Thursday, February 03, 2005

Manhwa becomes $600 million export

South Korea's JoongAng Ilbo reports that the Korean comics industry is booming in the United States and Europe, with exports jumping from $70 million in 2002 to some $600 million last year. The newspaper has a theory for manhwa's success abroad:
Commentators note that comics in Europe and the United States appear to lack "sensitivity," usually dealing with heroes like "Superman," "Batman" or "Spider-man."

In American cartoons, characters fight for justice, and the theme is mostly about bad guys eventually paying for their evil deeds, while European cartoons are more educational than sentimental, "The Adventures of Tin Tin" and "Smurfs" being examples.

This may explain why Korean comics have become more popular in the United States and Europe ― the different genre appeals to the sentimentalism that teenagers feel. Korean romance stories have been tear-jerkers for American and European teenage girls, and the different styles in the action comics appeal to teenage boys' imaginations.