It happened. DC and Webtoon today announced a partnership that will see the companies collaborate on several upcoming webcomic series set in the DC Universe.
No creative team has been announced, although very reasonably it looks like the DC characters will be adapted by webtoon creators, and it won’t be established DC creators trying to work in a “how are you, comrades?” manner. The scrolling format of mobile comics is quite different from traditional comic pages.
The news won’t surprise anyone who’s noticed how many times DC’s GM Daniel Cherry III used the word “mobile” in his very first DC interview.
It also won’t surprise anyone who pays attention to actual readership patterns among real comic book readers.
Finally, it won’t surprise anyone who’s heard me say for years that DC (and Marvel) should do this. (And DC seems to have flirted with rival webtoon platform Kakao for a while.)
According to the statement, the stories “will appeal to all fans, without needing to know or read previous stories. Additional details – including information on local language translations – will be provided in the coming weeks. »
As the comic book periodical struggles to be a medium for storytelling (though not as valuable to collect), finding new readers on mobile platforms is a logical extension of the DC brand. DC’s enduring characters are easily flexible enough to transition to this platform — and a new but familiar kind of storytelling — to become relevant to a whole new generation of readers.
And props to Cherry for being the first person running DC in a long time who had the vision to see that a move to an unknown but popular platform was a good thing.
“I’m so glad WEBTOON can work with DC to bring unique stories to our platform,” said WEBTOON CEO Ken Kim. “WEBTOON is a great bridge to a huge global audience of young comic book fans, and DC is home to some of the biggest superhero stories on the planet. The ability to voice a famous IP through our platform, which is mobile-native and focused on ease of access, is very exciting.”
“DC is thrilled to introduce our iconic characters to a new generation of fans around the world,” said DC General Manager Daniel Cherry III. “We have worked closely with WEBTOON writers and artists to adapt our characters and stories to WEBTOON’s mobile format. Our shared goal is to create fun and compelling DC stories that all readers will enjoy. This partnership is a another example of DC’s ambition to “meet fans wherever they are” and continue to share DC’s fandom.”
“This collaboration is a milestone for us as we work towards a new era of digital comics in the United States,” said David Lee, Chief Content Officer at WEBTOON Entertainment. “We are thrilled to introduce some long-time beloved DC characters to our service – and we look forward to sharing more details soon.”
According to Webtoon PR, with an average of over 72 million monthly active users, more people consume WEBTOON series than watch most TV shows. The app is the No. 1 app among 16-24 year olds in South Korea and ranks first among the same group in other countries as well. Previous partnerships with US publishers involve Legendary, POW!, Top Cow/Image and Archie Comics announced a partnership with Webtoon last year at virtual NYCC.
I can only imagine the hubbub from comic book retailers right now, but today’s comic book readers are going to stick with the physical, traditional versions of these characters. And you might just have new readers when all is said and done.
That’s the whole point.