Korean webtoons are digital comics that can be accessed from your phone, computer, or other mobile device.
They’ve grown in popularity over the years, and now English and other translations are readily available on most webtoon websites.
You can read them from the comfort of your home, and for free, on websites like LINE WEBTOON.
The rest of this article will cover what webtoons are in detail, why they’re popular, the history of them, the top 10 webtoon websites you can visit, and a conclusion.
What Are Korean Webtoons
If you’re looking for entertainment you can access on your handheld device, then webtoons (웹툰) are perfect for you.
They’re digital comics that are mostly free to read. A majority of webtoon comics are Korean, but they have English and other translations too.
Webtoons are comics that are published by episodes. The comics are on one long, vertical strip rather than multiple pages. That makes it easier to read for those on handheld devices like an Android or iPhone.
What makes webtoons so unique is that most aren’t black-and-white. Webtoons are primarily published in color, which gives them a wider appeal to all ages.
Also, because of censorship laws varying for online and physical manhwa, more mature content can be found online.
Top 10 Webtoon Websites
There are countless webtoon websites out there, and countless more to come. There’s the popular, the less known, and the ones sitting in between.
There’s also plenty of manhwa to read such as True Beauty, Tower of God, 7Fates: Chakho (BTS), and Something about Us.
All of the options on this list are safe and legal. Keep in mind that not all of the chosen sites will have English translations, but the ones that don’t will be marked as such.
1: Net Comics
First up is Net Comics, a less known comic website that’s based in California. It offers manga, manhwa, webtoons, and comics.
Since it has so many genres and types of media, it’s very versatile and offers translations of Korean media in English.
Net Comics wasn’t always the best, and there were times where it wasn’t top 10 material due to the prices being a certain amount per chapter.
Yes – per chapter, not per story. However, Net Comics has made bug fixes and advertisement changes that made it better.
2: Tappytoon Comics
Tappytoon Comics is another webtoon website you can visit, and the best part about it is that you don’t have to install any app to access it.
You can go to its website and read whatever webtoon you’d like. They also offer exclusive Korean manhwa you can’t find on other sites.
The only downside to Tappytoon is that it’s not as accessible to other languages.
The webtoons are only available in a handful of languages like English, German, and French. Regardless, the webtoons are all free and Tappytoon works on both Android and iOS.
Coming in at number 4 is Toomics, a webtoon website with a wide array of Korean manhwa in about 10 languages including, but not limited to: English, Korean, Chinese, German, Spanish, French, Japanese, and more.
There’s a free option of Toomics, and also a premium version. The VIP, premium membership is $8.99/month.
They have a large selection of webtoons, and they’re known for having some hilarious and jaw-dropping stories that you’ll want more of.
4: Daum Webtoon
Developed by Daum Corporation, Daum Webtoon has over 500 completed series that has a simple interface.
It’s very easy to browse through, but it’s also colorful and grasps your attention. It’s perfect for those looking for an easy read.
However, there’s one big downside: it’s Korean-only. If you’re learning Korean, or know Korean, then that’s no problem for you.
It’ll challenge your Korean language knowledge and help you learn. If you don’t know Korean though, Daum is not a good website for you.
WebComics is a newer platform. It only came out a few years ago in 2018, making it new and innovative to those who are looking for a site like that.
However, its age doesn’t mean the quality of the stories is lacking. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
The quality of the storytelling and art design is amazing. Like the other websites on this list, WebComics is primarily free to use.
There’s some stories and episodes that require gems to unlock. Gems are the currency inside the WebComics app.
To get gems, you can either buy them using in-app purchases, through doing tasks like surveys and sharing, and/or you can passively obtain them by having the app open for a certain amount of time.
For example, you can get 5 gems for 20 minutes on the app.
However, you can bypass the gem system entirely by upgrading to a premium plan.
The premium plan you can pay for either monthly or yearly, and it allows you to view all the comics on the website without worrying about gems.
ToryComics is so high on the list due to its community being one of the best of the webtoon sites.
The community does translations and contributes to the quality of the site. As cool and different as that is, that also means there’s a lot of comics waiting to be translated.
ToryComics offers both free and pay-per-view webtoons. Recently, they expanded their collection. It used to be very small, but they’re adding more constantly.
That’s without mentioning that they have amazing stories and art styles.
Spottoon was once an amazing platform with countless webtoons to choose from.
Unfortunately, it has declined with less webtoons being added and some being dropped. However, it deserves a high spot on this list for the quality of the comics they have available.
Many of them aren’t free, but there are rotation periods where the comics will become free to read.
This gives you a time period and schedule to read. If you need motivation to read in a timely manner, then Spottoon is for you. There are English translations available.
