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That's not a REAL webtoon

Ryan Dave Jimenez


I am three pages or five panels away from finishing chapter one of "Geisha Epic". And I am so excited for that. It's been a long month. I think it took me a month?

For this post I want to talk about what a real webtoon is. Because whenever I see someone promoting their webtoon half of them aren't really webtoons.

They're either a webcomic, a manga, or a comic strip. And those are all different.


Now some might say, does it really matter? They're all comics anyways.


But it does matter.

There are similarities between them and there are differences too.


It's like saying does it really matter? Japanese, Chinese, Thai.... They're all Asians anyway.


And that is wrong.


A manga is Japan's version of comics For America you have the Marvel and DC, the comic books, and graphic novels For Japan, you have manga.

Now manga is always black and white. Sometimes you have colored covers or a few pages are in color but it's usually always black and white.


And webtoons are usually always colored. That is the first difference right away.


There are webtoons that are in black and white but they are quite rare. I can't even think of a popular webtoon that is in black and white. Can you?

And webtoon readers expect a webtoon to be in color.


So if your so-called "webtoon" is black and white, it's not a webtoon. Stop calling it that.


Next up is a webcomic. These are usually in color so they're webtoons right? No. Why?


Because they're read left to right. Webtoons are read from top to bottom. That is the second difference.


And I see this mistake a lot. If your so-called "webtoon" is read left to right, it's not a webtoon. Stop calling it that.

Finally, we have comic strips. 

They're colored and are also read left to right but the biggest differentiator is they're very short. Usually four panels or just one page.

So if your so-called "webtoon" is a comic strip, call it a comic strip. It's not a webtoon.


So what is a webtoon? A webtoon is Korea's version of comics. They were meant to be read digitally, hence the name web.

And they are meant to be read using mobile phones, hence the top to bottom orientation where you scroll down to read.

And a lot of webtoon creators don't take advantage of that.


Webtoons are pretty cool because of its infinite canvas where the reading experience is smoother and seamless.


You don't have to turn a page, you don't have to click next, you don't have to worry if you're reading the panels in the right order, you just scroll down.

And the panels appear one by one. Things are revealed to you bit by bit. And if you're creative enough you can do a lot of cool things with this scrolling orientation.


Manga isn't like that, comic books aren't like that, graphic novels aren't like that, web comics aren't like that, comic strips aren't like that.


That is why I have an issue with other creators calling their work a webtoon when it isn't. Because they don't take advantage of that infinite canvas that only webtoons have.

Plus, you're spreading misinformation because someone who is not in the know may start thinking that manga are webtoons. When that's incorrect.


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