Webtoons—a form of comic that are typically published digitally in chapter form—are the latest manifestation of the Korean Wave of popular culture that has increasingly caught on across the globe, especially among youth. Originally distributed via the Internet, they are now increasingly distributed through smartphones to ravenous readers in Korea and around the world.
The rise of webtoons has fundamentally altered the Korean cultural market due to the growth of transmedia storytelling—the flow of a story from the original text to various other media platforms, such as films, television, and digital games—and the convergence of cultural content and digital technologies. Fans can enjoy this content anytime and anywhere, either purely as webtoons or as webtoon-based big-screen culture.
Understanding Korean Webtoon Culture analyzes webtoons through the lens of emerging digital cultures and discusses relevant cultural perspectives by combining two different, yet connected approaches, political economy and cultural studies. The book demonstrates the dynamics between structural forces and textual engagement in global media flows, and it illuminates snack-culture and binge-reading as two new forms of digital culture that webtoon platforms capitalize on to capture people’s shifting media consumption.