Webtoon is a unique, scrolling form of cartoon that fits the digital reading environment which began in Korea. Professor Brian Yecies from Wollongong University, Australia is currently studying the evolution of Korean comic. He visited ComixV, a VR webtoon platform company, and requested for a meeting with Ji Gang Min, the artist of <Welcome to Convenience Store VR>.
ComixV team arranged a meeting with Mr. Ji and Professor Yecies and discussed about comic market of both Korea and Australia.
Stances about the digital web comic(webtoon) of two countries
Prof. Yecies: Unlike Korean comic market, which adapted rapidly to the digital environment, that of Australia is adapting slow. Members of ACA(Australian Cartoonist Association), successful and old, are curious about this change but fear online piracy. How does Korean artist think about this issue?
Mr. Ji: Korean artists do not believe that the format of the artwork can stop online piracy. Personally, I believe that if one wills, paper publishes can still be illegally copied. Thus, many Korean artists, including myself, does not fear online piracy
Development of Webtoon with new technologies like VR and AR
Prof. Yecies: New webtoon coped with AR and VR has been released. How did you begin VR comic? Also in your opinion, are platforms doing well with new technologies?
Mr. Ji: I have been interested in new technologies, so I began VR webtoon as a trial. But I do not think the new technologies are going along well with the webtoon industry so far. I can give two possible reasons, and one is that artists does not enough preparation time to fully understand the new technology before publishing one, and the other reason is that artists get requests by platforms to do it, and thus they have less motivation to do it. Technology is important, but it is more important for artists to focus on artworks.
Digital and Analog Comics
Prof. Yecies: Digitalization is a global trend. My hope is that my study in Korea will help fasten digitalization of Australian comic market.
Mr. Ji: It is true that digitalization is a trend, but being in Analog isn’t being late. Value of analog artworks comes from not only just nostalgia, but the comfort of eye it gives. Many artists seek for ways to make digital artworks look similar to analog form. It effects readers regardless of age and generation.
Pros and Cons of Globalization
Mr. Yecies: Webtoon platforms has been giving trials for globalization, such as translating works into different languages or creating contents without localizing. For some languages fans would translate it without QC(Quality Control), and were you ever concerned with the quality of those translations? Also, do you think about how much Korean contents to put in an artwork?
Mr. Ji: Personally, I believe fans will take a lot of effort when translating the work.
When I first debuted I didn’t think about globalization. But for the works I create now I do consider global readers. But my works, usually, tries to bring up understandings and agreement from readers and thus Korean contents cannot be completely removed.
Professor Yecies praised passion of Mr. Ji and other Korean artists, and thanked for the meeting. Team ComixV could lean as well and had time to review our works.