Administration: Adding Manhwa Tag for Selected Webcomics

I’m starting to add the tag “manhwa” to the Korean webcomics I’m posting, because I got into them before being able to have pedantic arguments about what distinguishes manga, manhwa, and even manhua!

The general gist is that these are comics (a) from South Korea that are often (b) in color and now even (c) set up for vertical (phone) scrolling publication.

If you haven’t noticed (because I usually only write at the end of publication, and so much of what I’m reading is in ongoing serialization without end), my main sources of manhwa content are Tappytoon and the Webtoon app.

Many genres and styles are available. I primarily choose stories of:

  • dying of overwork in the real world, waking up as a the villainess of a novel the heroine has already read, and trying to reform her character to change her unfortunate fate
  • avenging the killing of one’s immediate family (feudal settings)
  • secret identities (especially including girls having to pretend to be guys to survive; sole survivors of royal families pretending to be commoners to they can get revenge later, etc.)
  • dramedies (dramatic comedies) which are often also romances and invovle women who are good at fighting with swords (and sometimes magic).

The digital coloring, use of 3D software to model figures in lifelike positions and odd angles, and the application of complex textures and patterns makes this genre quite visually appealing – my phone is filled with screenshots of favorite characters whose costumes would be disabling to draw by hand, but are slightly less so with digital tools. (They can still be disabling – the artists need to take long breaks between seasons to recover from the efforts! Some are on long term hiatus for health reasons… I worry a bit for the artists over this.). I’m a bit discouraged by the dominance of European castles and royal themes, though I understand why the elaborate costumes can be fun, and why it is convenient to have idle (not ordinarily employed) characters with time to get into trouble.

You’ll see the new tag applied as I consider whether to rename the titles to a broader category like comic (which evokes American retro-newspaper comics, rather inaccurately) or perhaps graphic fiction.

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