Komik Digital, Lahir di Korea Selatan hingga Tumbuh Subur di Indonesia

Digital Comics, Born in South Korea to Thrive in Indonesia

In the past, comic shops were a favorite place for children and teenagers. They look for various comics, such as Naruto, One Piece, Inuyasha, Detective Conan, and so on. However, if you look back a decade, comic rental places are starting to become rare.

The advancement of the internet means that some people now tend to turn to digital comics. The comic is also considered more practical. This means that someone doesn't need to go to a bookstore to get comics, because all the stories are available on their device. Regarding the story, digital comic episodes usually have more diverse stories and are released weekly. This is different from comic books, where new editions are released every month, so the impression is not as diverse as digital comics.

The digital comics trend itself began in 2003, precisely in Ginseng Country, Korea. At that time there was a crisis in the printed comic publishing industry. As a result, digital comics emerged as an alternative. One of the Korean digital comic products that is quite popular worldwide is webtoon.

The first portal to launch a webtoon was Daum in 2003. Then, it was followed by the company Naver in 2004 through the creative hand of Kim Junkoo. After being launched, the webtoon received a warm welcome from the public. The number of readers continues to increase from year to year, making Naver release it via the Line application globally in 2014.

Webtoon readers are not only popular in South Korea, but are also emerging abroad. Therefore, the webtoon then launched Thai language content in 2014 and Indonesian in 2015.

Entering 2019, Line Webtoon transformed into an independent webtoon. To increase readership, Naver acquired the story site Wattpad, which already has a reader base of tens of millions, in 2021.

Some popular web stories include Cheese in the Trap, Along with the Gods, My ID is Gangnam Beauty, True Beauty, Yumi's Cell, and All of Us Are Dead. Some of these stories have been made into dramas and films. One of them, All of Us Are Dead, managed to make a brilliant achievement as a series from South Korea that managed to top the number of daily viewers in the United States.

So how is the development of webtoons in Indonesia?

Readers of digital comic applications in Indonesia are no less enthusiastic than those in their home country. In fact, readers from Indonesia were among the largest in the world. It was recorded that in 2020 there were 2 million active webtoon users. This number is expected to continue to increase until now due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Apart from having a large number of readers, domestic webtoon creators also continue to emerge. They have succeeded in producing works that are no less interesting than stories from abroad. Some of them have even succeeded in expanding their wings to the international arena. They are Avisiena & Savenia Melinda with the work Too Handsome, Archie The Cat with Eggnoid, Nurfadli Mursyid with Tahilalats and Annisa Nisfihani with the webtoon Pasutri Gaje, My Pre-Wedding, and Virgo and The Sparklings. Apart from that, there is also a webtoon creation studio based in Bandung, namely Kolam Susu. This studio, which was initiated by three graduates of the Bandung Institute of Technology, produces various webtoons on various themes. One of their superior stories is Cergaroma which has a romance theme through a young adult perspective. Apart from that, there are also other works such as The Normies which tell stories of everyday life.

So, is the trend of dominating digital comics only dominated by webtoons?

The most likely possibility at this time is yes. In fact, before webtoons came in, there was already a domestic digital comic platform in 2010, namely Ngomik.com. The platform has 500 active comic artists and around 2,700 users. Unfortunately, Ngomik.com is no longer actively displaying digital comics.

Apart from that, there is also the Ciayo.com site which appeared after Line Webtoon entered Indonesia, to be precise in 2016. However, this site actually closed during the pandemic after four years of operation.

Thus, Line Webtoon is still the dominant digital comic platform in Indonesia. Even though some observers say that the story style in webtoons tends to be fast and short, which can make creators lose their spirit of storytelling, in fact this is still what readers are most interested in. Actually, there is another alternative amidst the dominance of Line Webtoon, namely the local platform, Karya Karsa. It is a crowdfunding platform that makes it easy for creators to sell digital works directly to readers. Through works, comic artists are said to be able to work more relaxed and intensely.

Well, it turns out it's quite a long journey, yes, the journey of digital comics, starting from South Korea to becoming a trend in Indonesia. These trends will of course continue to change according to the needs of the times and also the dynamic characteristics of readers. Are you also interested in becoming a digital comic creator in the future?

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