So, recently the existence of the Manwha Creator Bank and it’s accompanying Facebook page has come to my attention. It’s a joint project conceived by Netcomics and Seoul Animation Center in an attempt to help promote Manwha in other countries. The basic idea behind the site is that it’s a catalogue of about 49 Manwha series, containing brief synopses and short previews for each one. Some of these titles were familiar to me as US reader while others are completely new and unheard of. They ran the gamut from slice of life drama, historical action, fantasy, horror and more.
Here are three of the titles that caught my eye..
Namhansansung – Created by Gaya Kwon, Namhansansung is a piece of historical fiction set during the Japanese invasion of Korea in 1592. I have to admit that I like the idea of a historical piece of fiction dealing with one of the various conflicts between Japan and Korea throughout the ages. While many are aware of Japan’s actions towards its Asian neighbors in the 20th century, this seems like it might give a bit of a glimpse at the deeper issues and length of the hostility between the two nations. On top of that Gaya Kwon’s artwork looks incredibly pretty, a bit stiff, yes, but still the brief preview had me wanting to see more and find out more about this tale and historical event.
3 Grams – Created by Jisue Shin, 3 Grams promises to to tell the story of a woman’s battle with ovarian cancer. The official summery says “This project was started with the intention of giving hope to those battling illnesses, but hopefully it will send a positive message to all the people going through tough times.” While a bit vague I’d by lying if I said I wasn’t interested in it in the same way I was interested in With The Light, it’s not a topic that’s usually covered in sequential art released in the US and seems more like something you’d see in a movie or novel, so the chance to see the material covered in this medium is one that intrigues and interests me. I have to admit that I’m rather fond of the simplistic looking artwork in the preview as well.
Green Smile – Created by Hyukjoo Kwon, Green Smile is a full color web series from Korea focusing on a young harp seal’s search for his mother after they’re separated following an encounter with hunters in the arctic. I have to admit that I’m something of a sucker for talking animal stories and the idea of Umbi, the young harp seal, looking for his mother kind of tugs on my heart strings a bit. The fact that it deals with seal hunters, whalers and more gives it a hint of social relevance that also appeals to me. The art in the preview does look awfully cartoonish but not enough to lessen my desire to see and read more of the series.
After talking about those titles I do feel the need to mention one other thing. This site really doesn’t seem to have been created with the fans in mind. Certainly potential fans can peruse the titles, look at the previews and then bug local publishers about possibly bringing some over, but the preview catalogues are clearly intended for licensing purposes. The previews are incredibly short, only a page or two at the most, and the entries include contact information for rights acquisitions and more. It’s certainly an interesting idea and there’s nothing wrong with attempting to promote your countries entertainment abroad but the short previews don’t do much more then whet your appetite for these series. The lack of press about it also makes me wonder how effective it’ll be, hence this entry being my attempt to help give it some attention and get some eyes on it. If nothing else the previews, summaries and story information should help give us an idea of how varied Manwha can be in both style and content.