Most people in the known multiverse are familiar with the word Manga, which in the English language refers directly to the comics that come from Japan. I absolutely love Manga, and I cannot believe I did not search out comics from Korea or China until a few years ago. Comics in Korea are called Manhwa, and comics from China are called Manhua. Of course in their own language they just mean comic, however in western countries much like the word manga, each one refers directly to the country of origin. You can find the official English translated versions of Korean Manhwa and heaps more at the LINE Webtoon website where they have weekly updates for free. Some of them (like Noblesse) do have printed books you can buy, but the English prints are hard to find.
NOBLESSE ~ Korean Manhwa
Noblesse is a web comic/webtoon written by Son Jae Ho and illustrated by Lee Gwang Su which is based around humans, vampires and werewolves which has been done to death…but not like this. Noblesse has been running since late 2007, so if you pick up the series there is a good chunk of reading to be had and you quickly see this is a new take on the old vampire theme. Vampires are actually called Nobles, and do not drink blood to survive like old stories, in fact they are much like humans in that respect, however their physical power and lifespans far exceed humans in every way. There are other beings like modified humans who are part of a mysterious organisation, as well as werewolves (who take a good while to show up) in this world. The artwork is drawn beautifully in full colour, and has evolved quite a bit throughout the series. The main characters are handsome….there I said it, they are and you see what I mean. The writing is reasonable, (in some areas it could just be the translators that are lacking), and there is quite a bit of unexpected humor thrown in which gives the characters more depth. The main cast is always on their toes as they gain new comrades and fight to stay alive and protect what they have built together, so there is a lot of action in there.
You can check out the official Korean version here.
Girls of the Wilds ~ Korean Manhwa
Girls of the Wilds follows the ‘boy enters a girls only high school’ genre, which has a pretty set standard of cliche rules to follow, except that here all the girls are brutally talented martial artists. Written by Hun and illustrated by Zhena, it is a full colour webtoon which incorporated comedy, love and a bit of hard reality for some of the characters. Jaegu Song is the protagonist, he is a well rounded character with his little siblings best interest in mind as their mother and father are not around. They live together in a tiny, basic apartment, and he works after hours to support them on his own. His first day at his new all girl school, was less that a good start, and Dal Dal Choi (girl with ears headband) pretty much forced herself on him from the get go. He forms a close bond with Dal Dal, Moonyoung Lee and Queen (In-gui Yoon) and he starts on his martial arts training in order to protect himself from bullies and build his self esteem. His relationship with the girls grows steadily as they get more comfortable around each other, and they are soon a big part of his life. There are regular fights, either between Dal Dal and Moonyoung or an arranged in ring fight at a tournament or random challenges, so they are always moving the characters forward. This is a fun read as they are always getting themselves into trouble!
You can check out the official Korean version here.
I like this one as it is actually a very interesting concept, which drew me in at the beginning as it was quite unique. A high schooler boy Han Jee-han is a bit of an obsessive gamer, and with his overly athletic best friend Shin Sun-il, they make a strange pair. In fact, Jee-han can see people names, overall levels, health and other information just floating above their head like in an RPG, and he himself isn’t too sure when it started. At first they are small changes, like when his mother asks him to go pick something up from the shops a little job alert pops up in front of him to accept or decline. He soon discovers the potential of this kind of power, and if you can imagine real world applications of inventoried items, acquiring healing techniques, raising both his strength and intelligence through grinding you can see why you would want to take it as far as possible. His friend Sun-il is also not completely normal either, and he is a source of information when Jee-han isn’t familiar with new dangers that are slowly showing up around him. I really enjoy this, there are a few slow sections where all he seems to do is grind to level up, but it does keep the story going forward with new enemies and characters, and he slowly acquires useful items.
Written by Sung Sang-Young and illustrated by Sang-Ah, you can check out the official Korean version here.
This one is actually very difficult to explain as the characters are actually inside a colossal tower, or partly underground and there are a vast variation of different species. This is a place people gravitate to in order to fulfill their greatest desires, whether it be money, power, love or authority, it can be found here if you know how to get it. We start out with Baam chasing a friend Rachel who is spirited away from him and into the Tower. He then wakes up himself, in a mysterious room, and the first creature he meets almost resembles the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland, but a bit more scary. His entry test is quite terrifying, and it is only just the beginning of what he will face in the tower. He does however make allies as he works his way from floor to floor, and it is quite a sophisticated system of advancement. The writers have put in some incredibly interesting tools and weapons that the people can obtain, and there are rules and monitored tests/exams when completing floors. This series is ongoing, and already has a good chunk of reading with the artwork staying a consistent quality throughout which is quite rare for web-toons.
You can find the Official Korean Version here which is written and illustrated by Lee Jong-hui also goes by the pen-name SIU (Slave. In. Utero).
I really enjoy Feng Shen Ji, which is set in a world where Gods stand at the top, humans are manipulated by them and Dark Ones live hidden in the underworld. Ah Gou is our protagonist who we follow from a very young age, starting when his fathers Empire is annihilated because he opposed the Gods. Ah Gou escapes with help from his mother, and is transported into a new body where he stays until current time. Eventually, after struggling to survive as a slave in some mines, fate brings him to his Grandfather and his Uncle Zi Yu (probably the coolest character in the whole thing) and they make plans to build their strength in order to counter attack the Gods. The artwork is beautifully detailed and in full colour too! Written by Zheng Jian He and illustrated by Tang Chi Fai, they do a fantastic job at telling this story. Sometimes there are battles that seem a little over done, but they keep it interesting as they jump between characters so you don’t get bored. The series is ongoing, and Ah Gou has turned into a bit of a trash talking egotistical jerk, but he still has good qualities that make you get behind him to make it through his battles, and his fiance Bai Cai is a solid ground for him to return to.
I read this translated, and I cannot find any information on whether it is released online, or printed copies. Either way it’s hasn’t gained enough popularity for sites to bother releasing more info, and I can’t see why because it is a really great read.