-and-coming Webtoons on the ‘Canvas’ section from amateur or budding artists that you can check out and support. Any creator older than 13 years old can submit their work to the Canvas section. Webtoon will make them an official original creator if they make it big!
But just because the Canvas section has amateur art doesn’t mean it’s not good quality – Canvas creators include lots of professional animators and cartoonists who are branching out and creating their own cartoons. The Canvas section also has a ranked list for every genre, just like the Originals section, so you’ll have a very easy time finding new cartoons to read.
So, would you say you’re convinced to give Webtoons a try? There are hundreds of original, exciting stories waiting to be discovered on this platform. Don’t wait any longer. Download the Webtoon app now and start reading!
A final year law student from Chennai with an interest in policy, debate, and dogs.