Webtoons - A Korean Escapade

Image: Mary Stayed Out All Night(Webtoon)

Webtoons are the South Korean webcomics published online, updated episode by episode on a regular basis. It's a totally different medium of story telling in South Korea, which has its dedicated fan base and readers. It is a very integral part of Korean culture just like theatre, or any form of art. And many stories here are adapted to TV series and movies too. Webtoons are thus a rich, varied, ever increasing repository of unique stories that thrive on reader's demand and ratings. Some run years like 'Cheese In The Trap' and 'The Tower of God' but they are gems in this medium.

Webtoons are different from the American comics or the Japanese Manga. They are gaining popularity slowly and steadily internationally through apps like Line Webtoon, Comics Naver etc.

Dr. Frost:

"Lauded as a genius, psychologist Dr. Frost uses his belief that all humans are basically the same to guide his practice. His keen mastery of the human mind will strike your heart."

If you are starting out with webtoons, then I would suggest you start with this amazing one. Adapted into a TV series too, this webtoon has thrill, suspense, curiosity and excitement in almost every chapter. I bet you can decide that for yourself just after reading the first episode. Sometimes the story makes you scroll down with bated breath and mind boggling confusion as Dr.Frost solves cases amidst nail biting curiosity. And well, I liked the webtoon better than the TV series.

Dr. Frost

Tower Of God:

"What do you desire? Money and wealth? Honor and pride? Authority and power? Revenge? Or something that transcends them all? Whatever you desire—it's here."

I haven't read this one yet, but my sister has been pestering me to read it for the last two years. She says it's like Mahabharata- diverse characters, each with a background and a story, unthinkable plot, many tests and battles, magic and a suspense through out. She had me sit and listen to the story synopsis many a times, but I just can't seem to start it seeing the number of episodes it has. It seems unlimited.

The Tower of God title refers to the setting of the story. The inhabitants simply refer to it as the Tower. It has 135 floors, getting to the next floor demands to pass a test of sorts. It is divided into three parts: the Inner Tower, the Outer Tower, and the Middle Area. People living inside have no knowledge of the world outside the Tower.
The primary protagonist of the story is Bam, a boy clouded by mystery who grew up in an unknown part of the tower. When his only friend left him to climb the tower to pursue a dream, he decided to follow her and unknowingly started a string of events.

Cheese in the Trap:

"Seol Hong is a hard-working student, who has returned to college after a long break. Jung Yu is a senior at the college known as Mr. Perfect. Seol feels like her life took a turn for the worse since she got involved with Jung. Is Jung intentionally turning Seol's life?"

I liked the look and feel and the color scheme of this one. But I loved the TV series more. Just a personal liking. Read the review of the TV series here. It is in my opinion one of the best KDramas with the most eclectic characters.

Siren's Lament:

"Content with her ordinary life, Lyra is somewhat of a wallflower. However, her comfortable lifestyle suddenly goes astray when she accidentally plunges into the world of sirens. Entangled in a curse, Lyra will learn that her world may be a lot bigger than she had ever imagined."

I am not much into mermaids and sirens in fantasy genre, but this one had awesome visuals and character portrayals which I just couldn't resist. And added to that I enjoyed the new feature that plays low tunes, instrumentals, apt to the episode/chapter's theme or mood. Enjoyable read.

Miss Abbott and the Doctor

Miss Abbott and the Doctor:

"Doctor Andreas Marino loves his quiet life, filled with work and simple amusements, and when the strange Miss Abbott arrives in his town he decides he doesn't like her at all. Unfortunately she's funny and quirky, has an uncommon past and seems to enjoy getting him in trouble. Welcome to a sketchy Victorian rom-com!"

I am really liking this one. Romantic comedy without cliches and has some really hilarious episodes. Loving the quirky characters as well. It is an incredibly humorous and charming tale of adventures that the characters embark on while getting acquainted with one another. I must recommend this one for all newbies.

Cheese In The Trap

Orange Marmalade:

"People are no longer afraid of vampires but that doesn't stop humans from discriminating against them. Can Mari Baek hide her identity when she falls in love with a popular boy who hates vampires?"

Worth mention. High school romance. Young adult. Fantasy. Teenage love story. It is also adapted to a TV series.

For The Sake of Sita:

"A medical student passionately falls in love with a fallen goddess during his volunteer abroad in Nepal, and he desperately tries to fight off destiny to save his love."

This is a confusing story filled with emotions, romance, interesting character, mythology and popular culture of Nepal, and time travel, this packs a lot in its 12 episodes. It’s about Sangmin Han, a doctor from Korea who visits Nepal to try to help the people there, and a woman named Sita, a former Kumari Goddess, who was shamed and is now a prostitute. They fall in love and get married, but she dies shortly after they return to Korea. Then follows another twist. Must read to find out.

When Tangents Meet:

"As Landon and Rachelle venture into falling in love with one another, they hit ruptures in the road. The more they learn about each other, the more they discover about themselves in the midst of encountering jealousy, scandals, accidents, and misunderstandings. Despite the losses and hurt they face together, they reconcile and create an unbreakable bond that guides them not only into a stronger relationship, but also to self-acceptance."

Not very exciting one, but worth a mention. From the writer and creator of "Siren's Lament", this one kind of fit in perfectly with my sensibilities, but is not that popular with other readers.

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Queeristan by Parmesh Sahani

  Queeristan (Amazon Link) Thanks to Audible Free Trial I listened to this amazing non-fiction on LGBTQ inclusion in Indian workplaces. Author Parmesh Sahani identifies as gay Indian, working closely with Godrej higher management and employees for years to create an inclusive workplace, both legally and in spirit. This book is a result of those years of experience, research, collaboration with individuals from difference spectrum of the society and organizations who has successfully transitioned into a queer friendly one.   Indian history is inclusive. From the Khajuraho temple architectures, to Konark to the Rig Veda, there is existing proofs even 2000 years ago of Indian inclusiveness of queer. It’s the draconian British law that criminalised it, which was scraped in 2009, came into effect once again following a sad judgement in 2013 and eventually was scraped off for good in 2018. I am in awe of the lawyers who fought this legal battle- colleagues and partners – Arundhati Katju

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