8: Lezhin Comics
Lezhin Comics is an online webtoon platform that offers services in Korean, English, and Japanese.
Founded in 2013 by a South Korean blogger named Han Hae-sung, Lezhin Comics mainly offers genres like romance, action, and fantasy.
It also has a lot of mature content on the site. If you’re looking for more mature stories, then Lezhin is perfect for you.
It’s available for computers, Android, and iOS. It’s one of the biggest competitors on the market with over 8,000 webtoon titles on its platform.
The best part about Lezhin is that it appeals to both new and experienced readers.
If you’ve never tried webtoons before, the interface is friendly to your inexperience and will guide you through the whole process with ease.
It would be impossible to make a list like this without mentioning the famous Tapas. It’s compatible for web browsers, Android, and iOS. It also offers over 100,000 stories, making it one of the largest comic libraries on the internet.
Tapas has stories ranging from mature to family-friendly, and the best part is that the translations are high-quality. It also provides not only comics, but full novels as well, making it more unique.
The only reason why this isn’t number one is because most of the webtoons on Tapas require payment.
Recently, Tapas made it so you can unlock free episodes. It’s a timer system, so you get one free episode after waiting a certain amount of time (the times will vary).
Sometimes the original is the best, and that applies here with Webtoon, which is short for LINE WEBTOON.
By far the most famous webtoon website on this list, Webtoon is perfect for any type of reader with a huge variety of stories no other site can match.
When you sign up for Webtoon, it’ll take you through a tutorial where it’ll ask for your favorite genres and what you’re looking for in a story.
From there, it’ll give you recommended stories and will introduce you to the interface. That’s why it’s so easy to use for new readers!
Along with that, there are countless languages it’s accessible to.
Another perk is that the rating system gives you a good idea of how a story is and if you’ll want to read it.
By far the best part of Webtoon is that it’s free to use.
Only recently did Webtoon add a feature where you can pay for stories, but even then, that’s just so you can view the episodes early. Otherwise, it’s free.
Why Webtoons Are Popular
Storytelling will always be a much desired thing. Movies, TV shows, comics, and more appeal to a wide audience because stories provide entertainment, laughter, lasting emotions, and thought-provoking questions. Webtoons are an easily accessible source of free storytelling.
For example, famous Korean boy band BTS (방탄소년단) released a webtoon series of their own, and it’s garnered over 25 million views with a 9.87/10 rating.
You can read translations in over a dozen languages including: English, Spanish, Japanese, French, German, and more.
With famous K-pop groups like BTS, TXT, and Enhypen making webtoons, the platforms are only growing more around the world.
It also helps that webtoons are primarily free. That gives you free access to stories whenever you’re relaxing, going to school, or doing daily activities.
The convenience is one major reason why webtoons are famous, but another reason is the quality. The art quality is top tier, and the storytelling is amazing.
The rating system allows new or experienced readers to pick and choose their stories more carefully.
Some webtoons even go on to get TV shows and movies made out of them. For example, the k-drama Sweet Home (스위트 홈) was a webtoon made into a Netflix TV show.
The History Of Webtoons
Webtoons originated in South Korea and were originally only popular in South Korea.
The rest of the world hadn’t heard of webtoons, and translations of the stories weren’t readily available either. As time went on and manhwa popularity increased, webtoons became high in demand.
Back in late June of 2004, the first webtoon website was launched by Korea’s largest internet company NAVER.
It started as NAVER Webtoon, and in 2014, it changed its name to LINE WEBTOON. Now, it’s still around and one of the largest digital comics companies in the world.
More webtoon websites started over the years since the appeal grew around South Korea. Manhwa (만화) is to thank for the rise of webtoons.
Manhwa is the Korean term for comics and print cartoons. They’re a staple in Korean culture, and they’re very popular around the globe.
The reason why manhwa helped webtoons so much is because famous manhwa were released as webtoons as well.
The number of online comics grew with the number of users on these websites. For example, LINE WEBTOON has over 17 million monthly users now.
Unfortunately, that means there’s been a decline in physical sales. There’s now a decreased portion of physical manhwa produced, but there’s still plenty to go around.
The number of media posted in webtoon form is about equal to the amount published physically.
With a rise in demand for entertainment, webtoons have become more popular both in South Korea and other countries like America.
Webtoons are digital comics presented in one long, vertical strip you can read on your computer or handheld device.
Webtoons were founded in 2004 by NAVER, Korea’s largest internet company. It grew in popularity because famous Korean manhwas were released as webtoons.
Along with that, famous boy band BTS released a webtoon that gained over 25 million views.
Lastly, there are countless websites you can go to for safe, legal, and free webtoons.
Most websites offer them in at least three languages (English, Korean, and Japanese), but as time goes on, the webtoon market is growing and becoming more versatile to different countries.