Old School Comics vs Hip New Webtoons: Who’s the Best?

Are you a fan of comics? Or are you more into webtoons? Do you know what webtoons are? Many don’t. So what’s the difference between the two? In this blog post, we will explore the strengths and weaknesses of both comics and webtoons. We will also take a look at what makes webtoons unique compared to other forms of comics.

By the end of this article, you will understand:

  • the physical differences between webtoons and comics
  • how webtoons and comics are created and read
  • how each medium tells a story
  • what you pay for a comic book vs a webtoon
  • where you can find webtoons vs comics
  • which one is right for you

So, if you’re curious about the differences between comics and webtoons, keep reading!

Webtoons vs Comics—A sample from my Comic Book, Oblivion Trials
Comic Book: Oblivion Trials

What are Webtoons and Comics, and how are they different?

When discussing comics and webtoons it is important to understand the physical differences between the two mediums. Comic books are physical books and webtoons are short digital comic books meant to be read on your phone. The art style in comic books varies greatly while webtoons are typically drawn like manga, or Japanese comic books.

Webtoons vs Comics—A sample from my Comic Book, Oblivion Trials
Comic Book: Oblivion Trials

Let’s start with Comics—How do you read a comic book?

A comic book is a sequence of static images, often in color, which tell a story through the use of panels. Generally speaking, a full comic book is around 22-24 pages and each page has around 4-5 panels on average. This can vary wildly, but for the sake of this article let’s just work with the averages.

To read a comic book, you go from left to right and work your eye from the top left corner of the page to the bottom right corner. The action and word balloons (known as lettering in the industry), guide you from the top left corner down to the bottom right.

Once you finish 3-5 issues of your story, they’re collected into a single book, which is known in the industry as a Trade Paperback or Trade for short. If you are a consumer you may know them as a Graphic Novel.

Webtoons vs Comics—A sample from my Comic Book, Oblivion Trials
Comic Book: Oblivion Trials

Who creates comic books?

The creators involved in creating a comic book are the writer, editor, letterist, and artist. Depending on the budget of your project, you can add in more roles, like inker, storyboard artist, flats artist, colorist, etc. to speed up production.

Webtoons vs Comics—A sample from my Comic Book, Oblivion Trials
Comic Book: Oblivion Trials

How much do comic books cost?

Stores usually sell physical comic books around the $4 price point and make for great collectible items. Honestly, I think they should sell for more considering how much work goes into them, but I digress. A collected TPB (trade paperback) is around $15-$20.

There is a split in the comic book fandom. There are those who collect and those who read.

And yes some do both.

I feel there are almost more collectors than readers now though.

Everybody Else vs (DC vs Marvel)

In addition to a split in the fandom for collectors vs readers, there’s also a divide between DC/Marvel vs everybody else. It’s like they’re two separate industries altogether. I’ll save that debate for a different article down the road.

Comic Book: Sol Survivor

Can you read comic books online?

You can read comic books digitally, sometimes for free or at a discounted price. Some apps even break the reading experience down panel by panel to highlight the action on each panel. However you view the page in its entirety and navigate is up to you.

My journey into Webtoons from Comics

I have over seven years of experience in the comic book industry, with seven published comics and another five comics slated for release in 2022. After falling in love with Webtoons, however, I embarked on the journey to write one and I went on a mission. I wanted to find out how they are created different from comics and share my findings with you!

The best way to learn something is to explain it to someone else, right?

Webtoons vs Comics—A sample from God Game, an excellent webtoon
Webtoon: God Game

What are Webtoons?

A webtoon is a digital comic book and you read it vertically, so it’s scrollable. The big difference here is that you don’t have to turn the page. You just keep scrolling. This makes it very easy to read on your phone or tablet.

I got into Webtoons when my friend Brandon Chen and co-author of our Oblivion Trials comic book series, started writing them. Brandon inspires me because he achieved the kind of success in Webtoons I’ve been searching for all my life in comics.

And that’s an understatement. He’s incredible, and I recommend you check him out. Brandon wrote God Game, the best manga you haven’t read, and it is one of my favorite series.

He has five or six ongoing webtoon series as of the writing of this article and makes a full-time living writing what he loves in the webtoons medium. Brandon also engages fans across multiple social media accounts, and people are genuinely in love with his work.

As a comic book writer and entrepreneur, I wanted to test myself in the webtoons arena. So I dove in headfirst and devoured various webtoons. What I found is a medium that rivals comics in the best of ways. It is so different, yet familiar.

Webtoons vs Comics—A sample from God Game, an excellent webtoon
Webtoon: God Game

How are Webtoons released?

Creators and publishers release webtoons one episode at a time, compared to releasing comics one issue at a time.

A webtoon episode is typically 50 panels, which translate into roughly 10 comic book pages. Many webtoon episodes are released weekly whereas a comic book is generally released monthly.

Webtoons vs Comics—A sample from God Game, an excellent webtoon
Webtoon: God Game

How do Webtoons tell stories?

Another notable difference is the storytelling. Webtoon is a culture of its own. Just reading a few series I felt like I was traveling in a foreign land, and that excited me. There is a lot of over-the-top dialogue and action. The pacing felt much faster than a comic book as well.

