By Talia Chen
Image via Reddit.
You’ll never know who makes up the quiet masses of the webtoon consumer pool. Whether that be the academically superior classmate with a taste for romance webtoons or the soccer-playing weeb with a written dissertation on female manga characters, the hive of creatively delivered stories that is WEBTOON really does have something to offer for everyone.
WEBTOON is an app that allows artists/writers to publish their work in the form of comic strips to be viewed, favorited, and subscribed to by readers. These comics, or webtoons, can be greenlit by WEBTOON, which means they’ll be featured and advertised on the site/app as originals. The creator(s) will receive some compensation as well. WEBTOON’s many comics display a variety of genres and art styles, attracting readers from all over with decent WiFi or good data to devour their favorite webtoons with each weekly update. And if you’re an artist, writer, or both, you could publish your own webtoon and gain a following - WEBTOON may even want to feature your work! But if they don't, that's okay. WEBTOON also has a huge canvas section for webtoons that haven’t been greenlit. The editors/staff of WEBTOON compile lists of their canvas recommendations in accordance with the different genres on the For You page, as well as advertisements and rankings for the greenlit WEBTOON originals.
Image via Animation World Network.
The thing about webtoons is that they’re convenient. They’re on your phone, the weekly updates don’t take too long to read, and there are loads of webtoons to start reading. Different webtoons have different art styles, and writing styles, but if you like a particular webtoon, you can find other works by the same artist(s) in the information section of each webtoon. Creators will plug their social media and Patreon too, so that you can support them if you wish. If you buy webtoon coins and the creator has episodes finished ahead of time, you can pay to read updates early, supporting the creator in the process. And the best thing about these webtoons is that they’re very good, maybe some more than others, but it is a great place to binge-read a comic and get hooked on the characters or the narrative. Each webtoon is its own world and age, illustrated in a unique art style, with all sorts of entertaining characters.
Personally, webtoons are a source of comfort for me. They’re something I can stay up at night reading, something I can binge easily, without the time commitment of a TV show (although I love those too). They’re something I can escape to on my phone during school, and even something that inspires me to write and draw more. I can rave about them with my friends and family - specifically my dad, who was introduced to webtoons by my sister and I. In fact, we’re always talking about how much potential webtoons have for televised media because they’re basically detailed storyboards that have already gained approval and support from their consumers. Some of them, like True Beauty and Tower of God, have already been made into shows. The point is, webtoons are pretty darn cool.
Image via Talia’s WEBTOON
Obviously, you don’t want to just hear about the WEBTOON site, you’d want to hear specifics about the webtoons themselves. So here are just a few of my favorites, in no particular order because I am indecisive:
Spaceboy - Science fiction, fantasy, drama, (hopefully) some romance. High School and a big conspiracy type of thing in the distant future, as well as a budding romantic relationship that feeds my soul and makes me feel so much better about life. One of the first webtoons I ever read and one that I became very invested in - I have a Spaceboy poster on my wall.
Lore Olympus - Fantasy, mythology, drama, romance. Has this colorful and kind of sultry art style. Something about the art is very satisfying to me. About the Greek gods. Some of the characters are actual jerks so one becomes very committed to the drama.
Not Even Bones - Fantasy, horror, thriller, drama. Originally a book series. Decently dark and involves a lot of fictional creatures, as well as one controversially attractive character who tortures people to eat their pain. Very morally flexible. An eventual Bonnie and Clyde relationship. *SPOILER* from the books, I can tell you that the main characters of this book are asexual, which is nice, as someone on the ace spectrum.
Eleceed - Fantasy, action, comedy. Teenagers with very nicely illustrated powers, cool action shots, very funny characters and dialogue. Some very cool cats and characters. Wholesome and satisfying butt-kickery.
Girls of Wilds - Action, comedy, drama. Same author as Eleceed, great action shots, great art, and funny as heck. About some very impressive professional fighters who are teenagers with crushes and nemeses and the like. Pretty wholesome and endearing but also lots of fighting. Good illustration of food too.
Gourmet Hound - Slice of life, comedy, romance, drama. All about food! Yes, the food makes up like 75% of the webtoon and it makes me feel peckish. Very wholesome and the plot is satisfying because everything kind of fits together towards the end. All about healthy relationships and friends and family.
Always Human - Science fiction, romance, drama. Set waaay into the future with very nice and colorful illustrations, as well as a ton of LGBTQ+ characters. About two girlfriends. Great depiction of queer, gender-noncomforming, polyamory, etc. being normalized as society progresses and cool looking characters.
Yumi’s Cells - Slice of life, romance, drama. About sentient cells that live in people’s bodies and control their actions. Pretty funny and the cells are cute. Good for people who like tteokbokki. An Inside Out kind of situation but slightly cuter and funnier. Wholesome too.
Everything Is Fine - Horror, thriller. Very suspenseful, dystopian world that is not explained to the reader. Average inhabitants with big cat heads (unclear if these are biological or masks) who are just trying to not be killed or controlled by whoever is in charge (unknown). Very intriguing.
Boo! It’s Sex - Slice of life. About some college girls and their house’s resident ghost. Actually very informational about sex education and the like because the ghost is very knowledgable, which is basically the point of the story.
Kind of Love - Romance, drama, slice of life. Sadly, a very short-lived webtoon involving different authors creating an arc about some kind of love, whether that be romantic, platonic, familial, etc. Extremely wholesome and occasionally sad but very good. Genius idea.
Aphrodite IX - Science fiction, drama. The art for this one is incredible (except for the thumbnail). So detailed and realistic, this is by far insanely impressive because it would take so much of the creator’s time. About some cyborgs and genetically enhanced people and then more cyborg/robots who have an ultimate purpose. I needed more of this one.
For the Sake of Sita - Drama, mythology. About one guy going back in time to change the fate of his wife. Pretty sad stuff but a good story and good art. Bittersweet ending too, so not a total tragedy.
I refuse to knock too many webtoons off this list but I also don’t want to bore you with my descriptions of each one so here are some more:
Heroine Chic Unordinary
Remarried Empress My Dear Coldblooded King
The Little Trashmaid Nightmare Factory
Assassin Roommate My Name is Benny
Super Secret Men of the Harem
Eternal Nocturnal My Dictator Boyfriend
See You in My 19th Life Ghosts among the Wildflowers
Adventures of God My Deepest Secret
The Four of Them Tales of the Unusual
If you’re a webtoon reader, feel free to add more recommendations in the comments. If not, go check some of these out when you have time; I recommend Space Boy, Eleceed, and Girls of Wilds for first time readers. The latter two are by the same author and they’re hilarious, not to mention very badass. Always Human if you’re into LGBTQ+ fluff and sci-fi, and Everything Is Fine if you’re into suspenseful horror. I could go on and on, there are so many amazing webtoons. Just go explore. WEBTOON is your oyster.
Written by writer Talia Chen.