On Tuesday, DC Comics revealed they have reached an agreement with Webtoon to have their characters come to the platform in a series of new stories. Variety reports Warner Media’s DC Entertainment and Naver’s new deal will see DC Comics heroes come to Webtoon in accessible new stories which readers won’t need prior comic book knowledge to enjoy. The surprise agreement is the latest significant step towards digital publishing for DC Comics.
Webtoon is one of the world’s most-read platforms for webcomics, as it’s the home of thousands of creator-owned stories. Webtoon’s mobile format has proven to be wildly successful as several webcomics, including Lore Olympus, True Beauty, and Down To Earth, have attracted hundreds of millions of views for the publisher. Per Variety, the Webtoon has attracted an average of 72 million monthly users. Given Webtoon’s current demographic is young adult readers, DC Comics is likely hoping to bring new comics to the platform will open them to a new audience who weren’t overly familiar with traditional comic books.
Variety reports there are few details about content plans for DC Comics and Webtoon’s upcoming collaboration, but that DC’s iconic heroes will appear in upcoming webcomics. Meanwhile, DC’s webcomics will be available in English before being later translated into different languages. DC Comics SVP Daniel Cherry III said DC is excited about the agreement with Webtoon and that the publisher has been working close to with them to create “fun and compelling stories that all readers will enjoy.”
David Lee, the head of content for Webtoon Entertainment U.S., called the collaboration a “landmark” moment for digital comics. Ken Kim, CEO of Webtoon Entertainment U.S., said that the platform would take DC’s established content and develop it for an all-new audience (mentioning the audience is generally between 16-24) that will be “beneficial for DC and Webtoon.”
It remains to be seen whether the comics will eventually be published in print, but the agreement between Webtoon and DC Comics is the latest push towards digital comics in the world of comic books. With several talented writers recently joining Substack – including James Tynion IV leaving Batman for creator-owned series – creatives are now experimenting more with digital comics, which unquestionably have become more popular for younger audiences. It’s going to be fascinating to see what kind of content DC Comics produces for Webtoon and whether they resonate as much with readers who generally use the website for creator-owned projects. Regardless, the agreement is the latest change in the landscape of comics, and time will tell how impactful it ultimately is.