My experience might be different than yours based on what I enjoy reading. I read a lot of action, mystery, horror, and fantasy. Something I noticed is there are a lot of romantic stories that rank high for readership that I never looked into.

Webtoons vs Comics—A sample from God Game, an excellent webtoon
Webtoon: God Game

How are Webtoons created?

Webtoons are typically drawn in a manga fashion. A manga is a Japanese comic book. This art style is different than a traditional comic book, but it stands on its own. And I fell head over heels for the flair the manga style offers its readers.

If you’re a fan of Anime you should give webtoons a shot before a comic.

There are many apps you can read a webtoon on (some for free), a few of my favorites are VoyceMe, Tapas, and Webtoons. Creators make money primarily from readers buying tokens to read further than the free episodes. But they can also earn income from sponsorships, advertisements, and other various routes.

What are the benefits of reading Webtoons vs Comics?

Webtoons vs Comics—A sample from God Game, an excellent webtoon
Webtoon: God Game

Webtoons vs Comics: Why should you choose Webtoons?

What are the benefits of reading webtoons vs comics? Let’s start with webtoons. A webtoon is easily accessible since most are free and online. I can’t stress how easy it is to binge 10-30 episodes of a webtoon series in a single sitting (those are rookie numbers I know).

Webtoons often have faster pacing. I attribute this to scrolling on your phone while reading. In 2022 we’re all glued to our phones in some capacity. The ease of scrolling, while reading, comes naturally at this point. Turning a page of a comic book now seems old school (yet still satisfying). Webtoons seem like the next evolution of comics.

Reading a webtoon series you can typically get away with reading a lot or all of it for free. The community encourages you to give some money to the creators (and I hope you do, too) because it is much cheaper going the digital route from a consumer standpoint.

Publishing houses make money off webtoons through digital advertisements more so than individual book sales from their comic book counterparts. Comics and webtoons are to vastly different business models. Studying the two industries has led me to believe webtoons are probably more sustainable in the long term.

Webtoons vs Comics—The cover of issue 1 of my comic book, Skylin
Comic Book: Skylin

Webtoons vs Comics: Why should you choose Comics?

I know I’ve been hyping up webtoons a lot in this article, but comics have something webtoons do not. A built-in sense of nostalgia. I love turning the page of a good comic book or manga and seeing the creativity of the panel breakdowns the artist chose to tell the story visually.

As a consumer of physical comic books, I don’t think this feeling can ever be fully replaced.

The collectors market for comic books and manga is a living, breathing creature all on its own. Some books re-sell for more money than what houses are going for. That says something considering the housing market we’re in. Comic book collectors are a passionate bunch that will never go away.

Also, it’s a great feeling to own your favorite manga or comic book series and see it on your bookshelf. However, the same argument was made for DVD and now look at all the streaming services we have flocked to over the last decade.

But are comics more like actual books? E-Readers have never replaced traditional physical books, but they certainly make it easier to carry a library with you.

Or are comic books more like DVDs where webtoons are your favorite shows on Netflix, Hulu, Disney, and other streaming services?

There are many movie and television adaptations coming from the world of comic books, manga, and now webtoons. Could the two different mediums not cannibalize each other and instead allow continued success for both?

As a fan of both, I hope so.

Webtoons vs Comics—The cover of issue 2 of my comic book, Skylin
Comic Book: Skylin

How do you read Webtoons vs Comics?

Most Webtoons can be read on an app like VoyceMe, Tapas, or Webtoons and there are many more out there. Some people publish their own on their websites too.

Comic Books rely primarily on physical sales over digital. The primary place to get your hands on this nerdy-goodness would be at your local Comic Book Shop. You can also order offline directly from the creator or the publisher. Some titles are carried in actual bookstores like Barnes & Noble.

Kickstarter is also becoming a great platform for self-publishing comic books. More people are becoming interested in this medium and are willing to support the projects that they love.

Webtoon: God Game

Webtoons vs Comics: Which one is better for you?

Depending on what you prefer, you might lean one way or the other.

Like to hold something in your hands and turn physical pages?

Comics might be for you.

If you like the convenience of reading on your phone or tablet, webtoons might be the better option.

And if you want to support the artist directly, buying from them is always the best way to go.

Comic Book: Sol Survivor

In Conclusion—You Win in the Battle of Webtoons vs Comics

In a nutshell, a webtoon is a digital comic that offers a lot of diverse content, even more than your average Marvel title. You read a webtoon vertically, which makes it a perfect format in today’s world dominated by mobile phones. Webtoons are usually shorter so you can easily get through an entire series in one sitting if you want to.

Comics are the traditional way of reading sequential art and have been around for centuries. You can find them in physical form or online. And you read them like a traditional book, from left to right and top to bottom.

Overall you don’t need to pick one over the other. They’re both great mediums that offer a lot of content to choose from. Support the artists you love by reading their work, no matter what form it’s in! I don’t see me dropping comics just because I found webtoons to be equally satisfying.

Do you have a preference? What are your thoughts on webtoons vs comics? Let us know in the comments!

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