Korean webtoons make splash at Italian fair

By Park Ung Posted : May 13, 2024, 17:05 Updated : May 13, 2024, 17:20
Visitors take a look at Korean webtoon drawings Courtesy of the Korea Manhwa Contents Agency
Visitors take a look at a fair in Naples, Italy. Courtesy of the Korea Manhwa Contents Agency

SEOUL, May 13 (AJU PRESS) - Korean webtoons garnered massive attention at Italy's biggest comic book fair which wrapped up in Naples last month.

Dubbed COMICON Napoli 2024, the fair was held in the coastal city for three days from April 28 and this year's fair featured a separate booth dedicated to Korean comics for the first time to mark the 140th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Korea and Italy.

Popular Korean webtoons such as romantic comedy "Full House" and period drama "The Red Sleeve," both adapted into hit TV dramas here, attracted large crowds, a testament to the burgeoning interest in Korean pop culture across Europe. There were also various programs including displays of hanbok or traditional Korean dress, opportunities to taste Korean cuisine, and K-pop dance performances.

"Through the fair, we believe we can pave the way for Korean comic book makers to make inroads into the Italian market," said an official from the Korea Manhwa Contents Agency. "In Europe, there's growing interest in Korean webtoons and their TV adaptations."

Korean cartoonist Park Jae kwang performs a drawing show Courtesy of Korea Manhwa Contents Agency
Korean cartoonist Park Jae-kwang (far right) performs a drawing show at a fair in Naples, Italy. Courtesy of Korea Manhwa Contents Agency

"I first attended the fair for about a decade ago. At the time, it was nearly impossible to find anything related to Korea. But now I can see the growing interest in Korean culture," said Park Jae-kwang, a cartoonist who performed a drawing show at the sidelines of the fair. "This year's event was an opportunity not only to promote Korean comic books but also Korean culture."

According to market researcher Fortune Business Insight, the global webtoon market was estimated to be worth $7.13 billion in 2023 and is expected to reach a whopping $13.04 billion in 2032. 
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