Comics Disassembled: Ten Things of Note from the Past Week in Comics, Led by a Publisher Getting the Word Out

This week, I’m mixing it up a little bit in my weekly ten things column. Normally this column is almost purely news and my reactions, but it was both a moderately light news week and one that found me spending a lot of time catching up on comics.

So I’m doing things a bit differently in today’s edition of Comics Disassembled – my column where I look at ten things I liked or didn’t like in comics from the week – by making the first half news and the second half some thoughts on comics I’ve enjoyed lately. I won’t predict this will be something regular going forward, but I would like to work more tidbits from my recent comic reads in here when I can. This is a start.

1. Webtoon, Blowing Up

I’ve been seeing Webtoon everywhere lately. This digital comics platform kept appearing on sites, in random articles, on social media, etc., to the point where I realized, “I need to look into this.” The biggest reason for it was related to the nature of those articles, as some of them – like one on Bleeding Cool – felt like advertorials, aka advertisements designed as editorial pieces, rather than real articles. But either way, it seemed like something was happening here.

And now I know why. Milton Griepp at ICv2 ran an article in which he talked with Webtoon’s Head of Content David Lee about everything they’re up to and a multi-million dollar ad campaign they’ve been running and are running going forward, with these ads running on social, digital, movie theaters, TV and beyond. It’s a heck of a move, and something we always want to see in comics but never do. But Webtoon’s doing it, and seemingly for a great reason: the platform is a monster. It’s a mix of original content created by properly, fully supported creators and an almost YouTube like platform in which anyone can share their content and earn money from it, possibly even eventually getting an upgraded a full Original creator if it connects enough.

The site does giant numbers, and even more atypically, it’s predominantly young women, with 60 to 65% of its audience being women and 16 to 24 year olds being the dominant age. I imagine those numbers are going to get even bigger now that they’re actively courting a wider audience, but this is all extremely exciting to see, and the kind of thing that’s going to build a better future for the art form, even if this isn’t what many would consider a “traditional” comic method. But who cares? It’s comics. It’s effective. I’m feeling it. I’m going to look into this subject, because it’s exciting to see someone trying to build something fresh, new and significant in comics.

2. Brazil, Being Ridiculous

The city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil is acting a fool, as its mayor Marcelo Crivella tried to sweep Avengers: The Children’s Crusade – a Young Avengers-centric maxi-series – from Riocentro Bienal do Livro, the country’s biggest literary event because it features Wiccan and Hulkling kissing and, heavens, think of the children if they ever experience such a thing!

The good news is the event said no. The better news is it was partly because the book was already sold out, so in your face to Crivella. The crazy thing – well, one of the crazy things – about this story is this comic is not new. It was first published in 2012 in Brazil, so it is a bold as heck move to do this now. It was brilliant to see the festival stand up against this kind of behavior, and to see the response of the community, which has been positive. It’s wild, though, and even became a front page news story in the country’s biggest newspaper. However, if you want the full story, I highly recommend CBR’s article on this whole thing. Bea Caicoya did a heck of a job walking through the whole of the story while giving useful context. It’s a great piece.

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