The burgeoning Asian webtoon market is set to expand further with the April launch of Graphic India’s Toonsutra, a comics platform for mobile devices.
Toonsutra is differentiated, in that, in addition to standalone comics, it will offer exclusive original web comics based on hit Indian film and TV properties including S.S. Rajamouli’s Baahubali film franchise, recent animated streaming series, “The Legend of Hanuman,” and new original webtoon comics based on Chakra The Invincible, the Indian superhero film franchise created by Stan Lee and Graphic India co-founder, Sharad Devarajan.
Available for free download on both iOS and Android platforms, Toonsutra will release new free stories every day from Indian creators, and also global properties in Hindi and other Indian language versions. Genres include superhero, fantasy, romance, sci-fi, Bollywood, mythology and action.
Indian properties will include “18 Days: The Mahabharata,” and the female super-heroine series, “Devi” created by filmmaker Shekhar Kapur, in addition to “The Sadhu,” “Mistry P.I.,” “Shadow Tiger,” “Unholi,” “Reincarnation Man,” “Shikari Force,” “The Mighty Yeti,” “Dragonfly” and “Avatarex Destroyer of Darkness.”
The app will also feature titles from U.S. publisher Valiant Entertainment, including “Bloodshot,” “Shadowman,” “X-O Manowar,” “Harbinger, “Archer & Armstrong,” “Ninjak” and “Rai.”
“Toonsutra will become India’s new storytelling home for disruptive creators across the country to experiment, innovate and create engaging webtoon comic stories for the world,” said Devarajan. “Webtoon platforms have become an explosive phenomenon across Asia with top webtoon apps cumulatively reaching over 70 million monthly users and over a 100 billion views a year.”
The concept of webtoons originated in South Korea in 2003 and quickly gained popularity and spread to China, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam. Top brands include Lezhin, Comico, Naver, Line and Kakao. In 2019, Kross Komics, a subsidiary of Korean producer Kross Pictures, launched in India with content largely from China, Japan and Korea, and has notched up 200,000 downloads.
In January, user-generated storytelling platform Wattpad was acquired by Naver, and, earlier this month, Apple ordered a live-action adaptation of Korean webtoon “Dr. Brain.”